Courtesy: KU Athletics
IRVING, Texas – For the 13th time in the 19-year history of the Big 12, Kansas men’s basketball has been selected as the preseason favorite to win the conference regular-season championship as the league released its coaches’ preseason poll Thursday.
Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own teams in the poll and KU received six first-place votes. Texas (3) and Oklahoma (1) garnered the other first-place votes and were picked to finish second and third, respectively. Kansas State and Iowa State came in fourth and fifth in the predictions. Baylor and West Virginia tied for sixth, while Oklahoma State, TCU and Texas Tech rounded out the poll.
Kansas has won, or tied for, 13 of the 18 Big 12 regular-season titles, including the last 10 consecutive, a streak which ranks tied for third all-time in NCAA Division I history. Overall, KU has won an NCAA-best 57 conference regular-season championships. Last year KU went 25-10 overall and won the league race by two games with 14-4 record.
KU will be led by junior Perry Ellis and sophomore Wayne Selden Jr., who started on the Jayhawks’ squad that appeared in the program’s 25th-consecutive NCAA tournament last season, the longest active streak in the nation. KU has 10 lettermen returning, led by Ellis who averaged 13.5 points and 6.7 rebounds a year ago. Selden scored 9.7 points per contest, including 11.3 ppg in Big 12 play. Ellis was named to the All-Big 12 Preseason Team on Oct. 2, while incoming Jayhawk Cliff Alexander shared co-Big 12 Preseason Freshman of the Year honors with Texas’ Myles Turner.
Historically, the preseason favorite has gone on to finish first in the regular-season 11 times, which does not include 1996-97 as a coaches’ poll was not conducted. Kansas has been the preseason favorite in 10 of its 13 Big 12 regular-season titles, missing 1996-97 (no poll), 2005-06 (third) and 2010-11 (second).
2014-15 Big 12 Preseason Poll
Team (First-place votes) – Points
1. KANSAS (6) – 78
2. Texas (3) – 74
3. Oklahoma (1) – 67
4. Kansas State – 53
5. Iowa State – 51
6. Baylor – 36
7. West Virginia – 36
8. Oklahoma State – 27
9. TCU – 15
10. Texas Tech – 13