NCAA Tourney Exposes The Big 12

  • I’m not going to scream… “OVER-RATED!”

    So far, the Big 12 is not burning the nets through the NCAA tournament.

    I believe March Madness is doing a great job of exposing our league. Not to being inferior necessarily. But I believe I know why our league stinks in March, why Kansas performs the best in March, and why Kansas has won 11 straight Big 12 titles.

    Is our conference over-rated? Or are there other factors at play?

    How can our league look so good all year and choke in March?


    Until other teams in our league figure out how to play tough ball away from home, they are going to continue to under-perform in March, and they will continue to hand conference titles over to Kansas.

    There are other things that could change to help all teams in our league. Maybe our league could sponsor and build a scouting system to help every Big 12 properly scout their opposition? Our teams play good and fight hard against each other, partially because every team knows ever other team in the league. But it always seems like our teams get out-coached in March. Scouting capabilities must have something to do with that.

  • Brilliant theory! You might be on to something here.

  • Good post. I think teams look at us as “their Super Bowl game” and play to their capability the remainder of schedule. We need another blue blood in our league. I was hoping for Louisville and that didn’t happen. That’s why ACC does better in tourney

  • Maybe Self can put on a coach’s clinic for all the other Big 12 coaches on how to win on the road.

    Ha… I can see the crying clown fans faces turning purple on that one! Better let them know that purple isn’t really a clown color…

    Or imagine Bruce’s head ready to explode, sitting on the sidelines throwing around clipboards when Self tells him to keep his composure during away games!

  • I’ve only got one other Big 12 pony in this race I care about besides Kansas. I’m pulling for OU. Always liked Lon.

    Always liked Rick, too… but we don’t want them to ever get too good… we already lose recruits to them now.

    Travis has too much high school coaching blood in him to ever make it in D1.

    I can only go so far supporting the hillbillies of Western Appalachia. Huggy helps us out by playing rough… but the guy is a flat-out redneck. Not sure he is good for our league once he steps out of league play. We are all used to his potty mouth, but having him scream such nastiness in front of the entire nation is a bit over the top and not good for our conference.

  • Another year for the big 12…they nearly always disappoint. Now someone has to go out and get the Final 4 or win the whole damn thing. Not feeling good about it though.

  • @drgnslayr I think we beat up on each other so much, weary by ncaa’s. Not KU though! I betcha anything Floor Burns had all the info they could get from us!

  • Just for giggles… our Jayhawks need to play bad ball all the way to the FF!

    Let the crying clown fans know just because they beat us in one game and they play in our conference doesn’t mean they play in our league!

  • @drgnslayr – Yes, this is the topic of the day. We just need to put a team in the Final Four. That’s the promised land. It’s the only way we can get absolution. Then, we need to consistently put teams in the Final Four. Fairly or unfairly, it is THE standard of excellence in the eyes of the college basketball world. And yes, I think it is a fair judge of excellence.

  • @HighEliteMajor

    I agree. Not in the singular. Like one game. But when you do the statistics, over time, the Big 12 is under-performing in March… it becomes factual when you consider it over time and lots of appearances. The outcome today was not a fluke… it is the norm for the Big 12.

    The league should be renamed… “Kansas, and the Small 9”

  • KU, OU and WVU are all solid team that can and hopefully will do some damage. If KU makes it to the Elite 8 I would like its chances against UK, it would be like KU-OU in '88 when no one gave KU a chance.

  • @drgnslayr The league has underperformed in March for more than a decade now - not since 2002-04 has the league sent someone other than KU to the final four. Second straight year in which the league has sent the most teams to the tournament (tied) and crapped out. Well, the Hawks and the little 3 can all win, we can talk again, but losing to #3 seeds on the first day is just embarrassing, esp. the way Baylor collapsed down the stretch. WVU could easily get beat in the first game and OSU is at best a pick’em. League “rep” really riding with KU and OU now.

