Once again Kansas fans will find their team atop the preseason rankings in the Big 12. The league has grown pretty accustomed to seeing Kansas start the season as the preseason favorites, and much of that comes from that fact that Kansas is consistently finishing the year at the top. This year though, they do share the distinction at the top.
For just the third time in conference history, there is a tie at the top of the Big 12 preseason poll as Kansas and Oklahoma State have been picked to win the league regular season crown. It marks the 12th time in Big 12 history that KU has been the preseason favorite, while the Cowboys are chosen for the third time.
The top returnees for KU will be sophomore Perry Ellis (5.8 ppg) and junior Naadir Tharpe (113 assists), who will be joined by a highly-touted group of newcomers. Leading the incoming players will be freshman Andrew Wiggins, who was rated as the consensus No. 1 player in the nation coming out of high school. The Jayhawks have won nine straight outright or shared Big 12 regular season crowns.
Oklahoma State boasts the top two returning scorers in the conference, including last season's Big 12 Player of the Year Marcus Smart. OSU has four starters back in 2013-14 and returns 95.4 percent of its points overall from a year ago. It is the first time since sharing the preseason top spot with Kansas in 2004-05 that the Cowboys have been selected to win the league.
Baylor and Iowa State were next in the predictions at third and fourth, while Kansas State and Oklahoma tied for fifth. The Bears have been chosen in the top four in five of the past six years, while ISU's preseason ranking is its highest since 2000-01. West Virginia, Texas, Texas Tech and TCU round out the poll.
This Kansas team has an extremely high ceiling but there will most certainly be a learning curve. The good news is that this team faces the toughest schedule in the nation and that starts in the non-conference. That means the Jayhawks will hopefully be a little battle hardened and prepared to make a run at a 10th straight Big 12 title and more.
2013-14 BIG 12 PRESEASON POLL
|Team (First-place Votes)||Points|
|Oklahoma State (5)||77|