CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The West Virginia University men's basketball team, coming off a 13-19 season in its inaugural season in the Big 12, has been picked to finish seventh in this league this season.
The Big 12 preseason poll was released Thursday, and Kansas and Oklahoma tied for the top spot in the 10-team league.
It marks the 12th time in Big 12 history that KU has been the preseason favorite, while the Cowboys are chosen for the third time.
The top returnees for KU will be sophomore Perry Ellis (5.8 ppg) and junior Naadir Tharpe (113 assists), who will be joined by a highly touted group of newcomers. Leading the incoming players will be freshman Andrew Wiggins, who was rated as the consensus No. 1 player in the nation coming out of Huntington Prep. The Jayhawks have won nine straight outright or shared Big 12 regular season crowns.
Oklahoma State boasts the top two returning scorers in the conference, including last season's Big 12 Player of the Year Marcus Smart.
OSU has four starters back in 2013-14 and returns 95.4 percent of its points overall from a year ago. It is the first time since sharing the preseason top spot with Kansas in 2004-05 that the Cowboys have been selected to win the league.
Baylor and Iowa State were next in the predictions at third and fourth, while Kansas State and Oklahoma tied for fifth. The Bears have been chosen in the top four in five of the past six years, while ISU's preseason ranking is its highest since 2000-01. West Virginia, Texas, Texas Tech and TCU round out the poll.
The Mountaineers lost their final seven games of the 2012-13 season and the 13-19 overall record was the worst of Coach Bob Huggins' career. WVU went 6-12 in league play and finished eighth in the Big 12.
The Big 12 season gets underway on Friday, Nov. 8 with nine schools in action. Big 12 conference competition starts on Saturday, Jan. 4 with four games. Big 12 teams will face a full double round-robin schedule in league play for the third consecutive season.