Tigers top Big 12 preseason poll

Missouri got a clear cut statement Wednesday from the Big 12 coaches about how good they think the Tigers will be. The Tigers got eight first-place votes to for their first top-ranking since the inception of the Big 12.

Talk about expectations. Missouri coach Quin Snyder said he thought they would be high, but even he might have not thought they'd be this high.

The Big 12 announced Wednesday that Missouri is the favorite in the Big 12 coaches preseason poll, with eight first-place votes of the 11 the Tigers could have received, with Snyder not allowed to vote for his own team. Texas finished second and Kansas came in at third.

It's a big step up for Missouri, which has never been picked higher than third and came in at fourth in last year's preseason poll. But that wasn't it for the Tigers, who also had two players on the preseason All-Big 12 team and the preseason Newcomer of the year.

Rickey Paulding and Arthur Johnson, both named to the second team after last season, made this season's preseason first team along with Texas Tech's Andre Emmet, Kansas' Wayne Simien and Texas forward James Thomas. Paulding averaged 17.4 points and Johnson had 16.1 points and 9.6 rebounds per game.

The expectations have already been put on Jason Conley, who transferred from Virginia Military Institute. The coaches named Conley the preseason Newcomer of the Year, even though he won't play until mid-December because of transfer rules. Conley led the nation in scoring as a freshman. Missouri guard Randy Pulley also received votes for this award.

Johnson also received votes for Player of the Year, which went to Emmet, and Linus Kleiza received votes for Freshman of the Year.


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