    Coming into the tournament, a lot of pundits were discussing whether the conference was overrated. Yes, we did have the top non-conference record and RPI, but as I had noted in an earlier post, that was primarily due to having avoided bad losses in the aggregate and getting a bunch of solid wins. The problem was the no B12 team in the non-conference had a top 10-15 kind of win - not one. KU’s wins against Utah and Georgetown were about the best. No one else schedules the other big boys like Kansas does. Until that happens, I’m afraid we will continue to come up short in March - just playing “tough” against teams you see all the time and can easily game plan for isn’t enough…

  • ISU and Baylor losing today is not a sign that the Big 12 was over rated. During the regular season, Geo. State and UAB wouldn’t beat those teams 2 out of 10. The tournament is a different animal. Pressure on the higher seeds…lower seeds play free and easy. Those 2 games reveal nothing about the conference strength. Now…the point about putting teams in the final 4 over the long haul to signify conference strength is valid…

  • The Big 12 is still the best conference from top to bottom. But I agree with HEM that getting a team to the final four is the only way prove it.

    One team in particular would be enough for me!

  • I did a little digging, found a website called SportingCharts. (I hope my formatting works for here)

    Here’s their info since 1979:

    Big 10: Final four appearances: 23 NC’s 5 Runner ups 6

    ACC: Final four appearances: 29 NC’s 10 Runner ups 6

    Big East Final four appearances: 20 NC’s 6 Runner ups 5

    Big 8/12 Final four appearances: 13 NC’s 2 Runner ups 4

    Pac 10 Final four appearances: 10 NC’s 2 Runner ups 3

    SEC Final four appearances: 20 NC’s 6 Runner ups 3,

    Of course if we broke it down by school, KU would be right near the top of the list which is all we really care about, right?!!

    KU: Final four appearances: 8!! NC’s 2!! Runner ups 3!!

    Not going to break it down for the other big schools, but we’re right up there.

    Unfortunately, as much as we like to say the SEC sucks, it has produced more than our conference. Of course, some of that you can chalk up to a competitive Florida team.

  • @Hawk8086 I would agree that ISU and Baylor should easily win a multiple game series against those teams. The problem is that it is a one shot deal - and, it’s not just that we haven’t had another conference team in the FF in more than a decade - it’s that B12 teams all too often lose these kinds of games to lower seeded teams. It’s not just this year. Last year, we sent 7 teams to the tournament and not one got past the sweet 16. Look at the conference records over the past several years. In a few of them, there were 5-6 other conferences that had more wins that the B12 did. 2008 was the only year that the B12 had the most wins of any conference - and KU accounted for 6 of the 12. There is too long a track record of underperformance - esp. relative to other conferences - to just chalk it up to "its a crapshoot. How come the B12 is mostly coming up craps when other aren’t? Something else is going on. We have good coaches. My own view is it’s a combination of not getting enough of the top talent (admittedly tougher to recruit in our conference) and also not scheduling enough really high level competition as a whole in the non-conference season.

    @DanR I would respectfully disagree, although it pains me to do so, that the B12 is the best conference top to bottom - although I do believe it is the most balanced conference top to bottom. There are no patsies or easy wins during the season as there is with almost every other conference.

  • @DCHawker Your point about performance over the long hauls is valid. That assumes that your facts are correct that the Big 12 underperforms. I’m not saying the facts aren’t there…they may be. I do know that all conferences, and teams, have their share of upsets as that is the nature of the tournament. The Big 12 may have more than its share…I’m not sure.

  • @wissoxfan83 Taking it back that far does show the conference in a bit better light - if you just look at the last decade, KU is it - 2 FF, 1NC, 1 runner-up. No one else from the B12.

  • @Hawk8086 Haven’t checked recently for every past tourney, but last year we had the most teams in the tournament, but went just 6-7. 5 conferences match or exceeded our win total with fewer teams entered. And, 6 conferences had a better winning %. I really wish it was a better story in most other years, but I don’t think it is the case.

  • BTW - I’m not trying to demean our conference - I had all our teams going at least chalk in my bracket. My point is that the facts over the past decade suggest that other conferences have better results in March. If we can’t face up to the reality, then its difficult to figure out how to change things for the better going forward. Maybe it’s just cyclical - the conference had a really good run in '02-'03-'04.

  • @JayHawkFanToo said:

    KU, OU and WVU are all solid team that can and hopefully will do some damage. If KU makes it to the Elite 8 I would like its chances against UK, it would be like KU-OU in '88 when no one gave KU a chance.

