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2009 2010 Big 12 Conference Preview

Big 12 Conference Teams: Baylor, Colorado, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech 

When discussing the best college basketball conferences, the Big 12 rarely comes up.  The truth is, over the past 7 seasons, The Big 12 has compiled the best winning percentage in the NCAA.  The only conference that has had more teams reach the Sweet 16 in the past 8 years is the Big East.  It’s a tough conference to win in.  With the depth, coaching, and experience that they own this year, this conference might be one of the best Big 12 conferences we’ve ever seen. 

Read on for a brief 2009-2010 season preview and conference record prediction for each team in the Big 12 Conference. 

Baylor 
2008-2009 Record: 24-15, 5-11

Baylor saved its 08-09 season with a runner up finish in the NIT.  Picked in the preseason to finish number 3 in the conference, they stumbled to number 9 before coming back in the Big 12 tournament to play Missouri in the championship game.  They lost.  The Bears will struggle this year, as they lose half of their scoring and rebounding.  Coach Scott Drew will rely on a top 25 recruiting class to fill the holes.  Expect the Bears to win a few more conference games this year. 
2009-2010 Predicted Conference Record: 8-8 

Colorado 
2008-2009 Record: 9-22, 1-15 

Colorado hit rock-bottom last season.  They only managed to win one conference game.  It was their worst conference campaign since 1986 when it was the Big 8.  At times, though, the Buffaloes showed some promise.  They took Kansas State and Texas into OT, lost twice to Nebraska by only 7 combined points, and they came within five points of Oklahoma.  They were, and still will be, a relatively young and inexperienced team.  Head coach since only 2007, Jeff Bzdelik still needs time to turn this program around.  The Buffaloes might win a couple more in-conference games, but in the end they’ll settle towards the bottom of the Big 12 again. 
2009-2010 Predicted Conference Record: 3-13 

Iowa State 
2008-2009 Record: 15-17, 4-12

In recent years, the Cyclones have had a hard time coming anywhere near mediocrity.  This year, Coach McDermott will see something that he hasn’t seen in his first 3 years with the school: A stable roster.  Graduation losses and defections have forced McDermott to start from scratch each season since 2006.  Iowa State returns nine players, including Craig Brackins.  Experience should make a noticeable difference this season; enough to slim the gap between the Cyclones and the top of the conference. 
2009-2010 Predicted Conference Record: 6-10 

Kansas 
2008-2009 Record: 27-8, 14-2

Kansas finished the 2008-2009 season as Big 12 regular season champs.  They lost in the Sweet 16 to Michigan State. This season looks like it could be even better.  If you do the math, you’ll find out that everything is adding up to get Kansas to the number 1 spot.  They return five starters, all key reserves are back, and they bring in a top-notch recruiting class.  The Jayhawks might slip up on the road a couple of times, but find themselves on top of the conference, and possibly the nation, by the end of the season.   
2009-2010 Predicted Conference Record: 14-2 

Kansas State 
2008-2009 Record: 22-12, 9-7

Preseason prospects looked bad prior to last season.  Kansas State lost Bill Walker and Michael Beasley to the NBA and were pegged by experts to finish 8th or lower in the division.  Instead, the Wildcats went 22-2 (9-7) and nearly made it to the NCAA tournament again.  They played 2 rounds in the NIT.  Projections for Kansas State are looking even better this season.  They return 4 starters, transfer Curtis Kelly is eligible to play, and the recruiting class looks good. 
2009-2010 Predicted Conference Record: 9-7 

Missouri 
2008-2009 Record: 31-7, 12-4

The Tigers won a school-record 31 games last year in Mike Anderson’s third season.  They won their first Big 12 tournament and advanced to the elite 8 in the NCAA tournament.  Unfortunately, it’s looking like last year may have been about as good as it gets; for now at least.  They lose their 3 leading scorers.  The changes they’ll have to deal with during the 2009-2010 season will likely prove to be too much to handle.  Expect Missouri to remain competitive in the conference but to fall short of the success that they had last season. 
2009-2010 Predicted Conference Record: 8-8 

