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Originally published October 7, 2008 at 10:57a.m., updated October 8, 2008 at 12:00a.m.

Self not surprised with preseason poll

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Kansas coach Bill Self

2008-09 BIG 12 PRESEASON POLL

Team (First Place Votes) Points

1. Oklahoma (3) 109

2. Texas (4) 107

T3. Baylor (2) 103

T3. Kansas (3) 103

5. Texas A&M; 79

6. Oklahoma State 69

7. Missouri 51

8. Kansas State 50

9. Nebraska 49

10. Texas Tech 39

11. Iowa State 20

12. Colorado 13

— It's Oklahoma No. 1, Texas No. 2 and Kansas and Baylor tying for No. 3 in the Big 12 men's basketball preseason coaches poll released Tuesday.

"That's exactly how I voted it: OU, Texas, Baylor because I think those are the three most talented teams returning on paper. There's no doubt," KU coach Bill Self said Tuesday, commenting on the poll results at the Coaches Vs. Cancer Season Tipoff Reception at the College Basketball Experience next to Sprint Center.

"I'm a little surprised people thought enough of us to rate us that high, to be honest," added Self, who loses all five starters from his national championship team. "When you lose six out of your top seven (rotation players) the tendency is for people to maybe not think that much about you. Everybody lost a lot. Nobody lost more than us."

It's KU's lowest finish in the poll since the 2005-06 preseason, when KU also was tapped third. That KU team tied for first in the conference with Texas.

"We lost Wayne (Simien), Aaron (Miles), Keith (Langford) and J.R. (Giddens) and the sky was falling obviously back then. We recruited three freshmen who turned out to be pretty good," Self said of Brandon Rush, Mario Chalmers and Julian Wright. "Brandon was the only one who impacted our team at all before the first of the year. It will take time. That team got good when it got comfortable. This team ... it's too early to say, but I like our talent level and I certainly like our depth."

Self stressed Oklahoma is the obvious No. 1 squad in the conference despite the fact just six points separated the top four teams.

"They have the best player in the country in my opinion. I think they have the No. 1 player in the (NBA) draft in Blake Griffin," Self said. "He is a viable candidate for national player of the year. They recruited well and have some other key pieces returning.

"Texas has everybody back with the exception of D.J. (Augustin). D.J. is terrific obviously. Baylor has a lot of players back as well. The unknown is what creates the situation where there maybe is a separation between those three and everybody else. I bet you it's as competitive as it has ever been this year."

Oklahoma finished with 109 points and three first- place votes; Texas 107 points and four firsts; Baylor 103 points and two firsts and KU 103 points and three firsts.

Texas A&M; placed fifth (79) points, followed by Oklahoma State (69), Missouri (51), Kansas State (50), Nebraska (49), Texas Tech (39), Iowa State (20) and Colorado (13). Eleven points were awarded for firsts, 10 for seconds, down the line. Coaches could not vote for their own team.

¢ Collins OK: KU junior Sherron Collins had his tonsils removed on Tuesday.

"As a tonsillectomy goes, the procedure was a success," Self said. "He'll probably be out (of workouts) a while - at least a week."

¢ For a good cause: Self was joined by Missouri's Mike Anderson, Kansas State's Frank Martin and UMKC's Matt Brown as featured speakers at Tuesday's fundraiser. Former MU coach Norm Stewart was emcee.

"It is an honor to be associated with Coaches Vs. Cancer. Coach Stewart is the one who started it," Self said. "Cancer affects everybody. I've had cancer survivors in the family and had close friends who lost family members to cancer."

¢ Self the player: Stewart coached against Self's Oklahoma State teams during Self's playing days.

"Coach Stewart said, 'I never had to put a good defender on you,'" Self said with a smile.

"That's not true. I did put my best defender on Bill ... when he needed a breather," Stewart cracked.

¢ Recruiting: Dominic Cheek, a 6-5 guard from St. Anthony High in Jersey City, N.J., tells Zagsblog.net he's eliminated Wake Forest, Tennessee and UConn from his list of schools. He will visit KU for the Oct. 17 Late Night and Memphis the following week. He also plans on visiting Indiana, Villanova and Pittsburgh .

