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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5. Arizona Wildcats

2023-24 season record: 27-9 (15-5 Pac-12)

In all three years since Coach Tommy Lloyd arrived, Arizona was not only the best team in the Pac-12 but also simply one of the best in the country. But they’ve taken plenty of roster losses this offseason, including four starters. Both Keshad Johnson and Pelle Larsson have gone pro, while Oumar Ballo and Kylan Boswell transferred to the Big Ten Conference.

That leaves Caleb Love, the team’s leading scorer at 18.0 ppg. He’s currently in the NBA Draft process but for now, the expectation is that he’ll be back. The same goes for freshman guard KJ Lewis, who is also testing the waters. Jaden Bradley (7.0 ppg) could be primed for a starting role in the backcourt as well.

The new-look frontcourt has a chance to be just as effective as this past season’s. Trey Townsend was one of the stars of the recent NCAA Tournament, averaging 17.3 ppg and 8.1 rpg overall for Oakland, earning Horizon League POY honors. Tobe Awaka is a 6’8 forward/center transfer from Tennessee, who averaged 15.6 ppg and 14.0 rpg per 40 minutes off the bench in limited time, while also being known for being a good interior defender.

Throw in a top-10 incoming recruiting class that features top-25 wing prospects, Carter Bryant and Joson Sonan, and Arizona might not take much of a step back in the new conference. It might not be as good of a future debut as Houston this past season but the Wildcats are the best bet of the newcomers to contend in the Big 12.