Nebraska 
2008-2009 Record:  18-13-8-8

Despite some physical mismatches, Doc Sadler was able to lead the Cornhuskers to an 18-13 (8-8) season in his third year as coach.  They earned their second straight trip to the NIT.  This season the Huskers’ roster consists of some taller players (7 players taller than 6’8”), which Doc says will finally make them look like a “college basketball team”.  Nebraska will likely continue to struggle unless they can improve offensively.  Last year they ranked number 10 (in the conference) in shooting and number 11 in scoring.  Sadler has improved in the conference each season going 6-10, 7-9, and 8-8.  He’ll likely hit a wall this season unless the taller roster can make a major difference. 
2009-2010 Predicted Conference Record: 6-10 

Oklahoma 
2008-2009 Record: 30-6, 13-3

In Jeff Capel’s 3 seasons, he has helped Oklahoma improve drastically.  Last year’s Sooners were probably the best that the school has ever seen.  They finished second in the Big 12 and played 4 games in the NCAA tournament.  They lost their last one to North Carolina, 72-60.  Much of their success can be credited towards No. 1 NBA Draft pick Blake Griffin.  Somebody will need to step up and fill his 22.7 point per game average if the Sooners plan to stay on the same level.  Key losses will have a negative impact but the Sooners should still be able to compete on the conference and national level. 
2009-2010 Predicted Conference Record: 10-6 

Oklahoma State 
2008-2009 Record: 23-12, 9-7

Oklahoma State will be hoping to build upon the momentum that they gained during the 2008-2009 season.  The Cowboys struggled early but had a good showing late.  As number 8 seed in the NCAA tournament, they knocked off Tennessee and nearly upset Pittsburgh.  OSU returns strong players and welcomes a top 10 recruiting class.  Look for Travis Ford to institute a faster-paced style in his second year as coach. 
2009-2010 Predicted Conference Record: 9-7 

Texas 
2008-2009 Record: 23-12, 9-7

Last season did not quite match up to Texas standards.  Many thought they would compete for a conference title.  Instead, they tied for number 4.  Consistency was the biggest issue.  This year, it’s less likely that the Longhorns will disappoint.  They return 8 out of 10 of their top scorers and they’ll be welcoming the league’s best recruiting class.  They have all they need to get back to where they want to be.   
2009-2010 Predicted Conference Record: 12-4 

Texas A&M 
2008-2009 Record: 24-10, 9-7

Texas A&M made it to the second round of the NCAA tournament last year.  Connecticut ended their season.  Not long ago it would have been silly to assume that the Aggies might play in 5 consecutive NCAA tournaments.  It just might happen this year.  The Aggies return 3 starters and 7 of its top 9 scorers from last year.  Unfortunately, they’ll lose Chinemelu who decided to go pro.   
2009-2010 Predicted Conference Record: 9-7 

Texas Tech 
2008-2009 Record: 14-19, 3-13

Last year Texas Tech had one of the worst defensive teams in the nation.  They gave up 79 points per game and ranked 324 in the nation.  They finished with a 3-13 in the conference after winning 7 during the 07-08 season.  Luckily for Coach Pat Knight, the Red Raiders return 7 of their 8 top scorers.  In a league as tough as the Big 12, they’ll struggle again in 2009.  It’s unlikely that they’ll do well enough to keep Knight feeling safe about his job.   
2009-2010 Predicted Conference Record: 2-14 

Big 12 Regular Season Champion Basketball Predictions: Kansas

Big 12 Tournament Champion: Missouri 

Big 12 Conference Standings Prediction for the 2009-2010 Season: 

  1. Kansas 14-2
  2. Texas 12-4
  3. Oklahoma 10-6
  4. Texas A&M 9-7
  5. Oklahoma St 9-7
  6. Kansas State 9-7
  7. Missouri 8-8
  8. Baylor 8-8
  9. Iowa State 6-10
  10. Nebraska 6-10
  11. Colorado 3-13
  12. Texas Tech 2-14