Brett Siegel’s 2018-19 Preseason Big 12 Rankings

The 2018-19 College Basketball Season is a few months away, so it is time to get familiar with some of the major conferences and what they will look like this season! There is no better way to start the preseason than with some Top 25 Rankings, so if you missed out on my preseason rankings article, click here now! For now, let’s take a look at how I rank the Big 12 for the 2018-19 college basketball season!

All Recruiting Rankings provided by 247Sports Recruiting.

 

#1 KANSAS JAYHAWKS

2017-18 Record: 31-8

NCAA Tournament result: Final Four (Lost to Villanova)

Who is Gone: Devonte Graham (17.3 PPG), Svi Mykhailiuk (14.6 PPG), Malik Newman (14.2 PPG)

Who is Back: Udoka Azubuike (13.0 PPG), LaGerald Vick (12.1 PPG), Marcus Garrett (4.1 PPG), Silvio De Sousa (4.0 PPG), Mitch Lightfoot (3.8 PPG), Sam Cunliffe (1.9 PPG)

Who Did They Add: Dedric Lawson (Transfer – Memphis), K.J. Lawson (Transfer – Memphis), Charlie Moore (Transfer – California) Quentin Grimes (#2 PG/SG), Devon Dotson (#3 PG), David McCormack (#4 C), Ochai Agbaji (#32 SF)

Projected Starting Lineup: G Charlie Morre, G Quentin Grimes, G LaGerald Vick, F Dedric Lawson, C Udoka Azubuike

 

The Kansas Jayhawks enters the 2018-19 season not only as my #1 team in the Big 12 Conference, but in the nation! They lose three big pieces from last year in Devonte’ Graham, Svi Mykhailiuk, and Malik Newman, who combined for a total of 46.1 PPG, but will bring in three of the biggest transfers from last year’s transfer market in the Lawson twins from Memphis and Charlie Moore from California. Dedric Lawson, the stronger of the Lawson twins, averaged 19.2 PPG and 9.9 RPG during the 2016-17 season at Memphis and is poised for a huge season with the Jayhawks this upcoming season. The Lawson twins and Moore have all been with Kansas for a year now and have had time to get used to Bill Self’s system, so expect them to come in an be big contributors for them right away, much like Malik Newman was this past year. Besides the transfers coming in, Kansas also returns Udoka Azubuike, Mitch Lightfoot, Silvio De Sousa, and surprisingly, LaGerald Vick. After it was reported that LaGerald Vick had hired an agent, his name appeared on the official NCAA list of players opting to return to college and withdraw their names from the 2018 NBA Draft. Afterwards, there was a lot of uncertainty if LaGerald Vick was transferring or going to play overseas, but he will be returning to Lawrence for his senior season. From high-level scorers, to veteran leadership, Kansas also has one of the best recruiting classes in the country. The #5 recruiting class coming into Lawrence for next season is highlighted by the #2 combo-guard in the 2018 recruiting class, Quentin Grimes, the #4 PG in the recruiting class, Devon Dotson, and the #5 C in the recruiting class, David McCormack. All three of these freshmen should see a lot of time for Kansas this season and contribute heavily, sometimes with the first-unit. The Jayhawks have won 14 straight Big 12 regular season titles, and I fully expect them to win #15 this year. Expect Kansas to be a team ranked inside the Top 5 all season long and be one of the favorites to lift this year’s National Championship trophy.

 

Kansas State coach Bruce Weber returns an entire cast from an Elite-8 run a season ago, putting the Wildcats in prime position to have a huge season in the Big 12.

 #2 KANSAS STATE WILDCATS

2017-18 Record: 25-12

NCAA Tournament result: Elite 8 (Lost to Loyola-Chicago)

Who is Gone: Brian Patrick (1.6 PPG)

Who is Back: Dean Wade (16.2 PPG), Barry Brown (15.3 PPG), Xavier Sneed (11.1 PPG), Kamau Stokes (9.0 PPG), Cartier Diarra (7.1 PPG), Makol Mawien (6.8 PPG), Mike McGuirl (3.3 PPG), Amaad Wainright (2.8 PPG), Levi Stockard III (1.8 PPG), Mawdo Sallah (1.8 PPG)

Who Did They Add: Shaun Williams (#35 PG), Austin Trice (#3 JUCO PF)

