Editor’s note: The college basketball season is three weeks away. Beginning Monday, Oct. 28, we will begin a 10-part series previewing the coming 2013-14 Big 12 men’s season and each of the conference teams as they get set for the new college basketball season.
Over the course of the past six months, opinions have been back and forth on which team is the Big 12 favorite entering the 2013-14 college basketball season. Before Kansas secured the commitment of the consensus No. 1 player in the country among the 2013 freshman recruits, Oklahoma State, with most of its starters returning for another season, appeared to be the heavy favorite.
That all changed, however, when five-star recruit Andrew Wiggins became a member of Kansas’ 2013 recruiting class last May, joining four other new Jayhawks who happened to rank among the nation’s top-50 recruits.
Opinions are now split between the young and exceptionally talented Jayhawks and the experienced, fundamentally sound and highly skilled Cowboys’ squad that has already been through the competitive Big 12 basketball wars, something the current KU squad can’t say
. Big 12 coaches reached the same split decision this week, voting a tie beween nine-time defending champion Kansas and Oklahoma State as preseason favorites in 2013-14 Big 12 men’s basketball.
Kansas and Oklahoma State each received 77 points and five first-place voted from the men’s basketball coaches in the conference. This is the first time in Big 12 history that there has been a tie in the preseason basketball poll. It also is the 12th time in league history that Kansas has been voted at the top of the preseason poll. Oklahoma State has been named a preseason favorite two other times.
Kansas lost all five of its starters from last season’s 31-win team that advanced to the Sweet 16 round in the NCAA Championship. What head coach Bill Self did in response was go out and sign the nation’s second best recruiting class, according to both Rivals.com and Scout.com. Reloading or rebuilding. We’ll shortly find out the answer to that question.
Oklahoma State returns 90 percent of its scoring from last season and 84 percent of its rebounding totals, led by Big 12 Player and Freshman of the Year last season Marcus Smart.
Baylor, which also returns a solid nucleus this season, despite losing the conference’s leading scorer from a year ago, Pierre Jackson, came in third in the coaches preseason poll balloting. Iowa State was fourth in the balloting, followed by a tie for fifth between Oklahoma and Kansas State. West Virginia was seventh, Texas eighth, Texas Tech ninth and TCU was voted to finish 10th.
The Big 12 basketball season tips off on Nov. 8 with nine teams in action. The conference season will begin Jan. 4.