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Big 12 Basketball: Sooners picked to finish sixth

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The Oklahoma men's basketball team was picked sixth in this year's official Big 12 Preseason Poll, the conference office announced Thursday. The order of finish was voted on by the league's head coaches (they were not allowed to vote on their own team).

Kansas finished atop the poll with 81 points (nine points were awarded per first-place vote, eight points per second-place vote, etc.) and was unanimously picked to win the league. KU was followed by West Virginia (71 points), TCU (64), Texas (49), Baylor (47), Oklahoma (43), Texas Tech (36), Kansas State (27), Iowa State (22) and Oklahoma State (10).

The Sooners have finished higher than where they were picked in the Big 12 Preseason Poll in four of the six seasons under head coach Lon Kruger. Oklahoma has finished the regular season in the top four of the Big 12 standings in four of the previous five seasons.

The Big 12 is coming off its fourth-straight campaign of sending at least six teams to the NCAA Tournament. The conference boasted three squads advancing to the 2017 Sweet 16 while TCU captured the Big 12's second NIT title.

Last season, Oklahoma was paced by sophomore guard Kameron McGusty – an All-Big 12 honorable mention selection and member of the Big 12 All Newcomer team. McGusty is joined by a returning young core featuring junior guards Christian James and Rashard Odomes, junior forward Jamuni McNeace and senior forward Khadeem Lattin. OU also adds a top-25 recruiting class, highlighted by five star point guard Trae Young from Norman North High School.

Last week, McGusty and Young were named Preseason All-Big 12 Team honorable mention selections. Young was also named a watch list candidates for the 2018 Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year Award.

OU opens the 2017-18 season with a home exhibition game against East Central on Nov. 8. The Sooners begin the regular season on Nov. 12 when they host Omaha.

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