Kansas State's Rodney McGruder (22) gets a shot off over Southern Miss defender Jonathan Mills during the first half of an East Regional NCAA tournament second-round college basketball game in Pittsburgh, Thursday, March 15, 2012. McGruder was the leading scorer in a 70-64 Kansas State win. ( AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State was selected to finish fifth in the preseason 2012-13 Big 12 Conference coaches’ poll released by the league office on Thursday morning.
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 pick 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 chosen 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 teams.
The fifth-place prediction is one spot better than last season’s pick of sixth place, which was the lowest for K-State since 2008-09. The Wildcats, who finished in fifth place 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 Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship each of the past six seasons. With only 10 teams, the top-6 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.
The team has collected six consecutive 20-win seasons as well as six straight postseason appearances for the fifth time in school history.
The Wildcats begin practice on Friday with media day set for Monday, October 15. Weber, McGruder as well as seniors Jordan Henriquez and Martavious Irving will be at the Big 12’s media day on Wednesday, October 17 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City.
The men’s and women’s basketball teams will hold a public scrimmage for fans on Saturday, October 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.
Season tickets are currently on sale for K-State’s 19-game home schedule at Bramlage Coliseum. Tickets can be purchased in a variety of ways, including toll free at (800) 221-CATS (2287), online at www.kstatesports.com and in-person at the Athletics Ticket Office. Prices remain the same for the 2012-13 season.