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NCAA Basketball: Big 12 Basketball Tipoff

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Big 12 Men’s Basketball Midseason Award Predictions and Superlatives

An updated look at my picks for All-Conference, POY, and more

William Purnell-USA TODAY Sports

The undercard is done. It’s time for the main event: Big 12 play. Let’s take an updated look at some of those preseason predictions. Thus far it looks like got a few things right and more than a few things wrong. If there was ever a time for a mulligan, to hit the reset button on some of those picks, this is as good as any. If you want to see the things I said about these awards/players in the preseason, you can find them here.

All-Big 12 Teams

Before I give you my updated picks for these honors, I have tried to organize each team with 2 true guards, 2 true forwards/wings, and 1 true center. Of course, basketball has become an increasingly positionless sport which makes such an endeavor difficult, to say the least. Kansas’s Gradey Dick, for instance, can probably be best described as a guard based on his skillset and the way he’s used, but it’s impossible to look at a player of his size on not at least think that he might be a forward. I’ve done my best. I’ve also included each player’s stats from this season.

All-Big 12 First Team

Preseason Picks: Mike Miles, Jr. (TCU); Adam Flagler (Baylor); Jalen Wilson (Kansas); Timmy Allen (Texas); Fardaws Aimaq (Texas Tech)

G: Adam Flagler (Baylor). 15.7 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 5.7 APG, and 1.8 SPG on 50/52/88 splits.

G: Grant Sherfield (Oklahoma). 18.0 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 3.8 APG, and 0.8 SPG on 47/57/89 splits.

F: Jalen Wilson (Kansas). 21.1 PPG, 9.0 RPG, 2.9 APG, and 1.1 SPG on 42/33/76 splits.

F: Keyontae Johnson (Kansas State). 17.7 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 2.3 APG, and 1.4 SPG on 58/46/74 splits.

C: Daniel Batcho (Texas Tech). 12.3 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 1.3 APG, 0.7 SPG, and 1.6 BPG on 64/75/63 splits.

All-Big 12 Second Team

Preseason Picks: Marcus Carr (Texas); Keyonte George (Baylor); Emanuel Miller (TCU); Kevin Obanor (Texas Tech); Osun Osunniyi (Iowa State)

G: Marcus Carr (Texas). 15.7 PPG, 2.5 RPG, 4.3 APG, and 1.8 SPG on 44/39/77 splits.

G: Mike Miles, Jr. (TCU). 17.8 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 3.0 APG, and 1.5 SPG on 51/32/61 splits.

F: Emanuel Miller (TCU). 13.3 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 2.1 APG, 0.5 SPG, and 0.5 BPG on 57/50/67 splits.

F: Kevin Obanor (Texas Tech). 16.3 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 1.3 APG, and 1.4 SPG on 55/40/90 splits.

C: Tanner Groves (Oklahoma). 11.1 PPG, 6.9 RPG, 2.2 APG, 0.6 SPG, and 1.1 BPG on 55/30/63 splits.

All-Big 12 Third Team

Preseason Picks: Grant Shefield (Oklahoma); Tyrese Hunter (Texas); Keyontae Johnson (Kansas State); Kalib Boone (Oklahoma State); Tanner Groves (Oklahoma)

G: Markquis Nowell (Kansas State). 13.7 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 8.3 APG, and 2.0 SPG on 37/33/86 splits.

G: Gradey Dick (Kansas). 15.4 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 1.7 APG, and 1.5 SPG on 49/49/79 splits.

F: Nae’Qwan Tomlin (Kansas State). 11.7 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 0.8 APG, 1.2 SPG, and 1.2 BPG on 48/30/76 splits.

F: Timmy Allen (Texas). 9.8 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 4.3 APG, 0.5 SPG, and 0.8 BPG on 50/13/53 splits.

C: Moussa Cisse (Oklahoma State). 8.6 PPG, 10.8 RPG, 0.6 APG, 0.5 SPG, and 2.9 BPG on 60/NA/43 splits.

All-Big 12 Honorable Mention (in order within position groups; players who made honorable mention or better in the preseason picks)

Guards (9): Keyonte George (Baylor); Erik Stevenson (West Virginia); Jaren Holmes (Iowa State); LJ Cryer (Baylor); De’Vion Harmon (Texas Tech); Avery Anderson III (Oklahoma State); Tyrese Hunter (Texas); Bryce Thompson (Oklahoma State); Pop Isaacs (Texas Tech)

Forwards (4): Kevin McCullar (Kansas); Emmitt Matthews (West Virginia); Jaylon Tyson (Texas Tech); Kalib Boone (Oklahoma State)

Centers (3): Tre Mitchell (West Virginia); Osun Osunniyi (Iowa State); Eddie Lampkin (TCU)

Award Watchlists

Big 12 Coach of the Year

Preseason List: Scott Drew (Baylor); Chris Beard (Texas); Jamie Dixon (TCU); Porter Moser (Oklahoma); Bill Self (Kansas)

NCAA Basketball: Big 12 Basketball Tipoff William Purnell-USA TODAY Sports

1) Jerome Tang (Kansas State)

2) Bob Huggins (West Virginia)

3) Mark Adams (Texas Tech)

4) Scott Drew (Baylor)

5) Jamie Dixon (TCU)

Tang wins because: In his first season in Manhattan, his team (which was picked to finish last in the conference by the league’s coaches in the preseason) is 11-1 and looking like they might be able to keep it going a while longer. If this team finishes in the top half of the conference, Tang should win this award.

