Continuing on with our rankings here, we have our basketball list! Again, we'll see some surprises I feel like this year, as many moving parts have reshaped Big 12 Basketball. That number one spot will be highly contested, however here are my thoughts on what will pan out come November-March:
Fresh off a national championship, Kansas has reloaded their roster and further developed guys that will be breakout stars this year. Top that with the return of Jalen Wilson, and we could definitely see a repeat of a national championship run, not just Big 12. My only gripe is KU fans typically like to count their eggs before they hatch, so be wary of overestimation, Jayhawk fans.
Baylor lost a few big stars to graduation, the draft, and the transfer portal. The big transfer was Matthew Mayer, who took his talents to Illinois. However, Scott Drew and Co. still are going to be a force to be reckoned with, I don't see them beating out KU, but they'll still be a team to watch and will make noise.
Our first potential surprise team, TCU came off an excellent year last year, doing some damage in the Big 12 regular season and tournament, as well as March Madness. With quite a few returning starters and a couple transfers, this could very much be a team in contention for the Big 12 title if they win their big games. They proved they could do it last year, can that carry over?
Chris Beard is a great coach, a traitor and a snake to Texas Tech, but still a great coach. Landing Tyrese Hunter definitely helps the Longhorns' chances, and they're very much a team to watch heading into next year. However, much like their football team, I just don't see the tools necessary to get them over that hump from good to great. I could be wrong though, I sure have a lot more faith in their basketball than I do in their football...
5. West Virginia
Another potential surprise, West Virginia did well in the transfer portal, filling much needed positions and nixing matchup issues with guys like Texas transfer Tre Mitchell and Joe Toussaint. They did lose a couple key stars in Taz Sherman and Sean McNeil (Their biggest 3 point threat) but if all goes well with these transfers we could see West Virginia make a run at the top echelon of the Big 12.
6. Texas Tech
The Red Raiders were tough to put this low, however I think the transfer talent of West Virginia (if they hit) could give teams like WVU, Texas, and TCU a run for their money. Kevin Obanor is returning, arguably Tech's best player, and their transfer class is solid as well. Expect them to be a defensive force, however the offense will need to be there more than what it was last year if they expect a shot.
7. Kansas St.
With new coach Jerome Tang, the Wildcats will improve next year for sure. Yes they lost Nijel Pack, however a solid recruiting and transfer class is coming in hot and Markquis Nowell could very well be in the running for Big 12 POY. This will be a young, inexperienced team, but a talented one that will make some noise.
These lower echelon teams don't feel like lower echelon, each team in the Big 12 has a fair shot at making some noise much like last year. Expect Oklahoma to be no different. Tanner Groves is returning, they grabbed Nevada transfer Grant Sherfield, and their recruiting class could also be a big time help, however OU will need lots of pieces to fit together in order to make a true run at Big 12 title contention.
9. Oklahoma St.
They'll be better than they were last year, they have most of their starters back and a few shooting additions as well. Improve on defense and have a few (a lot really) players hit and this team could have potential. As of now though, I just see them as part of the pack in the Big 12, even when this is their first year back in the title and NCAA race.
10. Iowa St.
This team has stayed stagnant throughout this offseason, which is not good given that you lost two of your best players in Tyrese Hunter and Izaiah Brockington. They got a solid shot blocker in St. Bonaventure's Osun Osunniyi, but that's pretty much the only noise they've made other than picking up another SBU product in Jaren Holmes, who was alright but I don't expect a super large impact against Big 12 opponents with his size and shooting. They may very well prove me wrong, but ISU is near the bottom of the list once again.
Anddddd there you have it folks, the two major men's sports power rankings for the Big 12. Let me know if you'd want to hear about other sports as well, or what other opinions you might have regarding this list. As always, best answers will be featured on a future podcast (I.e. TOMORROW because you know, Father's Day was Sunday) Thanks for reading!
Burn Notice: 8/10 Any one of these teams could get hot, the question is who will prevail?