2015-16 NCAAB Previews – Big 12
When it comes to the regular season no team dominates it’s conference like Kansas has over the last decade plus. That is not to say that the B12 has been light but they always seem to come out on top.
That is likely to happen again this season but they will be significantly pushed by the likes of Iowa State and Oklahoma – all Top Ten teams. All three of those programs could advance to a Final Four but after them there is a big gap before the likes of Texas and Baylor.
Even though they have had their share of one and dones Kansas has a great mix this season. Senior forward Perry Ellis is as reliable as it gets and juniors Frank Mason and Wayne Selden can become stars. Filling in around that core is enough talent size and shooting to compete for a title.
The big question mark coming in is the eligibility of big man Cheick Diallo. He can be a difference maker right away, especially on defense. Without him they are still very good but he gives them that much more, a difference that is obvious when they play their top teams.
Betting against Kansas in the B12 has not been a good proposition
Iowa State +275
The Mayor is gone but Fred Hoiberg did not leave the cupboard bare in Ames for new coach Steve Prohm. In Georges Niang and Monte Morris the Cyclones have two player of the year candidates who are experienced in the rigors of battle.
They also have experience up front with defensive presence Jameel McKay and three point bomber Naz Long. The starting five of the Cyclones is very strong they just don’t have the depth of some of the other top programs out there and this is a transition year.
The Sooners have a great place to start in SG Buddy Hield. He turned down the NBA Draft this past spring to come back to Norman and enters the season as one of the most polished scorers in the country.
Also returning in the backcourt are Jordan Woodward and Isaiah Cousin, giving OU as good a three guard collection as there is in the league. Ryan Spangler does the banging up front for this experienced group. They need just enough from their bigs to let their perimeter players shine.
For the last several years the Bears have had talent but it never seems to come together all the way, the leave you wanting more. They do show flashes that make you believe they are ready to take that next step like the football team
This season they start with Rico Gathers, the best rebounder in the nation. He can do some other things too and is surrounded by enough scoring talent to take this team to the Tournament. In single elimination formats this team can be dangerous.
You always knew that Shaka Smart was going to leave VCU one day and I think we was wise in his choice of Texas. A school with resource and capacity to be a stronger player in hoops.
This season he will look to implement his system but the cupboard is not totally bare as they have a couple of bigs who might merit pro consideration and a lead guard in Isaiah Taylor who has a lot of talent but lacks focus.
At some point they will pull off an upset that the hoops world will notice and Smart will get more out of the talent on hand. Better days are coming.
Remaining Teams Odds
- West Virginia +900
- Oklahoma State +2200
- Kansas State +3600
- Texas Tech +5000
- TCU +10000
Big 10 Conference Prediction
Handicapping the B12 Champ is tough. Kansas has ruled during the regular season but when it comes to the tournament they have only won three of the last six (I know, only!). Iowa State has won the the last couple and good old Mizzou stole one, remember them.
For the best value you have to fade with the Jayhawks with the likes of Iowa State or Oklahoma. I would take my shot with the Sooners.
They have experience and difference maker. Plus it feels like it could definitely be their turn.
Check out our Updated Daily NCAA Basketball Odds.