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Andy Katz | NCAA.com Correspondent | November 1, 2018

College basketball: Big-12 power rankings and preseason NCAA tournament predictions

What squad can prevent Kansas' 15th consecutive Big 12 title?

The Big 12 may not have the depth it had a season ago when nine of the 10 teams believed they had a chance to earn a bid into February, but the chance for multiple Final Four teams exists.

Here are my preseason power rankings:

1. Kansas: Dedric Lawson said via Skype from Big 12 media day Wednesday that he’s embracing the expectations of possibly being a Big 12 player of the year and All-American. He will have to deliver for Kansas to hold off Kansas State. Sure, the Jayhawks have enough talent, but Udoka Azubuike and Lagerald Vick, two key returnees, can’t deliver it for them. Lawson, and Cal transfer Charlie Moore, will need to be the catalysts.

Postseason prediction: NCAA tournament.

2. Kansas State: The Wildcats have their best chance to knock Kansas off their perch since Bruce Weber took over in Manhattan. Dean Wade said Wednesday that this group is ready to take the next step and carry the momentum off the Elite Eight run. The Wildcats have had some doubts early in the season and lacked consistency. That won’t occur this season.

Postseason prediction: NCAA tournament.

Kansas State outlasts Kentucky

3. West Virginia: The Mountaineers should have the top frontcourt in the league and one of the best in the country in Sagaba Konate and Esa Ahmad. If West Virginia can get high-level guard play then the Mountaineers will be set to mount a serious challenge for the top spot.

Postseason prediction: NCAA tournament.

4. TCU: Jamie Dixon has the Horned Frogs primed for not just a return to the NCAA tournament but a chance to win a game. That would continue quite a return for the alumnus. This team needs to get healthy first but once that occurs, look out for TCU to be a thorn in the side of every team in the league.

Postseason prediction: NCAA tournament.

MORE: NCAA tournament streaks that might continue or discontinue this season

5. Iowa State: Lindell Wigginton is one of the hidden gems in the country. He’s a stud. The Cyclones were that one team last season that knew it wasn’t making the field in February. That won’t be an issue this season. Iowa State will be fired up and ready to make a splash early and often.

Postseason prediction: NCAA tournament.

6. Texas: The Longhorns return a core four that could make them a riser in the Big 12. This is a team that could find itself finishing anywhere from 3 to 6. One of the keys will be whether or not they have a rim protector again.

Postseason prediction: NCAA tournament.

7. Texas Tech: The Red Raiders exceeded expectations last season. And then they lost a lot. But expect Jarrett Culver to be a star on the national scene. And I’m sure the Red Raiders will once again be a defensive disruptive force. I wouldn’t be shocked to see Tech making a push for a bid.

Postseason prediction: Bubble.

8. Baylor: The Bears, much like Tech, will be an intriguing team to track. They still may finish this low, but won’t be out of the hunt for a bid. One of the main reasons will be Mississippi State transfer Mario Kegler. Scott Drew will gladly feature him and watch him shine.

Postseason prediction: Bubble.

9. Oklahoma: The Sooners were all in on Trae Young last season and with good reason. He was a volume shooter and now OU must redistribute the shots. Oklahoma may not have a national star, but fans in Norman are already onto the talent of Brady Manek, who will be much more of a headline name.

Postseason prediction: None.

3-pointer by Trae Young

10. Oklahoma State: The Cowboys should have been in the field last season. End of story. But this team lost so much inside and out that it’s hard not to see the Cowboys take a step back in wins. They may improve overall as a program by allowing Mike Boynton to fully put his imprint on the future.

Postseason prediction: None.

OTHER PREDICTIONS: Big Ten | SEC | Pac-12

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