Douglas: Revisiting my preseason Big 12 rankings as the Big 12 Tournament begins

Freshman Guard Tre Jackson during men’s basketball game against No.3 Kansas 11-2 (1-0 Big 12) in Hilton Coliseum on Jan. 8.

Zane Douglas

Before the season started I predicted what the standings would be for the Big 12 regular season, with the Iowa State men’s basketball team ranked No. 6.

I was too high on Iowa State, but within the rest of my predictions, I seemed to have a pretty solid grasp at what we might see.

Looking now however, the rankings may not totally encompass who will have the best shot to come out of Kansas City victorious.

1. Kansas (my preseason prediction: 1)

This ended up being closer than anticipated with Baylor giving the Jayhawks a run for their money, but Kansas took the No. 1 seed in the Big 12.

The Jayhawks are coming off of a down season where they only got a *gasp* four-seed in the NCAA Tournament and didn’t finish first in either the regular season Big 12 standings or the Big 12 Tournament.

This season, Kansas was back to being a well-oiled machine, looking back at allegations and underperformance and escaping from them on the back of an improved Devon Dotson and a healthy Udoka Azubuike.

Tournament prediction: Lose in the finals

2. Baylor (my preseason prediction: 2)

This was one of my better picks as Baylor took the preseason hype and ran with it, culminating in a top five ranking for most of the season.

The Bears have been one of college basketball’s surprise contender’s this season and will likely end as one of the top eight overall teams in the NCAA tournament.

Coming into the Big 12 Tournament as No. 5 in the nation and No. 2 in the Big 12 gives the Bears a solid leg shot at winning with the Jayhawks being the most daunting foe in their way.

Tournament predictions: Win in the finals

3. Oklahoma (my preseason prediction: 9)

So, this one was way off the mark, but there is a cluster in the Big 12 at 9-9 in the conference and Oklahoma is a few tiebreakers away from being sixth. Excuse me for trying to rationalize my awful pick.

In all seriousness, the Sooners put together a sneaky solid campaign, but the Big 12 is a pretty top-heavy league and the difference between the middle of the pack teams is minuscule.

The Sooners will have an outside shot at winning, but the main goal will be to string together some wins and earn a bid to the NCAA Tournament.

Tournament prediction: Lose in the quarterfinals

4. Texas (my preseason prediction: 3)

The year for the Longhorns was so weird.

My underdog pick looked pretty bad to start the year, but a late season surge changed that and now Texas sits as the No. 4 team in the Big 12 at the end of the regular season.

The Longhorns will likely need some help to make it to the NCAA Tournament, but one or two wins should earn them a spot at least on the bubble.

Tournament prediction: Lose in semifinals

5. Texas Tech (my preseason prediction: 4)

So, as the inverse of Texas, the Red Raiders started the season with a decent ranking, had some weird losses, but looked like they would sail smoothly past the conference tournament.

The wheels fell off somewhere in the middle for Texas Tech and now its portion of the season where it was ranked seems like a distant memory.

The Red Raiders have been relegated to a bubble team, but some wins might secure them a spot.

Tournament prediction: Lose in quarterfinals

6. West Virginia (my preseason prediction: 7)

Another one that I was surprisingly close in. West Virginia is probably the third best team in the conference, but the Mountaineers lost all the tiebreakers with the four 9-9 teams and were given the No. 6 seed.

West Virginia is ranked in the national poll at No. 22 and will make the tournament, but three straight losses toward the end of its season can explain the downward trend — even after an upset of Baylor.

Tournament prediction: Lose in semifinals

7. TCU (my preseason prediction: 10)

Maybe the Horned Frogs were a little better than people, including myself, were leading on as they turned in a decent season where they’ll likely have a shot at an NIT appearance with a win or two.

The Big 12 is looking rich with mediocre bubble teams and is undeniably top-heavy, so TCU managing only seven wins isn’t all that impressive.

There is a legitimate shot that the Horned Frogs don’t make it past Wednesday, but if they do, they outpaced the rock bottom expectations that I had for them.

Tournament prediction: Lose in quarterfinals

8. Oklahoma State (my preseason prediction: 8)

Oklahoma State was in somewhat of a retool year as the rug was pulled out from under it last season.

Five-star recruit Cade Cunningham is coming next season and Oklahoma State will likely be more of a contender, but the Cowboys put up an OK season.

They turned what could’ve been an abysmal conference season into a decent 7-11 Big 12 record with three straight wins to end the year.

At 17-14, the Cowboys have an outside shot at an at large bid if they can really put on a show during the tournament, but they’ll likely have to win the whole thing to make it to the NCAA Tournament.

Tournament prediction: Lose in quarterfinals

9. Iowa State (my preseason prediction: 6)

It’s been a worst case scenario year for the Cyclones and that luck probably won’t change as it plays the first game of the Big 12 Tournament against Oklahoma State on Wednesday.

Coming off of a year where 80 percent of the starting lineup left, and the two most efficient bench players joined them, Iowa State got hit hard by the injury bug and lost its best player — the other starter from last year’s team — and also may be without his two replacements Wednesday. Ouch.

On top of all that is concerns about depth and an already low talent roster compared to the conference’s elite and it’s easy to see why the Cyclones landed this low.

Tournament prediction: Lose on Wednesday

10. Kansas State (my preseason prediction: 5)


The Wildcats were not good this season and it makes it even worse when last year is taken into consideration.

Kansas State won the Big 12 regular season title, beating out eventual NCAA Tournament runner-up Texas Tech and perennial favorites Kansas.

The fall from grace wasn’t a total surprise as many key players departed and the team over-performed the year before, but first to last is pretty dramatic.

I was sure at the start of the year that Kansas State would prove people wrong and I was right, but in the wrong direction.

Tournament prediction: Lose on Wednesday

It’ll be interesting to see if any of the middle-of-the-pack contenders can hold a candle to the two powerhouses at the top. It’s not the best conference in the world this season and the rampant mediocrity throughout the core shows that well.

Baylor will come out victorious in an upset win over the Jayhawks.