Head of the class: Villanova's James Bell and JayVaughn Pinkston are as tough a duo to guard as any in the nation. Creighton's Doug McDermott has it poised for a title in its first year in the league.
Honor roll potential: Xavier had early stumbles but is trending in the right direction after winning six straight.
Headed for detention: Marquette coach Buzz Williams' decision to play a challenging schedule backfired when the Golden Eagles failed to win a marquee game. Until they win a game when they're not the favorite, the once-perceived conference front-runner will likely be a middle-of-the-pack team.
Head of the class: Ohio State is void of an individual superstar on offense, but the Buckeyes seem to work better that way. The ability of Wisconsin's Sam Dekker and Frank Kaminsky to play inside or out is a headache for opposing coaches doing scouting reports. If Michigan State can stay healthy, coach Tom Izzo will once again have it contending for a national title.
Honor roll potential: Iowa's only two losses came by a combined six points to Villanova in overtime and at Iowa State. Illinois' Rayvonte Rice and Indiana's Yogi Ferrell had a scoring duel Tuesday indicative of how close games in the league will be this season. Minnesota coach Richard Pitino is turning the Barn back into a place you don't want to visit.
Headed for detention: Even before the bad news hit that Mitch McGary needed back surgery, Michigan fell from top 10 to not mentioned at all. The Wolverines are facing withdrawal after being spoiled by the playmaking abilities of Trey Burke last season.
Head of the class: The prevailing thought is all of Kansas' uber-talented freshmen will grow up as the season continues, which means the road to the league title still goes through Lawrence. Oklahoma State will be hurt from the loss of Michael Cobbins, but the Cowboys still take solace in having arguably the best player in the nation in Marcus Smart. Baylor boasts one of the toughest frontcourts in the land and its proclivity to rebound will keep the Bears in most games.
Honor roll potential: Iowa State could very well run the table at home. But that theory will be tested with Kansas and Baylor in two of its first three league games in Hilton Coliseum.
Headed for detention: Maybe it's hard to find fault because the Big 12 is the one conference that has fewer teams than advertised, but it would just be nitpicking to call out a team here. Even those predicted for the cellar have not hit rock bottom.