Baylor looks to reclaim the title of “Big 12 Champ” in the Scribe’s 2022-23 Big 12 preview

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Baylor and Kansas will need to battle it out for the title of “Big 12 Champion”

Jason Williams and Patrick Schmitz

As the 2022-23 men’s college basketball season draws closer, Saxon Scribe’s experts are predicting the order of finish for the nation’s top conferences. Having already looked at the Big Ten and the ACC, our focus shifts to the Big 12.

The Big 12 has earned the title of “Class of College Basketball.” The conference has finished No. 1 in the KenPom.com conference rankings seven times while seeing multiple schools – first Baylor in 2021 then Kansas in 2022 – go on to win the NCAA Tournament. 

There are many storylines to follow for the 2022-23 season besides the two big schools, including both Texas Tech and Oklahoma going from the bottom of the Big 12 to the top half. So without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the Big 12’s top players and teams.

 

Find more preseason analysis here.


Big 12 Player of the Year prediction:

Keyonte George – SG – Baylor

TCU’s Mike Miles, Kansas forward Jalen Wilson and Texas’ Timmy Allen all have strong cases for Player of the Year, but Keyonte George gets the nod here. This summer he averaged 22.8 points and led Baylor to the GLOBL Jam Championship Game, highlighted by a 37-point performance. George fits well into Scott Drew’s offense, and should have a lot of eyes on him this season. 

Additional players to watch this season:

Mike Miles – PG – TCU

The leading returning scorer in the Big 12, Miles steps into the spotlight as he tries to lead the Horned Frogs to an NCAA Tournament appearance. 

Timmy Allen – SF – Texas

Allen led the Longhorns in scoring, rebounds and steals last season, yet underperformed. With the return of Marcus Carr and Iowa State transfer Tyrese Hunter, the improved playmaking should make for a better Timmy Allen this season.


Saxon Scribe predicted order of finish in the Big 12

1 – Baylor

For the past two seasons, Baylor has at least won a share of the Big 12 regular-season title. A number of key players – Jeremy Sochan, James Akinjo, Matthew Mayer, Kendall Brown – will not be back. Scott Drew has also been able to manage injuries very well in his tenure at Baylor – a prime example being when LJ Cryer, the team’s higher scorer, injured his foot. – Jason Williams

2 – Kansas (no consensus)

This Kansas team won a championship a year ago, but now most of those players have departed. With arguably the best transfer added by Kansas, Kevin McCullar, Bill Self may have another title-contending team. Watch out Baylor. – Patrick Schmitz

3 – Texas (no consensus)

Year one of the Chris Beard era did not go as planned, although this year Beard has a nice returning roster led by Marcus Carr and Timmy Allen. With some nice recruits and transfers sprinkled in, Chris Beard can make this the team the one to beat in the Big 12. – Schmitz

4 – Texas Tech (no consensus)

With five really talented incoming freshmen this season, Texas Tech could find themselves atop the rankings of the best defense in adjusted efficiency again (per KenPom.com data). Dispute the Big 12 feeling even more crowded than last season, amid any surprises, Texas Tech should find themselves somewhere near the top half of the conference. – Williams

5 – TCU (no consensus)

TCU took No. 1 Arizona to the limit last year and are trying to capitalize off that momentum. With star point guard Mike Miles and the top six scorers from last season’s squad returning, this TCU team is looking to compete. – Schmitz

6 – Oklahoma (no consensus)

I have Oklahoma listed as my most underrated team in the Big 12 this year. Yes, they struggled to protect the ball last season, averaging just shy of 15 turnovers per game, but with Nevada transfer Grant Sherfield, he’ll be able to help in that category. Oh, and before I forget, Sherfield averaged 19.1 points and 6.4 assists per game a year ago. – Williams

7 – Oklahoma State 

Last year while on the verge of receiving a postseason ban, Oklahoma State managed to bring back three of its top five scorers, including guards Avery Anderson and Bryce Thompson. Anything but making the dance would be a major disappointment given the number of veteran scorers returning. – Williams

8 – West Virginia

I feel extremely wrong for putting a Bob Huggins-coached team anywhere at the bottom of my list, but it’s extremely hard to imagine the Mountaineers succeeded expectations this year. Starting 13-2 in their first 15 games and then going on a 2-15 run to finish the year won’t cut it. Bob Huggins and the Mountaineers are in rebuild mode, and it’ll continue to be like that for a few seasons. – Williams

9 – Iowa State

TJ Otzelberger had some manic last season as they won 22 games. The previous season they only won 2. Now one would think that would carry over to this season, but it probably won’t. Iowa State lost some of their best players to the transfer portal this offseason. This team will have to surprise a lot of people if they want to see themselves playing in March. – Schmitz

10 – Kansas State

Like West Virginia, Kansas State started the 2021-22 campaign 8-3 in their first 11 games. Then everything went downhill. In their last 20 games, they held a 6-14 record, compiling a season-ending record of 14-17. Will new hire Jerome Tang be able to bring K-State out of its recent slump? I highly doubt it. – Williams


Most overrated team: Kansas Jayhawks

With most of their players leaving this Kansas team will not be like last season. People think they can win it all again, but I don’t think they can even win the Big 12. – Schmitz

Most underrated team: Oklahoma Sooners

Yes, they struggled to protect the ball last season, averaging just shy of 15 turnovers per game, but with Nevada transfer Grant Sherfield, he’ll be able to help in that category. Oh, and before I forget, Sherfield averaged 19.1 points and 6.4 assists per game a year ago. – Williams


Saxon Scribe Big 12 expert picks:

ORDER WILLIAMS SCHMITZ
1 Baylor Baylor
2 Kansas Texas
3 Texas Kansas
4 Texas Tech TCU
5 Oklahoma Texas Tech
6 TCU Oklahoma
7 Oklahoma State Oklahoma State
8 Iowa State West Virginia
9 West Virginia Iowa State
10 Kansas State Kansas State
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