Big 12 Player of the Year

Preseason List: Adam Flagler (Baylor); Jalen Wilson (Kansas); Mike Miles, Jr. (TCU); Keyonte George (Baylor); Fardaws Aimaq (Texas Tech)

1) Jalen Wilson (Kansas)

2) Keyontae Johnson (Kansas State)

3) Adam Flagler (Baylor)

4) Marcus Carr (Texas)

5) Grant Sherfield (Oklahoma)

Wilson wins because: He has been everything he was hyped as being and then some. As of now his ranks in the Big 12: 1st in scoring, 2nd in rebounding, and 3rd in defensive win shares (per He does it all and does it all at a high level.

Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year

Preseason List: Tyrese Hunter (Texas); Moussa Cisse (Oklahoma State); Joe Toussaint (West Virginia); Kevin McCullar (Kansas); Keyonte George (Baylor)


1) Moussa Cisse (Oklahoma State)

2) Kevin McCullar (Kansas)

3) Nae’Qwan Tomlin (Kansas State)

4) Daniel Batcho (Texas Tech)

5) Chuck O’Bannon, Jr. (TCU)

Cisse wins because: To the eyes, it’s crystal clear that he is the best rim protector in the conference by a wide margin. Statistically, his ranks in the Big 12: 1st in defensive rating, 1st in defensive win shares (per, 1st in blocks, 1st in defensive rebound percentage, and 5th in defensive box +/-.

Big 12 Rookie of the Year

Preseason List: Keyonte George (Baylor); Elijah Fisher (Texas Tech); Gradey Dick (Kansas); Dillon Mitchell (Texas); Ernest Udeh, Jr. (Kansas)

NCAA Basketball: Nicholls State at Baylor Chris Jones-USA TODAY Sports

1) Keyonte George (Baylor)

2) Gradey Dick (Kansas)

3) Pop Isaacs (Texas Tech)

4) Dillon Mitchell (Texas)

5) Tamin Lipsey (Iowa State)

Keyonte wins because: Although Dick has looked fantastic to this point, we’ve likely seen the best from him that we’ll see all year. Keyonte hasn’t reached his full potential yet. He’s the most complete freshman in this conference. He is a three-level scorer, active rebounder, gifted passer, and tough defender.

Big 12 Sixth Man of the Year

Preseason List: Sir’Jabari Rice (Texas); Caleb Asberry (Oklahoma State); Milos Uzan (Oklahoma); Joseph Yesufu (Kansas); Langston Love (Baylor)

NCAA Basketball: UAB at West Virginia Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

1) Joe Toussaint (West Virginia)

2) Sir’Jabari Rice (Texas)

3) Micah Peavy (TCU)

4) Desi Sills (Kansas State)

5) Caleb Asberry (Oklahoma State)

Toussaint wins because: He’s averaging 11 PPG, 3 RPG, 3 APG, and 1 SPG on 40/31/81 splits despite coming off the bench. He is top 3 on his team in scoring, rebounding, assists, and steals without having started a single game this season.

Big 12 Newcomer of the Year

Preseason List: Fardaws Aimaq (Texas Tech); Grant Sherfield (Oklahoma); Osun Osunniyi (Iowa State); Keyontae Johnson (Kansas State); Joe Toussaint (West Virginia)

1) Keyontae Johnson (Kansas State)

2) Grant Sherfield (Oklahoma)

3) Nae’Qwan Tomlin (Kansas State)

4) Erik Stevenson (West Virginia)

5) Jaren Holmes (Iowa State)

Johnson wins because: He’s 5th in the league in scoring and 7th in rebounding. He’s stuffing the stat sheet right now, and more importantly, he’s helping his team win. Johnson is an electric player who makes big plays in big moments.

Big 12 Most Improved Player

Preseason List: Tre Mitchell (West Virginia); Ismael Massoud (Kansas State); Daniel Batcho (Texas Tech); Eddie Lampkin (TCU); Flo Thamba (Baylor)

1) Daniel Batcho (Texas Tech)

2) Tre Mitchell (West Virginia)

3) Jaylon Tyson (Texas Tech)

4) Kedrian Johnson (West Virginia)

5) Jacob Groves (Oklahoma)

Batcho wins because: Last year Batcho averaged 2.2 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 0.4 APG, 0.2 SPG, and 0.5 BPG on 63.2% eFG. This year he’s averaging 12.7 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 1.3 APG, 0.8 SPG, and 1.5 BPG on 69.0% eFG. It’s more than that he’s getting more minutes. He’s a more efficient and effective player, having turned himself into one of the best big men in the conference.


