Busting Brackets

Big 12 Basketball: Way-too-early power rankings for 2024-25 season

Illinois v Iowa State
Illinois v Iowa State / Michael Reaves/GettyImages
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6. Cincinnati Bearcats

2023-24 season record: 22-15 (7-11 Big 12)

Like UCF, the Bearcats made a solid first-year transition to the Big 12, winning 20+ games and making a run in the NIT Tournament. And unlike most teams on this list, this one can actually build off of it for the following year. That’s because right now, the Bearcats return five of the top seven individual scorers from the past season.

The main roster departures John Newman, Jamile Reynolds, and Viktor Lakhin. The frontcourt took the biggest hit but they do bring back Aziz Bandaogo, who’ll be available for all of next season. One of the two transfer additions is Arrinten Page, a former four-star prospect and transfer from USC, with three years of eligibility left.

The backcourt largely stays intact, returning all three double-digit scorers. 6’6 guards Daniel Skillings and Simas Lukosius return, along with point guard, Day Day Thomas. Jizzle James (8.8 ppg) is a potential breakout candidate to watch as he heads into his sophomore campaign. 

Add Bradley transfer Connor Hickman (14.5 ppg on 40% 3PT) and you have plenty of shooting/scoring depth on the outside. Cincinnati can play small-ball with four-guard lineups to create some mismatches and create their own offensive advantages next season.