The Big 12 features first-year coaches at three schools: TCU, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State. But the men’s basketball race is expected to be won by Kansas for a 13th consecutive season.
The Jayhawks were the unanimous selection as the league’s top team by fellow coaches in a poll released last week. But the pecking order behind that, said Baylor coach Scott Drew, is “a crapshoot.”
Drew, in his 14ths season at Baylor, said he “can’t remember a year more competitive, two through 10” for the teams pursuing the Jayhawks.
“Kansas is a career favorite,” Drew said. “But other than that, it’s a crapshoot. That’s what makes the league so good.”
Oklahoma State coach Brad Underwood, who spent the last three seasons coaching Stephen F. Austin teams that reached the NCAA Tournament, said the competitive nature of the Big 12 drew him to his new job.
“When you’re in the best league in the country and you’re in a league with arguably the best coaches in the country, every single night’s a challenge,” Underwood said. “I look forward to the personal side of that and challenging myself in that capacity.”
TCU’s first-year coach Jamie Dixon, who oversaw a Pitt program that was successful in both the ACC and Big East during his 13 seasons at the school, said it will be unique to him having one clear-cut dominant team to chase in the league race.
“It’s different. There’s no question about it,” Dixon said. “I guess it’s up to the other nine to do something about it.”