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Baylor Basketball

Baylor No. 2 in Associated Press Preseason Top 25

November 9, 2020
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NEW YORK – Baylor men’s basketball is ranked No. 2 in the preseason AP Top 25 poll, the Associate Press announced Monday. The preseason ranking is 10 spots higher than any of Baylor’s previous preseason rankings and marks the eighth in the last 11 years the Bears have been ranked in the preseason AP Top 25.

Baylor received 24 of 64 first-place votes and garnered 1,540 points, just one point back of No. 1 Gonzaga with 28 first-place votes and 1,541 points. The Bears will face Gonzaga in the fifth game of the season on Dec. 5 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

Baylor’s five-game stretch to start the season includes matchups against No. 18 Arizona State in the first round of the 2K Empire Classic, followed by additional potential neutral-site matchups against No. 3 Villanova and No. 8 Illinois. The Bears also play at Seton Hall in the middle of that five-game stretch.

All told, the Bears could play 12 of their 27 regular-season games against teams ranked in the top-19 of the preseason AP Top 25. Following the four potential non-conference games against teams ranked Nos. 1, 3, 8 and 18, BU will play home-and-home matchups as part of the Big 12 Conference schedule against No. 6 Kansas, No. 14 Texas Tech, No. 15 West Virginia and No. 19 Texas.

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. 16 in last year’s preseason poll, which tied the then-second-best mark in program history, 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 rankings were No. 16 in 2010-11, No. 12 in 2011-12, No. 19 in 2012-13, No. 25 in 2013-14, No. 22 in 2015-16, No. 24 in 2017-18 and No. 16 in 2019-20.

Gonzaga is in the top spot this year, followed by No. 2 Baylor, No. 3 Villanova, No. 4 Virginia, No. 5 Iowa, No. 6 Kansas, No. 7 Wisconsin, No. 8 Illinois, No. 9 Duke, No. 10 Kentucky, No. 11 Creighton, No. 12 Tennessee, No. 13 Michigan State, No. 14 Texas Tech, No. 15 West Virginia, No. 16 North Carolina, No. 17 Houston, No. 18 Arizona State, No. 19 Texas, No. 20 Oregon, No. 21 Florida State, No. 22 UCLA, No. 23 Ohio State, No. 24 Rutgers and No. 25 Michigan.

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, 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 record 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 AP TOP 25

1. Gonzaga (28) – 1,541

2. BAYLOR (24) – 1,540

3. Villanova (11) – 1,501

4. Virginia (1) – 1,364

5. Iowa – 1,273

6. Kansas – 1,221

7. Wisconsin – 1,150

8. Illinois – 1,105

9. Duke – 1,073

10. Kentucky – 1,038

11. Creighton – 922

12. Tennessee – 919

13. Michigan State – 820

14. Texas Tech – 790

15. West Virginia – 651

16. North Carolina – 465

17. Houston – 438

18. Arizona State – 402

19. Texas – 380

20. Oregon – 375

21. Florida State – 351

22. UCLA – 336

23. Ohio State – 270

24. Rutgers – 190

25. Michigan – 160

Others receiving votes: LSU 146, Memphis 69, Florida 69, Alabama 50, Indiana 48, Louisville 41, Richmond 40, Stanford 14, Providence 9, Saint Louis 8, Auburn 8, San Diego State 6, Connecticut 6, BYU 4, Loyola Chicago 3, Seton Hall 2, UNC Greensboro 1, Northern Iowa 1

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

 
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