    I agree… .And I’m also pondering if we get to the Elite 8, whether I would like KU’s chances vs WVU?

    WVU played great on the road despite their travel disadvantages. They are not to be trifled with. (I agree, as others noted, that road wins/losses are a good indicator of March Mortality Rate.)

    I also agree that conferences with 2+ “alpha” teams tend to have a better showing. The Big12 has always had KU, and this year, we thought we had ISU and OU. In the 1998-2007 era, Texas A&M and Texas were strong along with OU and Mizzou (much as it pains me to admit it.)

    2008- present, it’s just KU.

  • @JayHawkFanToo said:

    If KU makes it to the Elite 8 I would like its chances against UK, it would be like KU-OU in '88 when no one gave KU a chance.

    KU had Danny Manning in 1988. This team does not.

  • @tundrahok Time for the KO transcendance.

    Surprised at ISU, but didn’t get to watch the game. Baylor and Texas, meh. I’m hoping HuggieBear softens up UK with some body shots for us. If anyone might throw UK’s freshman a curveball, it should be the team that forces the most TO’s in the nation.

  • @tundrahok And people may forget that we played OU pretty close that season, both home and away.

  • I was expecting Baylor to win and have a decent March run. I know Drew isn’t a great coach… but they had too much talent to sit out March early.

    And I’m hoping, somehow… WVU hangs out and gets a match up with Kentucky. The game could either be an easy blow out for UK or a loss. UK hasn’t faced that kind of gritty full court pressure ever. Not sure the twins have the balls needed to maintain to victory. Those guys hit a few tough shots and all… but they still collapse and play soft at times. I would love to see Huggy hang one on Cal and blow his “striving for perfection” concept.

  • March Madness… the whole thing… is the ultimate road game series. Teams need to play well on the road to win. They can have a big crowd show up and all, but unless it is in their home venue, it’s a road game.

  • @drgnslayr Did you watch the end of that game? I swear Scott Drew must have got his guys in the huddle and told them, “Hey look fellas, I got a big chunk of change riding against us on this thing, so let’s just throw this one, okay? Promise I’ll get you ice cream and pizza on the way home. And don’t worry. Nobody will think less of you as players. After all, I’m you’re coach. It’ll be no surprise!”

  • @wissoxfan83

    You have not factored that the other Conferences have a lot more members so they will naturally have more wins, right?

  • @tundrahok

    KU might not have a superstar like Danny but the supporting cast, when hitting on all cylinders, is better.

  • @JayHawkFanToo Most of those years the other conferences haven’t had a lot more members. For a decade or so our conference had 12 which was more than the big 10, Pac 10, and I think more than the ACC? SEC too was a 12 member league.

  • @wissoxfan83 @JayHawkFanToo Big East is the only one that’s had more members until the most recent realignment. But, it’s not just how many members are in the conference, but how many bids there are, and how the teams do. As noted above, last year we had the most bids, nothing withstanding fewer teams in the conference. But, 5 other conferences had as many or more wins and 6 had a better W-L %. 2 years ago, 7 conferences had more wins in the tournament, even though only two conferences received more bids. We are simply falling short. The question is why?

  • @DCHawker Not only KU but B12 have been falling short for years-and I am. Tired of our poor performance!,

  • @wissoxfan83

    I don’t believe the SEC had less than 10 members in your time frame and now has 14, The ACC did not have less than 8 and now has 15, the Big 10 did not have less than 10 and now has 14. The PAC 12 did not have less than 10 and now it has 12. Before 1997 the Big 12 was the Big 8 and had only 8 members and since 2012 it has only 10 members…so yes, most of the time the other conferences have had more teams than the Big 8/Big 12. Not really that important anyway.

  • @HighEliteMajor it is THE standard of excellence in the eyes of the college basketball world. And yes, I think it is a fair judge of excellence.

    Welcome aboard–I’ve been posting that same sentiment for about 5 years. Only two Big12 Final Four appearances in the last ten years. And only by Kansas. Doesn’t come close to the record of the other major conferences. That’s why I don’t take much satisfaction from winning our conference every year.

    Hopefully, posters here will refrain from gloating over our conference coaches ‘failures’ unless they’re willing to hold our coach to the same standard.

