The Bears open the season ranked #25 in today's AP Poll. This is the 7th straight year that the Bears have been ranked at some point in the season. Here is the entire poll, courtesy of the mothership's CBB section.
|1. Kentucky (27)||21-12||1,546||—|
|2. Michigan St. (22)||27-9||1,543||9|
|3. Louisville (14)||35-5||1,501||2|
|4. Duke (2)||30-6||1,435||6|
|8. Oklahoma St.||24-9||1,093||17|
|11. Ohio St.||29-8||1,036||7|
|12. North Carolina||25-11||954||—|
|16. Wichita St.||30-9||512||—|
|21. Notre Dame||25-10||332||23|
|23. New Mexico||29-6||213||10|
Kansas (5) and Oklahoma State (8) are the ONLY other Big XII schools in this first poll.
Baylor can potentially get a shot at Gonzaga (15) if both advance in the Maui Invitational later this month. In the second year of the series, the Bears will also get a chance to knock off the #1 ranked Kentucky Wildcats when they meet in Arlington on December 6th.
Without key pieces Pierre Jackson and A.J. Walton in the backcourt, the Bears have some questions to answer when it comes to ball handling and perimeter scoring. The uncertainty surrounding the point guard position vacated by those two and slated to be filled by JUCO PG Kenny Chery probably prompted voters to push the Bears down the ranks a bit. Some of that downward pressure was mitigated, however, by the presence of what could become one of the most dominating (and deep) frontcourts in college basketball in Cory Jefferson, Isaiah Austin, and Rico Gathers. Newcomer Ishmail Wainright, a national top-100 recruit in 2013, returning sophomore Taurean Prince, could also be intriguing wildcards for the Baylor team, which will need both scoring and toughness if it wants to improve on a NIT Tournament Championship from last season.