NCAA BK

Big 12 preview: K-State has company

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Jeff Goodman

Jeff Goodman is a senior college basketball writer for FOXSports.com. Check out his Yardbarker blog. MORE>>
 
   
 

The Big 12 is wide open.

Sure, everyone is on the Kansas State bandwagon and picking the Wildcats to win the league -- but let’s not hand Frank Martin and his team any championship rings just yet.

There is no shortage of candidates to win the conference crown: Kansas, Baylor, Missouri and even Texas all have a shot.

BIG 12 PRESEASON PREDICTIONS

1. Kansas State -- Frank Martin has plenty of size and one of the top guards in America in Jake Pullen.

2. Missouri -- Mike Anderson’s system works and now the Tigers have the talent to stack up against other elite teams.

3. Kansas -- Bill Self’s team is Top 25 good without freshman Josh Selby. With him, the Jayhawks could be Final Four good.

4. Baylor -- The Bears have a pair of likely first-round draft picks in guard LaceDarius Dunn and talented freshman forward Perry Jones.

5. Texas -- The Longhorns need Jordan Hamilton and J’Covan Brown to mature -- and also need Cory Joseph to become a big-time point guard.

6. Texas A&M -- Mark Turgeon is one of the most underrated coaches in America and junior forward David Loubeau is one of the most underrated players.

7. Colorado -- New coach Tad Boyle has Cory Higgins and Alex Burks, but the lack of size will be an issue.

8. Texas Tech -- The Red Raiders could surprise people -- especially since they are led by five seniors.

9. Oklahoma State -- It’s a tough team to figure with the loss of James Anderson. Travis Ford has a bunch of questions that need to be answered.

10. Nebraska -- Doc Sadler has three of his top four scorers back and he’ll have talented forward Christian Standhardinger back for the full season this year.

11. Oklahoma -- The Sooners will struggle this season, but this season it’ll be due to a lack of talent.

12. Iowa State -- New coach Fred Hoiberg has added a bunch of talented transfers (i.e. Royce White and Chris Allen), but they have to sit out this season.

PACK YOUR DANCING SHOES

BEAT THE EXPERT

Check out FOXSports.com college basketball writer Reid Forgrave's bracket and see how yours stacks up.

Kansas State
Missouri
Kansas
Baylor
Texas
Texas A&M

ALL-LEAGUE ACCOLADES

Preseason Player of the Year – Jacob Pullen, Kansas State

Preseason Rookie of the Year – Perry Jones, Baylor

Preseason All-League First Team

F – Marcus Morris, Jr., Kansas
F – Alec Burks, Soph., Colorado
C – Markieff Morris, Jr., Kansas
G – Jake Pullen, Sr., Kansas State
G – LaceDarius Dunn, Sr., Baylor

Top Backcourt -- Missouri

Top Frontcourt -- Kansas

Coach on the Hot Seat -- Pat Knight, Texas Tech

Most Underrated -- Mike Singletary, Texas Tech

You Don’t Know Him ... Yet -- Freddy Aprilla, Kansas State

THREE CAN’T-MISS FROSH

1. Perry Jones, Baylor -- He’s long and just may be the guy with the most potential of any freshman in the entire country.

2. Josh Selby, Kansas -- His status is still up in the air, but the freshman floor leader is the difference-maker in Lawrence.

3. Cory Joseph, Texas -- The Longhorns point guard situation was a mess a year ago; Joseph is the guy who can fix it.

TOP FIVE STORYLINES

1. Can Kansas State live up to the hype?

The Wildcats are the preseason pick to win the Big 12 and Frank Martin has one of the top guards in the country in senior Jake Pullen. But now Pullen won’t have Denis Clemente next to him, so he’ll have to assume far more overall duties: Leadership, running the team, etc. The Wildcats are big and long up front, but they’ll need consistency from Curtis Kelly.

2. What kind of chalk?

What to make of this Kansas team. With talented freshman Josh Selby, they could be Final Four contenders. It’s difficult to imagine that being the case if Selby isn’t cleared by the NCAA. I’m also still in wait-and-see mode on whether Marcus Morris can be a star and a leader in Lawrence.

3. Lacing ‘em up in Waco

Baylor lost its top player, Ekpe Udoh, from a year ago -- but just as important was the departure of the Bears point guard and leader, Tweety Carter. Scott Drew has one of the top guards in the nation in LaceDarius Dunn, arguably the most talented frosh in the country in Perry Jones -- but the key will be whether A.J. Walton can run the team.

4. Hook ‘em

The Longhorns were No. 1 in the country in the middle of last season before going into the tank. Damion James, Dexter Pittman and Avery Bradley are all gone. Rick Barnes needs freshman Cory Joseph to take hold of the point guard duties -- and also needs Jordan Hamilton and J’Covan Brown to grow up. This Texas team has a chance to be better than last year’s if the Longhorns can play together.

5. Underrated Mizzou

Mike Anderson has overachieved the last few seasons in Columbia without a ton of talent. Now he’s added one of the top freshman in the nation -- point guard Phil Pressey -- and a big-time junior college center in Ricardo Ratliffe. The system is proven; now Anderson has the talent to go along with that system.

Tagged: Lehigh, Texas-San Antonio, Baylor, Texas Tech, Texas, Colorado, Kansas State, Missouri, Kansas, Iowa State, Oklahoma State, Brigham Young, Jordan Hamilton, Markieff Morris, Marcus Morris, Jacob Pullen, Cory Higgins, LaceDarius Dunn, Mike Singletary, Perry Jones III, Cory Joseph, Josh Selby

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