¢ C.J. Henry out: Memphis freshman guard C.J. Henry, the brother of KU target Xavier, had surgery Tuesday to repair a broken left foot, the Memphis Commercial Appeal reports. He will miss at least eight weeks and is not expected to play until at least Christmas.

Comments

GoBadgers 14 years ago

Missouri No. 7?!That seems a bit optimistic...

Kyle Crenshaw 14 years ago

jaybate we cant split with south teams since we only play them once a year

jaybate 14 years ago

As late as this past summer, I was counted among those who thought people were expecting way too much out of a rebuilding year.But then I read what Releford did in international play, read what Tyshaun did in Canada, heard Self salivating about what Little could bring defensively, and I said this team CAN win 25.But then I took a serious look at Texas and realized they are overrated. We split with Texas.OU is going to be very tough with their big man, but Aldrich and Markieff cancel him, so it comes down to guards and we are just sooooo strong their with Sherron and Tyshaun and any number of third guards. We can take OU. We sweep OU.Baylor I'm actually a little more worried about. They've got guards and bigs. And I don't know what the cat drug in for them as far as recruits. They could be a real tough out. We split with Baylor.We sweep the rest, or maybe lose one more. Yeah, we're going to lose three in the conference. But the others will lose more, or the same. We're going to win at least a share of the title.In the old days it would never have happened. But now, with new faces rolling in every year at every school, it can happen.

KU 14 years ago

argentine.....coaches cannot vote for their own team, so OU, UT and Baylor's coaches probably each voted for KU, hoping that their teams would get more first place votes than the other two south foes.

JayViking 14 years ago

Call me overly optimistic, but I see us absolutely dominating come January.

BigTamale 14 years ago

kvskubball...voting or going on?Its just an assumption...Turgeon likes us (he's an alum). Doc and Bill are buddies. Of those 2 I'm pretty sure. Bzdelik is more of a guess.

K_Easthouse 14 years ago

The thing to take away from all of this is there is no clear consensus pick. Four different schools received votes for first place, and the top four picks (three places) were all within six points of each other.I hate to say it, but I'm looking forward to a little bit of parity this year in the Big 12, instead of the country expecting us to roll over everyone. I still think we'll be in contention once our freshmen get some solid minutes against decent opponents.

LakeShawnee 14 years ago

KU, you have it right on the money. Five of the top six are from the South which should indicate them all beating up on each other. With ten of our 16 Big-XII games being against the bottom half of the conference, you have to like our chances to pull out a regular season title. Going into the Big-XII tournament this spring in Oklahoma City, Nebraska will surely be higher than the nine seed, and we will not be the only North school in the top six. No matter how much better the South teams may be compared to the North (on the whole), the math just isn't there. At least, thats what I think.

argentinehawk 14 years ago

so KU recieved 3 first place votes?? I bleed crimson and blue, but I don't think so.

KU 14 years ago

The thing that stands out here is that 5 of the top 6 teams are in the South division. They will beat up on one another twice during the conference season while KU only has to play them once each.

kubasketball0809 14 years ago

Yeah i agree i think we need a scorer to step up which i think Travis could do along with the Morris twins, i also think we will start out slow but once conference comes around we will be hard to beat.

CBaller13 14 years ago

  1. Texas2. Oklahoma3. Kansas4. Oklahoma State5. Baylor6. Missouri7. Texas A&M8. Kansas State9. Texas Tech10. Nebraska11. Colorado12. Iowa State

livedeadhead 14 years ago

the above is what I have been thinking for a long time but didn't have the courage to post

John Stowell 14 years ago

Things will be rough at first, but we should be challenging for the tournament title again. I just hope we don't play Texas again for it, they must really hate us by now. Also, isn't it a little sad how much the South is starting to dominate basketball just like football. Can't any North school besides KU get a basketball program up to snuff for more than one year?

Ryan Sullivan 14 years ago

Doesn't matter about the preseason polls. Its all about what happens at the end. We'll probably take some lumps early, even lose a few conference games, but we'll be right there at the end. We may not pull off the title, but we'll be right there.Come tourney time, its all about matchups. Marcus Morris is gonna be tough for teams to match up with. We have an experienced PG, a solid big guy inside, a deep bench full of talented and gritty players, and one guy that's gonna be particularly tough to match up with. Probably not going all the way this year, but its gonna be alot of fun to watch.

smitty33 14 years ago

Haven't these silly coaches learned yet??!!KU wins every year, period. Maybe they're just being polite to Texas and OU since we return no starters. I predict we lose a few early, then Self coaches these newbies to a Big 12 title.

