The loss of its two most productive players and an influx of seven new faces has left West Virginia in the middle of the pack of the Big 12 rankings, at least in view of the coaches voting in the preseason poll.
The Mountaineers were selected in a fifth-place tie with Oklahoma State in a poll of the league’s head coaches, who were not allowed to vote for their own team.
To no one’s surprise, Kansas, despite longstanding NCAA issues hanging over the program, was picked to win the regular-season title. The Jayhawks’ nine-year streak of preseason first-place finishes ended last year when Baylor was the choice and went on to win both the Big 12 and NCAA titles.
The Jayhawks collected eight first-place votes and finished with a total of 80 points. Texas received the other two first-place nods to land at second with 70 points. Baylor was close behind in third with 67 points while Texas Tech placed fourth with 51 points. Oklahoma State and West Virginia tied for fifth with 49 points each. No. 7 Oklahoma (29), No. 8 TCU (24), No. 9 K-State (22) and No. 10 Iowa State (9) rounded out the poll.
In addition to Baylor’s national championship, six other Big 12 squads are coming off an appearance in the 2021 NCAA Tournament.
The 2021-22 regular season is scheduled to begin Nov. 9, with Big 12 play starting on New Year’s Day.