Big 12 Basketball: 5 Way-Too-Early Bold Predictions for 2021-22
Now that confetti is falling after the 2021 national title game, let’s make some predictions about the 2021-22 Big 12 men’s basketball season.
It’s always risky to make bold predictions immediately upon the conclusion of a season because there are many important factors that are liable to change. The coaching carousel is always spinning — see the hire of Porter Moser at OU and Chris Beard at Texas — and the transfer portal will be humming with activity for players joining and leaving Big 12 schools.
Injuries, too, can strike at the most inopportune time and underclassmen can decide to test the NBA Draft waters.
With all these caveats in mind, here are five bold predictions about the upcoming 2021-22 Big 12 men’s basketball season:
1. Baylor will not repeat as conference champion
Baylor ran roughshod over the Big 12 in 2020-21 for the second season in a row, suffering only one regular-season loss before a loss in the conference tourney semifinals to Oklahoma State. During the past two seasons, the Bears have compiled 28-5 record against league opponents — remarkable for a conference with as many ranked opponents as the Big 12.
But here’s a way-too-early change for next season: the Bears will not take home the conference regular-season crown.
Kansas will be as deep as ever with the newly “lifetime” contract signing of head coach Bill Self. West Virginia figures to return key pieces to its frenetic squad and is always dangerous under Bob Huggins. And with some orange-tinted glasses, Mike Boynton has dramatically improved OSU’s roster over the past three seasons — and these Cowboys now have crucial postseason experience.
Baylor will lose several players from this year’s squad, most notably senior guard MaCio Teague. Additionally, guard Davion Mitchell is projected to be a first-round draft pick this summer. The Bears will still be good, but look for someone else to win the Big 12 title.