Thursday, October 9, 2014

KU basketball edges Texas for No. 1 spot in preseason poll

League's coaches give six first-place votes to Kansas, three to Texas

Kansas teammates Perry Ellis (34) and Wayne Selden chest bump before Baylor forward Taurean Prince following a dunk by Ellis and a foul by Baylor forward Cory Jefferson during the second half on Monday, Jan. 20, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas teammates Perry Ellis (34) and Wayne Selden chest bump before Baylor forward Taurean Prince following a dunk by Ellis and a foul by Baylor forward Cory Jefferson during the second half on Monday, Jan. 20, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse.


If the Big 12 preseason men’s basketball poll is any indication, Kansas University will have some serious competition in its search for an 11th consecutive conference championship.

The Jayhawks were selected as the league favorite by the coaches, the Big 12 announced Thursday morning. But Texas was right behind them. KU received six first-place votes and 78 points overall, while the Longhorns earned three first-place votes and 74 points.

Oklahoma came in third, receiving one vote for first place and 67 points.

KU was selected as the preseason favorite for the 13th time in the 19-year history of the Big 12.

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).


Team (1st-place votes) — Points

No. 1. Kansas (6) — 78

No. 2. Texas (3) — 74

No. 3. Oklahoma (1) — 67

No. 4. Kansas State — 53

No. 5. Iowa State — 51

tied- No. 6. Baylor — 36

tied- No. 6. West Virginia — 36

No. 8. Oklahoma State — 27

No. 9. TCU — 15

No. 10. Texas Tech — 13

— Coaches can’t vote for their own team


Kent Wells 5 years ago

Polls frighten me too... Nobody likes getting polled.

Doug Cramer 5 years ago

Shouldn't have been that close. We are the clear favorite to win the Big 12. the hell could Texas and OU get number 1 votes ? We've won this league for 10 years straight. What would make it any different than the previous 10 seasons ?

This team will be much improved from last year.

Let's hope we are solid at PG. Whoever the personnel is...lets just hope we can solidify that position. That will give us a chance to play into April.


Rodney Crain 5 years ago

Texas has most of its team back, added Turner, and is tall and thick. OU is going to be a tournament team. Both worthy of their places.

Jeff Kilgore 5 years ago

Doug, I know that when a team wins 10 in a row it's easy to count yer Jayhawks before they hatch, but this year is going to be really tough. I would take a tie with OU or UT just to keep the streak going. Replacing parts with 18 year-olds while other teams are building chemistry is very hard to do, another reason Self deserves the status he has earned. We'll be good, but will it be good enough? I'm very excited because, unlike you, I can't see that we're a shoo-in.

James Miller 5 years ago

Until we prove that we can defend on the perimeter, I will have my doubts.

Jeff Kilgore 5 years ago

Excellent point. Probably the greatest challenge.

Scott MacWilliams 5 years ago

I like our chances to get #11 in a row, but it's not going to be easy. While Texas has the horses on paper, I don't see Barnes coaching them up to their potential. Kruger is the coach that will have OU contending and making an 11th title much harder to get than #10 was. And the Mayor will have ISU rocking, I don't see them as the 5th place team at all...

We do have tons of talent, but they are way young and will be learning on the fly with another tough preseason schedule to get through. But Self has been pretty darned good at finding the right mix of players to get us there, so lets sit back and enjoy the show again!


Joe Ross 5 years ago

I hate to say this but I dont see Kansas winning the regular season conference title this year. They may be shut out altogether and not win the conference tournament either. Texas is going to have to implode. Mark my word. Coaches are going to give the nod to Kansas because weve won it for so long, but this is a kind of superstitious thinking that people need to let go of. Look at the facts:

  1. Texas beat us last year.
  2. They add Turner.
  3. We lose Wiggins AND Embiid.

Put all three of those together, people...

Sentimentalism and superstition does not win championships. Streaks end for good reasons.

Mike Riches 5 years ago

  1. We beat Texas last year (by 30+).
  2. We add Graham and lose Tharpe, which may sure up what was our weakest position last year.
  3. We add Oubre and Alexander who may end up being better COLLEGE players than Wiggs and Embiid. (Those two were really good, but all the talk was always about their upside, potential they never really attained in college, though we did see glimpses.)
  4. We won the league by two games last year, when our league at it's very best with 70% of teams making the tourney.

This will be a tough conference season, no doubt. And any opinions this early are just that. But I personally think our team will be improved over last year. There have been years I've doubted we could win the league (08-09 comes to mind) but this is not one of them.

Just an opinion...I know I'm a total homer...

Joe Ross 5 years ago

Nothing necessarily wrong with being a homer. I am too to some extent to the point that it clouds my better judgment if Im not careful. But theres definitely nothing wrong with your reasoning. Most people probably think the same way. But Im telling you, if Kansas sleeps this year they will lose it. They might anyway. This is a very talented Texas team.

