MBB: Sooners Picked Second in Big 12 Preseason Poll

With four starters returning from last year’s squad that advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16, the University of Oklahoma men’s basketball team was picked second in this year’s official Big 12 Preseason Poll, the conference announced Thursday. The order of finish was picked by the league's head coaches (they were not allowed to vote on their own team).

Oklahoma, led by fifth-year head coach Lon Kruger, has finished second in the league in back-to-back seasons. The squad returns 75 percent of its scoring, 69 percent of its rebounding and 83 percent of its assists from a year ago.

Kansas finished atop the poll with 81 points (nine points were awarded per first-place vote, eight points per second-place vote, etc.) and nine coaches picked the Jayhawks to win the league. KU was followed by OU (70 points), Iowa State (68 points; one first-place vote), Texas (51 points), Baylor (49 points), West Virginia (47), Oklahoma State (33), Kansas State and TCU (18 points each) and Texas Tech (15).

Each of Kruger's first four Oklahoma teams finished higher than where they were picked in the Big 12 Preseason Poll. Last year the Sooners were picked third and finished tied for second. In 2013-14, the Sooners were picked tied for fifth and finished second. In 2012-13, OU was slotted seventh and finished tied for fourth, and in Kruger’s first year, OU was picked ninth and wound up eighth.

The Sooners are led by reigning Big 12 Player of the Year Buddy Hield, who topped the conference in scoring in 2014-15 (17.4 ppg) and ranks 15th all-time at OU with 1,366 points. Other returning starters from last year’s squad include seniors Isaiah Cousins (11.7 ppg) and Ryan Spangler (9.7 ppg, 8.2 rpg), as well as junior Jordan Woodard (9.3 ppg, 3.8 apg). Each of those four players has started every game the last two seasons.

Oklahoma tips off the 2015-16 campaign with a Nov. 6 home exhibition game against Washburn. The Sooners begin the regular season Nov. 17 on the road against Memphis.

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