Big 12 Glue Guy of the Year (not an actual award handed out; but it should be)

Preseason List: Kevin McCullar (Kansas); Jalen Hill (Oklahoma); Jalen Bridges (Baylor); Camryn Carter (Kansas State); Tre King (Iowa State)

NCAA Basketball: Oklahoma at Villanova Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

1) Jalen Hill (Oklahoma)

2) Dale Bonner (Baylor)

3) Christian Bishop (Texas)

4) Camryn Carter (Kansas State)

5) KJ Adams, Jr. (Kansas)

Hill wins because: His statistical production this year has been disappointing. His effort, energy, and toughness have never faded. He does a lot of the little things for this team. If you’re looking for a guy who will not back down from a challenge and will leave it all on the floor, Hill is that guy.

Big 12 Comeback Player of the Year (again, not a real award; but it should be)

Preseason List: Keyontae Johnson (Kansas State); Fardaws Aimaq (Texas Tech); Langston Love (Baylor); Shahada Wells (TCU); Bobby Pettiford, Jr. (Kansas)

1) Keyontae Johnson (Kansas State)

2) Fardaws Aimaq (Texas Tech)

3) Langston Love (Baylor)

4) Shahada Wells (TCU)

5) Bobby Pettiford, Jr. (Kansas)

Johnson wins because: Not only has Keyontae looked like one of the best players in the conference this season, he has done so after an unimaginably length and difficult road to get back to just playing basketball.

Best Guess to Lead the Big 12 (in conference play only)


Preseason Pick: Mike Miles, Jr. (TCU). Prediction: ≈ 16 PPG. Reality: 17.8 PPG (4th in the league)

Current Leader: Jalen Wilson (Kansas) on 21.1 PPG

Pick the Rest of the Way: Grant Sherfield (Oklahoma) on ≈ 19 PPG


Preseason Pick: Eddie Lampkin (TCU). Prediction: ≈ 60%. Reality: 51.7% (37th in the league)

Current Leader: Mohamed Wague (West Virginia) at 76.5%

Pick the Rest of the Way: Daniel Batcho at ≈ 68%


Preseason Pick: LJ Cryer (Baylor). Prediction: ≈ 43%. Reality: 37.1% (16th in the league)

Current Leader: Grant Sherfield (Oklahoma) at 56.5%

Pick the Rest of the Way: Adam Flagler (Baylor) at ≈ 49%


Preseason Pick: Grant Sherfield (Oklahoma). Prediction: ≈ 86%. Reality: 88.6% (7th in the league)

Current Leader: John-Michael Wright (Oklahoma State) at 100.0%

Pick the Rest of the Way: Grant Sherfield (Oklahoma) at ≈ 89%


Preseason Pick: Fardaws Aimaq (Texas Tech). Prediction: ≈ 12 RPG. Reality: Has not played a game yet due to injury

Current Leader: Moussa Cisse (Oklahoma State) on 10.8 RPG

Pick the Rest of the Way: Moussa Cisse (Oklahoma State) on ≈ 11 RPG


Preseason Pick: Markquis Nowell (Kansas State). Prediction: ≈ 5 APG. Reality: 8.3 APG

Current Leader: Markquis Nowell (Kansas State) on 8.3 APG

Pick the Rest of the Way: Markquis Nowell (Kansas State) on ≈ 8 APG


Preseason Pick: Tyrese Hunter (Texas). Prediction: ≈ 2 SPG. Reality: 0.7 SPG (53rd in the league)

Current Leader: Kevin McCullar (Kansas) on 2.7 SPG

Pick the Rest of the Way: Avery Anderson III (Oklahoma State) on ≈ 2.5 SPG


Preseason Pick: Osun Osunniyi (Iowa State). Prediction: ≈ 2 BPG. Reality: 0.5 BPG (25th in the league)

Current Leader: Moussa Cisse (Oklahoma State) on 2.9 BPG

Pick the Rest of the Way: Moussa Cisse (Oklahoma State) on ≈ 2.5 BPG

Best Non-Conference Wins by Big 12 Teams

NCAA Basketball: Big 12 Basketball Tipoff
Mark Adams (Tech), Chris Beard (UT), Jamie Dixon (TCU), CSD (Baylor), Bob Huggins (WVU), Jerome Tang (KSU)
William Purnell-USA TODAY Sports

1) Kansas def. Indiana 68-54

2) Texas def. Gonzaga 93-74

3) Baylor def. UCLA 80-75

4) Texas def. Creighton 72-67

5) Baylor def. Gonzaga 64-63

6) Kansas def. Duke 69-64

7) Iowa State def. North Carolina 70-65

8) TCU def. Iowa 79-66

9) West Virginia def. UAB 81-70

10) Iowa State def. St. John’s 71-60


NCAA Basketball: Nicholls State at Baylor Chris Jones-USA TODAY Sports

My updated picks are on the record now. Get in those comments to tell me how wrong I am. Who got snubbed? Who is being overlooked? Who has stood out to you the most so far? Who is gonna turn it all around in conference play? The next few months are gonna be wild I am so excited to see which players step up, especially for the Bears. Sic em!

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