Big 12 preseason power rankings

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

This year, nine teams will make an attempt to shatter a streak that predates the introduction of the first iPhone in 2007. Bill Self has won -- or shared -- 14 consecutive Big 12 championships. This stretch commenced in 2005 and continued when Kansas captured the league title last season.

That's a Division I record, which the Jayhawks hope to extend with the addition of a top-five recruiting class and the arrival of Memphis transfers Dedric Lawson and his brother K.J. Lawson.

But nothing will come without a fight. The best Kansas State team of Bruce Weber's tenure, a squad coming off an Elite Eight run, will battle their rivals for the conference crown. West Virginia, TCU, Texas Tech and Texas could all push the Jayhawks too. Iowa State's Lindell Wigginton leads the conference's most intriguing sleeper.

1. Kansas Jayhawks: Only Kansas could lose the key components of America's best backcourt and enter the following season with a more imposing collection of talent that could help Self capture his second national championship. Dedric Lawson, who averaged 19.2 PPG and 9.9 RPG during the 2016-17 season, could play a point-forward role for a squad that boasts five-star guards Quentin Grimes and Devon Dotson. Kansas looks like a national champion.

2. Kansas State Wildcats: With Dean Wade hampered by a foot injury, Kansas State still managed to run through Kentucky before suffering a loss to streaking Loyola-Chicago in the Elite Eight. Wade (16.2 PPG, 44 percent from the 3-point line) is back, along with every key member of a Kansas State squad that finished 21st in adjusted defensive efficiency on KenPom.com. The Wildcats are Kansas' greatest threat in league play.

3. West Virginia Mountaineers: Life without Jevon Carter, the two-way guard who commanded a swarming West Virginia defense during his four years on campus, could lead to a rocky 2018-19 season. But the return of projected first-round pick Sagaba Konate, a shot-swatting savant who averaged 3.2 blocks per game last season, and forward Esa Ahmad (10.2 PPG, 5.5 RPG) should position to the Mountaineers to enter conference play as a strong team and serious contender in the Big 12.

4. TCU Horned Frogs: Jaylen Fisher returns after missing a 16-game stretch last season because of a knee injury; the Horned Frogs finished 8-8, so it's fair to worry about any lofty projection after the team announced another surgery for the talented young point guard in September, a procedure that could sideline him for up to 10 weeks. If he's healthy, however, he'll guide a TCU team that will count on a collection of critical wings (Alex Robinson, Desmond Bane, Kouat Noi) who could help Jamie Dixon chase a Big 12 title.

5. Texas Tech Red Raiders: After only a handful of seasons as a Division I coach, Chris Beard has showcased an impressive level of consistency. And this season's team, which added South Dakota grad transfer Matt Mooney (18.7 PPG) and St. John's grad transfer Tariq Owens (8.4 PPG, 2.8 BPG), should maintain that pattern in 2018-19 with another powerful crew. Five seniors and first-round pick Zhaire Smith are gone, but wing Jarrett Culver (11.2 PPG, 38 percent from beyond the arc) returns.

6. Texas Longhorns: Shaka Smart faced a multitude of challenges a year ago, with Andrew Jones missing the second half of the season with a leukemia diagnosis and Eric Davis Jr. missing the final six games of the season after he had allegedly received a payment from an FBI agent. And with all that came more pressure to duplicate the success he manufactured as the coaching industry's young star following VCU's run to the Final Four in 2011. This year's Longhorns return four starters from last season's NCAA tournament squad and add another top-10 recruiting class, an assembly capable of a finish in the top third of the league standings.

7. Iowa State Cyclones: This is the Big 12, so seventh is a relative position in a league that has sent 70 percent of its membership to the NCAA tournament in four of the past five seasons. The Cyclones should crack the field if Wigginton, a sophomore who withdrew from the NBA draft after he averaged 16.7 PPG and made 40.1 percent of his 3-point attempts last year, continues to evolve as a pro prospect. Plus, Cameron Lard is healthy and prepared to join Nick Weiler-Babb and top-100 recruit Talen Horton-Tucker to a form a daunting nucleus with vast potential.

8. Baylor Bears: Scott Drew had reached the NCAA tournament in four consecutive seasons before Baylor finished with an NIT berth in 2017-18. But that team entered Selection Sunday in the bubble conversation. Perhaps veteran King McClure (who averaged 8.1 PPG), Yale transfer Makai Mason (who averaged 16.0 PPG for the Bulldogs before foot injuries prematurely ended his 2017-18 campaign) and Mississippi State transfer Mario Kegler (a 6-foot-7 wing who averaged 9.7 PPG during the 2016-17 season) will lead Drew back to the NCAA tournament.

9. Oklahoma Sooners: Before Trae Young's arrival last season, Lon Kruger had an 11-win team that failed to compete in the Big 12. Now that Young is gone, Kruger's squad might struggle to compete in the Big 12. Christian James has a chance to put up all-Big 12 numbers now that he'll carry the bulk of the scoring load.

10. Oklahoma State Cowboys: In his first season as head coach, Mike Boynton's Oklahoma State squad swept Kansas, while also scoring victories over Oklahoma, Florida State, Texas Tech and West Virginia in a 21-win season. With Jeffrey Carroll (15.4 PPG) gone, however, the Cowboys will move forward with Lindy Waters III and multiple newcomers. Last year was full surprises, but this could be difficult rebuilding year.