Thursday, November 13, 2008

College Basketball: Big 12 Predictions

Time to check out the big conferences and let's begin with the Big 12. Kansas won the NCAA Championship last year but only return 4 scholarship players needless to say the Jayhawks are in full rebuilding mode. It won't be gloom or even doom though in Lawrence as Bill Self has reloaded with some JUCO and high school talent. KU will be down for a short time but will never be out.

Best Team In The Big 12: This is a tough choice because Oklahoma and Texas are deep and talented but I'm going with the Baylor Bears. Scott Drew put the paddles and resuscitated the Baylor program a few years ago. Now the Bears are to the point of expecting a deep NCAA Tournament run. Why do I like Baylor? Because to win big in college basketball, you must have versatile guards and have depth at that position. The Bears have that. This group can score, distribute and most importantly is experienced. 3 of Baylor's guards average double figures lat year. Guard Curtis Jerrells led the team last year in scoring at 15.3 points per game mostly by driving to the hoop but is working on improving his 3 point shooting. Henry Duget is lightening quick and LaceDarius Dunn is money off the bench. If Baylor makes a few stops on defense, the Bears were last in defense in the Big 12 last season, they will cut down the nets and collect the championship hardware.

Best Player In The Big 12: Blake Griffin - Oklahoma

I love to watch Griffin play. He has a soft shooting touch and is a commanding presence grabbing rebounds plus he adds toughness to the Sooners. He finished the 07-08 season with 10 double-doubles, the last 7 against NCAA Tournament teams. Griffin should get plenty of attention for national player of the year honors.

Team That Could Surprise - Texas Tech Red Raiders

Pat Knight isn't his dad yet but this team isn't bad. Texas Tech was picked 10th in the Big 12 preseason poll but the Red Raiders have some players and play as a team. I wouldn't be surprised if Texas Tech puts together a middle of the road year and win 1 or 2 game in the Big 12 Tournament, enough to earn the final bid to the dance from the league.

Who Goes Dancing: Baylor, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech

Who Plays For Number 66: Oklahoma State, Missouri, Nebraska

Big 12 Predictions
1. Baylor
2. Oklahoma
3. Texas
4. Kansas
5. Texas A&M
6. Texas Tech
7. Missouri
8. Oklahoma State
9. Nebraska
10. Kansas State
11. Colorado
12. Iowa State

Photo Courtesy: Jamie Squire/Getty Images

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