Sooners Picked Third in Big 12

NORMAN, Okla. - The University of Oklahoma men's basketball team is picked to finish third in the Big 12 Conference race in a poll of the league's head coaches released today.

The Sooners received 95 points in the voting and came in behind Kansas (121 points) and Texas (111). Teams received 12 points for a first-place vote, 11 points for a second-place vote, etc. Coaches were not allowed to vote on the poll placement of their own teams. Kansas received 11 first-place votes and Texas received the other.

Picked to finish behind Kansas, Texas and OU in this year's poll were Kansas State (92 points), Texas A&M (74), Oklahoma State (69), Missouri (66), Iowa State (57), Texas Tech (34), Baylor (33), Nebraska (27) and Colorado (13).

Oklahoma is coming off a 30-6 season that saw it reach No. 2 in the national polls and advance to the NCAA Tournament's Elite Eight. Gone from that squad, however, are starters Blake Griffin (the 2009 consensus national player of the year and No. 1 overall NBA Draft pick), Taylor Griffin (second-round NBA Draft pick) and point guard Austin Johnson.

Leading the charge for Jeff Capel's Sooners this season will be returning starting guards Willie Warren and Tony Crocker. Warren, a sophomore, is on several preseason first-team All-America lists following a strong freshman campaign that saw him average 14.6 points and 3.1 assists, and set OU freshman records for 3-pointers (67) and games started (34). He was named Big 12 Rookie of the Week seven times, one shy of the record. Crocker enters his senior season already ranked 34th in OU history in points (1,008) and seventh in 3-point makes (158). Last year he averaged 9.6 points and drained 59 treys.

Oklahoma also welcomes seven newcomers to the team, including McDonald's All-Americans Tiny Gallon and Tommy Mason-Griffin.

Oklahoma plays a home exhibition game Nov. 3 against the University of British Columbia and begins regular season play Nov. 14 with a home contest against Mount St. Mary's. For ticket information, call (800) 456-4668.

2009-10 Big 12 Men's Basketball Poll (first-place votes in parentheses)

1. Kansas (11) - 121 points
2. Texas (1) - 111 points
3. Oklahoma - 95 points
4. Kansas State - 92 points
5. Texas A&M - 74 points
6. Oklahoma State - 69 points
7. Missouri - 66 points
8. Iowa State - 57 points
9. Texas Tech - 34 points
10. Baylor - 33 points
11. Nebraska - 27 points
12. Colorado - 13 points

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