Projected Starting Lineup: G Barry Brown, G Kamau Stokes, G Cartier Diarra, F Xavier Sneed, F Dean Wade

 

After a very impressive run in the 2017-18 NCAA Tournament to the Elite 8, in which the Wildcats took down one of the title favorites in Kentucky, Coach Bruce Weber returns all of his starters for the 2018-19 college basketball season. Although they may not run very deep into their bench, having 8 guys return who saw over 10 minutes/game last year, they are an extremely sound defensive team and punish their opponents for their mistakes. According to Kenpom Metrics, Kansas State ranked 21st in the country in adjusted defensive efficiency last season, which was third in the Big 12 behind Texas Tech and Texas. Along with being a very strong defensive team, Kansas State was a strong shooting team last season. Their starters averaged a combined 36.4% from three-point range last season and were led by soon to be senior, Dean Wade (16.2 PPG, 6.2 RPG). Along with Wade, Barry Brown is also a focal point on the Kansas State offense and is one of the Wildcats’ main passers and facilitators. With two potential first-round draft picks in Dean Wade and Barry Brown, Kansas State should be one of three teams in the conference capable of dethroning Kansas from the top of the Big 12 this upcoming season!

 

 #3 TCU HORNED FROGS

2017-18 Record: 21-12

NCAA Tournament result: Round of 64 (Lost to Syracuse)

Who is Gone: Vladimir Brodziansky (15.0 PPG), Kenrich Williams (13.2 PPG), Ahmed Hamdy-Mohamed (5.9 PPG)

Who is Back: Desmond Bane (12.5 PPG), Jaylen Fisher (12.3 PPG), Kouat Noi (10.2 PPG), Alex Robinson (9.7 PPG), J.D. Miller (7.9 PPG), Shawn Olden (2.1 PPG), R.J. Nembhard (1.5 PPG)

Who Did They Add: Kevin Samuel (#11 C in 2017 Class), Kaden Archie (#19 SF), Kenrich Davis (#23 PG), Yuat Alok (#1 JUCO C), Russell Barlow (#36 C), Angus McWilliam (PF – New Zealand), Lat Mayen (#70 PF in 2017 Class – Australia)

Projected Starting Lineup: G Jaylen Fisher, G Alex Robinson, G Desmond Bane, F Kouat Noi, C Kevin Samuel

 

Jamie Dixon deserves a lot more credit than he receives. In his second year with a TCU program that always finished dead last in the Big 12 before he got there, TCU has gone to the NCAA Tournament on back-to-back 20-win seasons. The last time TCU won back-to-back 20-win seasons in basketball, Michael Jordan decided to call it quits and retire, Star Wars Episode 1 was released in theatres, and Jamie Dixon was 34 years old. So yeah, I would say Jamie Dixson is doing a fantastic job at TCU and building their basketball program. Along with returning Jaylen Fisher from his knee injury, Coach Dixon will bring in the nation’s 30th best recruiting class, the highest in the basketball program’s history. TCU and Jamie Dixon will aim to have three-straight 20+ win seasons for the first time in school history since 1996-99 and although the Horned Frogs will be losing Vladimir Brodziansky and Kenrich Williams, two focal points for Jamie Dixon last season, they will also be bringing back Desmond Bane and Kouat Noi. TCU may look young on paper, but with the leadership and playmaking abilities of Jaylen Fisher and Desmond Bane, they should be able to contend in the Big 12 this season. In the program’s 6 seasons in the Big 12, they have never finished with more than 9 conference wins, but that could very well change this year! Expect to see TCU within the Top 4 of the Big 12 standings at the conclusion of the year.

 

 #4 WEST VIRGINIA MOUNTAINEERS

2017-18 Record: 26-11

NCAA Tournament result: Sweet 16 (Lost to Villanova)

Who is Gone: Jevon Carter (17.3 PPG), Daxter Miles Jr. (12.9 PPG), Teddy Allen (7.0 PPG), D’Angelo Hunter (1.5 PPG), Maciej Bender (1.2 PPG)

Who is Back: Sagaba Konate (10.8 PPG), Esa Ahmad (10.2 PPG), Lamont West (9.4 PPG), James Bolden (8.7 PPG), Wesley Harris (5.3 PPG), Chase Harler (1.6 PPG), Logan Routt (1.1 PPG)

