Big 12 conference play is officially in full swing, hinting at what is to be an exciting and dramatic conference season. Here are my predictions after the first couple of weeks of play.
The Elites of the Big 12 Conference
Entering as the highest ranked team in the conference, Baylor started strong, crushing Kansas State in their conference opener as they should. The Bears proved during their non-conference schedule to be the favorite to win the Big 12 due to their size and length. The Bears are just bigger and more athletic than anyone in the country and is my pick to win the Big 12 in 2021.
⛹️♂️💨 Fast Break at Kansas State
5⃣8⃣% shooting on 2⃣4⃣ assists in Manhattan 🎯
— Baylor Basketball (@BaylorMBB) December 21, 2020
Not far behind is Kansas, starting their conference campaign with 3 games against top 15 opponents. The Jayhawks came out on top in the first two against Texas Tech and West Virginia and looked good doing it. Now they look to tenth ranked Texas who has been skyrocketing up the national rankings. It’s hard to bet against the Jayhawks when it comes to winning the Big 12, but this season might be different due to their lack of size in the front court. But, if they can shoot the three like they did in the West Virginia game making 16 3-pointers out of 37 attempts then they may surprise some people.
Texas has been very impressive early on this season showing they can hang with anyone in the country and that 5-star freshman Greg Brown is the truth. They nabbed an early conference win beating Oklahoma State but have a big test against Kansas coming up which is a big potential statement game for the Longhorns. UT looks legit in the early stages and will compete for a Big 12 title.
The Depth of the Big 12 and Conference Play
🚨 New AP Poll! 🚨
7. West Virginia
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) December 21, 2020
Texas Tech, to me, has been a bit disappointing. Tech can play defense with the best of them but scoring is a constant struggle. Something that can be figured out and improved upon as the season progresses for sure, but if not done quickly, Tech is going to struggle to win games in this conference. Same for West Virginia, who as usual, will press and force turnovers with their defense but has shown can struggle on the offensive end of the floor. Sophomore, Oscar Tshiebwe, has been disappointing so far and they just can’t shoot the rock. There are a lot of good defenses in the Big 12 this year, if you can’t score it is going to be tough to beat the elite teams in the conference.
Oklahoma State is a very interesting team. Top freshman point guard in the country, Cade Cunningham is as promised and expected, but the supporting cast may not be. The Cowboys have started now 0-2 in conference play losing close contests with TCU and Texas.
TCU has impressed me so far in 2020. A 7-2 overall record and have split their first two conference games. This team just can’t compete with the likes of Baylor, Texas and Kansas but will compete for a spot in the dance come March.
Bringing up the rear in the Big 12, Iowa State and Kansas State, who are clearly the bottom feeders in the league. K-State had a rough non conference season losing to Division 2 opponent Fort Hays State by 13. Iowa State not much better only with 2 wins in the young season and actually losing to K-State in their conference opener.
The Big 12 is as expected, a few elite teams in Baylor, Kansas, and Texas who I believe are competing for the top spot in the Big 12. Texas Tech and West Virginia are right there but have glaring holes and weaknesses keeping them from taking the next step. That being said the Big 12 has 4 teams ranked top 10 in the country with Baylor and Kansas being 2 and 3. This league shows no lack of elite teams in the top of the standings with teams like Oklahoma, TCU and Oklahoma State who are all going to be in the bubble for the NCAA tournament in March
For my final predictions, I think Baylor will take the crown as Big 12 champs. They are too big and athletic for everyone, especially a team like Kansas who is lacking in the front court. When all is said and done, the Big 12 will have 7 teams in the tournament in March. Baylor, Kansas, Texas, Texas Tech, West Virginia, Oklahoma and TCU will get a bid. Oklahoma State will just miss out, I don’t think Cade Cunningham can do it alone and K-State and Iowa State bring up the rear all season long.
Passionate sports fan from the Big D. Die hard Dallas Cowboys, Texas Rangers and Kansas Jayhawk fan, almost to a fault. I think Tony Romo is a Hall of Famer, the Kansas Jayhawks would have won the 2020 National Championship, and Dez caught it.