Jayhawk hoops the unanimous choice to win Big 12; Kansas State comes in fifth

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Some things never change.

The Big 12 coaches have picked the Kansas Jayhawks to win the conference title. The Jayhawks are a unanimous choice to win the crown. It's the 11th time in the 17-year history of the Big 12 that KU has earned at least a share of the designation as preseason favorite to win the Big 12 Conference.

The Jayhawks won their eighth-straight outright or shared regular-season title a year ago. Kansas seniors Jeff Withey, Elijah Johnson and Travis Releford are returning starters from KU's squad last season that advanced to the NCAA championship game. Kansas also has eight letterwinners back from last year's team.

The Kansas State Wildcats came in fifth place in the preseason poll. That's one spot better than last season when the coaches picked KSU to finish sixth. The Wildcats finished fifth in the Big 12 last season. They return 12 lettermen, including four starters. Senior Rodney McGruder was a unanimous selection to the Preseason All-Big 12 team announced last week.

Bruce Weber takes over at K-State for the first time this season after Frank Martin left for South Carolina. Weber will lead a Wildcat team that went 22-11 last season and advanced to the NCAA tournament for the fourth time in five seasons.

Baylor received the other first-place vote in the Big 12 preseason poll. That came from KU head coach Bill Self since he can't vote for his own team. The Baylor Bears took second in the preseason poll, its highest finish ever in the poll. Oklahoma State, Texas and Kansas State followed Baylor in the poll.

West Virginia, Oklahoma and Iowa State were next. Texas Tech and TCU rounded out the poll.

Here's a look at the poll:

Team (First-place votes) - Points
1. Kansas (9)* - 81
2. Baylor (1) - 63
3. Oklahoma State - 60
4. Texas - 58
5. Kansas State - 54
6. West Virginia - 45
7. Oklahoma - 34
8. Iowa State - 28
9. Texas Tech - 18
10. TCU - 9

* - Unanimous Selection
Nine points were awarded for first place, eight for second, etc. Coaches are not permitted to vote for their own team.

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