Mike Riches 5 years ago

Totally agree, and I hope the coaches will echo what you're saying when preparing the team, instead of telling them how good they are and how they deserve to win it. Kansas will have to get up for every game this year (even TCU).

Rodney Crain 5 years ago

We will know more about how we will match up with Texas after we play that semi pro team from Kentucky early in the season. If we have issues defending tall talented teams Texas will be trouble. The hurdle in the B12 is Texas for sure. I would be thrilled with a share of the title this year. At least they still have Barnes at coach ;), so we have that going for us.

Unknowns for us;

  1. Can Svi hit the 3, he could provide some matchup problems
  2. Can Hunter and Lucas contribute down low
  3. Can we use our depth to offset our lack of height

Should be an interesting year

Doug Cramer 5 years ago

J-Ross - Don't agree with your sentiment or your vision that KU loses the conference streak.

This team will be better than last year. We didn't even have Embiid the final third of the season.

We add Alexander, along with more depth in the post with Lucas and Mickleson.

Connor and Mason have a year under their belt to stabilize us at PG...whether Frankamp plays PG or not.

We've seen many upon many talented Texas teams, that fail to knock us off from the conference championship. Last year OK St. had the best shot at getting us...and they imploded. Yes Texas is talented, but we're more talented...and have Bill Self. Texas has Rick Barnes.

We win number 11 hands down. I'd bet the farm on it.

Rodney Crain 5 years ago

Texas is very good, and very tall, all you have listed are mostly unknowns as the reason we win #11 hands down. Self is a better coach agree there, but Lucas, Hunter, Connor, and Mason improving are not sure things. Keep in mind Johnson and Tharpe regressed the more time they spent on campus, it happens. Barnes wins conf. championships when his teams are good enough to overcome his coaching. Texas is good enough this year and they are our biggest threat. ISU, OU and K State -- all have very good to decent coaching and talent too. Alexander and KO will be fine, but the rest of the team has some question marks right now. J. Ross is being cautious, I think farmers are pretty cautious too, so I do not think any them will be betting the farm that this is ours before we even play a game. You might get some of the writers here to take that bet, they asked if the conf. race was over after 7 games last year. I say let's see how we look against KY first.

Aaron Paisley 5 years ago

I just don't see Texas winning the league. Rick Barnes and expectations don't mix well together. I do think it's possible KU shares the title with Oklahoma this year at 14-4.

KU is lacking size this year and until proven otherwise, PG play is an issue. This team is going to struggle against bigger more physical teams all year and it's going to be why KU doesn't win the NCAA title this year.

Cameron Cederlind 5 years ago

So lets take out the biased votes:

Bill Self

Bruce Weber

Travis Ford

Fred Hoiberg

We essentially got all 1st place votes, good job KU.

Kent Wells 5 years ago

Coaches aren't allowed to vote for their own teams...

Joseph Bullock 5 years ago

I'm glad K.U. did not get all of the 1st place votes. I guarantee you that will make us work even harder, and focus even more. I have done some research on some of the other teams, and it is very interesting, how many transfers some of them have (not just Iowa State), who will most likely impact their programs, and our Conference. Marcus Foster is supposed to be K-States best player, but they have a guy who is supposed to be better than him, who will be playing this year, and another big man, to go with the center they have back (I forget his name). Iowa State always has great transfers. West Virginia had several players leave, but I heard the reason, is because they had some guys who were probably going to take a lot of their minutes from them, and they also have the best player in the Conference. But I still like K.U., to win the Regular Season Conference Title again. Everyone says (including Coach Self), that we are not as tall this year, and that is true, but if you look at the wingspan of Cliff and Kelly, that should make up for our lack of height. We have '5' big men, who can really play. Our offense will not be focused around 'one person' this year (which caused people to just stand around and watch, last year! Our PG Position will be much, much, better, with Frank (who had never played PG until last year), much improved, and Connor (who will play PG and 2G, much more relaxed, confident, and improved. We will defend the PG much better, adding DG (who may start, or end up being the started, at some point), in the mix. We will get the ball to PE much easier this year, which will make him even better. CA is a beast, and KO is a stud. Lucus is much improved, as is Trailer. Mickleson was a great shot blocker, as Coach Self has said, but that was in the SEC, not the Big12, so I want to see how that plays out for us, but I do know he can shoot the ball. Also, even if teams like Texas are bigger than us, they also have to deal with the speed and depth of our big men. WS is healthy, and should have a monster year. Rock Chalk, Conference Championship Hawks. I'm thinking 'Final Four'! PS: Remember, everyone was talking Texas after they beat us last year, and they didn't even take 2nd, but Turner will definitely help them. O.U. could be a factor.

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