Big 12 Men's Basketball Preseason Favorites


The college basketball offseason has become far more hectic and chaotic since the introduction of NIL and the lack of restrictions on transferring. Now, college coaches treat April and May like free agency periods where oftentimes the bulk of their team have to be recruited, including both their returning players and potential new players. Preventing their current players from testing the transfer portal and getting more money from other schools is just as much of a challenge as finding new players. It also makes it much more difficult for someone who is interested in betting on preseason favorites to keep up with the new rosters across the nation. Figuring out which teams are set up best for next season is about as much of a crapshoot as online roulette games can be.

A strong place to start when looking for future favorites is in the Big 12. The conference has finished each season since 2014 ranked either first or second in the country in efficiency per KenPom. This season, it will only be a tougher conference as it adds Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado and Utah from the now extinct Pac-12. The Big 12 has also been one of the top conferences in the nation in terms of offseason recruiting. Kansas, Houston, Iowa State, Baylor and Arizona all will have good arguments for being ranked in the top ten to begin the 2024-25 season.

Kansas likely has the best argument for being ranked as the number one team in the country, thanks to the return of Hunter Dickinson for his fifth collegiate season. The Jayhawks should also return starters in Dajuan Harris and KJ Adams. Bill Self has been busy with the transfer portal as well, bringing in highly touted players such as AJ Storr, Rylan Griffen and Zeke Mayo.

Houston meanwhile has taken the route of bringing back the majority of last year’s team that earned a 1-seed in the NCAA Tournament. Big 12 Player of the Year Jamal Shead is gone, but L.J. Cryer, J’Wan Roberts, Ja’Vier Francis, Emanuel Sharp and JoJo Tugler are all returning as key rotation pieces. Kelvin Sampson also added Milos Uzan in the transfer portal to help with Shead’s absence.

Baylor has used the transfer portal to cycle through point guards in recent seasons and this one will be no different with Jeremy Roach joining the Bears for his final year of college. Scott Drew also nabbed one of the best big men in the portal in Norchad Omier. These key additions join elite freshman VJ Edgecombe along with returning guards Jayden Nunn and Langston Love.

Arizona is waiting on the NBA Draft decision of Caleb Love, but transfer additions Trey Townsend and Tobe Awaka plus the return of Jaden Bradley and KJ Lewis will make the Wildcats a dangerous team in their first season in the Big 12. Meanwhile, Iowa State hasn’t been as splashy but will return the core of their roster that earned a 2-seed last season. The additions of Joshua Jefferson and Nate Heise weren’t as noisy as Kansas or Baylor’s newcomers, but TJ Otzelberger has put together a case for being a preseason top five team.