2022-23 College Basketball Conference Preview: Big 12 Fantasy Outlook

2022-23 College Basketball Conference Preview: Big 12 Fantasy Outlook

This article is part of our Conference Preview series.

After having just one National Championship over the previous 32 years, a Big 12 team has now cut down the nets in each of the last two seasons. Baylor was able to absolutely dominate the tournament en route to their 2021 title, and Kansas followed it up in 2022 by showing resiliency in multiple games to get coach Bill Self that elusive second championship. Both teams will look vastly different going into this 2022-23 campaign, but both are the most likely teams from the Big 12 to challenge for another national title.

The Jayhawks biggest losses include an elite scorer in Ochai Agbaji, big-man in the middle David McCormack, versatile wing Christian Braun and sixth-man Remy Martin, who was very clutch in the tournament. While that is a lot of talent to replace, Bill Self is no stranger to having to completely revamp a roster. Lucky for him, there are some strong players that he can rely on to make an impact right out of the gate. The key returners will be Jalen Wilson, who is in position to make a run at Big 12 Player of the Year, and a defensive-minded, pass-first point guard Dajuan Harris. Self was able to work some magic in the transfer portal to pry away do-it-all forward Kevin McCullar away from Texas Tech. Those three provide a ton of big-game experience and should make up the core of this Kansas team. They will be energized by three highly touted freshman in Gradey

After having just one National Championship over the previous 32 years, a Big 12 team has now cut down the nets in each of the last two seasons. Baylor was able to absolutely dominate the tournament en route to their 2021 title, and Kansas followed it up in 2022 by showing resiliency in multiple games to get coach Bill Self that elusive second championship. Both teams will look vastly different going into this 2022-23 campaign, but both are the most likely teams from the Big 12 to challenge for another national title.

The Jayhawks biggest losses include an elite scorer in Ochai Agbaji, big-man in the middle David McCormack, versatile wing Christian Braun and sixth-man Remy Martin, who was very clutch in the tournament. While that is a lot of talent to replace, Bill Self is no stranger to having to completely revamp a roster. Lucky for him, there are some strong players that he can rely on to make an impact right out of the gate. The key returners will be Jalen Wilson, who is in position to make a run at Big 12 Player of the Year, and a defensive-minded, pass-first point guard Dajuan Harris. Self was able to work some magic in the transfer portal to pry away do-it-all forward Kevin McCullar away from Texas Tech. Those three provide a ton of big-game experience and should make up the core of this Kansas team. They will be energized by three highly touted freshman in Gradey Dick, M.J. Rice, and Ernest Udeh, all of which will have a chance to contribute in a big way.

Baylor is in a similar position as Kansas going into the new season. They will have to deal with losses of senior starters James Akinjo and Matthew Mayer, as well as one-and-dones Kendall Brown and Jeremy Sochan. All four were key contributors in Baylor earning a share of a second-straight Big 12 Regular Season title and a second-straight No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Fortunately for coach Scott Drew, he will be able to lean on another strong collection of guards. It starts with Adam Flagler who is now in his third season with the Bears and averaged nearly 14 points per game last year. LJ Cryer was perhaps the best sixth man in all of college basketball last season before a foot injury brought his campaign to an end. He will be healthy going into this season and has a chance to lead the conference in triples. They will be joined by Keyonte George, who is the highest ranked recruit in the Big 12 in the class of 2022, and Langston Love, who was one of the highest ranked recruits in the class of 2021 before he tore his ACL prior to the start of the season. Add in a frontcourt with the likes of West Virginia transfer Jalen Bridges and BYU transfer Caleb Lohner to go along with senior Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua and super senior Flo Thamba, and it's easy to see why the Bears are favorites of many to win the Big 12 again.

While Kansas and Baylor appear to be the two frontrunners to challenge for the conference title, the two teams that appear to be just behind them will not make things easy at all. You'd have to start with Texas, which will be in the second year of the Chris Beard era. The first was a pretty up-and-down one that ended in a second-round loss to Purdue in the NCAA Tournament. The Longhorns will feature a pretty old roster led by super seniors Timmy Allen, Marcus Carr, and Christian Bishop. They will get an injection of energy with the additions of a top-10 ranked freshman in Dillon Mitchell and last year's Big 12 Freshman of the Year Tyrese Hunter, who transfers in from Iowa State. No team in the conference will come anywhere close to returning what TCU will, however. The Horned Frogs nearly pulled the upset of top seed Arizona in the second round of the NCAA Tournament last season and will bring back all five starters in 2022-23. Point guard Mike Miles has an outside chance for Big 12 POY after averaging 13.6 PPG and 15.4 PPG in his first two seasons with TCU. Center Eddie Lampkin proved to be one of the toughest players to box out in the country as a freshman, as the Horned Frogs led the nation in offensive rebound percentage. Add a former five-star recruit in Rondel Walker that transfers in after two seasons with Oklahoma State, and there is a lot to work with for coach Jamie Dixon.

