Kansas Picked to Win 12th-Straight Big 12 Title
IRVING, Texas – For the 14th time in the 20-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 nine first-place votes and a total of 81 points. Oklahoma edged Iowa State, 70-68, for second and third, respectively. Texas placed fourth followed by Baylor, West Virginia and Oklahoma State. Kansas State and TCU tied for eighth in the poll and Texas Tech placed 10th. Points are awarded with nine for first, eight for second, seven for third, etc., in the coaches’ votes.
Kansas has won, or tied for, 14 of the 19 Big 12 regular-season titles, including the last 11 consecutive, a streak which ranks tied for second all-time in NCAA Division I history. Last year KU went 27-9 overall and won the league race with a 13-5 record.
Kansas returns four starters and 11 letterwinners from last season’s 27-9 team that won KU’s 11th-straight, 15th Big 12 and NCAA-leading 58th overall conference regular-season title with a 13-5 league record.
Senior forward Perry Ellis is one of four returning all-conference Jayhawks from 2014-15. A Wichita, Kansas native, Ellis was an All-Big 12 First Team selection last season and preseason selection this year, leading Kansas in scoring (13.8 ppg) and rebounding (6.9 rpg). The 2014 Orlando Classic MVP, Ellis was also named to the 2015 Academic All-Big 12 First Team and the 2015 Big 12 Men’s Basketball Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Guard Frank Mason III, from Petersburg, Virginia, was an All-Big 12 Second Team honoree who was second on the team in scoring with 12.6 points per game and led Kansas with 142 assists and 50 steals in 2014-15. Mason’s 42.9 percent shooting from three-point range was best on the KU team last season. Guard Wayne Selden, Jr., from Roxbury, Massachusetts, was a 2015 All-Big 12 Honorable Mention selection who led Kansas with 46 three-pointers made last year as he averaged 9.4 points per contest. Chicago senior forward Jamari Traylor (4.8 ppg, 3.7 rpg in 2014-15) started 18 games last season for KU.
Historically, the preseason favorite has gone on to finish first in the regular-season 12 times, which does not include 1996-97 as a coaches’ poll was not conducted. Kansas has been the preseason favorite in 11 of its 14 Big 12 regular-season titles, missing 1996-97 (no poll), 2005-06 (third) and 2010-11 (second).
2015-16 Big 12 Coaches’ Preseason Poll
Place. School (first-place votes) – total points
1. KANSAS (9) – 81
2. Oklahoma – 70
3. Iowa State (1) – 68
4. Texas – 51
5. Baylor – 49
6. West Virginia – 47
7. Oklahoma State – 33
8. Kansas State – 18
8. TCU – 18
10. Texas Tech – 15
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