We’re fully committed to the men’s basketball season, and Iowa State fans should be excited for a thrilling season. But what’s going to happen in the bottom-half of the league? Many pundits expect a horrible hodge-podge of awful basketball, but there’s a lot of potential if your colors aren’t purple and white.
Normal weekly power rankings won’t be this long, but because of a lack of an overall preview on this site, here’s a glimpse of every team and what to watch for.
6. Texas Longhorns
Youth will be the story again for a Rick Barnes squad; stop me if you heard that before. How young? Well, there are no seniors and forward Jonathan Holmes is the only player that’s a junior that has a scholarship. So…why the hell am I picking this team sixth? Yes, it’s probably the most controversial pick on this list, but before people scream out “Texas bias,” note that all the freshman that were thrown into a terrible team last year got a ton of experience and this is one of the better recruiting classes the Longhorns are bringing in. Point guard Isaiah Taylor could have a freshman break-out potential. And if he does, he’ll probably leave after this year.
7. West Virginia Mountaineers
This could be the second-most controversial ranking on the list. Bob Huggins didn’t have a great squad entering Big 12 play, and they paid the price a la TCU. But they improved during the season, and ended up with 66.1 points per game, but they were horrible from the perimeter unless guards Eeron Harris and Terry Henderson had their hot streaks (see: Texas and Iowa State games) and shot 40.9 percent from the floor. But the potential for a better year is here. Both of those guards are back, and we’ll have to wait and see what JUCO transfers Jonathan Holton and Remi Dibo bring to the frontcourt. This team has the most potential to move up to the top half of the league and possibly get an NCAA bid.
8. Oklahoma Sooners
Losing three of the top scorers from last season always hurts, especially all-Big 12 forward Romero Osby. They’ll miss the frontcourt power they had a season ago, and highlight guards Buddy Hield and Je’lon Hornbeak suffered injuries last year. I’ll be a skeptic until I see this team on the court, but they do have the second-most potential to move up.
9. Texas Tech Red Raiders
Losing Josh Gray is a huge impact at the guard position. Despite averaging a negative assist-to-turnover ratio, he was a freshman that had breakout potential, but instead will transfer to a junior college instead of sitting out for a year. Texas Tech will still have an underrated frontcourt with Jaye Crockett, who lead the team with 11.9 points and 6.5 rebounds per game last season, and Jordan Tolbert who we all know likes to get under opponent’s skin. Tubby Smith could really start turning things around, and don’t be surprised to see this team pulling off upsets in conference play.
10. TCU Horned Frogs
Both TCU and West Virginia suffered brutal transitions to Big 12 play thanks to struggling offenses. The Horned Frogs were especially anemic with 54.4 points per game, shooting 39.5 percent from the floor, only having 49 field goal attempts per game, and making 60.4 percent of their free throws. Even worse, the team is already dealing with two players: Devonta Abron and newcomer Aaron Durley, who are out with season-ending injuries. Abron averaged 7.4 points and a team-high .69 blocks per game. Outside of watching Kyan Anderson, there’s not much to look forward to this season.