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Sooners picked to finish 8th in Big 12 Preseason Poll

It could be a long season for men’s Oklahoma basketball in 2018-19. The Sooners are picked to finish in the bottom three in the Big 12 this season.

Kansas is the overwhelming choice to win the Big 12 again this season, capturing all nine first-place votes from league coaches in the annual Big 12 Preseason Basketball Poll (coaches are not permitted to vote for their own team).

Oklahoma is a slight favorite over Baylor to finish eighth in the conference standings this season, two spots higher than in-state Bedlam rival Oklahoma State.

The Jayhawks of Kansas have been picked No. 1 in the preseason poll for eight consecutive seasons and 18 times since the Big 12 was formed in 1996. Kansas has won 14 outright Big 12 regular-season championships and shared four others. One of the shared regular-season titles was with Oklahoma in 2005.

Lon Kruger’s Sooners lose two starters, including consensus All-American Trae Young, off of last year’s team, which finished 18-14 overall and 8-10 in the conference, which was good for a sixth-place tie with three other teams. Kruger is beginning his eighth season as the OU head coach.

This year’s OU roster includes two graduate transfers (Aaron Calixte and Miles Reynolds) and two other transfers (Austin Reaves, Kur Kuath and Luke Stephenson). The Sooners also are high on freshman Jamal Bieniemy. All but Kuath are guards. Kuath is a 6-foot, 9-inch forward.

Returning starters Christian James, Jamuni McNeace and Brady Manek lead a Sooner squad that is deep in new players and also not as talented as past Oklahoma teams.

This could be a tough season in hoops for the Crimson and Cream, but help is on the way. The 2019 Oklahoma recruiting class ranks ninth in the latest Rivals.com rankings

Behind Kansas in the Big 12 Preseason Poll is Kansas State, followed by West Virginia and a tie for fourth between Texas and TCU. Iowa State is picked fifth and Texas Tech sixth.

Over the last four seasons, the Sooners have been picked to finish sixth in both 2017-18 and 2016-17 in the Big 12 Preseason Poll, second in 2015-16 and third in 2014-15.

The Big 12 has led the nation in RPI in four of the last five seasons, and last year the conference sent nine of its 10 teams to postseason play.

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