Big 12

Kellis Robinett breaks down the Big 12 Conference

Preseason All-Big 12 guard Devonte’ Graham of Kansas.
Preseason All-Big 12 guard Devonte’ Graham of Kansas. The Wichita Eagle

1. Kansas

Coach: Bill Self, 385-83 in 13 seasons

2015-16: 33-5, 15-3 Big 12 (1st)

Star power: Freshman F Josh Jackson is the preseason Big 12 freshman of the year and Self thinks he can be one of the program’s special freshmen.

Remember this name: Carlton Bragg. He took a backseat to Perry Ellis and Landen Lucas last season, but he is poised for a big leap forward this season. He should replace Ellis at power forward and show off his scoring abilities right away.

On the bright side: Kansas returns the bulk of its scoring from last year’s Elite Eight team and added elite recruit Jackson. The Jayhawks should once again win the Big 12.

Slow your roll: Andrew Wiggins never lived up to his potential in Lawrence. It’s fair to wonder if Self knows how to bring the best out in Jackson.

Selection day looks like: The Jayhawks should be a No. 1 seed, or close to it, in Tulsa.

March 2027 looks like: KU will remain among the nation’s elite teams, even if Bill Self departs for the NBA.

2. Iowa State

Coach: Steve Prohm, 23-12 in one season

2015-16: 23-12, 10-8 Big 12 (5th)

Star power: G Monte Morris (13.8 points, 6.9 assists) is the best returning player in the Big 12. Iowa State’s backcourt will be tough to handle with him leading the way.

Remember this name: Matt Thomas doesn’t look like a standout player, but he is one of the best outside shooters in the conference. He will win some games for Iowa State this season.

On the bright side: Morris is one of the best, if not the best, player in the Big 12. The senior point guard should be a quality leader for the Cyclones.

Slow your roll: Look at what Iowa State lost from last season — Georges Niang, Naz Long, Abdel Nader. That’s a lot of firepower to replace.

Selection day looks like: A favorable seed close to Ames.

March 2027 looks like: Given Iowa State’s fan support and recent run of success, the Cyclones should still be NCAA Tournament regulars.

3. Texas

Coach: Shaka Smart, 20-13 in one season

2015-16: 20-13, 11-7 Big 12 (4th)

Star power: Guard Kerwin Roach (7.5 points, 2.9 rebounds) has the potential to be an All-Big 12 player. He is always a threat to throw down a jaw-dropping dunk.

Remember the name: Jarrett Allen is a five-star recruit that should instantly give the Longhorns a boost.

On the bright side: Smart welcomes a terrific freshman class that includes Andrew Jones, James Banks, Jacob Young and Allen. That’s a lot of young talent.

Slow your roll: Can a freshman-led team win big in the Big 12?

Selection day looks like: A top-six seed.

March 2027 looks like: Smart will get Texas back to the heights it achieved under Rick Barnes.

4. Baylor

Coach: Scott Drew, 252-172 in 13 seasons

2015-16: 22-12, 10-8 Big 12 (5th)

Star power: G Al Freemon (11.3 points, 3.4 rebounds) will handle more responsibilities this season and should emerge as one of the league’s top ball-handlers.

Remember the name: Manu Lecomte, a Miami transfer, will take over for Lester Medford at point guard.

On the bright side: Baylor has a nice mixture of experience and talent. It should be one of the Big 12’s best teams.

Slow your roll: Taurean Prince and Rico Gathers can’t be replaced inside from a rebounding standpoint.

Selection day looks like: A seed that puts Baylor in white uniforms for its first NCAA Tournament game.

March 2027 looks like: The Bears have found their sweet spot under Drew. As long as he stays, they will be in the NCAA Tournament mix.

5. West Virginia

Coach: Bob Huggins, 201-110 in nine seasons

2015-16: 26-9, 13-5 Big 12 (2nd)

Star power: G Jevon Carter (9.5 points, 2.9 rebounds) could lead West Virginia in scoring this season with the team’s backcourt losses from last season.

Remember the name: Talented freshman Sagaba Konate should quickly factor into West Virginia’s system.

On the bright side: West Virginia has won with full-court defense these past few seasons, and that is unlikely to change.

