K-State Picked Sixth in Big 12 Race

Junior Rodney McGruder is one of seven lettermen returning in 2011-12.

Oct. 13, 2011

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Kansas State was selected to finish sixth in the preseason 2011-12 Big 12 Conference coaches' poll released by the league office on Thursday afternoon.

The Wildcats received 39 points to earn sixth place in the new 10-team conference configuration, just 12 points behind fifth-place Texas (51) and six points ahead of seventh-place Oklahoma State (33).  The coaches were deadlocked on the preseason favorite with Kansas and Texas A&M each garnering 73 points, however, the Jayhawks did receive five of 10 first-place votes.  In all, four teams collected first-place recognition for just the second time with Texas A&M (2), Baylor (2) and Missouri each earning at least one first-place vote.

Baylor (63) and Missouri (61) followed the preseason duo in third and fourth-places, respectively, while Texas and K-State rounded out the top 6.  The rest of the poll included Oklahoma State, Iowa State (27), Oklahoma (15) and Texas Tech (15).  Coaches are not allowed to vote for their own teams.

The sixth-place prediction is the lowest since K-State was picked eighth prior to the 2008-09 season.  The Wildcats, who tied Texas A&M for third place in the Big 12 a year ago, are one of only two teams to finish in the league's top-4 and receive a bye at the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship each of the past five seasons.  With only 10 teams, the top-6 will earn a bye in the 2012 event with the lower four seeds playing on the first day. 

K-State returns seven lettermen, including five players with starting experience, in 2010-11 from a squad that posted a 23-11 overall record and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the third time in four seasons.  The team has posted five consecutive 20-win seasons as well as five straight postseason appearances for the first time in school history.
 
The Wildcats open practice tomorrow with the first and only exhibition game set for Sunday, Nov. 6 against Fort Hays State at 1 p.m.  The season officially tips off against Charleston Southern on Friday, Nov. 11 at 7 p.m.  A limited number of season tickets are still available through the K-State Athletics Ticket Office at (800) 221.CATS or online at www.kstatesports.com/tickets.