Texas Tech and Oklahoma round out that next tier of teams in the conference that you would expect to get an NCAA Tournament bid. Both teams feature a ton of roster turnover, however, and it will likely take some time for coaches Mark Adams and Porter Moser to get their teams where they want them. Texas Tech gains the services of De'Vion Harmon (Oregon), Fardaws Aimaq (Utah Valley), Kerwin Walton (UNC), and Jaylon Tyson (Texas), all of whom could start for the Red Raiders in 2022-23 alongside returning forward Kevin Obanor, who had a solid first year with the team after a strong start to his career with Oral Roberts. Oklahoma, on the other hand, picked up what may well be looked at as the best transfer in the conference this offseason in Grant Sherfield who averaged 19.1 PPG and 6.4 APG last season with Nevada. Add in a sharpshooter in George Washington transfer Joe Bamisile to go along with returning starters in the frontcourt in Jalen Hill and Tanner Groves, and the Sooners could be a surprise team in the Big 12 after just missing out on the tournament last season.

Kansas State appears destined for last place. Bruce Weber is out after three straight seasons of leading the Wildcats to a 9th-or-worse finish in the Big 12 following earning a share of the regular season title back in the 2018-19 campaign. Jerome Tang is the new man in charge in Manhattan as he comes over after spending 19 seasons as an assistant with Baylor. He will be able to rebuild this team back to a contender in the conference over the coming years, but there's just not enough talent to compete in 2022-23. That being said, point guard Markquis Nowell has the potential to be one of the best fantasy assets in the conference for his strong contributions across multiple categories.

The three teams not yet mentioned are all pretty interchangeable. Iowa State is coming off a surprising Sweet Sixteen run under new coach T.J. Otzelberger, but it will lose a ton of production with the departures of Izaiah Brockington and Tyrese Hunter. A pair of St. Bonaventure transfers in Jaren Holmes and Osun Osunniyi will be able to fill some of the void, but this is going to be a very short rotation and any injuries would be devastating to their chances of making a run back to the Big Dance. Oklahoma State will be looking to bounce back following their highly-controversial postseason ban last season. The Cowboys will lose the services of a couple key rotational pieces in Isaac Likekele, Bryce Williams, and Rondel Walker, but they are still going to return four starters in Avery Anderson, Bryce Thompson, Tyreek Smith, and Moussa Cisse. John-Michael Wright is the team's top transfer who will likely start at point guard after averaging at least 18 PPG in each of the last two seasons at High Point. Lastly, we have a new-look West Virginia team who won just four conference games last season. The Mountaineers lost six of their top seven scorers from last year, led by Taz Sherman (17.7 PPG) and Sean McNeil (12.2 PPG). They retool with a big get in the transfer portal in Tre Mitchell, who started at center for much of last season for Texas. Iowa transfer Joe Toussaint and South Carolina transfer Erik Stevenson should take over a lot of the ball-handling duties, while Emmitt Matthews rejoins the Mountaineers after leaving Morgantown for one season with Washington. He should provide a mismatch in the frontcourt.

The Big 12 has had six or seven teams in the NCAA Tournament in every season since the 2012-13 campaign. With a lot of solid returning talent and a ton of interesting transfers coming in, I would be surprised if that streak didn't continue this season. On paper, Baylor appears to have the highest upside in the conference to reach the Final Four, but Kansas, Texas, and TCU all have the rosters and coaches to make a deep run in the tournament as well.