Who Did They Add: Derek Culver (#8 C), Jordan McCabe (#18 PG), Trey Doomes (#36 SG), Emmitt Matthews Jr. (#40 SF), Andrew Gordon (#1 JUCO PF), Jermaine Haley (#2 JUCO CG), Brandon Knapper (Injured)

Projected Starting Lineup: G James Bolden, G Brandon Knapper, F Lamont West, F Esa Ahmad, F Sagaba Konate

 

Losing Jevon Carter (finally) definitely leaves a dent in Coach Bob Huggins Mountaineers program, but with three draft-like talents in Lamont West, Esa Ahmad, and Sagaba Konate, I would expect West Virginia to once again contend at the top of the conference at a very high level. With bench players that have been in the Mountaineers system for a few years, and some talented young freshmen coming in, West Virginia will once again be one of the nation’s fastest and most lethal defenses. The heart of the defensive this year lies in the hands of the big men in Sagaba Konate and Esa Ahmad. Konate was one of, if not, the best shot-blockers in the country last season, averaging 3.2 blocks per game, and is a Top-20 draft prospect coming into the season. Along with Esa Ahmad who is poised to take big strides in his defensive awareness, the Mountaineers will be a tough team to score on in the paint. Offensively is where West Virginia may struggle. West Virginia is losing just under 50% of their team’s total scoring output from a year ago and they do not have many offensive weapons to back that up with. Konate, Ahmad, and West will have to taken on the burden of replacing the scoring of Jevon Carter and Daxter Miles Jr, but they will need production from their new guards this season. James Bolden and Wesley Harris showed flashes of being reliable scoring options last season, shooting 42.9% and 36.7% from the field respectively. They also will have redshirt freshman, Brandon Knapper, back from his injury and should be ready to go for the start of the season, giving the Mountaineers a little more depth at the guard positions. Early on, this West Virginia basketball team will look very different than it has over the course of the past few seasons and may have trouble integrating their young freshmen and new faces into the rotation, but come time for the Conference Tournament and postseason play, I definitely would not want to see the Mountaineers on my schedule!

 

Highly sought out grad-transfer, Matt Mooney, from South Dakota decided in the off season to transfer to Texas Tech, giving the Red Raiders the extra push of veteran leadership and scoring they really needed to replace.

 

 #5 TEXAS TECH RED RAIDERS

2017-18 Record: 27-10

NCAA Tournament result: Elite 8 (Lost to Villanova)

Who is Gone: Keenan Evans (17.6 PPG), Zhaire Smith (11.3 PPG), Niem Stevenson (7.5 PPG), Zach Smith (6.2 PPG), Tommy Hamilton IV (5.4 PPG), Justin Gray (5.1 PPG), Josh Webster (Transfer – Missouri State)

Who is Back: Jarrett Culver (11.2 PPG), Brandone Francis (5.1 PPG), Norense Odiase (3.8 PPG), Davide Moretti (3.5 PPG), Malik Ondigo (1.1 PPG), Parker Hicks (0.8 PPG), Andrew Sorrells (0.5 PPG), Avery Benson (Redshirt – DNP)

Who Did They Add: Matt Mooney (Transfer – South Dakota), Tariq Owens (Transfer – St. John’s), Khavon Moore (#12 SF), Kevin McCullar (#20 SF in 2019 Class – Reclassifying), Kyler Edwards (#32 SG), Deshawn Corprew (#2 JUCO SF), Josh Mballa (#87 PF)

Projected Starting Lineup: G Matt Mooney, G Jarrett Culver, F Khavon Moore, F Norense Odiase, F Tariq Owens

 

