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Big 12 Basketball: Top 5 Contenders For 2014-15 Season

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Top 5 Contenders in Big 12 For 2014-15 Season

Big 12 basketball
Denny Medley -- USA TODAY Sports

The action in the Big 12 basketball heated up a year ago as perennial favorites and a few surprises were among the top schools in the league. How will this year's Big 12 stack up? Let's take a look at five teams to watch in this conference.

5. Kansas

Kansas basketball
Jasen Vinlove -- USA TODAY Sports

5. Kansas

Kansas basketball
Jasen Vinlove -- USA TODAY Sports

What would a college basketball season be without action at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence? Kansas was among the top schools in the country thanks to departed stars Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid. Recruits Cliff Alexander and Kelly Oubre should keep Kansas at or near the top of the Big 12 this season.

4. Oklahoma

Oklahoma basketball
Kirby Lee -- USA TODAY Sports

4. Oklahoma

Oklahoma basketball
Kirby Lee -- USA TODAY Sports

The center of basketball in this state should be in Norman this season, as Marcus Smart's departure will likely send Oklahoma State tumbling to the middle of the pack. The Sooners were runner-up to Kansas in the Big 12 and might have made a long NCAA run if it hadn't been for North Dakota State. Look for Oklahoma to shine once again.

3. Iowa State

Iowa State basketball
Robert Deutsch -- USA TODAY Sports

3. Iowa State

Iowa State basketball
Robert Deutsch -- USA TODAY Sports

Although the Cyclones tied for third in the Big 12, they did damage in the postseason. Iowa State won the Big 12 tournament and lost to eventual champion Connecticut in the NCAA Sweet 16. Georges Niang and Dustin Hogue are back with the Cyclones this season and should help offset the loss of stars like Melvin Ejim and DeAndre Kane.

2. Baylor

Baylor basketball
Soobum Im -- USA TODAY Sports

2. Baylor

Baylor basketball
Soobum Im -- USA TODAY Sports

The Bears finished 9-9 in the Big 12 a year ago but went 26-12 overall and fell to Wisconsin in the NCAA tournament. Still, everyone remembers the Bears demolishing Creighton by 30 points in the tourney, and Baylor could be among the teams to watch once again if everything comes together like it should.

1. Texas

Texas basketball
Jeff Hanisch -- USA TODAY Sports

1. Texas

Texas basketball
Jeff Hanisch -- USA TODAY Sports

The Longhorns lost to Michigan in last year's NCAA tournament but retained Jonathan Holmes and Isaiah Taylor, the two top scorers from a year ago. Javan Felix and Cameron Ridley are also back, and this means the Longhorns could be a strong contender in the Big 12 if everything works out right.