Lon Kruger’s Oklahoma Sooners have been tabbed as the No. 6 team in the Big 12 Preseason Poll by the league’s coaches. Each school was awarded nine points for a first-place vote, eight for a second-place vote, and so on. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own school.
Oklahoma made its fifth trip to the Final Four in school history, but will have to replace National Player of the Year Buddy Hield, as well as key contributors Isaiah Cousins and Ryan Spangler. The Sooners return three-year starter Jordan Woodard (who will probably transition back to the PG position) and starting forward/center Khadeem Lattin, who led the conference in blocks (2.1 per game) last season.
The Sooners will look for Christian James and Dante Buford as well as freshmen Kameron McGusty, Kristian Doolittle and Matt Freeman to step up in a big way this season. James, Buford Jamuni McNeace were a bit raw a year ago, but Kruger has garnered a reputation as someone who develops his players very well from year to year. Considering the amount of production lost, No. 6 is probably a fair spot for now. But don’t sleep on Lon Kruger’s team, because there’s a ton of potential on the roster.
The Jayhawks are the unanimous choice to win the conference this year, and who can blame the coaches for that? Until you knock them off their perch (I’m going to assume that the made-up bird has a perch and consider this a pun), you have to assume they’ll win the league again. Kansas returns Frank Mason III and Devonte’ Graham, and they bring in McDonalds All-Americans Josh Jackson and Udoka Azubuike, so I think they’ll be more than adequate on the court this season.