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2015-16 Big 12 Conference NCAA College Basketball Predictions and Preview

2015-16 Big 12 Conference NCAA College Basketball Predictions and Preview

Among the different conferences in college basketball, the Big 12 has arguably been the best and the expectations continue to remain high. Seven out of the 10 teams made it to the NCAA Tournament last year but none from that group made it past the Sweet 16. Nevertheless, it’ll be interesting to see if that will be the case again this upcoming 2015-16 season.

One thing’s for sure though, most of the attention is going to be on the Kansas Jayhawks and their quest to capture their 12th consecutive regular season title. Will they keep this impressive streak alive? Or will someone finally be able to dethrone them?  Read on below for a quick preview of all the 10 teams competing in the conference, including the names to take note of and their record predictions.

More conference previews: SEC | Big Ten | Big 12 | Pac-12

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2015-16 NCAA Season Big 12 Conference Preview

1. Kansas Jayhawks

Kansas Jayhawks

2014 Record: 13-5

Predicted Record: 15-3

The Kansas Jayhawks will still be the best team in the conference with or without five-star recruit Cheick Diallo, whose eligibility to play in games this season is still pending. They’ll be returning plenty of talent from their 2014-15 team. Gone are Kelly Oubre and Cliff Alexander but they still have Frank Mason, Wayne Selden Jr. and Perry Ellis to lead the offense and provide the experience. The three combined for 35.8 PPG last season and have gotten the complete trust of head coach Bill Self.

[sc:NCAAB240banner ]Furthermore, the team still has alot of weapons at their command like forward Jamari Traylor, who’s expected to play a bigger role in the rotation moving forward. In 2014, he averaged 20 minutes per game and provided a solid boost off the bench with 4.8 PPG and 3.7 RPG.

But if Diallo does get the approval from the NCAA, the Jayhawks are going to be even scarier as they will have an intimidating rim-protector and a low-post threat that they could rely on every game.

2. Iowa State Cyclones

Iowa State

2014 Record: 12-6

Predicted Record: 13-5

Fred Hoiberg’s unique offensive style has moved on to the Chicago Bulls and has left the Iowa State Cyclones into a new era under Steve Prohm. The Cyclones are pretty fortunate to still have almost their entire roster back from a team that got a No. 3 seed last season. Prohm, who averaged 26 wins per year at Murray State, will be looking to lead a group of experienced players with title aspirations this season. The pair of forward Georges Niang and point guard Monte Morris will continue to be the heart and soul of the Cyclones.

Niang, an All-American candidate, led the team in scoring with 15.3 PPG and knocked down 40 percent of his shots from beyond the arc last year. He’s on track to be a strong contender for the conference’s Player of the Year award. Morris, meanwhile, is their steady floor general who posted 5.4 APG and 11.9 PPG in his sophomore campaign.

Defense, though, is one of the main things that the Cyclones ought to improve on. They ranked 108th in the nation when it comes to defensive efficiency in 2014. This area of their game cannot stay the same if they wish to make a bigger step forward this season.

3. Oklahoma Sooners

Oklahoma Sooners

2014 Record: 12-6

Predicted Record: 13-5

The Oklahoma Sooners will be in the Big 12 title picture this year. That’s thanks to the reigning Big 12 Player of the Year, Buddy Hield. Hield, who chose to return for his senior season, posted 17.4 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 1.9 APG and 1.3 SPG in his junior campaign. The Sooners also still have dependable big man, Ryan Spangler as well as the backcourt of Isaiah Cousins and Jordan Woodard to lead the Sooners for another promising finish. But it’ll be interesting to see who’s going to be able to fill the void left by TaShawn Thomas, who posted 11.6 PPG and 6.5 RPG in his first and only year at Oklahoma.

4. Baylor Bears

Baylor Bears

2014 Record: 11-7

Predicted Record: 12-6

Coming off two-consecutive NCAA Tournament berths, the Baylor Bears are looking to make it three-straight appearances without two of their best players, Kenny Chery and Royce O’Neale. Fortunately, they still have a solid chance in succeeding this year with the skilled duo of Taurean Prince and Rico Gathers to lead a team that has incredible size and plays extremely hard on both ends of the court. The two were the team’s top scorers with 13.9 PPG and 11.6 PPG respectively last season.

