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BYU gets votes in preseason AP college basketball poll

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BYU players surround coach Mark Pope during a timeout.

BYU coach Mark Pope, center, is surrounded by his players during a timeout in the Cougars’ 73-62 loss to UCLA in the NCAA Tournament first round at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis on Saturday, March 20, 2021.

AJ Mast, Associated Press

After they made the NCAA Tournament last season and returned a bunch of key players from that team this season, expectations are quite high for the BYU men’s basketball team.

That was somewhat reflected in the Associated Press Top 25 preseason poll released Monday, as the Cougars received three votes, effectively ranking them No. 45 in the country.

Fellow West Coast Conference member Gonzaga topped the poll, and UCLA, the team that beat BYU in the first round of the 2021 Big Dance en route to the Final Four, is No. 2.

The Big 12 Conference, which BYU is primed to join in 2023, is known for being an incredibly strong basketball conference, and that is shown in the poll. Kansas is No. 3, Texas is No. 5 and defending national champion Baylor is No. 8.

Houston, which is one of the schools joining the Big 12 with BYU, is ranked No. 15, while Oklahoma State got 25 votes and Texas Tech received 17.