Vic Janeway 14 years ago

watching okie this year I think they dont have the punch people are saying the do, the gameplan is horrug(msp). Look for Ksuk and colorado to bring it up past isu and ttech from the bottom too. I think nu will drop to the bottom too, they lost some good rebounders and they were always inconsistent. KUs D will be great but the fresh coming in will struggle like our last great class did. I am hoping tehan and morningstar and reed will pickup for the O, that should be enough to get them in the Big 12 championship.

sdoyel 14 years ago

I think OU is a bust. Freshman PG (most likely) and Griffin can't stay healthy. How will Texas function without Augustin who did EVERYTHING for them? With Collins and Aldrich we have a solid frontcourt and backcourt prescence. Throw in all of our 4-star recruits and talent alone should make up for some of the youth and inexperience.My initial poll:1 Kansas (North is so weak it's not even funny)2 Texas3 Oklahoma4 Baylor5 Oklahoma State6 Texas A&M7 Missouri8 Texas Tech9 Kansas State10 Nebraska11 Iowa State12 Colorado

keith horinek 14 years ago

jaybate, we only play the south once, unless we play them in the big 12 tournament. how can we "split" with Balor or OU? please explain. We will be on top in the North and probably secure a two or three seed in the big 12 tournament, where we will need to beat either Baylor or OU to get to the championship game. I see us as a 5 five or six seed in the NCAA tournament but that's a good spot to be in for this young team.

kvskubball 14 years ago

Some of you are living in Neverland. Baylor basketball is moving up, it isn't Baylor football! They tied for 4th in the Big XII last year. They have very good and experienced guards. Rogers is a very solid Big and Drew continues to recruit well. If they play D this year, don't be surprised if they improve on last year's top 4 or even battle for the league championship. I too did my picks for the Big XII this year, but I only did the top 6, after that it is a big blob.1 Texas2 OU3 Baylor4 KU5 A&M6 OSUPossible party crashers are Mizzery and NU. I say this mostly because I think they both have very good coaches who are likely to make something from almost nothing.Having said all that, What team is most likely to exceed expectations?Definitely KU (I'd like to rate them higher, but I'm trying to live in the present. Young team will struggle, well compared to last year!)Most likely to flame out? TTech ~~ Without Bully Bob around for entertainment, apathy sets back in and program fades out.Go Hawks ~~ prove me wrong, finish higher, and I'll even be happy about being wrong!

Mo Mosallaei 14 years ago

Interesting how Missouri, K-State and Nebraska are all separated by one point. One thing we'll have going for us is that the North teams are truly bad. We should have 10 wins (no worse than 9) just off the North teams.

BigTamale 14 years ago

Our 3 Votes:Mark Turgeon, Doc Sadler, and Jeff Bzdelik...

DallasHawk 14 years ago

It looks like the assumption is that the rest of the North is going to be pathetic. Surprise, surprise... I'm not worried a bit. We will be there in the end like always. OU is still going to be missing a piece and Texas willl miss Augustine immensely.

kvskubball 14 years ago

To Shazam,KU bball casts a really big shadow!!! It blocks the sun to all the other Big XII north schools basketball programs and keeps them from growing!LOLBigTamale~~ What are you voting on?fatcletus~~ Who are you calling a loser and why?

bryan123456789 14 years ago

the one thing I am worried about, and it is way to early to be worried about this I know, is that I hope we don't get into the first round of the the NCAA's and play extremely tight like Rush/Chalmers/Wright and them did their freshamn year. All that aside I think we will be a good team, and I bet we have a shot at making the final four once march comes around. I am in no way saying we will be one of the 4 best teams, but once your in the tournament it isnt about who is the best its about who wins. I am only 22, but have watched and followed KU BBall my whole life, but from my experiences I get more excited about years like this (rebuilding/reloading) rather than a year like last year where I knew we should win it all. Last year this time, I couldnt wait for March, this year I am excited for every game getting to watch the new guys. Although I will take years like last year every year, but you guys get the point I am making.Anybody know if Late Night will be broadcast over the internet like the last few years? I know a little bit will be on ESPNU, but I want to watch the whole thing

sdoyel 14 years ago

The Big 12 is weak this year. I see no reason why KU couldn't potentially run away with it.On paper, our team is better than our 05-06 squad (which had NO experience). We still won the Big 12 despite it being loaded.... (UT was stacked, OU had Bookout, OSU had Curry and Boggan, ATM had Law, etc....)