Top Players

Overall: Jalen Wilson, F, Kansas

Over much of the last decade, we've seen Kansas players like Frank Mason III, Devonte' Graham, Udoka Azubuike and Ochai Agbaji go from good player to Big 12 Player of the Year in one offseason. That is the kind of leap that Jalen Wilson is fully capable of doing and ultimately improving his draft stock. The last two seasons have seen Wilson average just north of 11 PPG and 7 RPG, but with Agbaji, David McCormack, Christian Braun and Remy Martin gone, that leaves a ton of offensive production and rebounding that will need to be absorbed. With a strong, 6-foot-8 body and the ability to handle the ball well, Wilson can be one of the most versatile players in the conference. He will likely see a lot of time at the five, but also get the opportunity to run the offense, which will make him a matchup nightmare for a lot of coaches. The final key for Wilson reaching his full potential will be knocking down the outside shot. He only shot 26 percent from deep last season, which was down from 33 percent as a redshirt freshman. There's been too many instances over Bill Self's tenure that players have come in as questionable shooters and left with it being a strength of their game, and I wouldn't expect anything different from Wilson.

Also Considered: Osun Osunniyi (ISU), Grant Sherfield (OU), Mike Miles (TCU), Marquis Nowell (KSU)

Scoring: Mike Miles, G, TCU

Miles is the definition of a bucket. You need a score, he'll find a way to get one. After some consideration, Miles decided to return to TCU after testing the draft waters. That instantly put the Horned Frogs back in the mix as a top-20 team in the country. Miles surprised many as a freshman when he averaged 13.6 PPG, but ramped that up to 15.4 PPG last year as a sophomore. The one knock on him is that his efficiency went down a bit last season, but Miles has the ability to average closer to 18 PPG if he can shoot in the upper 30 percent range from deep like he did as a freshman. There are others on this TCU team who are good players like Damion Baugh, Emanuel Miller, Charles O'Bannon and Eddie Lampkin, but none of those players can be relied upon to consistently score. Miles should see around 15 shots per game, which will certainly help fantasy managers in the scoring category.

Also Considered: LJ Cryer (BAY), Grant Sherfield (OU), Adam Flagler (BAY), Avery Anderson (OKST)

Rebounding: Fardaws Aimaq, C, Texas Tech

Only Oscar Tshiebwe pulled down more rebounds on a per-game basis last season than Aimaq. The 6-11 senior was a huge addition for coach Mark Adams in the offseason after losing forwards Bryson Williams, Terrence Shannon, Kevin McCullar and Marcus Santos-Silva. He will be able to step in right away as the big man in the middle for the Red Raiders and let Kevin Obanor slide out to the perimeter and take advantage of his shooting ability at the four. Going from the WAC to the Big 12 will certainly be a big adjustment, but Aimaq still has an excellent chance to lead the conference in rebounding and post a lot of double-doubles. That would certainly go a long way to boosting Aimaq's draft stock after he was extremely close to staying in the draft after last season.

Also Considered: Jalen Wilson (KU), Osun Osunniyi (ISU), Eddie Lampkin (TCU), Moussa Cisse (OKST)

Assists: Markquis Nowell, G, Kansas State

In three seasons at Arkansas-Little Rock, Nowell saw his assists climb from 4.2 to 4.9 to 6.0 per game. He showed that he could handle playing against better competition last season in his first year with Kansas State by averaging 5.0 assists per game, trailing only James Akinjo for most APG in the Big 12. With Nijel Pack now out of the fold, Nowell will be handling the ball even more for the Wildcats and should see those assist numbers rise yet again. Nowell should be able to help owners with big contributions in other categories like steals and three-pointers, as well.

Also Considered: Dajuan Harris (KU), Grant Sherfield (OU), Tyrese Hunter (TEX), Damion Baugh (TCU)

Center: Osun Osunniyi, C, Iowa State

Osunniyi had one of the best careers in the history of the St. Bonaventure basketball program. He was a four-year starter who averaged north of 7.5 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game in every season. He could have tested his luck in the NBA Draft, but ultimately decided to transfer to a power conference to try to boost his stock. Osunniyi will go into a perfect situation as the clear cut primary big on a roster that lacks a lot of size. The 6-10 center will be able to feast on the glass and operate with plenty of space on the offensive end, as starting power forward Aljaz Kunc prefers to be out on the perimeter. Osunniyi will also have a familiar point man in Jaren Holmes who comes over from St. Bonaventure as well.

Also Considered: Tanner Groves (OU), Moussa Cisse (OKST), Fardaws Aimaq (TTU), Tre Mitchell (WVU)

Freshman: Keyonte George, G, Baylor

George dominated this summer in the Global Jam for Baylor. He put up 30-plus points on multiple occasions, because this freshman just knows how to score with ease. George can get a bucket from all three levels on the court. He has the quickness to get all the way to the rim, the body control to pull up from anywhere and a smooth stroke on the catch-and-shoot from deep range. George has the potential to lead a Baylor team in scoring that features two already-proven scoring guards in Adam Flagler and LJ Cryer. Stopping that three-headed monster will be a nightmare for any team.

