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2013-14 College Basketball Preview: Big 12
By: Robert Livingston - StatFox
Published: 10/24/2013  at  12:00:00 PM
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The 2013-14 college basketball season tips off Friday, Nov. 8, and StatFox has you covered by previewing all the major conferences with predicted standings. The Big 12 continues the run of the big conference previews, as the conference has two potential All-American candidates in Oklahoma State's Marcus Smart and highly-touted Kansas freshman Andrew Wiggins.

Once the college basketball season begins on Nov. 8, check out The Platinum Sheet for all the Expert picks. StatFox Gary had an outstanding 56.1% ATS Best Bets success rate during the 2012-13 season, while StatFox Dave was also profitable at 53% ATS Best Bets.

BIG 12 CONFERENCE 2013-14 PREVIEW

The Big 12 appears to be a two-team race for the top spot, but Baylor, Kansas State and Iowa will all make some noise this season as well.

Predicted Order of Finish:
1. Kansas
2. Oklahoma State
3. Baylor
4. Kansas State
5. Iowa State
6. West Virginia
7. Oklahoma
8. Texas
9. Texas Tech
10. TCU

KANSAS JAYHAWKS
2012-13 SU Record: 84% (31-6)
2012-13 ATS Record: 56% (20-16)
2012-13 Over (Total): 46% (13-15-1)
Returning Starters: 0
Odds to win 2014 NCAA Championship: 6/1

Kansas may look completely different from last season' squad with all five starters gone, but this team is one of the nationís favorites to cut down the nets in April because of a loaded freshman class. Head coach Bill Self won the lottery in landing the nationís top prospect, 6-foot-7 wing Andrew Wiggins, who is one of the most if not the most hyped freshman in recent memory. Heíll be counted on to contribute immediately, as will the teamís top returnees, junior guard Naadir Tharpe (5.5 PPG, 3.1 APG) and sophomore forward Perry Ellis (5.8 PPG, 3.9 RPG). What could make this team so special is not only Wiggins, though, but the rest of the class Self brought in to replace the likes of Ben McLemore, Jeff Withey and Travis Releford. At center, the team adds top-10 recruit Joel Embiid while at small forward the talented Wayne Selden should provide valuable minutes from day one. Helping take the pressure off Embiid will be transfer Tarik Black (8.1 PPG, 59% FG), who is far more skilled than his recent numbers at Memphis would suggest. In the backcourt, watch out two more talented frosh with in-state recruit Conner Frankamp and shooting guard Brannen Greene. If these players live up to their hype and can help bring out the best in Wiggins, this team should still be dancing late in the season.

OKLAHOMA STATE COWBOYS
2012-13 SU Record: 73% (24-9)
2012-13 ATS Record: 50% (15-15-2)
2012-13 Over (Total): 28% (5-13)
Returning Starters: 4
Odds to win 2014 NCAA Championship: 40/1

The Cowboys will be relevant once again this season and that was set in stone when PG Marcus Smart (15.4 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 4.2 APG) decided to return for his sophomore season. He could have been a top pick in the last draft but chose to return after his team was bounced from the NCAA Tournament Round of 64 as a No. 5 seed. But just as important as the growth of Smart will be how his supporting cast develops, with key cogs such as swingmen Markel Brown (15.3 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 36% 3-pt FG) and LeíBryan Nash (14.0 PPG, 4.1 RPG), the other two guys on this team to average more than 30 MPG. And donít forget about Phil Forte (10.2 PPG, 37% FG) who hit 2.1 threes per game and made 91.3% of his free throws while playing only 25.3 MPG. He and Smart will also get a backcourt reinforcement in 5-foot-11 recruit Stevie Clark, who may be the point guard of the future once Smart presumably leaves after this season.

