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Wiggins is the headliner of a freshman class at Kansas that includes five-star prospects Wayne Selden and Joel Embiid, all of whom have the potential to turn pro after this season. Selden is a physical, 6-foot-5 guard whom coach Bill Self said has been in the best player in practice so far, while Embiid is a raw 7-footer from Cameroon who has only been playing for two years.

“Even without Andrew Wiggins, I still thought they were the team to beat,” Ford said. “I knew who they had, who they had returning. They’re still Kansas, no question, and then they added that piece, no question it made it a little more difficult for everybody.”

That’s not to say there aren’t other teams that could factor into the Big 12 race.

Kansas State tied the Jayhawks for a share of the regular-season title last year. Texas has plenty of experience returning, as does Iowa State. Texas Tech is under new leadership in the form of Tubby Smith. Baylor could be the best of all of them.

“Kansas, Oklahoma State and Baylor are understandably at the top of preseason expectations,” Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger said, “but there’s great balance. It will be an interesting race.”