Also Considered: Gradey Dick (KU), Otega Oweh (OU), Dillon Mitchell (TEX), Elijah Fisher (TTU)

Sleepers

Tre Mitchell, C, West Virginia

Mitchell was one of the sneakiest gets in the transfer portal. In his first two seasons he was a star at UMass where he averaged 18.8 points, 7.2 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.5 blocks, 1.3 steals and 1.2 three-pointers as a sophomore while shooting 52 percent from the floor and 38 from behind the arc. Mitchell then took his talents to Texas, where he became one of the best players in a very crowded frontcourt. He ended up leaving the team due to personal reasons in February, but is now ready to show what he can do once again. Mitchell is going to have to play a lot of minutes for coach Bob Huggins in what looks like one of his shortest rotations. Emmitt Matthews will be his main frontcourt partner, but he is more of a perimeter forward and shouldn't challenge Mitchell's rebounding numbers too much. Mitchell should provide owners help in the defensive stats with the plus of being a center eligible player that can knock down the outside shot.

Elijah Fisher, F, Texas Tech

Fisher was one of the top recruits in the 2023 class, but reclassified to 2022 to join Texas Tech a year early. He is one of the highest upside players in the Big 12 and may very well be the best pure athlete. Fisher is from Canada, and this past February, set an Ontario Scholastic Basketball Association record by scoring 74 points. The 6-7 forward is just the type of player coach Mark Adams thrived with last year. He's got long arms and excels at being active in passing lanes and turning defense into offense. Fisher will have ample opportunity to produce with key departures of Kevin McCullar and Terrence Shannon, both of whom play the same position.

Moussa Cisse, C, Oklahoma State

Cisse posted very similar numbers as a sophomore with Oklahoma State last year as he did as a freshman with Memphis. What has me excited is how he ended last season, averaging 10.1 points, 9.9 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game while shooting 64 percent from the floor. Blocks are one of the hardest stats to get consistent production with, and Cisse and Osun Osunniyi are likely the only two players in the Big 12 that will average north of two rejections per contest. Cisse had five double-doubles last season as well, and with no other real additions to the Oklahoma State frontcourt, that number could easily reach double digits this season.

Also Considered: Gabe Kalscheur (ISU), Desi Sills (KSU), Bryce Thompson (OKST), Erik Stevenson (WVU)

Transfers

Kevin McCullar, F, Kansas

McCullar has been one of the most versatile players in the Big 12 for the last three years. He's a 6-6 forward who can handle the ball and facilitate the offense, as well as being able to defend and box out opposing bigs in the post. His arrival to Lawrence immediately gives Bill Self someone to trust in crunch time alongside Jalen Wilson and Dajuan Harris, but the rest of the roster is relatively unproven. It would be shocking given the opportunity if McCullar did not set career highs in scoring and three-pointers. He'll also be amongst the best in the conference in the steals department and should see a jump in rebounding, as I imagine we'll see a lot of McCullar-Wilson frontcourts alongside a three-guard lineup that will make Kansas incredibly tough to match up with.

Grant Sherfield, G, Oklahoma

Sherfield started his career with Wichita State as a solid glue guy, but absolutely took off when he transferred to Nevada for the 2020-21 season. He averaged 18.6 points, 6.1 assists, 3.7 rebounds, 1.8 three-pointers and 1.6 steals per contest while shooting a career-high 37 percent from deep. Last season, Sherfield upped his averages to 19.1 PPG and 6.4 APG and will now look to prove he can do it in the most competitive conference in America. It will be a new-look backcourt this season for coach Porter Moser after the departures of Jordan Goldwire, Umoja Gibson, Marvin Johnson and Elijah Harkless. Sherfield will absorb a large chunk of that scoring production and will have a lot of good shooting options around him, in particular George Washington transfer Joe Bamisile. The two-man game between Sherfield and center Tanner Groves will be a serious weapon for the Sooners, with both players able to knock down shots from the outside and have the craftiness to finish on the interior.

