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Big 12 Basketball Season Preview: Baylor, Kansas Lead The Way Again

Returnees Bolster Texas, TCU’s Title Hopes

The Big 12 made it two national champions in a row with Baylor’s title run being followed by Kansas’ rise to the top of the men’s college basketball world.

Baylor and Kansas are tied for fifth in the Associated Press Top 25 preseason poll with Texas coming in at No. 12 and Texas Christian is 14th so it could be another memorable season in the conference.

Flo Thamba #0 of the Baylor Bears looks on
Tom Pennington / Getty Images North America / Getty Images via AFP

According to the college basketball playoff odds, Baylor and Kansas are both priced at +400 to reach the Final Four followed by Texas at +650.

 Let’s check the latest NCAAB picks, stats, injury reports, and NCAAB predictions. We’ve plenty of NCAAB expert picks for you to consider.

Also check on these WNCAAB betting lines.

Baylor Bears

  • Conference Odds: +185
  • National Title Odds: +1500

Adam Flagler and LJ Cryer are back after averaging 13.8 and 13.5 points per game so this could be the best backcourt in the Big 12 even with the departure of assists leader James Akinjo.

Matthew Mayer, Jeremy Sochan and Kendall Brown are all gone, leaving Baylor without four of its top six scorers from a season ago.

Jonathan Tchamwa-Tchatchoua, who was the co-defensive player of the year in the conference during his injury-shortened 2021-22 season, is another key returning player.

West Virginia forward Jalen Bridges and BYU forward Caleb Lohner join incoming freshmen Keyonte George and Joshua Ojianwuna among newcomers who could contribute immediately.

Baylor failed to cover against the college basketball odds in six of the last nine games.

Kansas Jayhawks

  • Conference Odds: +200
  • National Title Odds: +1200

Ochai Agbai, Christian Braun, David McCormack, Remy Martin, Mitch Lightfoot and Jalen Coleman-Lands have moved on. There is some good news as Jalen Wilson declared for the 2022 NBA Draft before opting to return to Kansas. Also, former Texas Tech star Kevin McCullar is now with the Jayhawks.

The 6-foot-8 Wilson averaged 12 points and 9.5 rebounds in the NCAA Tournament. Kansas was 18-3 when Wilson scored in double figures. He is priced at +1400 by the college basketball betting lines to win the national player of the year award.

McCullar was a double-digit scorer in each of his last two seasons at Texas Tech. He averaged 13.7 points in three games during the 2022 NCAA Tournament. He had eight points, three rebounds and five assists against Kansas in the Big 12 title game.

Kansas brought in a recruiting class that was ranked in the top five nationally.

Forward Gradey Dick and center Ernest Udeh were both top-25 recruits according to ESPN’s recruiting database.

Some added news was the suspension of Bill Self and an assistant coach for the first 4 games for their role in events that led to NCAA violations. The only game of consequence Self will miss is against Duke.

Texas Longhorns

  • Conference Odds: +350
  • National Title Odds: +2200

Timmy Allen and Marcus Carr return to lead a talented Texas team after averaging 12.1 and 11.4 points per contest last season. Allen was the team leader in rebounds while Carr led the way in assists. Forwards Christian Bishop, Dylan Disu, and Brock Cunningham are also back.

The Longhorns will miss underrated guard Andrew Jones while Courtney Ramey (Arizona), Tre Mitchell (West Virginia) and Devin Askew (California) all transferred elsewhere.

Texas picked up one of the highest-rated transfers in Iowa State guard Tyrese Hunter (11 points, 3.5 rebounds, 4.9 assists last season) and New Mexico State guard Sir’Jabari Rice (11.9 points, 5.1 rebounds, 3.1 assists) is another key newcomer.

Texas Christian Horned Frogs

  • Conference Odds: +800
  • National Title Odds: +4000

TCU brings back its top six scorers with Mike Miles, Damion Baugh, Emanuel Miller, Charles O’Bannon Jr., Eddie Lampkin and Micah Peavy combining for 88% of the points scored and 76% of the rebounds during the 2021-22 season.

The biggest departure is Francisco Farabello, who is now at Creighton.

Guards Rondel Walker and Tyler Lundblade transferred in from Oklahoma State and SMU.
Something to consider for those who bet online, six of TCU’s last seven games finished under the total.

