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Big 12 Preview: Baylor expected to maintain its reign as the conference’s top team

The Lady Bears look to repeat their perfect conference record from the 2017-18 season.

NCAA Womens Basketball: Big 12 Conference Tournament
Baylor senior Kalani Brown was voted as the Big 12 Preseason Player of the Year for the second year in a row and figures to make an even larger impact on the Lady Bears this season.
Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports

The Big 12 is a competitive conference on the rise. With four teams taking a trip to the big dance in the 2017-18 season, the intensity in this conference is turning up! Along with consistent top conference contenders in Baylor and Texas, West Virginia was a preseason pick to make waves this season and move up the rankings. It should be exciting to watch with predictions of Baylor and Texas being equipped with talented arsenals heading into the 2018-19 season.

Teams in the Big 12 Conference

Here are the teams in the Big 12 conference listed with their records, according to the 2017-18 standings:

1. Baylor Lady Bears, 33-2 (18-0)

2. Texas Longhorns, 28-7 (15-3)

3. Oklahoma State Cowgirls, 21-11 (11-7)

4. Oklahoma Sooners, 16-15 (11-7)

5. Texas Christian University (TCU) Horned Frogs, 23-13 (9-9)

6. West Virginia Mountaineers, 25-12 (8-10)

7. Kansas State Wildcats, 18-16 (7-11)

8. Iowa State Cyclones, 14-17 (7-11)

9. Kansas Jayhawks, 12-18 (3-15)

10. Texas Tech Red Raiders, 7-23 (1-17)

Baylor tapped in preseason polls as the favorite for the eighth time in conference history

The Baylor Lady Bears were selected by the Big 12 head coaches to win the conference this season, winning eight of ten first-place votes. Baylor’s Kalani Brown was voted as the Preseason Player of the Year for the second time in row and is expected to take the Lady Bears all the way once more. In the 2017-18 season, Brown, the six-foot-five center, averaged 20.1 points and 10.2 rebounds per game and shot an impressive 65 percent from the field to lead the conference champs. Baylor also has high expectations of freshman forward NaLyssa Smith, who was voted Preseason Co-Freshman of the Year.

Game information

Season openers

TCU Horned Frogs vs. Duquesne Dukes

When: Tuesday, Nov. 6 at 1 p.m. ET

Where: Schollmaier Arena, Fort Worth, Texas

How to listen: TCU Sports Network

Why to watch: With the Dukes being last year’s second-place team in the Atlantic 10 and the Horned Frogs being picked as preseason No. 4 in the Big 12, this game should be a preview of how top talent in a power conference and a mid-major conference in women’s hoops match up. These pre-conference games are important to reference when putting together an NCAA bracket in March.

Langston University Lions vs. Baylor Lady Bears

When: Friday, Oct. 26 at 8 p.m. ET

Where: Ferrell Center, Waco, Texas

How to listen: Baylor IMG Sports Network

Why to watch: While this early home game is an exhibition for the Lady Bears, as Langston plays in the NAIA, it will be a good opportunity to see different players getting some time on the court and playing together for the first time.

Notable contests

Baylor Lady Bears at South Carolina Gamecocks

When: Sunday, Dec. 2 at 7 p.m. ET

Where: Colonial Life Arena, Columbia, SC

How to watch: ESPN2

Why to watch: This will be a game you won’t want to miss as the Big 12/SEC Challenge game with the preseason No. 1 in both conferences match up. South Carolina is predicted to be a contending team again this year with competitive returners in second team All-SEC junior point guard Tyasha Harris and senior forward Alexis Jennings.

Kansas State Wildcats at Iowa State Cyclones

When: Wednesday, Jan. 2 at 7:30 p.m. ET

Where: Hilton Coliseum, Ames, Iowa

How to watch: Cyclones.TV

Why to watch: This will be the first taste of conference play for these teams. Starting right in the beginning of the new year, this game will set the stage for the rest of the Big 12 season.

Texas Longhorns at Baylor Lady Bears

When: Monday, Feb. 4 at 7 p.m. ET

Where: Frank C. Erwin, Jr. Special Events Center, Austin, Texas

How to watch: ESPN2

Why to watch: The top two teams in the Big 12, boasting the most returning and new talent in the conference, should be a fun matchup to watch. Baylor will have to prove to Texas why they are the eight-time preseason pick for conference champs in order to pick up state bragging rights this year. These teams face off once again in Waco on February 25 — same time, but on FS1.

Conference website: www.big12sports.com