• Men’s basketball opens 2012-13 as the consensus No. 2 team in the Big 12

    Pierre JacksonThe 2012-13 Baylor basketball season kicks off today with a doubleheader in the Ferrell Center: the No. 1-ranked defending national champion Lady Bears open against Lamar today at noon, followed by the 18th-ranked men versus Lehigh at 4 p.m. (Both games will be televised on FSSW.)

    We previewed the Lady Bears last week; now let’s take a look at the men.

    Head coach Scott Drew’s Bears begin the season generally regarded as the second-best team in the Big 12, behind last year’s national runner-up Kansas. Baylor is ranked 18th in the preseason coaches poll and 19th in the AP Top 25, the third straight year that BU has been ranked in both preseason polls. The Bears were also picked to finish second in the Big 12 by the league’s coaches, the program’s best-ever preseason projection.

    The team will be led by senior guard Pierre Jackson, a projected All-American who was named Preseason Big 12 Player of the Year by league coaches as well as Athlon, Blue Ribbon, Sporting News and Yahoo!. The starting lineup is expected to feature Jackson along with another preseason All-Big 12 pick, sharpshooter Brady Heslip, and three other veterans in seniors A.J. Walton and J’Mison Morgan and junior Cory Jefferson.

    Coming off the bench will be freshman center Isaiah Austin, named the Big 12’s top NBA prospect by Athlon and Yahoo! before his first collegiate game. A preseason All-American and All-Big 12 pick, Austin was a consensus top-5 national recruit in the Bears’ 2012 signing class which also included highly regarded freshmen Rico Gathers and L.J. Rose.

    Today’s games are the first of several this season to be televised on Fox Sports Southwest as part of “Baylor Vision on FOX Sports,” the Bears’ third-tier TV network. Hope to see you at the Ferrell Center this afternoon!

    Sic ’em, Baylor basketball!

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