But Prince and Gathers will need someone to step up in the backcourt. The pressure is on Lester Medford, a returning starter who averaged 7.6 PPG in 2014, to replace Chery at the point and become the reliable  floor leader that Baylor needs him to be.

5. West Virginia Mountaineers


2014 Record: 11-7

Predicted Record: 10-8

Juwan Staten is gone and that really hurts for the West Virginia Mountaineers. But head coach Bob Huggins remains optimistic about their chances this season as they’ll still have a lot of experience back together with a good recruiting class. There’s double-double machine Devin Williams, pesky guard Jevon Carter and rim-protector Jon Holton while their newest addition to the team is Esa Ahmad, who was the Ohio High School Player of the Year last year.

The Mountaineers will surely continue to live and die on Huggins’s pressing style; however scoring could still become a big concern without a solid go-to-guy on offense like Staten.

6. Oklahoma State Cowboys

Oklahoma State

2014 Record: 8-10

Predicted Record: 7-11

With sharphooter Phil Forte returning for his senior year and the entry of McDonald’s All-American point guard Jawun Evans, Oklahoma State’s backcourt is probably among the most talented in the conference. The main issue for them this season will be replacing LeBryan Nash (17.2 PPG and  5.7 RPG last season) and Michael Cobbins (6.8 PPG and 5.9 RPG).

The Cowboys, though, still have enough size in their roster but no one has been able to produce quality numbers thus far. Someone needs to step up in the frontcourt and Jeff Newberry, who tallied 6.7 PPG and2.3 RPG last year, might be that guy. If not, then Oklahoma State is in trouble.

7. Texas Longhorns

Texas Longhorns

2014 Record: 8-10

Predicted Record: 10-8

A new head coach in Shaka Smart could be the start of something promising for the Texas Longhorns. Smart’s ability to connect with and give energy to his players is something that the team has been lacking. That sense of togetherness along with his up-tempo style of play could pay dividends this 2015-16 season.

Sure, the Longhorns did lose a number of key players like Myles Turner and Jonathan Holmes. But they still have a huge and experienced frontcourt of Cameron Ridley (6’9”, 285 lbs) and Prince Ibeh (6’10”, 260 lbs) as their inside threats. Meanwhile, their backcourt will still be led by point guard Isaiah Taylor, who boasted a team-high of 13.1 PPG and 4.6 APG last season. He’s definitely going to be in for an interesting junior campaign under Smart’s fast-paced approach.

Now, the question is how fast can Taylor and company adjust to this new style of play?

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8. Kansas State Wildcats

Kansas State

2014 Record: 8-10

Predicted Record: 4-14

There’s absolutely zero expectations for the Kansas State Wildcats this season. They lost their best player of last season—Marcus Foster—and almost their entire roster. This could also be head coach Bruce Weber’s make or break season and he’ll have to at least avoid finishing at the Big 12 cellar to save his job. But that’s going to be easier said than done with only three returnees in Justin Edwards, Wesley Iwundu and Stephen Hurt. Clearly, chemistry will be the toughest issue for them this 2015-16 season.

9. TCU Horned Frogs


2014 Record: 4-14

Predicted Record: 3-15

TCU began their 2014-15 campaign 13-0 but that was against underdog teams. They were reminded of their place when they struggled to notch a win in their conference with a dismal 4-14 win-loss record. That mark  doesn’t seem like it’ll improve much this season as the Horned Frogs lost three of their top four scorers from last season, Kyan Anderson (13.4 PPG), Trey Zeigler (10.1 PPG)) and Amric Fields (7.5 PPG, to graduation.The one guy that returned was Kenrich Williams (8.6 PPG and 6.7 RPG), ahd he will also be out due to a season-ending knee injury. With this much talent gone and out, don’t expect too much from the Horned Frogs this season.

10. Texas Tech Red Raiders

Texas Tech

2014 Record: 3-15

Predicted Record: 5-13

With Tubby Smith’s team returning most of his starters from last year, the 2015-16 campaign could be the year where the Red Raiders finally reach the .500 mark. They are young and full of potential but still need more experience to become a threat. Expect key returnees Devaugntah Williams and Zach Smith to lead the charge for this young squad.

Williams was Texas Tech’s leading scorer last season with 10.5 PPG. Smith, on the other hand, was the defensive anchor, as he averaged 1.5 BPG. Both are bound to deliver significant impacts this season and help their team stay competitive against tough matchups.

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Written by Bief

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