2017-2018 Big 12 Conference Preview

Where were you the last time Kansas didn’t win the Big 12 regular season title? It’s been so long you probably can’t even remember. The Jayhawks made it 13, yes, 13, straight conference titles last season. Bill Self’s squad finished Big 12 play 16-2. The next best team? 12-6. It’s a feat that has become one of the most impressive streaks in college basketball history. The scary thing is that it doesn’t look to be ending anytime soon. Kansas will once again enter this season as the clear favorite in the league, with West Virginia the best bet to take them down. I wouldn’t waste your money on that bet, though. And even after this season, Bill Self has a couple stud transfers that will be eligible, talented returners and will undoubtedly have another strong recruiting class. Basically, until Kansas fails to win the conference title, you’re picking them to win it. Rock Chalk.

Projected Conference Standings (2016-2017 Record in Parenthesis)

For an in-depth look at each team, click on the team’s name to be directed to their “100 Teams in 100 Days” roster preview. Do note that these started getting published in late June, so there may be a few instances where there are players who are injured, suspended or no longer with the team.

1. Kansas (31-5 (16-2))
2. West Virginia (28-9 (12-6))
3. TCU (24-15 (6-12))
4. Baylor (27-8 (12-6))
5. Oklahoma (11-20 (5-13))
6. Texas Tech (18-14 (6-12))
7. Texas (11-22 (4-14))
8. Iowa State (24-11 (12-6))
9. Kansas State (21-14 (8-10))
10. Oklahoma State (20-13 (9-9))

Player of the Year: Devonte’ Graham

How do you replace the reigning Naismith Player of the Year in Frank Mason III? Well, having a veteran like Kansas’ Devonte’ Graham is a good place to start. The 6’2 senior was a Second Team All-Big 12 selection last season and the Jayhawks’ third leading scorer. He averaged 13.4 points, 3.1 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 1.5 steals per game and those numbers will only increase this year. He also hit 94 threes at a 38.8% clip. Graham will be the go-to guy for Bill Self and should be considered the favorite for Big 12 POY.

First Team All-Big 12

Devonte’ Graham, Kansas: See above
Jevon Carter, West Virginia: Carter was a Second Team All-Big 12 selection and the league’s Defensive Player of the Year last season. A 6’2 senior, he put up 13.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 2.5 steals per game while hitting 72 threes at a 38.9% rate.
Jeffrey Carroll, Oklahoma State: A 6’6 senior, Carroll earned Second Team All-Big 12 honors last season. He posted 17.5 points, 6.6 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game, hit 59 threes at a 44.4% rate, and shot 53.7% overall.
Vladimir Brodziansky, TCU: A Second Team All-Big 12 pick last year, the 6’10 senior recorded 14.1 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game. Brodziansky shot 56.4% from the field.
Malik Newman, Kansas: See below (Newcomer of the Year)

Second Team All-Big 12

Manu Lecomte, Baylor: Lecomte earned Third Team All-Big 12 honors last year. A 5’11 senior, he averaged 12.2 points, 1.8 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game while hitting 71 threes at a 40.8% clip.
Trae Young, Oklahoma: Young, a 6’2 point guard, comes in as the #23 recruit, according to both 247Sports and ESPN. Young is an elite play maker that is lethal from the outside, can get to the rim and distributes well for others. His decision making needs to improve (He had 18 points and 9 assists but 7 turnovers in a scrimmage against UT Arlington), but that should come with experience.
Keenan Evans, Texas Tech: A Third Team All-Big 12 selection last season, the 6’3 senior put up 15.4 points, 2.8 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game. Evans made 51 threes at a 43.2% rate.
Mo Bamba, Texas: A 7’0 big man, Bamba enters the college ranks as 247Sports’ #3 overall 2017 recruit and ESPN’s #4. Bamba has a massive 7’9 wingspan and 9’6 standing reach, yes, he can almost touch the rim standing, that should allow him to be one of the best rim protectors in the country. He moves well for a guy his size, has solid footwork down low and can hit the mid-range jumper as well.
Kenrich Williams, TCU: Williams, a 6’7 senior who earned Honorable Mention All-Big 12 recognition last season, posted 11.4 points, 9.7 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.5 steals per game last season. He also hit 45 threes and shot 49.5% from the field.

Newcomer of the Year: Malik Newman

malik-newman-1493154202Malik Newman sat out at Kansas last season following a transfer from Mississippi State. The 6’3 sophomore was the #8 recruit in the 2015 class, according to 247Sports. In his lone season at Mississippi State, Newman averaged 11.3 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game. He knocked down 61 threes at a 37.9% rate. He will step right into the backcourt with Devonte’ Graham and help form one of the best duos in the country this season.

Big 12 All-Newcomer Team

Malik Newman, Kansas: See above
Trae Young, Oklahoma: See above
Mo Bamba, Texas: See above
Lindell Wigginton, Iowa State: The stars like Georges Niang, Monte Morris, Naz Mitrou-Long and Deonte Burton are all gone, so it’s time to for Steve Prohm to find a new guy to build around. That guy is Lindell Wigginton, a 6’1 guard rated as the #34 2017 recruit by 247Sports and the #39 recruit by ESPN. Wigginton not only is a talented scorer, but he is also a very good perimeter defender.
Billy Preston, Kansas: A 6’10 forward, Preston is rated as the #20 recruit by 247Sports and #18 by ESPN. Kansas is looking for size and Preston should be the guy to provide it. Not only does he have a large frame, but he runs, jumps and shoots the ball well. I expect him to start for the Jayhawks eventually.

NCAA Tournament Bids (6): Kansas, West Virginia, TCU, Baylor, Oklahoma, and Texas Tech

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