BAYLOR BEARS
2012-13 SU Record: 62% (23-14)
2012-13 ATS Record: 53% (17-15)
2012-13 Over (Total): 58% (15-11-1)
Returning Starters: 3
Odds to win 2014 NCAA Championship: 100/1

Baylor disappointed last season by failing to make the NCAA Tournament, but it still won the NIT and brings back some of the key pieces that yielded so much hope a year ago. Pierre Jackson, last seasonís leading scorer, is gone but he also dealt with consistency issues that brought the team down at times. This season's squad may be built off its strength in the post, where it returns two strong scorers in Cory Jefferson (13.3 PPG, 61% FG, 8.0 RPG) and Isaiah Austin (13.0 PPG, 8.3 RPG, 1.7 BPG). Jefferson will be a key senior leader while Austin was one of the nationís top recruits last season and has the potential to be the conferenceís best big man. Other key returners are sharp-shooting Brady Heslip (8.6 PPG, 39% 3-pt FG), who averaged 2.3 threes per game last season, and Gary Franklin (4.0 PPG), who should find more minutes in the backcourt as a senior. JUCO transfer Kenny Chery will likely take over the point, but he is not shy about putting up the rock. Adding to the potential of this squad are two high-upside recruits in SG Allerik Freeman and SF Ishmael Wainright, who both have the tools to become critical players.

KANSAS STATE WILDCATS
2012-13 SU Record: 77% (27-8)
2012-13 ATS Record: 50% (16-16)
2012-13 Over (Total): 35% (6-11-1)
Returning Starters: 2
Odds to win 2014 NCAA Championship: 100/1

Bruce Weber brought last season's team to great success, which resulted in a No. 4 seed in the NCAA Tournament. But they went one and done and will need to adjust quickly this season without their top two scorers from last season, including Angel Rodriguez who transferred to Miami. But Shane Southwell (8.4 PPG, 44% 3-pt FG) has the potential to become an above-average scorer and he should receive reasonable help on the wing from rising senior Will Spradling (7.4 PPG, 2.4 APG). Down low, the key returning piece is junior Thomas Gipson, who put up 7.9 PPG and 5.0 RPG in only 18.7 MPG last season. If he can efficiently build on those totals in a starting role, he could become a dangerous threat.

IOWA STATE CYCLONES
2012-13 SU Record: 66% (23-12)
2012-13 ATS Record: 57% (17-13)
2012-13 Over (Total): 73% (11-4-1)
Returning Starters: 2
Odds to win 2014 NCAA Championship: 200/1

Few teams were as fun to watch last season as Fred Hoibergís Cyclones, who were fourth nationally with 79.6 PPG and led the nation with 9.9 made threes per game. But their starting backcourt from last season is gone, leaving a lot of work to repeat last season's success, which nearly ended up with an upset of No. 2 seed Ohio State to make it to the Sweet 16. The key may be transfer DeAndre Kane (15.1 PPG, 7.0 APG), who put up big numbers last season at Marshall and will be eligible to play immediately. Heíll have to shoulder the backcourt load while forwards Georges Niang (12.1 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 39% 3-pt FG) and Melvin Ejim (11.3 PPG, 9.3 RPG, 35% 3-pt FG) will be doing just fine if they repeat their solid numbers from last season. Hoiberg is also excited about two top recruits in guards Monte Morris and Matt Thomas.

WEST VIRGINIA MOUNTAINEERS
2012-13 SU Record: 41% (13-19)
2012-13 ATS Record: 35% (10-19-1)
2012-13 Over (Total): 50% (11-11)
Returning Starters: 3
Odds to win 2014 NCAA Championship: 300/1

The Mountaineers finished below .500 for the first time in Bob Hugginsí tenure as head coach with a team that didnít have one player average double-digit points. With troubled 6-foot-10 C Aaric Murray no longer with the program, the frontcourt will be extremely thin. Huggins hopes newcomer Jonathan Holton can post numbers like he did at Rhode Island (10.2 PPG, 8.1 RPG) before he was arrested and kicked off the team before salvaging his career at community college. The backcourt is in pretty good shape though with Eron Harris (9.8 PPG, 35% 3-pt FG) expected to improve in his second campaign alongside long-range shooter Terry Henderson (8.0 PPG, 40% 3-pt FG). Add in top recruit Devin Williams leading a strong freshman class, and the Mountaineers should regain their status as a quality basketball program very soon.

