Baylor Men’s Basketball Earns First-Ever Preseason Number One Ranking

Baylor

Baylor Athletics Press Release:

WACO, Texas – Baylor men’s basketball is ranked No. 1 in the 2020-21 preseason USA Today coaches’ poll released Thursday, marking the first time Baylor has received a No. 1 preseason ranking.

This is the seventh time Baylor has received a No. 1 national ranking. The Bears were No. 1 for the first time on Jan. 9, 2017, then spent five consecutive weeks ranked No. 1 from Jan. 20 through Feb. 17 last season. Baylor has now been top-5 ranked in 12 consecutive polls, spanning the entire 2020 calendar year.

With its No. 1 ranking, Baylor joins Gonzaga, Kansas and Duke as the nation’s only programs to be ranked No. 1 at some point in three out of the last five seasons. Kentucky, Villanova and Michigan State are the only other programs to earn No. 1 rankings in multiple seasons since 2017, while Louisville, Tennessee and Virginia have all been ranked No. 1 in one of the last five seasons.

Baylor tips off the 2020-21 season Nov. 25-26 with the 2K Empire Classic at Mohegan Sun. The Bears open against No. 17 Arizona State, then face either No. 3 Villanova or Boston College. The Bears then play at Seton Hall in the Big 12/Big East Battle, before heading to Indianapolis for a pair of games against potential top-10 opponents. BU could face No. 10 Illinois in the Jimmy V Classic on Dec. 2, then takes on No. 2 Gonzaga on Dec. 5.

No. 1 Baylor received 12 of 32 first-place votes, two more than No. 2 Gonzaga’s 10 first-place votes. No. 3 Villanova received eight first-place votes, while No. 6 Iowa and No. 8 Duke each received one first-place vote.

Baylor’s previous-best preseason ranking was No. 12 prior to the 2011-12 year, a season in which the Bears started 17-0 and reached the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight. Baylor was No. 18 in last year’s preseason coaches’ poll, and BU climbed to No. 1 for five consecutive weeks and was projected to be an NCAA Tournament No. 1 seed for the first time before the COVID-19 pandemic abruptly ended the season.

Previous Baylor preseason coaches’ poll rankings were No. 14 in 2010-11, No. 12 in 2011-12, No. 18 in 2012-13, No. 21 in 2015-16, No. 24 in 2017-18 and No. 18 in 2019-20.

The Bears were projected atop the Big 12 preseason coaches’ poll for the first time in program history, garnering seven of nine potential first-place votes. BU’s Jared Butler was named preseason Big 12 Player of the Year and a preseason AP All-American, while Mark Vital and MaCio Teague were honorable mention Preseason All-Big 12.

Baylor returns four players who earned All-Big 12 honors last season. Butler was a unanimous First-Team choice, while Teague was All-Big 12 Second Team, and Davion Mitchell and Mark Vital were All-Big 12 Third Team, with Mitchell named the league’s Newcomer of the Year.

Additional returners include juniors Flo Thamba and Matthew Mayer, senior Tristan Clark and sophomore Jackson Moffatt. The Bears add three players who redshirted last season with freshman Jordan Turner and sophomores Adam Flagler and Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua. BU also welcomes three top-100 incoming freshmen in LJ Cryer, Dain Dainja and Zach Loveday, as well as walk-on grad transfer Mark Paterson.

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 340-213 mark at BU. Drew’s teams have combined to post a 306-144 record over the last 13 seasons, recording a 21-10 mark over 11 postseason appearances in that span.

Baylor Athletics expects to open the season with 25 percent capacity in the Ferrell Center, and renewed season ticket holders will have exclusive priority. Additional information on the adjusted ticketing process has been provided by the Baylor Bear Foundation here. Follow @BaylorMBB on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for updates throughout the year.

2020-21 PRESEASON COACHES’ POLL

1. BAYLOR (12) – 764

2. Gonzaga (10) – 762

3. Villanova (8) – 755

4. Virginia – 666

5. Kansas – 1,221

6. Iowa (1) – 1,273

7. Wisconsin – 1,150

8. Duke (1) – 1,073

9. Kentucky – 1,038

10. Illinois – 1,105

11. Creighton – 922

12. Michigan State – 820

13. Texas Tech – 790

14. Tennessee – 919

15. West Virginia – 651

16. North Carolina – 465

17. Arizona State – 402

18. Houston – 438

19. Florida State – 351

20. Oregon – 375

21. UCLA – 336

22. Texas – 380

23. Rutgers – 190

24. Ohio State – 270

25. Alabama – 62

Others receiving votes: Louisville 55; Florida 52; Michigan 38; Louisiana State 27; San Diego St. 23; Dayton 23; Richmond 21; Maryland 15; Indiana 14; Seton Hall 12; Memphis 12; Connecticut 11; Stanford 10; Oklahoma State 9; Northern Iowa 8; Brigham Young 8; Syracuse 4; Providence 4; Purdue 3; Arkansas 2; Western Kentucky 1; Stephen F. Austin 1; Saint Mary’s 1; Loyola-Chicago 1; Georgia Tech 1.

* – Potential 2020-21 regular-season opponents in bold

BAYLOR ALL-TIME PRESEASON COACHES’ POLL RANKINGS

2010-11 – 14th

2011-12 – 12th

2012-13 – 18th

2015-16 – 21st

2017-18 – 24th

2019-20 – 18th

2020-21 – 1st

BAYLOR MBB No. 1 NATIONAL RANKINGS

Jan. 9, 2017 (AP & Coaches)

Jan. 20, 2020 (AP)

Jan. 27, 2020 (AP & Coaches)

Feb. 3, 2020 (AP & Coaches)

Feb. 10, 2020 (AP & Coaches)

Feb. 17, 2020 (AP & Coaches)

Nov. 12, 2020 (Coaches)

2020-21 BAYLOR MBB PRESEASON HONORS

Jared Butler

Preseason All-America Team (Associated Press)

Preseason Big 12 Player of the Year

Preseason All-Big 12 Team (unanimous)

Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year Award Watch List

No. 5 on CBS Sports Top 101 Players in College Basketball

Davion Mitchell

No. 67 on CBS Sports Top 101 Players in College Basketball

MaCio Teague

Preseason All-Big 12 honorable mention

Jerry West Shooting Guard of the Year Award Watch List

No. 24 on CBS Sports Top 101 Players in College Basketball

Mark Vital

Preseason All-Big 12 honorable mention

Karl Malone Power Forward of the Year Watch List

No. 71 on CBS Sports Top 101 Players in College Basketball

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April 29 2021 07:00 pm

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