As a new basketball season begins in the Big 12, every team enters the year with the belief that they can produce a winning record and make it to the NCAA tournament. Here are five teams to watch that will play TCU:
The Baylor Bears:
After coming up short in the NCAA Championship game a year ago, the Bears will try to repeat their successes from a year ago in which they went 34-2 overall, and 18-0 in the Big 12. Of course, the success the Bears found the last few years could not have been made possible without the contribution of now WNBA superstar Brittney Griner. On pace to become arguably the best female basketball player of all time, Griner averaged nearly 24 points per game in 2012, an incredible stat and one that speaks volumes to her talent and impact on the court. In addition to the departure of Griner, the Bears will lose a total of four starters going into 2013, the only returning starter being senior center Odyssey Sims, who averaged 12.9 points per game in 2012. The USA Today Coaches polls have Baylor ranked at number 10. Returning letter winners Alexis Prince and Makenzie Robertson will have to step up and produce for Baylor to win its sixth Big 12 title.
The Oklahoma Sooners
The Sooners finished the 2012 season tied for third in the Big 12, ending with a record of 24-11 overall, 11-7 in Big 12 competition. Unlike Baylor, however, the Sooners will return four of five starters. Senior center Nicole Griffin anchors the returning core of Oklahoma players in 2013, as she looks to build on her successes from 2012 in which she averaged 11.1 points per game. Head coach Sherri Coale returns for her 18th season in charge of the Sooners. The Sooners begin the 2013 season ranked 14th in the USA Today’s Coaches poll and were picked to win the Big 12.
The Iowa State Cyclones will return three starters in 2013, following a 2012 season that saw them finish second in the Big 12 with a record of 24-9. Senior Hallie Christofferson headlines an Iowa State team loaded with talent and potential in 2013. In 2012, Christofferson led the Cyclones in points with 551 on the season, averaging 15.6 points per game. That sort of production from one player is invaluable and Christofferson was instrumental in Iowa State’s incredibly successful season in 2012. After a second round exit from the NCAA tournament a year ago, Iowa State will try to get back to winning ways in 2013.
Following a disappointing season where Kansas finished seventh in the Big 12, the Jayhawks will be looking to bounce back in 2013. The Jayhawks return just two starters from a season ago, and will have to cope with the loss of their leading scorer Carolyn Davis who averaged 15.8 points per game. Home to one of the most successful men’s basketball program in the Big 12, Kansas maintains a strong basketball tradition that spawns across decades.
Oklahoma State Cowgirls:
The 21st ranked Oklahoma State Cowgirls finished in fifth place in the Big 12 a year ago. With the return of four starters in 2013, the Cowgirls start the season on the national watch list. The second leading scorer in 2012, Liz Donohoe returns for her junior season and looks to build upon a successful sophomore campaign in which she averaged 15 points per game. After posting a 13-3 record at home in 2012, the Cowgirls will be looking to maintain that home court advantage in 2013.