For the first time in over a decade, the Red Raiders had a 20+ win season that ended in the Elite 8 against this year’s National Champions, Villanova Wildcats. In Coach Chris Beard’s second season as coach at Texas Tech, he led his new program to their best record ever since joining the Big-12 conference in the 1996-97 season and posted the most conference wins in a season since joining the conference. He has been extremely successful both on and off the court as the coach of this program, bringing in very talented basketball players to help rebuild this Texas Tech program into a powerhouse in the Big 12. The development of Keenan Evans under Chris Beard was fantastic and Zhaire Smith was a surprising freshman that excelled under his teachings in one year, ultimately leading to him being the #16 pick in this past year’s NBA Draft. Texas Tech will be losing a lot of talent from last year’s record breaking team, but have reloaded with two perfect grad-transfer fits. Matt Mooney from South Dakota and Tariq Owens from St. John’s will be joining the Red Raiders basketball team this season and will fill a big void left by some of Texas Tech’s best from last year. Combined, these two averaged 27.1 PPG last season at their respective schools and were two outstanding defensive players. Defense was very important to the Red Raiders success last season and having two guys in Mooney and Owens who can disrupt passes and block shots will help Coach Beard a lot this year as Texas Tech looks to build more talent for the future. Potential preseason All Big-12 caliber player, Jarrett Culver will be returning for his sophomore season in Lubbock and seniors Brandone Francis and Norense Odiase will be returning to bolster Texas Tech’s experience. Recruiting wise, Khavon Moore and Kevin McCullar will see a lot of time on the court, but McCullar is recovering from a fractured leg suffered in his high school playoff game, so he may miss some time during the first half of the season. When this Texas Tech team is at full strength though and are used to playing with each other, they will be a very fast-paced and letal team to play against. Early on, I do not expect another breakout type year by Texas Tech, but by the end of the season, they will be a contending Top 25 team.

 

 #6 TEXAS LONGHORNS

2017-18 Record: 19-15

NCAA Tournament result: Round of 64 (Lost to Nevada)

Who is Gone: Mohamed Bamba (12.9 PPG), Eric Davis Jr. (8.8 PPG), Jacob Young (Transfer – Rutgers), James Banks III (Transferring), Ryan McClurg (1.5 PPG)

Who is Back: Andrew Jones (Questionable – Recovering from Leukemia), Dylan Osetkowski (13.4 PPG), Kerwin Roach II (12.3 PPG), Matt Coleman (10.2 PPG), Jericho Sims (5.0 PPG), Jase Febres (3.4 PPG), James Banks III (1.6 PPG), Royce Hamm Jr. (0.6 PPG)

Who Did They Add: Courtney Ramey (#9 PG), Gerald Liddell (#10 SF), Kamaka Hepa (#11 PF), Jaxson Hayes (#20 PF), Brock Cunningham (#47 SF)

Projected Starting Lineup: G Matt Coleman, G Kerwin Roach II, F Gerald Liddell, F Dylan Osetkowski, F Jericho Sims

 

Texas is a very interesting team to watch this year in the Big 12 because it seems like Shaka Smart has this program on the cusp of breaking out in a big way, but just cannot seem to get over the hump. This season, Coach Shaka Smart will bring in his third consecutive Top-10 recruiting class, highlighted by the #9 PG in the class, Courtney Ramey, and the #10 SF in the class, Gerald Liddell. This recruiting class ranks second-best in the conference, only behind the Kansas Jayhawks, and addresses two big needs to the Longhorns this year: overall depth and consistent scoring. Texas returns three key veterans in Kerwin Roach II, Matt Coleman, and Dylan Osetkowski, but this only returns 50% of their total offensive production from a year ago. With the uncertainty of Andrew Jones and if he will even be able to return to college basketball after his resilient fight against leukemia, and with Mo Bamba and Eric Davis Jr. also turning pro, Ramey and Liddell will be leaned upon a lot, along with second-year big man, Jericho Sims, to pick up a lot of the scoring load. Texas, in my opinion, has a Top-10 backcourt in the country with Roach, Coleman, Ramey and Jones (if he is to return) and all should be consistent scorers, as well as set-up guys for Osetkowski, Liddell, and Sims. Four-star forward, Kamaka Hepa will also see a solid amount of minutes this year with the second-unit, giving the Longhorns a comfortable 7-8 man rotation. Texas was not the greatest scoring team last season, averaging just 32% from beyond the arc for the season, ranking them #321 in the country. Outside of Kerwin Roach, it seemed like anyone else taking a three-pointer was a major liability and if that is the case this season, the Longhorn faithful will be very disappointed with their team’s end-of-season results. The development of their main core this summer will show a lot in their first few games of the season and will be the make-or-break for this team’s potential success. If healthy and able to put things together offensively, look out for the Longhorns in the Big 12!

