WACO, Texas — Baylor men’s basketball is ranked No. 2 in the preseason AP Top 25 poll. This is the eighth time the Bears have been ranked heading into the season in the last 11 years. The No.2 spot is the highest the Bears has been ranked in the preseason in program history.
Gonzaga received 28 first-place votes which put them at the top of the poll, one spot ahead of Baylor who received 24 of 64 first-place votes.
Baylor was No. 16 in last year’s preseason poll, which led to fighting straight weeks at the No. 1 spot during the regular season. Baylor’s previous-best preseason ranking was No. 12 heading into the 2011-12 season, which the Bears started 17-0 and reached the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight.
The Bears open the season in the 2K Empire Classic which includes games against No. 18 Arizona State, No. 3 Villanova, and No. 8 Illinois.
Baylor will then play another large chunk of ranked opponents in Big 12 play against No. 6 Kansas, No. 14 Texas Tech, No. 15 West Virginia and No. 19 Texas.
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.
The Bears were picked first in the Big 12 preseason coaches’ poll for the first time in program history, receiving seven of nine first-place votes. Junior guard Jared Butler was named preseason Big 12 Player of the Year, while Mark Vital and MaCio Teague were honorable mentions Preseason All-Big 12.
Head Coach Scott Drew enters his 18th season at Baylor with a 340-213 record.
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