This article is part of our Conference Preview series.
Big 12 basketball can't be brought up in conversation these days without starting with the Kansas Jayhawks, as the 2014-15 season marked the 11th straight year in which the Jayhawks earned at least a share of the conference title. As good as programs like Duke, Michigan State, and Kentucky have been, none have been as consistent and successful within their league as Kansas over the last decade. Year after year the pundits discuss who might dethrone the Jayhawks from the top of mountain, and year after year Bill Self builds another winner. Kansas will, without a doubt, be one of the top three teams again this year, but there are multiple programs knocking on the door.
Iowa State has been the biggest threat each of the last two years, but the beloved Fred Hoiberg left for the NBA this past offseason to coach the Chicago Bulls. They return a ton of talent, including All-American Georges Niang, who chose to return for his senior year in hopes of winning a National Title. Oklahoma owns a high-powered offense that will allow them to score with anyone, but the big question mark is whether or not they can defend at the same level. Texas brought in Shaka Smart this offseason in hopes of restoring a Longhorns program that continues to underachieve. The 'Havoc' defense will certainly make them competitive, but whether or not it will lead to enough scoring on the offensive end remains to be seen. Baylor has a ton of talent,