Big 12 Sleeper: Oklahoma State Cowboys

       Oklahoma State isn't the popular pick, no, that honor goes to Baylor or Texas A&M, but the Cowboys have the reigns to their first Big 12 regular season title since 2004. Perennial powerhouses like Kansas and Texas are down due to losing several starters each to graduation and the NBA Draft, including first-round talents like Marcus and Markieff Morris, and Josh Selby for the Jayhawks and Jordan Hamilton and Tristan Thompson for the Longhorns. Contender Kansas State also losses sharpshooter Jacob Pullen and Curtis Kelly down low. Texas A&M lost their coach and not much more, while Baylor lost the conference's all-time leading scorer but returns two of the league's best big men and a top frontcourt recruit as well. But don't count out those Cowboys. They have as much talent as Baylor and Texas A&M, highlighted by returning guards Keiton Page and JP Olukemi and a stellar recruiting class featuring one of the top wings in the country in LeBryan Nash and point guard Cezar Guerrero. 

        Coach Travis Ford has his undersized guard in Page back for his senior season who has been one of the most dangerous threats in the country the past several seasons. Olukemi's and Nash's athleticism and ability to slash through the defense will get Page more open looks and when he is hitting, the lanes will be a bit wider for these penetrators. Nash's size (6'7") and strength (230 pounds) will give him the ability to score both inside and out in a league that lost a lot of its talent this offseason; he's the early favorite to compete with Baylor's Quincy Miller for the top newcomer in the Big 12.

By President Corey Ruff - 6-1-11