Jaren Holmes, G, Iowa State

Speaking of two-man games, Holmes and Osun Osunniyi have been doing that for years with St. Bonaventure. Now the duo makes the move together to an Iowa State team coming off a Sweet Sixteen appearance. Holmes is a big-body guard who averaged 13.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.1 steals and 1.0 three-pointers per contest last season. His shooting numbers were actually down last season, but he is fully capable of returning to being a high 30 percent three-point shooter like he showed in his first two years. Holmes will effectively take the place of Big 12 Freshman of the Year Tyrese Hunter, who moved on to Texas. It will be his show for the most part on offense and he will have a lot of good shooters around him, such as Gabe Kalscheur, Caleb Grill and Aljaz Kunc.  

Also Considered: Tyrese Hunter (TEX), Joe Bamisile (OU), John-Michael Wright (OKST), De'Vion Harman (TTU)

Top-10 Players*

1. Jalen Wilson, F,  Kansas
2. Osun Osunniyi, C, Iowa State
3. Grant Sherfield, G, Oklahoma
4. Mike Miles, G, TCU
5. Markquis Nowell, G, Kansas State
6. Kevin McCullar, F, Kansas
7. Adam Flagler, G, Baylor
8. Fardaws Aimaq, C, Texas Tech
9. Damion Baugh, G, TCU
10. Jaren Holmes, G, Iowa State

*Note: These rankings are at the discretion of the article author, and may not necessarily correspond with RotoWire's official 2022-23 player rankings.

Projected Team Standings

1. Baylor
2. Kansas
3. Texas
4. TCU
5. Texas Tech
6. Oklahoma
7. Iowa State
8. Oklahoma State
9. West Virginia
10. Kansas State

Projected Team Rotations

First NameLast NameSchoolPosition
LJCryerBaylorG
KeyonteGeorgeBaylorG
JalenBridgesBaylorF
JonathanTchamwa TchatchouaBaylorF
AdamFlaglerBaylorG
CalebLohnerBaylorF
LangstonLoveBaylorG
FloThambaBaylorC
JarenHolmesIowa StateG
JeremiahWilliamsIowa StateG
AljazKuncIowa StateF
GabeKalscheurIowa StateG
OsunOsunniyiIowa StateC
RobertJonesIowa StateF
CalebGrillIowa StateG
DemarionWatsonIowa StateF
DajuanHarrisKansasG
JalenWilsonKansasF
JosephYesufuKansasG
KevinMcCullarKansasF
ZachClemenceKansasF
GradyDickKansasF
M.J.RiceKansasF
ErnestUdehKansasC
DesiSillsKansas StateG
CamCarterKansas StateG
Nae'QuanTomlinKansas StateF
TajManningKansas StateF
IsmaelMassoudKansas StateF
DavidN'GuessanKansas StateF
MarkquisNowellKansas StateG
JerrellColbertKansas StateC
GrantSherfieldOklahomaG
JoeBamisileOklahomaG
JacobGrovesOklahomaF
TannerGrovesOklahomaC
SamGodwinOklahomaF
JalenHillOklahomaF
C.J.NolandOklahomaG
MilosUzanOklahomaG
OtegaOwehOklahomaG
John-MichaelWrightOklahoma StateG
AveryAndersonOklahoma StateG
QuionWilliamsOklahoma StateG
KalibBooneOklahoma StateF
CalebAsberryOklahoma StateG
BryceThompsonOklahoma StateG
MoussaCisseOklahoma StateC
TyreekSmithOklahoma StateF
MikeMilesTCUG
DamionBaughTCUG
RondelWalkerTCUG
EddieLampkinTCUC
MicahPeavyTCUF
CharlesO'Bannon Jr.TCUG/F
EmanuelMillerTCUF
MaxwellEvansTCUG
MarcusCarrTexasG
TyreseHunterTexasG
DillonMitchellTexasF
TimmyAllenTexasF
Sir'JabariRiceTexasG
ChristianBishopTexasF
DylanDisuTexasF
ArterioMorrisTexasG
De'VionHarmonTexas TechG
ElijahFisherTexas TechF
JaylonTysonTexas TechF
FardawsAimaqTexas TechC
KerwinWaltonTexas TechG/F
DanielBatchoTexas TechC
KevinObanorTexas TechF
RichardIsaacsTexas TechG
JoeToussaintWest VirginiaG
ErikStevensonWest VirginiaG
PaulyPaulicapWest VirginiaF
EmmittMatthewsWest VirginiaF
TreMitchellWest VirginiaF
JimmyBellWest VirginiaC
KobeJohnsonWest VirginiaG
KedrianJohnsonWest VirginiaG

Other College Basketball Resources:

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ryan  Andrade
Ryan has covered golf and college basketball for RotoWire since 2016. He has also written articles for ProGolfNow.com.
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