IRVING, Texas - For the second consecutive year, and eighth time overall, Kansas is the preseason favorite to win the Big 12 Conference men’s basketball title in a vote of the league’s head coaches. The Jayhawks received 10 of 12 possible first-place votes in polling for the 2007-08 season. Coaches are not allowed to vote for their own teams.
KU, the three-time defending Big 12 regular-season champions, has been picked to win 10 times overall, including a media selection prior to the Big 12’s first year in 1996-97. KU is one of two Big 12 schools that have gone on to win the conference championship after being dubbed No. 1 in the preseason voting. The Jayhawks have turned the trick in five of their seven Big 12 regular-season titles - 1998, 2002, 2003, 2005 and 2007. Kansas won the 1997 and 2006 titles but were not selected as the preseason favorite.
“It is nice to be selected, but this is based only on what we accomplished last year and what we have coming back. This is a whole new team and we hope we can play to this preseason expectation,” Kansas head coach Bill Self said.
Kansas welcomes back four starters from last season, returning 84.6 percent of its scoring overall. The Jayhawks held 37 of 38 opponents under 50 percent shooting last year. A big part of the KU defense is sophomore Darrell Arthur. A forward who recorded 56 blocks a year ago. The number was the second-most by a Kansas freshman. Junior Brandon Rush also returns to the Jayhawk sidelines after averaging 13.8 points and 5.6 rebounds during the 2006-07 season.
Kansas tallied 120 total points in the preseason poll. Texas came in second with 105 points, followed by Texas A&M with 101 points. The Aggies received two first-place votes. Kansas State was fourth in the coaches’ poll, while Missouri and Oklahoma tied for fifth. Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, Baylor, Nebraska, Iowa State and Colorado rounded out the poll.
2007-08 Big 12 Preseason Coaches’ Poll
Team (First place votes) - Points
1. Kansas (10) - 120
2. Texas - 105
3. Texas A&M (2) - 101
4. Kansas State - 91
5. Missouri - 66
5. Oklahoma - 66
7. Oklahoma State - 61
8. Texas Tech - 60
9. Baylor - 55
10. Nebraska - 29
11. Iowa State - 22
12. Colorado - 16
Big 12 Preseason Poll History
Season -- Preseason Selection (actual finish); Big 12 Champion (preseason selection)
2006-07 -- Kansas (1st); Kansas (1st)
2005-06 -- Texas (1st); Kansas (3rd), Texas (Tie - 1st)
2004-05 -- Kansas (Tie - 1st), Oklahoma State (3rd); Kansas (Tie - 1st), Oklahoma (4th)
2003-04 -- Missouri (Tie - 5th); Oklahoma State (5th)
2002-03 -- Kansas (1st); Kansas (1st)
2001-02 -- Kansas (1st); Kansas (1st)
2000-01 -- Kansas (Tie - 2nd); Iowa State (4th)
1999-00 -- Kansas (5th); Iowa State (6th)
1998-99 -- Oklahoma State (Tie - 5th); Texas (5th)
1997-98 -- Kansas (1st); Kansas (1st)
1996-97 -- No coaches poll; Kansas