  • My favorite Danny Manning and ISU story.

    link text

  • @wissoxfan83

    I see three ways to interpret the post 1979 data.

    Interpretation 1: Most of the Big 12 schools are from low population states (except the Texas schools) and they have to depend heavily on out of state recruiting and most of them lack a basketball legacy rich enough to attract as high of quality of players in as great of numbers as the schools in the conferences closer to the hot beds of recruiting. So: the Big 12 isn’t as good overall and doesn’t win as much in the Madness.

    Interpretation 2: There is a significant seeding and officiating bias growing out of the need for the NCAA to make money off its tournament by ensuring lots of EST time zone teams and large population center teams survive and advance; this makes it harder for the Big 12 teams to win as much as the other conferences that generate more eyeballs.

    Interpretation 3: Both.

    Since Barry Hinson was just interviewed by Kevin Haskins in a story on and said tournament seeding decisions are heavily driven by considerations of what makes the most money for the NCAA, I am going to go out on a limb here and say the correct interpretation has to be either Interpretation 2, or Interpretation 3.

    But how can we decide between Interpretation 2 and 3?

    I guess the best way would be to compare the conferences pre-conference winning percentages indexed for strength of opponents.

    I am going to need some help with this.

    What I recall is that the Big 12 supposedly faired well in the pre conference season this year and that is a big reason why the Big 12 has been so highly regarded this season and why it got so many teams into the Madness.

    What I also recall is that this year’s phenomenon is not unusual. The Big 12 teams often achieve a pre conference record against good competition that gets the Big 12 rated pretty well and gets quite a few teams in.

    If I were to be correct in these recollections that the Big 12 fares well (not better than all of them, just some) over the years in pre-conference performance relative the the performances the conferences that exceed it in the Madness, well, then I guess it would be Interpretation 2 that would have to be defaulted to.

    And if that were the case, then I reckon it would fair and appropriate to start indexing total number of rings, Finalists, and Final Four teams for the inherent bias in the seeding and officiating of the tournament.

    For example, KU has 2 rings since 1979 before indexing but after indexing for seeding and officiating bias, KU should probably have an adjusted tally of say, 3, or 4 during the same period, where as, say, Kentucky, UNC, or Duke, should each have 1, or 2 subtracted for their adjusted totals.

    Are you with me on this, Brother Wiss?

    Do I hear an amen, from Jayhawk nation?

  • @jaybate-1.0

    Amen and good night. Get some rest before the big game in the morning JB!

  • @VailHawk

    Will do. Rock Chalk!

  • @drgnslayr Okay I’m settled down - so I’ll ask. Do you think B12 teams are just too worn out & beat up from its long hard battle of a season to perform well in the NCAA tourney? I knew Baylor wouldn’t go far thanks to its coach, but geez ISU? This makes KU look bad!! Guess KU will have to send its opponents home including UK with Bad Ball!! KU will have to go get respect for the rest of B12!

  • I will defer my comment until tomorrow. RCJH!

  • @HawksWin said:

    Do you think B12 teams are just too worn out & beat up from its long hard battle of a season to perform well in the NCAA tourney?

    No. The Big12 just isn’t that good.

    Omg–I’m going to try to be nice here, but…are you really serious with that? Do you really think no other conference has a tough conference race? Puh-leeze!!! I guess to extrapolate the point, you could say that the Big12’s poor showing the NCAA is proof of how good our conference actually is. You don’t really wanna go there with that, do you?

    Bottom line–the Big12 just isn’t that good. Period.

  • @jaybate-1.0

    I like to stay away from bias theories generally, except for east coast bias, so what you wrote makes sense. Raise another banner for KU, we deserve it!

  • @drgnslayr re: Having a Chip. See these quotes?

    “Wayne is always talking about, ‘We can’t be like last year. We have to take every game one game at a time and not take anything for granted,’’’ Oubre said of sophomore Wayne Selden Jr., who has mentored Oubre this season.

    “I feel they (returning Jayhawk players) have a chip on their shoulder from last year. I’m just here trying to help my teammates and our team have the best chance to win,” Oubre added.

    Selden concedes it has been important for him to learn lessons from the early exit his freshman campaign.

    “I felt like last year went by way too fast, and just like that we were done,” Selden said. “This year (I’m) trying to take a different approach and focusing in on the little details.”

