Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Big 12 Predictions

1. Kansas 13-3
2. Texas A&M 12-4

Kansas and Texas A&M appear to be a bit better than the rest of the conference though I'm not convinced either team is particularly good and I wouldn't be surprised to see either team lose any single game other than those against Colorado, Iowa State, or Baylor. Even if they don't play any better than the Aggies, Kansas has a better chance of winning the conference title by virtue of their easier schedule.

3. Texas 10-6

Texas gets Missouri and Kansas State at home and I think they are well-suited to trouble Nebraska in Lincoln. As I mentioned yesterday, though I don't expect massive improvements on defense, Texas does have room to get better just by approaching mediocrity.

4. Oklahoma State 9-7

The Cowboys are down to six scholarship players which severely limits their margin for surviving misfortune. Boggan and Curry make them better than the clump of mediocre teams below them but not by much. If Obi Muonelo returns before the end of conference play it would greatly help Oklahoma State's chances.

5. Nebraska 9-7
6. Kansas State 9-7
7. Missouri 8-8
8. Texas Tech 7-9
9. Oklahoma 7-9

These teams will sort themselves out depending on how often they 1) win home games and 2) don't lose to Iowa State, Baylor, or Colorado. Nebraska, Kansas State, and Missouri have a built-in schedule advantage over Texas Tech and Oklahoma and appear more likely to finish in the top half of the conference based on that alone. Some good luck and good play in close games could get any of these teams to ten wins in conference.

Oklahoma is really bad offensively, though. I'm not sure good luck will be enough to get them over .500.

10. Iowa State 5-11
11. Baylor 4-12

There will be a couple of nights when a guard from one of these two teams gets hot and makes an opponent miserable but mostly these two talent-deprived, perimeter-heavy teams will be active and inefficient, their hot streaks lasting halves or parts of haves and merely rise to the level of irritation.

They are, however, clearly superior to...

12. Colorado 2-14

The "2" above is more representative of how little I think of the Big 12 in general this year than of any belief I have in Colorado's competence when it comes to playing the game of basketball. If they fail to win their home game agianst Iowa State on January 17th, they may well go in the tank for good as their next best chances to win are likely @Baylor and @Iowa State.

All-Big 12 Team

Kevin Durant, Player of the Year
Mario Boggan
Mario Chalmers
Aleks Maric
Jarrius Jackson

I'm not predicting that the above five will be the All-Big 12 team (either Acie Law or James Jones is sure to make that squad) rather that those will be the five best players in the league. The next five would include Jones and Law, AJ Abrams, JamesOn Curry, and Cartier Martin.

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