The Big 12 Preseason Poll was released Thursday, and Lon Kruger’s Oklahoma Sooners have been picked to finish 6th in the conference, the Big 12 office announced Thursday morning following a vote by the coaches. The Kansas Jayhawks were predictably picked to win the league with nine first-place votes. Coaches were not allowed to include their own team on the ballot.
In four of Lon Kruger’s six seasons at Oklahoma, the Sooners have finished higher than their projected spot in the final Big 12 standings. Additionally, being picked sixth in this conference isn’t exactly a hug slight, because the Big 12 is going to be a monster this season. Kansas will be Kansas. West Virginia returns a ton of players and will still be pressing just as hard. TCU essentially returns everyone from a team that steamrolled through the NIT last year and was definitely talented enough to win a game or two at the Big Dance. Like Oklahoma, Texas has a five-star freshman (Mo Bamba) and returns a ton of young talent from a year ago. Iowa State was picked to finish ninth after losing a bunch of household names, but they have some nice newcomers and will probably still be a dangerous team.
I think Trae Young and the Sooners can finish in the top half of this conference, but they could still potentially make the NCAA Tournament even if they don’t. The Big 12 has sent at least six teams to the Big Dance in four consecutive seasons prior to this one and I don’t picture that streak being broken this season.