The media has spoken, and they have little confidence in K-State's prospects this year without Michael Beasley and Bill Walker. That's probably not a surprise, considering Beasley was one of the best college players ever, and Walker would have been "the man" at K-State if not for Beasley's presence. It may also reflect the general feeling among media members that Frank Martin is thoroughly unqualified to be a Big 12 coach (Note: All of you who believe this are on alert: Martin has informed me that a horse's head is on its way to each of you*).
Here are the standings, if you're interested and don't want to click through to the link above:
|Team (First Place Votes)
My roommate, who is currently working on a major basketball project in the Houston area, is pretty well-connected in college basketball circles, and he offered me his thoughts on the Big 12 this season.
Today, the Big 12 released the Pre-Season Coaches Poll. For the first time, in quite some time, both Kansas and Texas failed to make the top spot. Oklahoma, who returns four-starters, sealed the top spot for the first time in league history. Texas, who many think will win the Big 12 Tournament, fell short of Oklahoma by only two points in the voting. Baylor and defending NCAA Champion Kansas, finished tied at the third spot. Both Texas A&M and Oklahoma State have solid teams, but will struggle to overcome a talented Big 12 South. Five of the final six teams in the poll are from the Big 12 North, a trend that could mean trouble for the north.
To help dissect the polls, I gathered input from over twenty different contacts of mine within the Big 12. To me, this pre-season poll is clearly predicated on each teams' "talent", overlooking many other variables that could have been incorporated. Instead of coming up with a pre-season poll, I wanted to get an experts opinion on how the final standings might look. We were able to compile a projected poll of how we feel the final standings will look. Take a look below.
Projected Big 12 "Final" Standings
1. KU (12-4)
2. Texas (12-4)
3. Baylor (10-6)
4. Oklahoma (10-6)
5. A&M (9-7)
6. Oklahoma State (8-8)
7. Nebraska (8-8)
8. Kansas State (8-8)
9. Missouri (7-9)
10. Texas Tech (4-12)
11. Iowa State (4-12)
12. Colorado (2-14)
Many will ask," why KU at number one?" Simple, KU is still the most talented team in the North. KU also has the easiest schedule amongst the top four teams in the Big 12. They could easily sweep the Big 12 North, or at least come close. If KU struggles against south competition, meaning they go .500, they could still hit the 12-win plateau. We feel that Texas, Baylor, Oklahoma, and Texas A&M will beat up on each other, just enough to open the door for KU. Many feel Texas is the team to beat come tournament time, I happen to agree with that. Kansas will definitely put a fight, depending on how well the team can gel throughout the season. To me, the south will really come down to who gets hot at the right time. Oklahoma, Baylor, and Texas all have the talent, one of those teams will get hot towards tourney time.
Watch for teams such as Oklahoma State, Nebraska, and potentially Kansas State to make some noise. Oklahoma State's program will see a huge face-lift this year; many around the program feel this is going to be a special year. Reminder to those OSU fans, this is still the Big 12 South, and it will take another year or two, but be patient. Many think that each of the teams listed above will have the opportunity to play "spoiler" in the Big 12 this year. Nebraska and KSU lost impact players, but still have quality talent that will see the court. Missouri could make some noise, but they seem to be a year out still, keep an eye on them.
Texas Tech, Iowa State, and Colorado will struggle, no way around it. Iowa State is starting to make some noise on the recruiting trail, but that will not translate to immediate on-court success for the program, be patient. Colorado, well, best of luck to Coach Bzdelik, it is hard trying to replace Richard Roby. Especially at a school that is obviously more committed to football, than basketball.
I'm sure you're all as thrilled as I am to hear that KU may win the Big 12 again. Between that and the state of our football program, I'm off to down a fifth of Rebel Yell.
*Note: I made this up. Frank Martin has never talked to me.
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