Baylor MBB Picked to Win Big 12 in Preseason Coaches’ Poll

Baylor

Baylor Athletics Press Release:

IRVING, Texas – Baylor men’s basketball has been picked to finish atop the Big 12 Conference standings in 2021 Big 12 Preseason Poll, as voted on by the league’s head coaches. This is the first time BU has been picked to win the league.

The Bears received seven first-place votes out of a possible nine. Coaches are not permitted to vote for their own teams. BU previously received one first-place vote in the 2013 preseason poll and again in the 2020 preseason poll, and the Bears were picked second in both of those prior polls, marking the highest previous projection in the league’s 25-year history.

Baylor received 79 of a possible 81 points in the 2021 preseason poll, meaning the Bears were picked second on the two ballots which didn’t have them at the top. Kansas was second with 73 points and the remaining three first-place votes, followed by West Virginia (61), Texas (58), Texas Tech (53), Oklahoma (39), Oklahoma State (35), Iowa State (19), TCU (18) and Kansas State (15).

This marks the 10th time in the last 13 seasons BU has been picked to finish in the top half of the league. The Bears were picked in the lower half of the league in each of the conference’s first 12 seasons.

Baylor was projected second a year ago, matching the final result when BU went 15-3 in league play on its way to a projected No. 1 seed in the 2020 NCAA Tournament before it was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Baylor was projected to finish ninth in the 2019 season’s preseason poll, but the Bears overcame injuries to four potential starters to finish fourth and advance to the NCAA Tournament second round.

Head coach Scott Drew enters his 18th season at Baylor in 2020-21. He holds a 362-224 career record over 18 years as a Division I coach, including a 342-213 mark at BU. Drew’s teams have combined to post a 306-144 record over the last 13 seasons, recording a 21-10 record over 11 postseason appearances in that span.

BU returns four starters and seven letterwinners from last season’s team, including five players who previously earned All-Big 12 honors. Jared Butler, MaCio Teague, Mark Vital and Davion Mitchell are all back after earning All-Big 12 recognition last season, and the Bears return 2019 All-Big 12 selection Tristan Clark, along with letterwinners Matthew Mayer and Flo Thamba.

Baylor also gains a pair of experienced transfers who are now eligible after sitting out the 2019-20 season. Adam Flagler led Presbyterian in scoring as a freshman in 2018-19 and is now eligible as a sophomore after practicing with the Bears last season. Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua is in the same position as a now-eligible sophomore. He was at UNLV for his 2018-19 freshman season before transferring to Baylor, where he practiced with the team throughout the 2019-20 season.

Baylor also adds a strong 2020 signing class, which features a trio of highly ranked recruits. LJ Cryer, Zach Loveday and Dain Dainja combine to form the Bears’ incoming freshmen class that was ranked as high as No. 8 nationally. Additionally, Jordan Turner is now eligible after redshirting as the Bears’ lone freshman last season.

Baylor opens the 2020-21 season with a 14-day, five-game trip to take on some of the nation’s top teams. BU opens the season Nov. 25-26 at the Empire Classic, which features Villanova, Arizona State and Boston College. Baylor then plays a pair of games against to-be-announced opponents, before finishing the trip Dec. 5 in a marquee matchup against Gonzaga in Indianapolis.

The Bears’ home opener is Dec. 8 against Nicholls State, and Baylor opens Big 12 play with a home game against Texas on Dec. 13. BU also has non-conference home games against Arkansas-Pine Bluff (Dec. 21), Central Arkansas (Dec. 29) and Auburn (Jan. 30).

Baylor Athletics expects to open the season with 25 percent capacity in the Ferrell Center, and renewed season ticket holders will have exclusive priority. The Baylor Bear Foundation will send additional information this week. Follow @BaylorMBB on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for updates throughout the year.

2020-21 BIG 12 PRESEASON POLL

1. Baylor – 79 (7)

2. Kansas – 73 (3)

3. West Virginia – 61

4. Texas – 58

5. Texas Tech – 53

6. Oklahoma – 39

7. Oklahoma State – 35

8. Iowa State – 19

9. TCU – 18

10. Kansas State – 15

BAYLOR IN BIG 12 PRESEASON POLLS (First-Place Votes)

1997 – 12th

1998 – 10th

1999 – t-11th

2000 – 12th

2001 – 11th

2002 – 9th

2003 – 8th

2004 – 12th

2005 – 12th

2006 – 12th 

2007 – 7th

2008 – 9th

2009 – t-3rd

2010 – 10th

2011 – 4th

2012 – 3rd

2013 – 2nd (1)

2014 – 3rd

2015 – t-6th

2016 – 5th

2017 – 5th

2018 – 5th

2019 – 9th

2020 – 2nd (1)

2021 – 1st (7)

www.BaylorBears.com

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