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Big 12 Basketball Countdown: The Contenders

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

We're to the end of this countdown. The season kicks off tonight, so this would seem like the appropriate time to round this thing out. Instead of looking at Baylor, Kansas and Oklahoma State individually, I thought I'd lump these three into a "contenders" section, pointing out why each is a threat to win the Big 12 (calm down Baylor, I'm not picking you to win).


Unofficial Team Motto: Oh, you think you're going to beat us? (makes jerking off motion)

Why They'll Win It All:

Because they're Kansas, and I mean that in both the best and worst possible way.

Why They Won't Win It All:

Who am I kidding? It's fucking Kansas. Of course they're going to win it all. I don't want to talk about it anymore.

Oklahoma State

Unofficial Team Motto: This was supposed to be our year! Damn you Wiggins...

Why They'll Win It All:

They won in Lawrence last year and nearly pulled off the season sweep of the Jayhawks. The Pokes will not be intimidated by Kansas and their who knows how many consecutive conference championships. I mean, somebody else has to win this conference outright eventually, right?

But really, take a look at this team. Everyone knows about the three-head monster that is Marcus Smart, Markel Brown and Le'Bryan Nash, but how about this surrounding cast? Michael Cobbins is vastly underrated and Kamari Murphy is a guy that could be on the verge of a breakout year. Phil Forte showed flashes as a freshman and getting a healthy Brian Williams back could make a world of difference. Freshman Stevie Clark is a guy to keep an eye on as well.

Why They Won't Win It All

This is probably where I point out that Travis Ford is a homeless man's Bill Self. Alright, maybe that's a little unfair. Ford did bring an inexperienced squad within one game of tying for the conference crown a year ago. This will be without a doubt his best team in Stillwater and Marcus Smart might be the best player in the country, but I wonder if this team has it. Championship teams are tested every time they step on the floor. They wear that bullseye and playing at a championship level takes its toll. Self knows how to guide a team through that process. Does Ford?


Unofficial Team Motto: Scott Drew: Everything Art Briles isn't.

Why They'll Win It All:

Don't worry. They won't. Baylor deserves to be here on talent alone. With Isaiah Austin, Cory Jefferson and freshman Ish Wainright, the Bears have three guys that could hear their name called in the first round of the NBA draft at some point in the next few years. Adding to that mix, if Brady Heslip rediscovered his shooting stroke, like it appears he did during his summer fling with the Canadian junior national team and if Kenny Chery can play competently, Baylor could be formidable. Baylor also has what figures to be one of the better bench rotations in the league with Rico Gathers, Gary Franklin and Taurean Prince playing serviceable minutes. The wild card on this team is Denver transfer Royce O'Neale. If the 6'6" swingman can make the leap from mid-major standout to Big 12 baller, I'm not going to rule out that longshot of a chance that Baylor could contend.

Why They Won't Win It All


That's why.

And Now the Predicted Order

1. Kansas - Andrew Wiggins, perhaps you've heard of him?

2. Oklahoma State - They're going to challenge Kansas, but I just can't see the Cowboys winning this outright.

3. Baylor - Plenty of talent...but plenty of Scott Drew.