By Stephanie Kuzydym

NORMAN — Teams from around the league agreed that the Big 12 is a solid basketball conference.

Texas Tech coach Chris Walker said he could see five or six teams making it into the NCAA Tournament.

During the weekly coaches call, which was before any Monday games were played, Kansas ranked first in the conference, then Kansas State and then a cluster of teams — including Oklahoma and Oklahoma State — were all with three Big 12 losses at third.

With so many freshmen, Kansas State coach Bruce Weber said he thinks some people thought this would be a rebuilding year, but with the surges from Oklahoma State's Marcus Smart, Baylor's Isaiah Austin and Kansas' Ben McLemore, Weber said that's clearly not the case.

“It's going to be a very competitive second half of the season,” Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg said.

It will all come down to who can win at home and steal victories on the road — and who will make it to March.

“When the league prospers, everyone prospers,” Walker said.


The mention of Oklahoma State got a lot of coaches talking.

Both Smart and Markel Brown received high praise from coaches such as Hoiberg and Baylor coach Scott Drew.

“Markel's one of those players that when he gets going it's really hard to stop them,” Drew said.