Mark My Words: Big 12 Men’s Basketball Forecast

Mark Roberson

It was business as usual for the often-underrated Big 12 conference at the beginning of the season with only two teams ranked in the Coaches Poll.

Now, in Week 15, the Big 12 boasts four teams ranked in the Coaches Poll and that does not include Oklahoma State who just dropped out of the rankings this week.

Each team brings something different to the table.

Kansas, the Big 12’s traditional powerhouse, boasts a strong field goal percentage. Taking quality shots is the cornerstone of Bill Self’s game plan, and who better to utilize this plan than the talented freshman Andrew Wiggins?

Oklahoma and Iowa State are both ranked inside the top ten in the nation in points per game. The problem with these two squads is defense. The Sooners and Cyclones may be talented on offense, but cannot win the Big 12 by outscoring everyone. Shooters go cold eventually; defense and rebounds are necessary.

The key to Texas’ meteoric rise through the top 25 has been size. Prince Ibeh and Cameron Ridley are a force to be reckoned with in the paint. The pair is averaging two or more blocks per game. Jonathan Holmes does just about everything for Texas, sporting a .517 field goal percentage on the season. Isaiah Thomas has also been a nice surprise this year, coming up big in conference play.

At the halfway point of conference play we are beginning to understand which teams are going to sink and which will swim to find their way into the NCAA tourney in March.

Here’s how I see it finishing:

  1. Kansas Jayhawks
  2. Oklahoma Sooners
  3. Texas Longhorns
  4. Iowa State Cyclones
  5. Kansas State Wildcats
  6. Oklahoma State Cowboys
  7. Texas Tech Red Raiders
  8. West Virginia Mountaineers
  9. Baylor Bears
  10. TCU Horned Frogs

Kansas sits firmly in the catbird seat with only a single conference loss to the Longhorns. The Jayhawks should take care of business and cruise to the finish line in first.

Texas, Kansas State, Oklahoma, and Iowa State will duke it out for second place in the conference. The race is tight, so expect plenty of close games down the stretch.

With six conference losses and the recent three game suspension to Marcus Smart the Cowboys are hurting and out of the hunt. Oklahoma State is just too far-gone to make a comeback.

Texas suffered a 17-point loss to Kansas State on the road last weekend and will look to get back on track hosting the Cowboys at home. Tipoff is at 6:00 P.M tonight at the Frank Erwin Center.