JayhawkPhil 14 years ago

I have been playing around with my preseason predictions for the last couple of months and changed again after reading some of the preseason magazines. The first 3 (TU,OU and KU)and the last 3(TT, IS, and Colorado) seem to be no brainers. It is the middle six that are hard to figure out.I started out with NU as my surprise team at 4 but decided after one recruit they were counting on changed his mind and another returning player got hurt, to move them down to 8. I put KSU at 9 but am still not sure of the other 4. My prediction this minute is1. Texas2. Oklahoma3. KU4. Texas A&M5. Oklahoma St6. Missouri7. Baylor8. Nebraska9. KSU10. Texas Tech11. Iowa St12. Colorado

imnotpaulpierce 14 years ago

KU tied for thirdFine.KU tied for third with Baylor.WTF?

jayhawk02 14 years ago

Seems about right to me. Although, if our recruits can learn quickly, we could be playing for another conference title by season's end.

justanotherfan 14 years ago

I think KU will probably start out slowly, but once conference season comes around, we will be a tough out for anybody. The one thing we have to find is a legitimate post scorer. Whether that is Cole, a Morris twin, or whoever, I don't care. We just need someone who can get easy baskets on the block.

Mr_Sandman 14 years ago

KU tied for 3rd seems to make sense. This team will be very interesting to watch with all of the new players getting significant PT. I can't wait to watch this team grow over the year, as I will be able to watch without placing too many expectations on them. This team will be in a unique position that many KU teams don't get to be in. They are extremely young and the team is coming off a NC, so they will not be expected to win the conference or go too far in the tourney. This factor should allow them to play relaxed and focus on getting better rather than having to win now.

jhyphene 14 years ago

Aldrich played significant minutes last year? Didn't he play about 10-12 minutes a game more than Morningstar last year? Regardless, it's time to reload. Texas here at the end of the season could have implications on determining the conference champion.

CBaller13 14 years ago

By the way sdoyel - Willie Warren is the real deal for Oklahoma. I can even see him one and done he's so good. I wish KU would have gotten him.

Aaron Carpenter 14 years ago

I agree. That would be a pretty big step but Aldrich is a great defender and so is Collins so I think it is an offensive question. There might be a chance at a conference title still though, Allen holds lots of magic.

kvskubball 14 years ago

I'm enjoying the comments, keep 'em coming.I think the biggest challenge this year will be to become a good defensive team. Everyone wants to play offense. So I think we'll make great strides on O during the season. Commitment to D isn't always equally embraced. I think our D was super last year. If you have a chance, watch the first half of the UNC game again, sublime, and wow too!Baylor could have been a much better team last year if they had played D half as hard as they did O!UNC might have Rocked us if they had committed to play D.The golf addage, you drive for show and putt for dough, could be adapted to bball: O is for show, but D is for dough. Didn't domeone say D wins championships? Put a checkmark there for KU for last year!!!

Bruce Brock 14 years ago

The real ranking is who goes farthest in the NCAA tourney?KU will be very rewarding to follow this year, because the difference between the Jayhawks of November 2008 and March 2009 will be greater than ever.We're likely to lose a few because of stupid mistakes -- turnovers, uncoordinated play, players not fully buying into the team concept -- but once those growing pains are behind us, no other Big XII team will be our superior. The only questions are over the number of games Coach Self needs to get the useful losses behind us, and how those losses play out in conference standings. We have a terrific, fairly experienced inside/outside threat in Aldrich and Collins. Add two of the best Juco players in the country, Little and Appleton (another inside/outside threat, and an intriguing wrinkle to the season) and one of the best freshman classes in the country, and no one will be looking forward to playing us 'round about February.Bottom line: Superior talent (though a bit raw in October) plus superior coaching equals dominance in February, March, and maybe even April.

kvskubball 14 years ago

To JHawk252:Your comments are on the mark. Your Question: The only questions are over the number of games Coach Self needs to get the useful losses behind us, and how those losses play out in conference standings.It took Billy D and UF all season to get on the same page, though they did in the NIT. We are a little bit better off than UF, we have 2 of our top 8 players returning. I think they had 1.I've got my popcorn (need something to throw if things get ugly) and remote ready, let's get it going already!

