The USA Today/ESPN coaches preseason Top 25 poll was released today, and despite a disappointing finish to last season, Scott Drew's Baylor Bears are the highest of four ranked Big 12 teams at No. 12.
Kansas comes right behind them at No. 13, with Texas A&M at No. 19 and Missouri at No. 25, while Texas and Kansas State were in the also receiving votes category.
Just on pure talent, Baylor is probably underrated. The Bears have two future lottery picks: Perry Jones, the Big 12 preseason player of the year, and Quincy Miller, a 6'9 210 small forward out of North Carolina. There's also a strong core of veterans (Quincy Acy, Anthony Jones and AJ Walton) still left from Baylor's run to the 2009 Elite Eight.
However, despite all their talent, they missed the NCAA Tournament last year due to poor point guard play and Drew's inability to maximize the talent on his roster.
Texas made its 13th straight NCAA Tournament appearance under Rick Barnes last year, but the season was viewed as a disappointment after another early round flame-out. The Longhorns lost three players (Tristan Thompson, Jordan Hamilton and Cory Joseph) to the first round of the NBA Draft, and have only two significant contributors, combo guard J'Covan Brown and forward Alexis Wangmene, coming back.
Despite losing so much talent, the Longhorns received 107 points in the poll, only three behind No. 25 Missouri. Much of the optimism around their season surrounds freshmen Myck Kabongo, the most highly-regarded point guard to come to the 40 Acres since DJ Augustin.
Check out our Big 12 Hoops blog for the latest college basketball news and analysis, and our Texas blog Burnt Orange Nation for the latest on the Longhorns.