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The Year of the Big 12

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Short and sweet. This could be the Year of Big 12 basketball.

Four conference teams have legitimate shots at winning the NCAA crown: Kansas St., Kansas, Baylor, Missouri. A fifth, Texas, also might be a strong contender if RIck Barnes can get them to mesh as a team and play to their potential.

Jacob Pullen is a front runner for National Player of the Year, and he is accompanied on the Wooden Award Men’s Preseason Top 50 List list by six of his fellow league bretheren.

In the pros, former Texas Longhorn Kevin Durant is everyone's darling, and the runaway preseason MVP candidate after his performance in leading the USA to the FIBA World Championship title. And former Oklahoma Sooner Blake Griffin is listed as either the preseason favorite or runner-up on everyone's NBA Rookie of the Year lists.

So as it sits right now, the Big 12 has at least a decent shot to represent the NCAA champion, the NCAA POY, the NBA MVP and the NBA POY.

Could 2011 go down as the Year of the Big 12? Updates to follow throughout the season.