Kusportsshould Notrequirethis 14 years ago

Surely Nebraska will feel the loss of Aleks Maric; however, Doc was redshirting a bunch of guys last year that are more talented than the typical cornhusker bball player. I'm not saying that they will be in the upper echelon of the B12 but I do believe they will a tough out. Doc's teams always play tough defense. That will give them the opportunity to win games.I can't wait to watch our new guys play ball. I echo the sentiment that we will struggle early and develop into one the better teams in the nation by march. I doubt it will take as long for this year's team to evolve as it did during Julian, Brandon, and Mario's first year.During that year we lacked a veteran player like Sherron. Mario Little has played college ball, and Cole is further along than Sasha and Darnell were by their Soph year.Rock Chalk!

mbmerriman 13 years, 12 months ago

cmon people Baylor will win the BIG 12! They were good last year, it took one of the best halfs in KU history to beat them at home. Ill agree they dont play defense but that wont matter this year in a weak league. Jerrells is a POY candidate, Dugat shredded us last year, Dunn was one of the best freshmen in the league last year, and Kevin Rodgers is as solid of a big man as anyone else in the league. they also brought in some solid recruits again this year.1. Baylor2. Kansas3. Texas4. Oklahoma St. (Byron Eaton will be their x-factor)5. Oklahoma (griffin is to injury prone, like simien)6. K-State (will beat us in manhattan)7. Nebraska8. A&M9. Missou (will beat us in columbia)10. Tech11. Iowa St. (close game in ames i bet)12. coloradoLets be serious KU will most like lose 5 or six conference games, its really hard to win in manhatten, columbia, and ames so those arent just gimmes. OSU, OU, BU, TU, will all be struggles we will be lucky to split our south games, and we always lose atleast one gimme game, like OSU last year, or ISU at home the year before. Watch out though come tourney time.go hawks!

bmkjayhawk 13 years, 12 months ago

I would hardly say that KSU "will" beat us in Manhattan or that MU "will" beat us in Columbia. Both are "could beat us" situations, in my opinion. The only game I would have said KU "will" lose was in Norman, but that's pretty late in the year, so you never know. Either way, it should be fun to watch.

JJHAWK 13 years, 12 months ago

I love the optimism even if I . . . alas . . . don't share it completely. I see OU as the big twelve's most likely final four team. If Blake is not the number one draft pick, he certainly will be a top five when he goes pro (end of this season?). And Willie Warren, we wanted him bad. He is the real deal and will be a first rounder when he goes. The rest of OU's team won games without Blake last year so they are going to be a load. How far they go depends on how their talent meshes. So what about KU this year? I got four words for you . . . I love our coach. He has seven new players he is willing to go into battle with, so I'm ready to watch . . . win or lose. The season will be a spectacular success as far as I'm concerned if we win the North, challenge for league, and make the tournament (and get to the sweet sixteen - bonus points on this one). And if the basketball Gods throw in a few five star recruits for next years team, all will be well in my KU BB world.

mikehawk 13 years, 12 months ago

A tie for third pre-season helps keep some pressure off of the youngsters, both as a team as well as on some of the individuals. Frees them up to develop a bit more slowly. I have no doubt that no one will want to play us come the end of the year. And Sherron has to stay healthy, which is a great deal to ask.

kusportsfan 13 years, 12 months ago

ku will be good this year its just a matter of leadership whether we go far

jaybate 13 years, 12 months ago

Every one who howled me out for talking of splits with South D teams was absolutely right.I forgot that we don't round-robbin with the south.I grow old. I grow old. Shall I wear my trouser rolled?Do I dare to eat a peach?--T.S. Eliot, GerontionSo: we'll only lose two in the conference. :-)Ya just know we'll clip either Texas or OU.

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