OKLAHOMA SOONERS
2012-13 SU Record: 63% (20-12)
2012-13 ATS Record: 61% (17-11)
2012-13 Over (Total): 61% (11-7)
Returning Starters: 1
Odds to win 2014 NCAA Championship: 300/1

The Sooners finally returned to the NCAA Tournament last season but four starters are gone from that team, including the teamís only three double-digit scorers. Buddy Hield (7.8 PPG, 4.2 RPG) is the teamís leading returner and will need to be more efficient as a sophomore after making only 38.8% of his shots and 23.8% of his threes as a freshman. Jeílon Hornbeak (5.6 PPG, 2.7 RPG) should be poised to make a similar jump in his second go around. Lengthy 6-foot-7 senior guard Cameron Clark (6.5 PPG, 3.2 RPG) will be key for providing veteran leadership. Though this crew doesnít have top freshman talent, it could receive a key asset in 6-foot-8 Gonzaga transfer Ryan Spangler, who is cleared to play after sitting out the requisite year.

TEXAS LONGHORNS
2012-13 SU Record: 47% (16-18)
2012-13 ATS Record: 52% (16-15-1)
2012-13 Over (Total): 48% (10-11)
Returning Starters: 3
Odds to win 2013 NCAA Championship: 100/1

Texas may not factor into this season's postseason race, but Rick Barnesí team should be able to improve from its sub-.500 campaign, even with its three leading scorers gone in Myck Kabongo, Sheldon McClellan and Julien Lewis. Ioannis Papapetrou (8.3 PPG, 4.4 RPG) signed a contract to play professionally in Greece. That leaves PG Javan Felix (6.8 PPG, 4.1 APG) as the teamís most notable returning player with Jonathan Holmes (6.4 PPG, 5.6 RPG) expected to anchor the frontcourt. Incoming guard Kendal Yancy-Harris has the potential to be a dangerous scorer in addition to distributor and could be this teamís X-factor.

TEXAS TECH RED RAIDERS
2012-13 SU Record: 36% (11-20)
2012-13 ATS Record: 42% (10-14)
2012-13 Over (Total): 40% (4-6)
Returning Starters: 3
Odds to win 2013 NCAA Championship: 100/1 (Field)

The Red Raiders were dreadful last season and the good news is they bring back their two leading scorers with Jaye Crockett (12.1 PPG, 6.7 RPG) and Jordan Tolbert (9.8 PPG, 5.4 RPG) while new head coach Tubby Smith looks to turn this program around. The bad news is those two players couldnít lead the team to much last year while PG Josh Gray is gone. Giving this team a small sliver of hope will be Aaron Ross, a former highly-regarded recruit who spent one year off while transferring and missing last season with a torn ACL.

TCU HORNED FROGS
2012-13 SU Record: 34% (11-21)
2012-13 ATS Record: 30% (8-19)
2012-13 Over (Total): 50% (4-4)
Returning Starters: 1
Odds to win 2013 NCAA Championship: 100/1 (Field)

Somehow this team upset Kansas last season, but that was the only bright spot during a weak campaign. Four of the five starters from that team are gone so thereís serious rebuilding to do, even if leading scorer Kyan Anderson (12.0 PPG, 3.4 APG) will do his best to put the team on his back again. Also look out for incoming freshman C Karviar Shepherd, who is one of the best big-man recruits in the conference.

Other Conference Previews

ATLANTIC COAST Conference
BIG 12 Conference
BIG TEN Conference
PAC-12 Conference
SOUTHEASTERN Conference
OTHER Notable Schools

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