Let's Try to Figure Out Who's Winning the Big 12
This conference is no joke.
It’s pretty safe to call the Big 12 the best conference in college basketball. There are juggernauts at the top that will be vying for a National Championship, and there is depth from one to 10, anyone is liable to take down anyone on any given night.
That being said, there are four teams that have carved out a realistic path to winning the Big 12 Regular Season Championship. Let’s take a look at what makes them special and why each of those teams might have a chance to take the crown.
Kansas Jayhawks (21-4, 10-2 Big 12)
Two words: Ochai Agbaji. The National Player of the Year contender is having a tremendous senior season, and he’s bookended by breakout star Christian Braun. This Jayhawks rank third in offensive efficiency and 34th in defensive efficiency according to Kenpom. They shoot the ball well, have multiple scorers and swarm opposing teams on defense.
The key will be David McCormack, the uber-inconistent big man. When he’s right, Kansas is a different team — on both sides of the ball. Which version will show up? That’ll an ever-burning question that often determines the victor.
Baylor Bears (20-6, 9-4 Big 12)
Losing Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua certainly hurts, but the Bears have gobs of talent and an outstanding coach. Baylor’s defense continued its strong stretch from last year (17th in efficency), while a new trio of stellar guards has emerged: LJ Cryer, James Akinjo and Adam Flagler to lead the seventh-ranked offense in the country.
The key to Baylor defending its title will be the play of high-rated freshmen Kendall Brown and Jeremy Sochan. The two will have long and prosperous NBA careers, but they’ll need to be integral parts of the offense for the Bears to thrive.
Texas Tech Red Raiders (21-5, 9-4 Big 12)
Mark Adams has done a fabulous job with this roster. As the defensive guru, the Red Raiders’ hounding no-middle defense (third in efficiency) has been a daunting task for so many. TTU’s roster has an interesting makeup. In laymen’s terms, it possesses oversized guards and undersized big men. This team can switch everything and suffocate you.
The key for Adams’ squad will be their outside shooting. TTU owns the 41st best offensive attack, but their Achilles heel is the 286th-ranked 3-point shooting. This is a team full of slashers, but it’ll still need enough shooting to keep opposing teams at bay.
Texas Longhorns (19-7, 8-5 Big 12)
Former TTU coach Chris Beard has employed similar defensive principles to a Longhorn team ranked 10th in defensive efficiency. Beard brought in a bevy of talent in the transfer portal. There were just some roadblocks early on, but as the Longhorns learned to play together, this team tallied some strong wins and showed why they’re not to be trifled with.
The key comes down to the chemistry — and soul-searching so to speak — of this offense. The defense will still be the backbone, but with so much talent, figuring out offensive roles can be a tall task. If the Longhorns continue to figure it out, watch out for them.