K-State Basketball - Looking ahead to next season



After a disappointing loss to Loyola Chicago in the Elite 8, K-State basketball is done for the season. While a trip to the Elite 8 was unexpected, it was a disappointing loss considering Loyola Chicago was an 11 seed in the tournament.  I'm not sure we'll ever have a road like that to the Final four again.  UMBC taking out one seeded Virginia was huge.  After beating Creighton in the first round and taking care of UMBC in the second round, a great win against five seed Kentucky in the Sweet 16 put us in the Elite 8.  It is sure disappointing to be one game away from the Final 4 playing against an 11 seed and having your season end.  The obvious question is:  does K-State have a chance to make a run again next season?  Almost the entire team is coming back, including all five starters and Kamau Stokes.  On paper it looks like K-State should have a leg up on the other teams in the league going into the 2018-19 season.

I thought I'd take a look at the other teams in the league to see what the Big 12 conference might look like next season.  I looked at this year's conference record of each team, their probable returning starters and their incoming recruits in order to get a snapshot of each team entering this fall's season.


Kansas

2017-18 record: 13-5

Returning starters:

Lagerald Vick, Udoka Azubuike, Malik Newman.

Incoming recruits:

Quentin Grimes, five star shooting guard, ranked number 10 nationally according to Rivals.
Devon Dotson, five star point guard, ranked number 17 nationally according to Rivals.
David McCormack, four star center, ranked number 34 nationally according to Rivals.
Ochai Agbaji, three star shooting guard.

Synopsis:

Kansas is losing a few key players, but as you can see they have a great recruiting class coming in this fall.  They will be picked to win the league once again and will once again be one of the top teams in the nation.

West Virginia

2017-18 record:  11-7

Returning starters:

Wesley Harris, Esa Ahmad, Sagaba Konate.

Incoming recruits:

Andrew Gordon, three star forward.
Trey Doomes, three star guard.
Jordan McCabe, three star guard.

Synopsis:

Losing Jevon Carter will be huge for West Virginia, but Bob Huggins always seems to reload.  They'll play tough defense and rebound well, which are the two staples of Huggins coached teams.  I'm not sure they'll have enough firepower next season to contend for the conference title, but they'll most likely be a tournament team once again.

Texas Tech

2017-18 record:  11-7

Returning starters:

Jarrett Culver, Zhaire Smith, Norense Odiase.

Incoming recruits:

Khavon Moore, four star forward ranked number 44 nationally by Rivals.
Deshawn Corprew, four star forward.
Kyler Edwards, three star forward.

Synopsis:

Losing Keenan Evans will be a huge loss for Texas Tech.  Tech was leading the conference race before Evans went down with an injury and it was reported that Evans played in the NCAA tournament with a broken toe!  It looks like reinforcements are on the way down low with three forwards part of their 2018 recruiting class.  Zhaire Smith may end up going into the draft, but he may be back as well.  If Smith comes back, Tech will still be a force in the conference.

Kansas State

2017-18 record:  10-8

Returning Starters:

Dean Wade, Barry Brown, Xavier Sneed, Makol Mawein, Cartier Diarra.

Incoming recruits:  Shaun Williams, three star guard.

Synopsis:

K-State returns every player that contributed for the team this season.  Expectations are high, as well they should be. It will be hard to finish in first place with Kansas loading up again, but a 2nd place finish is a reasonable expectation.

TCU

2017-18 record:  9-9

Returning starters:

Alex Robinson, Desmond Bane, Kouat Noi.

Incoming recruits:

Kaden Archie, four star forward ranked number 90 by Rivals.
Russell Barlow, three star center.
Angus McWilliam, three star center.
Kendric Davis, four star point guard ranked 94th nationally by Rivals.

Synopsis:

TCU has a couple top 100 players coming on board next season.  They should contend for another NCAA tournament birth.

Baylor 

2017-18 record:  8-10

Returning starters:

Jake Lindsey, Mark Vital.

Incoming recruits:

Darius Allen, not rated guard.
Matthew Mayer, four star forward, ranked 99 nationally by Rivals.
Ibby Ali, three star center.
Florent Thamba, three star center.

Synopsis:

Baylor is now recruiting against Jamie Dixon and TCU for Dallas area talent and it is apparent by looking at this recruiting class, which looks really subpar for Baylor's standards.  They have one top 100 kid coming in, but other than that this looks like a class that Bruce Weber might put together at K-State.

Oklahoma

2017-18 record: 8-10

Returning starters:

Kameron McGusty, Christian James, Kristian Doolittle, Jamuni McNeace.

Incoming recruits:

Jamal Bieniemy, four star shooting guard ranked 127th nationally by Rivals.
Kur Kuath, three star forward.

Synopsis:

Losing Trae Young will hurt, but Oklahoma returns four starters, which is the most in the conference other than K-State and Texas.  Lon Kruger will have them competing for an NCAA tournament berth once again.

Oklahoma State

2017-18 record:  8-10

Returning starters:  Lindy Waters III, Cameron McGriff.

Incoming recruits:

Yor Anei, three star center.
Duncan Demuth, three star forward.

Synopsis:

It doesn't look like Oklahoma State has much help on the way.  They'll probably struggle to be a bubble team just like this past season.

Texas

2017-18 record:  8-10

Returning starters:

Matt Coleman, Kerwin Roach, Jase Febres, Jericho Sims, Dylan Osetkowski.

Incoming recruits:

Kamaka Hepa, four star forward ranked 48 nationally by Rivals.
Jaxson Hayes, four star center rated 110 nationally by Rivals.
Gerald Liddell, four star forward, rated 40th nationally by Rivals.
Brock Cunningham, three star forward.

Synopsis:

On paper it looks like Shaka Smart has a team put together that could challenge Kansas for the conference title.  Unfortunately, his teams at Texas have not lived up to expectations thus far so it's hard to predict where they might finish.

Iowa State

2017-18 record:  4-14

Returning starters:

Lindell Wigginton, Zoran Talley, Cameron Lard

Incoming recruits:

Talen Horton-Tucker, four star shooting guard, ranked number 31 nationally by Rivals.
George Conditt, three star guard.
Tyrese Haliburton, three star guard.
Zion Griffin, four star forward ranked 84th nationally by Rivals.

Synopsis:

Iowa State has a couple of really good players coming in to help this coming season.  Will it be enough to get them into the NCAA tournament?  Only time will tell, but it looks like they have a shot.



Based on the criteria I used, here is my "way too early" prediction for Big 12 conference basketball for this coming 2018-19 season:

1) Kansas
2) Kansas State
3) Texas
4) Texas Tech
5) TCU
6) West Virginia
7) Oklahoma
8) Baylor
9) Iowa State
10) Oklahoma State

Let me know what you think!

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