The first Big 12
Trust me, with 10 coaches speaking each week, at least one always voices that opinion.
If a second coach has the gall to mention how the Big 12 is strong from top to bottom, he should be tarred and feathered and drug through the street.
I know that the RPI has the Big 12 as the No. 1 conference in the land. I understand Big 12 teams have an 83 percent winning percentage in non-conference games, which is the highest in the country.
Hey, I even get that you could make a great argument for seven of the Big 12’s 10 teams getting into the NCAA tournament, as well as two more probable for the NIT.
But, if you paid any attention at all to the annual Big 12-SEC Challenge — won, 6-4, by the SEC — you just can’t come to the conclusion that the Big 12 is superior to any Power 5 league.
And before we go any further, I know the Big 12 has had a lot of success in the NBA Draft, with Kevin Durant, Andrew Wiggins and Blake Griffin as the top exhibits.
I know the RPI has favored the Big 12 in three of the past four seasons.
But, right here, right now, the Big 12 doesn’t measure up … to the SEC, which was the joke of Power 5 basketball conferences just two seasons ago.
If the bulk of the SEC can catch up to you that quickly, you’ve got problems Big 12 coaches.
If Vanderbilt — last place in the SEC and going nowhere — can beat TCU, which was once ranked No. 10 in the country this season, you’ve got problems Big 12 coaches.
Don’t talk to me about Oklahoma being in the Final Four a few years ago and how Kansas is a yearly national championship contender.
You can believe all the hype that comes from the talk of there being no easy game in the Big 12, which is true, but if everyone is equally better than average, wouldn’t that also make for no easy games?
The fact that there are no easy games doesn’t exactly mean the Big 12 is some top-to-bottom super conference.
The schools who finish ninth and 10th in the Big 12 wouldn’t somehow magically finish fifth, sixth or seventh in the Big Ten or ACC.
I used to believe the opposite, but no more.
There is Kansas and then there is what?
Seriously, what is there after Kansas? Pretty good teams? Outside contenders?
Two of the Big 12’s top-ranked teams in WVU and Oklahoma lost to unranked teams in the SEC (Kentucky and Alabama).
That’s not a recipe for a strong conference.
And let’s get down to brass tax for a moment: Do you think the Big 12 has a lot of Final Four contenders this season?
The real argument here — if WVU can get its act together — is the Mountaineers may have a better shot at a Final Four than Kansas, because of the Mountaineers’ style of play and Kansas’ lack of depth.
But, overall, the Big 12 really has no Final Four contenders right now — and that includes if Trae Young gets hot at the right moment for Oklahoma — and may not have much to brag about when it comes to the Sweet 16.
And if you’re struggling to compete with the SEC and to get teams into the Sweet 16, then your conference just isn’t as strong as the numbers suggest.
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