Looking ahead: Big 12 preview

Jayhawks, Sooners lead early superlatives for 2014-15 season

Updated: April 17, 2014, 8:17 AM ET
By Fran Fraschilla | ESPN Insider

Wayne Selden Jr.AP Photo/Sue OgrockiWayne Selden Jr. and Kansas look to win their 11th consecutive Big 12 title in 2014-15.

The Big 12 might not have been the best league in college basketball last season, but with seven teams making the NCAA tournament, it was arguably the country's most competitive conference. In fact, despite the loss of at least three potential NBA lottery picks in Andrew Wiggins, Marcus Smart and Joel Embiid, the league should be just as strong in 2014-15.

The Big 12 is currently filled with a plethora of outstanding talent (and likely three- and four-year players) such as Kansas' Perry Ellis, Iowa State's Georges Niang, Texas' Jonathan Holmes and Kansas State's Marcus Foster. And while Baylor, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech will likely take a step back, there looks to be a number of teams that could start the season in the Top 25.

Favorite: Kansas Jayhawks

This one is a no-brainer considering that the Jayhawks have won or tied for 10 straight Big 12 titles. The overwhelming home-court advantage of Allen Field House gives Kansas a running start on any season, and having Bill Self headed to a Hall of Fame career as a coach doesn't hurt either. While the Jayhawks will lose two lottery picks in Wiggins and Embiid, incoming freshmen Cliff Alexander and Kelly Oubre will help pick up the slack. Add in returnees Ellis and Jamari Traylor and the frontcourt is loaded. Wayne Selden, Naadir Tharpe and Frank Mason will see most of the time in the backcourt, with Tharpe needing to have a huge senior year.

Fran Fraschilla is a college basketball analyst for ESPN. He formerly was the head coach at Manhattan, St. John's and New Mexico.