 

 #7 IOWA STATE CYCLONES

2017-18 Record: 13-18

NCAA Tournament result: Missed NCAA Tournament

Who is Gone: Donovan Jackson (15.0 PPG), Jeff Beverly (4.7 PPG), Hans Brase (2.4 PPG)

Who is Back: Lindell Wigginton (16.7 PPG), Cameron Lard (12.6 PPG), Nick Weiler-Babb (11.3 PPG), Zoran Talley Jr. (7.5 PPG), Solomon Young (7.2 PPG), Terrence Lewis (3.4 PPG), Jakolby Long (1.9 PPG)

Who Did They Add: Marial Shayok (Transfer – Virginia), Michael Jacobson (Transfer – Nebraska), Talen Horton-Tucker (#13 SF), Zion Griffin (#31 SF), Tyrese Haliburton (#28 PG), George Conditt (#55 PF)

Projected Starting Lineup: G Lindell Wigginton, G Nick Weiler-Babb, G Marial Shayok, F Zoran Talley Jr, F Cameron Lard

 

After a short rebuild season last year for Coach Steve Prohm and the Cyclones, where they finished dead-last in the Big 12, expect the Cyclones to bounce back in a big way this year. Leading the way for the Cyclones this season will be standout sophomore and potential first-round pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, Lindell Wigginton. Not only did he finished 5th in total scoring in the Big 12 last season, but he was one of the top shooters as well. Wigginton shot 41.4% from the floor, while shooting 40.1% from 3-point range on over 170 attempts. Although Wigginton will likely be in the conversation all season long for Big 12 Player of the Year and All-Big 12 First Team honors, he will have solid options around him to pick up some of the slack. Iowa State will lose their second-best scoring option behind Wigginton in Donovan Jackson, but the Cyclones will be returning almost everyone else that had an impact on the team from a year ago. Cameron Lard and Nick Weiler-Babb return this season and should be even better defensive players than they were last season. Lard ranked 3rd in the conference last season in blocks as a freshman, averaging about 2.2 per game, and Weiler-Babb recorded 1.3 steals per game a season ago. Both players were double-digit scorers last season as well, so with Wigginton, they will continue to build a reliable and experienced core unit for the Cyclones. Outside of who is returning, the Cyclones’ biggest gain this upcoming season is a guy who sat out all of last year after transferring from Virginia. Marial Shayok is finally eligible to play for Iowa State and will immediately have not only a veteran/leadership type impact for this young squad, but will give them the extra push of offense they were missing a year ago. Shayok turned into an offensive weapon for Virginia in the second-half of the 2016-17 season and alongside Wigginton and Weiler-Babb in the backcourt, Iowa State will have a very quick and strong defensive rotation. Michael Jacobson, who also transferred during the 2016-17 offseason from Nebraska, will be joining the Cyclones’ roster this upcoming season, giving Iowa State another reliable post-player and strong rebounder. Talen Horton-Tucker, the #13 SF in this year’s recruiting index from 247Sports Recruiting, should also be a contributor early on as he eases into a new role at the college level as a true small-forward. With a lot of veteran guys alongside him, Horton-Tucker enters a very favorable rotation for his skill-set and should be a valued rotational player later in the season for the Cyclones. Do not be shocked if Iowa State finishes in the Top-5 of the Big 12 by the end of the year because they may very well end up being the best defensive team in the conference. Scoring wise, if they all put in work over the summer and come out strong early on next season, Iowa State could have a big season, much like Texas Tech had this past year!

 

Freshman phenom from a year ago, Trae Young, was one of the most electrifying players in college basketball over the past decade, so how does Oklahoma not only replace him, but have a better season without him?

 #8 OKLAHOMA SOONERS

2017-18 Record: 18-14

NCAA Tournament result: Round of 64 (Lost to Rhode Island)

Who is Gone: Trae Young (27.4 PPG), Kameron McGusty (8.0 PPG) – Transferring to Miami, Khadeem Lattin (6.6 PPG),

Who is Back: Christian James (11.9 PPG), Brady Manek (10.2 PPG), Rashard Odomes (7.2 PPG), Jamuni McNeace (6.8 PPG), Kristian Doolittle (2.9 PPG), Matt Freeman (2.5 PPG), Jordan Shephard (2.3 PPG), Hannes Polla (1.1 PPG), Chris Giles (0.8 PPG), Ty Lazenby (0.6 PPG), Patrick Geha (0.4 PPG), Marshall Thorpe (0.0 PPG)

