With the departure of Missouri and Texas A&M to the SEC, the Big 12 will have a much different feel to it in 2012/13. There are still plenty of talented programs in this conference and it starts at the top with Bill Self’s Kansas Jayhawks.
Kansas has won the Big 12 title five times in the last seven years, and the team that won it the other two years (Missouri) is now gone. Elijah Johnson, Travis Releford, and Jeff Withey return from last year’s Final Four team that enters the season ranked No. 7 in the AP and Coaches' Poll and a +165 favorite at 5Dimes to win the Big 12 title.
The Texas Longhorns will miss J’Covan Brown and his 20.1 PPG as he departed for the NBA this offseason, but there is plenty of talent returning to Austin including Myck Kabongo and Sheldon McClellan. At 6’10, freshman center Cameron Ridley was one of the nation’s hottest recruits and should make an immediate impact down low. The Longhorns aren’t far behind Kansas at +200 at 5Dimes to win the Big 12.
Bruce Weber’s Kansas State Wildcats (+525) return virtually everyone from last year’s 22-win team and should benefit from the additional experience in Weber’s man-to-man defense. Rodney McGruder was one of the conference’s best players last year (averaging 15.8 PPG), and could make the Wildcats an even bigger threat if he takes another step forward.
The Oklahoma Sooners, West Virginia Mountaineers, and Baylor Bears all enter the season at +850 to win the Big 12 conference at 5Dimes.
Baylor lost three players to the NBA this offseason but they return one of the best floor generals in the county in point guard Pierre Jackson. With an influx of talented new forwards on the way, Baylor may not suffer the setback that some might expect with the heavy turnover.
West Virginia may have trouble replacing Kevin Jones and Truck Bryant from last year’s squad, but La Salle transfer center Aaric Murray (15.2 PPG with the Explorers in 2010-11) joins a talented young core that should be good enough to at least stay in the mix.
Oklahoma returns all five starters from last year including sharpshooter Steven Pledger (16.2 PPG), but last year was a down year for the Sooners. The hope in Norman is that new coach Lon Kruger can help elevate this team to the next level.
Oklahoma State (+1100), Iowa State (+1600), Texas Tech (+4000), and TCU (+6000) round out the Big 12’s conference betting odds as we enter the 2012/13 college basketball season.
Odds to Win Big 12 at 5Dimes
Kansas State +525
West Virginia +850
Oklahoma State +1100
Iowa State +1600
Texas Tech +4000