No. 9: Baylor Bears

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Midnight Madness is Friday. So we’re kicking off our college basketball coverage with our men’s preseason Top 25. Look for five teams posted a day, all this week.

2010-11 record: 18-13 (7-9), 5th in Big 12 (tied)
Lost in Big 12 tournament

Coach: Scott Drew, 127-116, 9th year (147-127 overall)

Last NCAA appearance: 2010

2011-12 roster [click here]
2011-12 schedule [click here]
2010-11 team stats [click here]

The good: This actually should read “really good.” Perry Jones stayed in school.

The 6-10 sophomore could’ve been the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft, but elected to give his Baylor career a different ending than being suspended for improper benefits. For those who shrug at that notion (and Jones’ 13.9 points and 7.2 rebounds a game), remember that Jones thrived down the stretch. Big 12 coaches remember. They named him the preseason player of the year.

He’s hardly alone, either. Senior forward Quincy Acy is a dunking machine (in a good way), while center J’Mison Morgan and forward Anthony Jones are solid backups. This is a big, nasty frontcourt.

The bad: Good thing, too. Because who’s running the offense?

The Bears have no shortage of options. Incumbent A.J. Walton might get the nod at first, but expect one of the two transfers – Brady Heslip or Pierre Jackson – to be the man by December at the latest.

It also remains to be seen how transfer Gary Franklin and freshman Deuce Bello fit in. Franklin’s an undersized shooting guard, while Bello’s raw. Both should be on the court. How much is the question.

The unknown: Then there’s Quincy Miller, a 6-8 wing who’s as talented as any player in the Big 12. He’ll be on the court. There’s no question about that.

It’s his knee everyone’s curious about.

It was “80 to 85 percent” healed in July, which means he’ll be ready for the season. But will he be quick? Will he trust his knee? Few figured Miller’s game would ever have any sort of hesitation, but a lingering knee issue just might do it.

Counting down the preseason Top 25

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