Who Did They Add: Miles Reynolds (Transfer – Pacific), Aaron Calixte (Transfer – Maine), Jamal Bieniemy (#23 PG), Kur Kuath (JUCO F)

Projected Starting Lineup: G Aaron Calixte, G Miles Reynolds, G Christian James, F Brady Manek, C Jamuni McNeace

 

Although a lot of analyst and fans think Oklahoma will be terrible without freshman-phenom from a year ago, Trae Young, I truly believe the Sooners actually have a solid roster that should stack up nicely in the Big 12 for the 2018-19 season. Led by returning senior guard, Christian James, and sophomore Big 12 breakout candidate in Brady Manek, the Sooners have a solid group of returning players that all had an impact last season. James had his best collegiate year yet last season, averaging 11.9 PPG and shooting 36.5% from deep on 159 attempts (only Trae Young had more). Manek had a very impressive freshman year that was overshadowed by the likes of his former teammate, Trae Young. Brady Manek averaged 10.2 PPG, 5.2 RPG, and shot an impressive 38.3% from three-point range on 154 attempts. Center Jamuni McNeace also returns for the Sooners this season and is a tough matchup for any team as he stands 6’10” and is a very aggressive rebounder and post-player. With Oklahoma losing Trae Young, not only did they lose a lot of scoring from their backcourt, but they also had nobody on their bench returning who can play the role as facilitator as well. So, Coach Lon Kruger worked his magic and brought in two transfers who will fit perfectly in his system this season. Miles Reynolds from Pacific and Aaron Calixte were two sought out transfers on the market that decided to take their talents to Norman in the offseason. Reynolds is a 6’3” combo-guard who has abilities to be a willing passer, but thrives as a shooter, shooting well above 35% this past season from deep. Aaron Calixte will round-out the backcourt with Miles Reynolds this season after an impressive season a year ago with Maine were he averaged 16.9 PPG, 3.2 APG, and shooting 38.6% from deep. Although they may not have much height and depth in their frontcourt, Oklahoma should have a great backcourt this season led by their grad-transfers and could end up being the best three-point shooting team in the conference as they will have 4 core players who all shot above 36% from three-point range last season, min. 60 attempts. Do not be shocked if Oklahoma is a better team this year than they were a year ago with Trae Young.

 

 #9 BAYLOR BEARS

2017-18 Record: 19-15

NCAA Tournament result: Missed NCAA Tournament

Who is Gone: Manu Lecomte (16.2 PPG), Jo Lual-Acuil Jr. (14.0 PPG), Terry Maston (11.4 PPG), Nuni Omot (9.9 PPG), Tyson Jolly (1.4 PPG) – Transferring to Trinity Valley

Who is Back: King McClure (8.1 PPG), Tristan Clark (6.8 PPG), Mark Vital (6.7 PPG), Jake Lindsey (4.5 PPG), Jonathan Davis (1.1 PPG), Obim Okeke (0.4 PPG)

Who Did They Add: Davion Mitchell (Transfer – Auburn), MaCio Teague (Transfer – UNC-Asheville), Makai Mason (Transfer – Yale), Mario Kegler (Transfer – Mississippi State), Freddie Gillespie (Transfer – DIII), Matthew Mayer (#20 SF), Flo Thamba (#33 C), Darius Allen (SG), Devonte Bandoo (Canada – SG)

Projected Starting Lineup: G MaCio Teague, G King McClure, G Mario Kegler, F Mark Vital, F Tristan Clark

 

After losing their top four scorers from a year ago, Baylor will likely end up being close to, if not in, last place in the Big 12 this upcoming season. Although they have some nice transfers coming into the program, I do not know if Coach Scott Drew has enough experience within his program and scoring ability to make noise in the conference. Baylor missed the NCAA Tournament for the first time in four years a season ago, and will likely miss the tournament again this season pending how these transfers are able to all play together in unison. The three big names Scott Drew was able to get off the transfer market this year were: MaCio Teague from-UNC Asheville, Makai Mason from Yale, and Davion Mitchell from Auburn. Baylor will also add 2017 transfer Mario Kegler from Mississippi State who should transition into a starting role after being with the team for a full year. These transfers will be joined by returning senior King McClure and sophomore breakout candidate, Tristan Clark. Throw sophomore forward Mark Vital in the mix too, who averaged 6.7 PPG and 5.6 RPG last season and all of a sudden, Baylor has 7 guys they can work with in their rotation immediately. Baylor has the potential to be a solid team like in years past, but it depends solely on the play of their transfers. Defense will be everything as always for Baylor and will be even more important this season since there is no “go-to” scorer on this roster. Expect MaCio Teague and Tristan Clark to be the focal points for Baylor this season as they look to surprise everyone and not only get back to the NCAA Tournament, but remain relevant in the Big 12.

