Kansas the coaches’ unanimous choice to win the Big 12

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Kansas has won eight straight Big 12 regular season titles, and even with the loss of Thomas Robinson and Tyshawn Taylor Big 12 coaches expect the Jayhawks to extend the streak to nine.

The Big 12 released its preseason coaches’ poll on Thursday, and Kansas was the unanimous choice to win the conference.

Since coaches aren’t allowed to vote for their own teams the Jayhawks picked up nine first-place votes, with Bill Self’s vote going to the Baylor Bears.

Scott Drew’s club, coming off of it’s second Elite Eight appearance in three years, finished second in the voting with Oklahoma State being the choice to finish third.

1. Kansas – 81 points (nine first-place votes)
2. Baylor – 63 (one first-place vote)
3. Oklahoma State – 60
4. Texas – 58
5. Kansas State – 54
6. West Virginia – 45
7. Oklahoma – 34
8. Iowa State – 28
9. Texas Tech – 18
10. TCU – 9

Being picked by the coaches to win the Big 12 tends to work out for teams when looking at the history of the preseason coaches poll, as only four times in the history of the conference has the preseason pick failed to finish third or higher.

Oklahoma State finished 5th in 1998-99, with Kansas finishing in a tie for fifth the following season and Missouri doing so in 2003-04.

The worst performance by the Big 12 coaches’ choice? That would be last year’s Texas A&M squad, which was hit hard by the injury bug and finished ninth.

Given the close nature of this season’s poll after Kansas (2nd through 6th are separated by 18 points), it should be interesting to see how the race shakes out.

Obviously what happens with Texas point guard Myck Kabongo would have a major impact on that if he’s forced to miss games, and teams such as West Virginia (6th) and Oklahoma (7th) may prove to be underrated by the coaches.

Raphielle is also the assistant editor at CollegeHoops.net and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

Clemson lands 2017 guard

Brad Brownell
AP Photo
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Clemson landed a quality commitment on Tuesday as Class of 2017 guard A.J. Oliver committed to the Tigers. The son of Clemson women’s head coach Audra Smith, Oliver is regarded as a three-star prospect, according to Rivals, although some others view him as a top-100 caliber player.

The 6-foot-4 Oliver attends nearby Daniel High School and should have some time to get acclimated with the players and coaches before he sets foot on campus. A versatile guard who plays hard, Oliver showed that he can make plays with the ball in his hands this summer with the Upward Stars.

Oliver is Clemson’s first commitment in the Class of 2017 and it’s a strong start for head coach Brad Brownell.

Arizona’s Tarczewski out 4-to-6 weeks

Kaleb Tarczewski, Sean Miller
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Arizona will be without senior center Kaleb Tarczewski for 4-to-6 weeks, the school announced on Tuesday. The 7-foot Tarczewski suffered a stress reaction and strained muscle to his left foot and he’ll have some time to heal before the main portion of the Pac-12 conference schedule.

The experienced Tarczewski was averaging 8.6 points and 7.2 rebounds per game before going down with injury. Without the senior in the lineup, Arizona fell to Providence in the Wooden Legacy last week. Without Tarczewski in the lineup, the Wildcats could turn to center Dusan Ristic while forward Ryan Anderson has had some solid outings this season.

Missing Tarczewski for the rest of non-conference play will hurt but he’ll get to rest and recover for the stretch run while the Wildcats can mix in some new frontcourt pieces.