Slow your roll: The Mountaineers won many close games last season. Will that good fortune continue?

Selection day looks like: A mid-range seed in the NCAA Tournament.

March 2027 looks like: West Virginia will continue to win games in the Big 12, but will Huggins still wear his pullover in 10 years?

6. Kansas State

Coach: Bruce Weber, 79-54 in four seasons

2015-16: 17-16, 5-13 Big 12 (8th)

Star power: G Wesley Iwundu (11.9 points, 4.5 rebounds) has the potential to average 15 points. He needs to step up his offense for K-State to improve.

Remember the name: Xavier Sneed, a former four-star recruit, could be a big addition for the Wildcats in his freshman season.

On the bright side: Kamau Stokes, Barry Brown and Wade were three of the Big 12’s top freshmen last season, and they should all be better as sophomores.

Slow your roll: K-State lost leading scorer Justin Edwards and it’s unclear whether Iwundu is ready to replace that production.

Selection day looks like: K-State should return to the postseason after a two-year absence.

March 2027 looks like: It all depends on who K-State hires someday to replace Weber.

7. Oklahoma

Coach: Lon Kruger, 111-57 in five seasons

2015-16: 29-8, 12-6 Big 12 (3rd)

Star power: G Jordan Woodard (13 points, 3.4 assists) took a backseat to Buddy Hield last season. He should shine in the spotlight.

Remember the name: Kameron McGusty, a four-star recruit, should help fill the scoring void left by Buddy Hield.

On the bright side: Oklahoma’s returning players have been to the Final Four. They won’t lack confidence this season.

Slow your roll: No one lost more than the Sooners. Buddy Hield, Isaiah Cousins and Ryan Spangler were OU staples for a long time.

Selection day looks like: The Sooners should sneak into the NCAA Tournament.

March 2027 looks like: Steve Henson replaces Kruger and keeps the Sooners on a winning path.

8. Oklahoma State

Coach: Brad Underwood, first season

2015-16: 12-20, 3-15 Big 12 (9th)

Star power: G Jawun Evans (12.9 points, 4.9 assists) showed flashes of greatness before suffering an injury last season. If he can stay healthy, he could be one of the Big 12’s best players.

Remember this name: Jeffrey Carroll has been mostly quiet in his first two seasons in Stillwater, but he has serious potential as an outside shooter.

On the bright side: Stephen F. Austin was dominant under Underwood, and he knows what it takes to win in the Big 12. He seems like a perfect fit at OSU.

Slow your roll: Even with Forte and Evans returning this season, the Cowboys remain one of the least talented teams in the conference.

Selection day looks like: A good time to play golf, if the weather is nice.

March 2027 looks like: Many schools may end up wishing they had the foresight to hire Underwood while he was at Stephen F. Austin.

9. Texas Tech

Coach: Chris Beard, first season

2015-16: 19-13, 9-9 Big 12 (7th)

Star power: F Aaron Ross (10.3 points, 4.5 rebounds) is one of the best inside scorers in the league and a quality rebounder, too.

On the bright side: Beard considers Texas Tech to be his dream job. Given his success at Arkansas-Little Rock, the Red Raiders appear in good hands.

Slow your roll: Texas Tech surprised many teams at home last season, but they won’t be able to sneak up on anyone this year. There will be growing pains without Tubby Smith.

Selection day looks like: Would Texas Tech be interested in the Vegas 16?

March 2027 looks like: Better than life under Pat Knight.

10. TCU

Coach: Jamie Dixon, first season

2015-16: 12-21, 2-16 Big 12 (10th)

Star power: F Karviar Shepherd (7.1 points, 5.2 rebounds) is a former blue-chip recruit that could be poised for a breakout season.

Remember this name: Jaylen Fisher was a four-star recruit and a nice early addition for Dixon’s staff.

On the bright side: Things probably can’t get worse than they were a year ago, when the team won just two Big 12 games.

Slow your roll: Anything other than a last-place finish will be a surprise.

Selection day looks like: A good time to focus on spring football.

March 2027 looks like: It’s only a matter of time before Dixon makes TCU competitive. But how long will he stay in Fort Worth? Is alma mater enough?

Kellis Robinett: @kellisrobinett

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