 

 #10 OKLAHOMA STATE COWBOYS

2017-18 Record: 21-15

NCAA Tournament result: Missed NCAA Tournament

Who is Gone: Jeffrey Carroll (15.4 PPG), Kendall Smith (13.1 PPG), Tavarious Shine (9.7 PPG), Mitchell Solomon (8.5 PPG), Brandon Averette (6.3 PPG) – Transferring, Zach Dawson (4.4 PPG) – Dismissed, Davon Dillard (4.3 PPG) – Dismissed, Yankuba Sima (3.7 PPG), Lucas N’Guessan (1.4 PPG)

Who is Back: Lindy Waters III (8.7 PPG), Cameron McGriff (8.4 PPG), Thomas Dziagwa (4.9 PPG), Trey Reeves (0.2 PPG)

Who Did They Add: Mike Cunningham (Transfer – USC-Upstate), Michael Weathers (Transfer- Miami-Ohio), Curtis Jones (Transfer – Indiana), Isaac Likekele (#25 PG), Yor Anei (#43 PF), Duncan Demuth (#56 PF), Maurice Calloo (#57 PF)

Projected Starting Lineup: G Mike Cunningham, G Michael Weathers, G Lindy Waters III, F Cameron McGriff, F Yor Anei

 

Oklahoma State was surprisingly impressive last season in the program’s first season under new head coach Michael Boynton and barely missed the NCAA Tournament after picking up impressive wins over Florida State, West Virginia, Texas Tech, and sweeping both Oklahoma and Kansas throughout the year. The problem for the Cowboys this season is that they will be losing 9 players who accounted for about 87% of the team’s total scoring per game last season. Only four juniors who played last season will return for the Cowboys this season. Lindy Waters III is the highest scoring player from a season ago returning and should be a starting, sharpshooting wing this season for Coach Boynton. Waters III shot 37.3% from three-point range a season ago on 134 attempts, the second most attempts on the team last year, and should be one of the Cowboys “go-to” guys this season. Although still piecing together their roster for the 2018-19 season, Oklahoma State will bring in three transfers and four high school prospects. Two big name transfers for the Cowboys this season are Mike Cunningham, out of USC-Upstate, and Michael Weathers, who transferred from Miami (OH) to Oklahoma State following the 2016-17 season, but had to sit out a year. Both Cunningham and Weathers should start immediately for Coach Boynton and round out that backcourt along with Waters III. Cunningham and Weathers combine for an averaged 30.4 PPG based on their last seasons played stats and will be the main facilitators on the court, looking to not only get open shots themselves, but help take a lot of pressure off of Waters III with his shot. Cameron McGriff, who is one of four players returning for the Cowboys from a season ago, is also poised for a big season ahead. He averaged 8.4 PPG and 5.4 RPG a season ago and is expected to lead the Cowboys in rebounds and possibly blocked shots this season. As for their high school recruits, the only impactful freshman on their 2018-19 rosters should be Yor Anei, the 43rd highest ranked PF in the 247Sports 2018 Recruiting Index. With not much to work with in the frontcourt, Oklahoma State may be forced to play Anei more minutes than usual as a result of his height (6’9”) and potential to be a solid post player. My expectations are not too high for the Cowboys in the conference this season, but they could be a sneaky team come March.

Brett Siegel
I am currently a sophomore at The University of Louisville, majoring in Sports Administration and minoring in Communication. This is my second year being the lead NBA Draft Analyst for CPP and writer for Louisville Basketball. I am a huge sports fan that loves college basketball and watching the players transition from the college court to the big stage in the NBA! If you have any questions or comments, my email is bsiegelsports@gmail.com.