IRVING, Texas - For the 11th time in Big 12 history, Kansas has earned at least a share of the designation as preseason favorite to win the Conference. The Jayhawks have been picked to win the 2012-13 Big 12 men’s basketball crown in a vote of the league’s head coaches after capturing their eighth straight outright or shared regular-season title a year ago.
KU will be led by seniors Jeff Withey, Elijah Johnson and Travis Releford, who were starters on the Jayhawks’ squad that advanced to the 2012 NCAA Championship game. The team has eight letterwinners back from that team led by Withey, who broke the Big 12 and Kansas
single-season blocked shots record with 140 rejections a year ago. The Jayhawks have won a NCAA-best 55 conference titles in their history.
Baylor garnered the other first-place vote and was picked second, its highest finish ever in the preseason tally. The Bears have been chosen in the top four in four of the past five years and are coming off their second Elite Eight appearance in three seasons. Scott Drew is the first head coach in school history to guide BU to four postseason appearances and ranks second in career wins at the school (157).
Oklahoma State, Texas and Kansas State were next in the predictions at third, fourth and fifth. It marks the highest preseason ranking for OSU since 2006-07 (third). West Virginia, Oklahoma and Iowa State were next, while Texas Tech and TCU round out the poll.