K State should actually be pretty good depending if Weber can actually coach. Henriquez was getting pretty freakin good by the end of the year. Thomas Gipson was a very good freshman last year. McGruder and Spradling and Angel Rodriguez all back. That should be a very good team. I would pick them to finish ahead of Iowa State.
I would say
I see Lucious, Babb, Booker, Clyburn with Ejim and McGee battling for the 5th spot. Depending on the match ups, I could see them being swapped from game to game as starters. Both of those guys bring energy so either way you will have a spark off the bench. I don't see much of a leader on the court in that starting five though outside of Lucious. McGee might be a good insert in that aspect in comparison with Ejim. Also, if Babb isn't hitting, we need someone out there knocking down treys.
Niang won't start because of strength and defense. I dont doubt he will be able to score some points but he will struggle defending the post in the big 12. Assuming Gibson has improved his defense I see him starting, if not then I can see Booker starting.
Kansas state at 4 jumps out to me after the downgrade at coach.
The things we can be sure of is that TCU and TT will be last and Kansas will be first.
OSU is legit; they had a lot of young guys last year and managed a few big upsets. I wouldn't even be surprised to see them finish 3rd or 4th.
I don't see us finishing behind OU...no way they make that big of an improvement over last year. That was one of the biggest WTFs on this list.
KSU is a huge, huge question mark with a new coach coming in. I don't know how in the world he can put them at 4th with so many unknowns. They ain't Missery...
I can see Tech sneaking up to 8th, 7th, or 6th. They're a lot like OSU in that they're stocked with young players, and Gillespe is known for inciting rapid improvement.
If I had to put money on it, I'd go:
every year.... EVERY YEAR...
People over-estimate what a freshman can step in and do. Niang could start, but I just don't see how some are SO confident about it.
I have NO DOUBT that Niang will see minutes, and will be a scorer. But playing a lot of minutes in a college game (Big 12 at that) is a big change to playing a lot of minutes in HS/ AAU, in which the game is divided by quarters. There is also the mental aspect of it. A frosh may have the skills, or even the physical tools, but learning the defensive (and to some extent the offensive) philosophies is another hurdle to climb.
I feel the need to qualify this by saying im excited about all of our freshman, especially Niang and Long. We have 5 seniors, a talented soph, and a Jr who has started since he was a frosh. It just isn't that easy to step in and be better than everyone who has already endured a year of conference play.
I'm thinking 4/5 range would be accurate, better if the guys really come together.
I think Fran thinks Fred is out of gas!
They don't have a good big man, though, which might hurt their scoring since they were so dependent on Nash's shooting...I think you might be totally right about this.