So if Notre Dame handles Wichita fairly easily tomorrow, does that reflect on the stature of KU basketball, or that of the Big 12 Conference? If Oklahoma & West Virginia lose, and don’t look good doing it, does it shine a new light on our conference?
We’ve been hearing all season about ‘the best conference in college basketball.’ Now we have two teams left in the tournament and neither if favored to advance. Both teams would have to make it to the Elite Eight for the Big 12 to live up to it’s regular season hype, imo.
@KUinLA Ball dont lie. The Big 12 was the best conference in Div 1. That said, yeah we kinda did underachieve in the NCAA’s. I had Iowa St going much much further than they did, Baylor too but not by much. OU and WVU are two very good teams. No mistake on that one. WVU has about as good a chance as anyone at beating UK. Heck, Huggie bear has Cal’s number. If anyone can beat Cal, its Huggy.
Over all, the Big 12 is just fine. Sure, it would have helped out if KU and ISU didnt bail out early. But thats the NCAA’s How many teams in the SEC/SUC conference are left? 1
Big 10? 3. ACC has the best numbers by a wide margin. All that doesnt mean the Big 12 sucks. It just means they had a rough tournament.
I noticed in the paper this morning that WSU is actually favored against ND.
@KUinLA What is objectively “true” is that the B12 was “expected” to get 10 wins in the tournament based on seeding. The conference has 5 so far - so one more win each (even two) by OU and WSU would still mean the conference underperformed it seedings. If both lose (and, as you note, neither is favored), one could subjectively characterize it as a beatdown.
What is objectively “true” is that other conferences have done much better this year absolutely and relative to seeding - esp. the ACC.
What is objectively “true” is that the B12 had the best conference RPI this year. There are, of course, objective analytics that underpin that calculation. But, as has been noted elsewhere, it is a product primarily of the best non-conference winning percentage overall, fewer than the usual number of patsies (+300 RPIs) on the schedule, and the avoidance of bad losses. So, all conference teams had solid RPIs coming into the conference season and thus didn’t take a hit from playing one another - it was the gift that kept on giving.
More subjectively, the non-conference slate included a bunch of solid wins, but I don’t recall anyone having gotten any top-tier non-conference victories - KU’s over GU and Utah were probably the best.
Also more subjectively, a very compelling case could be made that the B12 was the "toughest’ from top to bottom. Have to play everyone twice. A bunch of good teams that were fairly evenly matched. No easy wins, esp. on the road, including against TCU and Tech.
Also more subjectively, a compelling case can be made that the ACC (and I despise the ACC having to watch their games all the time) was much “stronger” at the top - with UVA, Duke, Louisville, and UNC - even though they clearly had some games where they could play poorly and still get wins. Perhaps there is some causation with tournament performance?
The bottom line is that the B12 has significantly underperformed in terms of overall wins and relative to seeds the past 3 years (even though it had the most entrants the past 2). Just cyclical or is there something else at work? Maybe it’s beating each other up. Maybe the other teams to need to have KU like schedules in the non-conference. Maybe it’s coaching, although I think we have very good coaches for the most part. My own view is that it’s primarily a talent deficit relative to other schools/conferences. How many 1st rounders have there been coming out of the B12 the past few years, excepting KU? Not many.
I think back to the last stretch when the conference did very well in the tournament - 2002-04 - when KU, OSU, Texas, and OU all made the FF. A lot of NBA all-star talent at the time. Not so much more recently.