ESPN's Andy Katz unveils his preseason top 25. Four Big 12 schools make the list.
4. Baylor: Putting Baylor this high puts a lot on the shoulders of incoming freshman Perry Jones. Let's see if he lives up to the hype of being not just better than Ekpe Udoh, but the best big man in the country. The Bears also lost Tweety Carter, but return LaceDarius Dunn and can legitimately claim to be the team to beat in the Big 12. I'm sure this pick will get criticized, but let's not forget the Bears were an Elite Eight team that lost to the eventual national champion. This squad hasn't had to deal with being the target, however, so let's see how it handled this kind of prognostication.
5. Kansas State: I really could have flipped Kansas State and Baylor, and maybe I should have with Denis Clemente being the Wildcats' only major loss. Jacob Pullen will need to find a partner on the perimeter as proficient as Clemente, but the role players on the Wildcats like Jamar Samuels, Dominique Sutton and Curtis Kelly continue to improve and the depth will be hard to match. This is certainly a Final Four contender.
14. Missouri: The Tigers return guards Kim English and Marcus Denmon, Justin Safford is back from a knee injury and Mike Anderson has his most-celebrated recruiting class coming on board. Forward Tony Mitchell and point guard Phil Pressey will be impact players as freshmen. Missouri should be able to play even more of Anderson's fastest 40 minutes in basketball and having a healthy Safford will give the Tigers a staple in the post. Anderson got to the Elite Eight two seasons ago, made it back to the NCAAs last season, snubbed Oregon and is now putting a program together that should be near the top of the Big 12.
16. Kansas: The Jayhawks actually might be a bit too low here if they develop the way they should throughout the season. Gone is the leader of this squad in Sherron Collins, the primary post in Cole Aldrich and the X factor on the wing in Xavier Henry. But KU does bring back rising stars in Marcus Morris and Tyshawn Taylor, and Markieff Morris, Brady Morningstar, Tyrel Reed, Thomas Robinson and Elijah Johnson will see their minutes increase as well as their production. Getting top-flight point guard Josh Selby to run this squad was a must. Kansas had to land a marquee player in the spring to maintain relevance at the national level and it did just that. If Selby delivers, the Jayhawks will be in the mix with everyone else in the Big 12.