The Kansas State men’s basketball team was picked to finish fifth in the preseason 2012-13 Big 12 coaches’ poll released by the league office Thursday.
The Wildcats received 54 points to earn fifth place in the second-year of the 10-team conference configuration, just four points behind fourth-place Texas (58) and six behind third-place Oklahoma State (60).
Kansas was the overwhelming choice to win the league, earning 81 points and nine of the 10 first-place votes. It marks the 11th time in Big 12 history that the Jayhawks have been the preseason favorite after winning their eighth consecutive regular season title a year ago.
Baylor was second with 63 points and received the other first-place vote. After the top 5, the rest of the poll included newcomer West Virginia (45), Oklahoma (34), Iowa State (28), Texas Tech (18) and TCU (9). Coaches are not allowed to vote for their own team.
The fifth-place spot is one spot better than last season’s pick of sixth for K-State, which was the lowest for the Wildcats since 2008-09. The Wildcats, who finished in fifth in the Big 12 a year ago, are one of only two teams to finish in the league’s top-5 and receive a bye at the Big 12 Championship each of the past six seasons. With only 10 teams, the top six teams will earn a bye in the 2013 event with the lower four seeds playing on the first day.
Under the direction of first-year coach Bruce Weber, K-State returns 12 lettermen, including four starters, in 2012-13 from a squad that posted a 22-11 overall record and advanced to the NCAA tournament for the fourth time in five seasons. Senior Rodney McGruder was a unanimous selection to the Preseason All-Big 12 team announced last week. K-State has six consecutive 20-win seasons as well as six straight postseason appearances for the fifth time in school history.
The Wildcats begin practice Friday with media day set for Monday. Weber, McGruder as well as seniors Jordan Henriquez and Martavious Irving will be at the Big 12’s media day on Wednesday at the Sprint Center in Kansas City.
The men’s and women’s basketball teams will have a public scrimmage for fans on Oct. 27 prior to the football game with Texas Tech. A full-list of details will be announced at a later date once a football game time is set.