Williams Blog: Way too early Big 12 hoops predictions for 2014
After Marcus Smart's decision to NOT enter the 2013 NBA Draft, Oklahoma State is not only the sexy, but smart pick to de-throne Kansas atop the Big 12 basketball standings next season.
But what about 2-10? If you missed it, Adam Gray and I discussed this topic at length in yesterday's Channel Seed Podcast.
Here are my way too early picks for the 2014 Big 12 basketball season.
1 - Oklahoma State
It seems like a no brainer but just like Baylor is Baylor is Baylor is Baylor, Kansas is Kansas is Kansas is Kansas.
But when you combine Marcus Smart, LeBryan Nash and Markel Brown all coming back next season for the Cowboys, Kansas' nine straight Big 12 titles really don't mean much.
Ride em' Cowboys!
2 - Kansas
Bill Self will lose Ben McLemore, Travis Releford, Elijah Johnson, Kevin Young and Jeff Withey from last year's team that lost to Michigan in the Sweet 16. That equals all five starters if you're keeping track at home.
It doesn't matter though. It just doesn't matter. Well, it does matter to a point because for the first time in a decade, Kansas isn't going to win this thing. That's my take at least.
Or will they? Take a look at this recruiting class and be the judge.
It's Bill Self people. The Jayhawks will be a contender.
3 - Kansas State
Angel Rodriguez, Shane Southwell, Will Spradling and Thomas Gipson all return. However, replacing Rodney McGruder will be a chore for Bruce Weber. He's a good coach. By the time October rolls around, I just might pick the Wildcats to be at No. 2 over their in-state rival.
4 - Iowa State
This Kool-Aid tastes delicious. Yum.
Even with questions at point guard and the chore of having to replace 64 percent of scoring from last season, the combo of Melvin Ejim and Georges Niang will be downright nasty for the Cyclones. Add to that, Fred Hoiberg is one of the hottest names in the game right now. There's no doubt that Iowa State has multiple questions, but I won't be surprised at all if the Cyclones are picked in the top five of the league's preseason poll.
5 - Baylor
Is Baylor is Baylor is Baylor is Baylor.
For real, nobody knows. It all depends on if Isaiah Austin and/or Cory Jefferson return.
6 - West Virginia
Bob Huggins' team will improve but is by no means ready to make a jump into the top tier of the league right? The Des Moines Register's Randy Peterson disagrees.
However, depending on what ultimately happens in Waco, I would consider putting this team at five.
7 - Oklahoma
Say goodbye to Sam Grooms, Steven Pledger, Romero Osby, Andrew Fitzberald and Amath M'Baye Norman. It won't be a disastrous year for Lon Kruger as his recruiting has been superb. But the Sooners will be rebuilding for sure.
8 - Texas
You'd like to think that Rick Barnes can find a way to be better than Tech and TCU. Texas is set to lose Myck Kabango to the NBA. Jaylen Bond and Sheldon McClellan are transferring. The cupboard isn't bare in Austin, but it isn't anywhere close to being stocked either.
9 - TCU
My gut is actually telling me to put the Horned Frogs ahead of Texas...
10 - Texas Tech
Have fun Tubby.