The Big 12 basketball season will be filled with action as a few special teams vie for supremacy in the conference. The champion of the Big 12 is not a forgone conclusion, and this article explains how the conference may shake out by the end of the season. Each team that may be in contention is included, but there are several teams who stand on the outside looking in.
Texas is in a delicate position that Shaka Smart must correct. He is simply not prepared to weather an average season. Texas is realizing they should not have fired Rick Barnes, and they are struggling. Shaka Smart is an excellent coach, but he is not as good as Barnes was at Texas. He may be better off at another school, and an average record will see him packing for another program.
Buddy Hield is in the NBA now, but Jeff Capel has quite a lot of talent at Oklahoma. The school will compete for a conference title, but they will not score as much as they have in the past. The team is lacking in offensive depth, and they must make up for their shortcomings on defense. A strong defensive campaign will help the team find their offensive identity, and they may have a breakout star who scores 20 points or more a game.
Baylor’s basketball team has been flawlessly-run by Scott Drew since he took over after the scandal that rocked the team at the turn of the century. They are competitive on an annual basis, and they have talent that is rivaled only by the women’s team at the school. Someone who bets on Baylor is playing it safe due to their strong resume over the last decade. The team will be well-coached, and they will not make careless errors. The only way to beat Baylor is to beat them with a surplus of talent.
#4: How Does The Conference Stack Up?
The Big 12 is not a strong basketball conference in any sense. They will have the occasional team perform well, but they will not play strongly from one year to the next. They may send a team to the Final Four one year, and they may miss the Final Four for several years in a row. The conference does not test itself during the regular season, and teams are not ready for the tournament when it is time. They will not put seven or eight teams in the tournament, and they will likely drop out early.
#5: How Can The Conference Improve?
The conference will improve with a realignment and better coaching. Scott Drew is a fine example of a quality coach, but he is the only coach in the conference who is consistently-good. Jeff Capel and Shaka Smart may be, but they are not at this time. The only team in the conference that is strong enough to compete nationally is the one that is beset with a sexual assault scandal so bad the whole school looks out of touch and tone deaf.
#6: Who Will Win The Conference?
Baylor will most-likely win the conference regular season and the conference tournament. There is no reason to bet against them given their makeup, and the team will probably make the Sweet 16. A Big 12 team making it farther in a down year such as this is asking too much.
The Big 12 conference will improve in years to come with needed changes, but they are not there yet. They must have time to change their school culture, coaching and recruiting practices.