    “I’ve got to make sure everybody’s mind is right. We’ve got to be turned up this game,” Traylor said. “It’s an early game. I feel everybody has to be a lot more into it and focused. I’ve been talking to the guys. We’ll be ready for it.”

  • What if all four B12 teams win today, does that suddenly mean we have a tough conference?

    Yesterday was disappointing but I’m going to reserve judgement for at least another 24 hours.

    If we put 2 or 3 teams in the sweet 16 or 1 or 2 in the F4 then the B12 can still save some face.

  • @KUinLA I am puzzled by this comment…which has been made by a lot of people. Baylor would beat G. State and ISU would beat UAB 7 or 8 out of 10 times… The primary reason they lost is the reason most teams lose in the tournament…the pressure brought on by the hype and the one and done nature. The higher seed feels the pressure…the lower seed plays free and easy with nothing to lose. The tournament is a different animal when compared to the regular season. I don’t think those loses say anything about which the better team is…and hence I don’t think those loses say much about the strength of the respective conferences. Can you comment?

  • @KUinLA

    I completely disagree with your comment, Top to Bottom the Big 12 Conference is the best. Now, we might not have top 5 or even top 10 team but 7 conference teams are ranked in the top 30 in all rankings. Some conferences such as the ACC are top heavy with 3 or 4 good team but there is a big drop after that, The SEC is even worse with one superior team, UK, and then a drastic drop after that. Having 70% of its teams make the Tournament proves that top to bottom the Big 12 is the best.

    So yes, the Big 12 is very good but it just does not have an elite team,

  • @RockChalkinTexas

    “re: Having a Chip. See these quotes?”

    This is the kind of stuff I look for in a team!

    I hope they match their words throughout March!

  • @KUinLA

    I agree that it is hard for the B12 teams to play the injury card. If our conference is so rough… what would that say about the Big 10? Those guys play total mug ball.

    I think our conference is very good, just not a great conference taking their show on the road. I don’t know why this is. It is just my opinion.

    I think had Kentucky been in the B12 this season, there is no way in heck they would still be undefeated.

    Or maybe I am thinking about this all wrong. Maybe our conference really isn’t very good, but just plays exceptional at home.

    There has to be an explanation why Kansas is the only B12 team playing reasonable ball in March.

    There is time left for this to change in this tourney. KU won today, and the last time I looked WVU was winning. Maybe we will carry 4 teams forward after today. Maybe.

  • @Hawk8086 & @JayHawkFanToo & @drgnslayr I’m basing my opinion on the Big 12 on tournament performance, and year in and year out, they just don’t do it, whether they’re the higher seed or not. This year, just like most, they seem to have the highest % of teams that don’t advance in their first game.

    Look at the other power conferences results–they had 4, 5 or 6 teams advance, except the SEC with only 2. Even the lowly Pac12 has five teams playing a second game. Only three of the seven Big 12 teams advance, after hearing all year about how strong the conference is.

    They’re definitely better this year, and I was really surprised to see Baylor & Iowa St get upset. I had them going to the 16 round, along with Oklahoma and maybe Kansas. I do find it interesting that the Big 12 coaches that did advance seem to be the ones with the most tournament experience.

    And I also base my opinion on Big 12 Final Four appearances in the last ten years. Only two, both by Kansas. That lags way behind the other conferences. It’s hard to argue against that.

    And I think the simple fact that one team can dominate a conference for so long is evidence that the overall conference can’t be that good. Kansas isn’t that much better than the rest of the conference. They’re not like UCLA in their heyday, when they dominated the whole country. They’re closer to Gonzaga, who simply dominates their conference.

    I’ve posted for several years that the Big 12 isn’t a strong enough conference and playing in it doesn’t do enough to prepare Kansas for the big tournament. I think maybe Bill recognized this also and decided to toughen up his schedule lately.

  • @KUinLA You make some good points. The longer term results are better indicators than the upsets in any one individual year. The Big 12 appears o be strong year in and year out…a deep conference with good teams…but without any elite teams…other than, for the most part, KU. I take exception when the announcers, pundits, etc. say that, as a result of the 1st round upsets this year, it proves the Big 12 is not strong.

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