Chuck O'Bannon Jr. #5 of the TCU Horned Frogs dunks the ball
Chuck O’Bannon Jr. #5 – Sean M. Haffey / Getty Images via AFP

Texas Tech Red Raiders

  • Conference Odds: +800
  • National Title Odds: +3300

Kevin Obanor is back for Texas Tech after averaging 10 points and 5.5 rebounds. The other three double-digit scorers are gone. Bryson Williams graduated while Terrence Shannon Jr. and Kevin McCullar are now at Illinois and Kansas. Mylik Wilson is now at Houston.

Obanor is the only returning player who averaged more than 10 minutes per game a season ago.

Texas Tech brought in five transfers. Fardaws Aimaq (18.9 points, 13.6 rebounds per game at Utah Valley), Oregon’s De’Vion Harmon (10.8 points per game) is back in the Big 12 after spending his first two seasons at Oklahoma. D’Maurian Williams (14.5 points, 4.6 rebounds at Gardner-Webb) is another key addition.

Oklahoma State Cowboys

  • Conference Odds: +2500
  • National Title Odds: N/A

Oklahoma State returns its only two double-digit scorers as Avery Anderson III and Bryce Thompson averaged 12.1 and 10.6 points per game. The 7-foot-1 Moussa Cisse (7.2 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.9 blocked shots) and Kalib Boone are other key returnees.

Bryce Williams graduated while five players transferred elsewhere with Isaac Likekle now at Ohio State, Keylan Boone at Pacific and  Matthew-Alexander Moncrieffe landing at Georgia.

Texas State guard Caleb Asberry (13.6 points per game) and High Point’s John-Michael Wright (18.4 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.4 assists) are among the key newcomers.

Oklahoma Sooners

  • Conference Odds: +3300
  • National Title Odds: +10000

Oklahoma saw leading scorer Umoja Gibson head to DePaul. Elijah Harkless is now at UNLV while Jordan Goldwire graduated. That leaves Tanner Groves, who averaged 11.6 points and 5.8 rebounds per game, as the top offensive option. Jalen Hill, Jacob Groves, C.J. Noland and Bijan Cortes are the other top returning players.

Joe Bamisile, who averaged 16.3 points per game with 60 3-pointers in his lone season at George Washington, and Grant Sherfield (19.1 points, 4.2 rebounds and 6.4 assists at Nevada, are joined by former Wofford forward Sam Godwin and former Missouri forward Yaya Keita.

West Virginia Mountaineers

  • Conference Odds: +3300
  • National Title Odds: N/A

West Virginia lost its top four scorers with Taz Sherman and Malik Curry graduating while Sean McNeil and Jalen Bridges are now at Ohio State and Baylor

Kedrian Johnson is the top returning scorer for West Virginia.

Emmitt Matthews (11.7 points, 4.7 rebounds at Washington), Tre Mitchell (8.7 points, 4 rebounds at Texas) and Erik Stevenson (11.6 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.6 assists at South Carolina) are among the additions to the West Virginia squad.

Malik Curry #10 of the West Virginia Mountaineers reaches for a loose ball
Malik Curry – Jamie Squire / Getty Images via AFP

Iowa State Cyclones

  • Conference Odds: +5000
  • National Title Odds: +15000

Gabe Kalscheur leads the list of returnees for Iowa State after averaging 9.6 points per game as a junior. Caleb Grill (6.4 points per game) and Aljaz Kunc (6 points, 4.1 rebounds) are other top returning players.

Leading scorer Izaiah Brockington graduated while Tyrese Hunter transferred to Texas. They combined for 28 points, 10.3 rebounds, 6.5 assists and 3.3 steals and left big shoes to fill. Tristan  Enaruna (Cleveland State), Tre Jackson (Western Carolina) and Jaden Walker (East Carolina) also transferred.

Jaren Holmes and Osun Osunniyi come in from St. Bonaventure 24.8 12.5 rebounds and 5.1 assists. Hason Ward and Jeremiah Williams transferred in from VCU and Temple.

Kansas State Wildcats

  • Conference Odds: +10000
  • National Title Odds: +20000

Kansas State was transferred to central in the offseason.

Nine players transferred out and that was highlighted by leading scorer Nijel Pack, who averaged 17.4 points per game, heading to Miami. Selton Miguel went to South Florida while Davion Bradford is now at Wake Forest and Kaosi Ezeagu is now at Sam Houston State. Second-leading scorer Mark Smith is now playing professionally in Germany while Mike McGurl also graduated.

The Wildcats brought in 10 transfers and that includes three from the SEC and one from the ACC.

The most productive of the incoming transfers are Tykei Greene, who averaged 14 points and 8.1 rebounds last season at Stony Brook, and Abayomi Iyiola, who had four double-doubles in the 2021-22 season at Hofstra.

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