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October 5, 2010

Cats chosen as conference favorite

A consensus Top 10 by a number of media outlets, Kansas State earned another first on Tuesday as the Wildcats were selected to win the Big 12 title for the first time in a vote of the league's head coaches.

K-State received 119 points and 10 first-place votes to out-distance rival and reigning champion Kansas, which was picked second with 109 points and the remaining two first-place votes. Texas (99) and Baylor (96) followed closely in third and fourth place, respectively, while Missouri (82) and Texas A&M (69) rounded out the top 6. The rest of the poll included Texas Tech (52), Oklahoma State (51), Colorado (46), Nebraska (31), Oklahoma (27) and Iowa State (11). Coaches are not allowed to vote for their own teams.

The previous high for K-State in the preseason poll was fourth in both 2007-08 and 2009-10. The Wildcats, who tied Baylor and Texas A&M for second 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 four seasons.

K-State has been listed in the Top 10 in several preseason polls, including No. 4 by Lindy's Sports, No. 5 by Athlon Sports, No. 6 by The Sporting News and No. 10 by Blue Ribbon Yearbook. Each of the publications has the Wildcats predicted to finish in the top-2 of the Big 12, including Lindy's who predicted the team to win the Big 12 crown in 2010-11. The team was also rated in the Top 10 in the early preseason polls by CBSSports.com (No. 5), FOXSports.com (No. 5), ESPN.com (No. 5) and Dick Vitale (No. 9).

The Wildcats, who posted a school-record 29 wins en route to its first trip to the Elite Eight since 1988 last season, return five players with starting experience in 2010-11, including seniors Curtis Kelly and Jacob Pullen who started a school-record 37 games a year ago. Pullen has been named to several preseason All-American teams, including the first team by Blue Ribbon Yearbook and The Sporting News, and was just announced to the preseason Wooden Award list. The squad also welcomes seven newcomers, including junior Freddy Asprilla, who was the Sun Belt Conference Freshman of the Year at Florida International in 2008-09.

With the start of practice fast approaching, the athletic department will usher in the start of the season by hosting "Madness in Manhattan" on Friday, Oct. 15. The event, which is open to the general public, starts at 7 p.m. CT with doors to the arena opening at 6:30 p.m. CT. Segments of the event will be broadcast on ESPNU as part of its Midnight Madness coverage from 8 p.m. to midnight CT.

Big 12 Preseason Coaches Poll
1. Kansas State (10) 119
2. Kansas (2) 109
3. Texas 99
4. Baylor 96
5. Missouri 82
6. Texas A&M 69
7. Texas Tech 52
8. Oklahoma State 51
9. Colorado 46
10. Nebraska 31
11. Oklahoma 27
12. Iowa State 11

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