Hoops Teams Open Year Highly Ranked
For the first time in program history, Baylor Men’s Basketball opened a season as the nation’s top-ranked team. The Bears earned 12 of 32 first-place votes to sit atop the USA Today Coaches Preseason Poll, ahead of Gonzaga, Villanova, Virginia and Kansas. Baylor was ranked second in the preseason AP Top 25 — one point behind Gonzaga.
Baylor’s previous best preseason ranking was No. 12 prior to the 2011-2012 season in which the Bears started 17-0 and reached the NCAA Tournament Regional Final (Elite Eight). This year’s preseason ranking marked the seventh time Baylor was No. 1 at any point in a season. The Bears joined Duke, Gonzaga and Kansas as the only programs to be ranked No. 1 at some point in three of the last five seasons.
Meanwhile, Baylor Women’s Basketball ranked fourth behind South Carolina, Stanford and Connecticut in both preseason polls. The Lady Bears have been ranked in the top five of both preseason polls six straight years and in nine of 11 seasons since 2010. Baylor has been ranked to start each of the last 17 seasons.
With the preseason ranking, Baylor appeared in the AP Top 25 for the 320th consecutive week — the nation’s second longest such streak behind only Connecticut (510 weeks). The Lady Bears, who claimed their third national title in 2019, opened the season as reigning NCAA Champions after the 2020 NCAA Tournament was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.