Post Season - Post Mortem - Provocations - #1 - The B12 Sucks
The FF is set - all blue-bloods. Interestingly, 2 OAD stacks and 2 “system” guys bereft of OADs. Of course, B12 participation in the tournament is a distant memory. Yes, the topic head is intentionally provocative. I’ve always defended the B12 against my usually obnoxious East Coast colleagues - but, that is getting increasingly difficult to do.
With all the talk about the strength of the conference this year (which, I would argue was really a balance, rather than strength matter), our performance in the tournament was unfortunately very similar to the past two tourneys.
So, apart from the provocation, the facts. Conference records in the tournament during the past 3 years (with 3 games still pending):
B12: 14-19 B10: 35-18 ACC: 27-15 SEC: 22-10 P12: 21-15 BE: 20-17
It’s not a matter of bids - we’ve gotten more than anyone except the B10 (1 fewer). It’s not because we’re always facing higher seeded teams - our win total this year based on seeds was 10; we got half that. It’s the luck of the draw or crapshoot argument rings a bit hollow when you look at the aggregate numbers. When it comes to the tournament, we’re more A-10 level - 13-14 the past 3 years.
You may disagree with the provocative premise. I would rather focus on the WHY? of these results. Non-conference scheduling? True round robin conference scheduling (i.e., beating each other up)? Coaching? Recruiting? All of the above? Other factors? Perhaps it is cyclical, rather than structural? If cyclical, it’s been a long cycle. The last stretch in which the conference as a whole performed well in the tourney was '02-'04.
My own view is that it is attributable primarily to a talent deficit, and a rather significant one, compared to the other power conferences. Simply put, we’re not attracting many of the top tier guys to B12 schools, and we’re not yielding top NBA caliber talent. KU gets good, but until last year, not really elite level talent (of course, this year, we supposedly had 2 top 15 guys…). Who else? Texas? It’s been a long time since Durant and Aldridge. Turner maybe? Smart at OSU. ISU is typically transfers and jucos. Going back a decade, I think the conference has yielded just 3 NBA all-star caliber players to this point - Durant, Aldridge and Griffin. Wigs may get there. Maybe Kieff will get there. Who am I missing?
Agree, disagree? If you agree that we have a talent deficit, why? Too tough to recruit in the midwest/plains (but explain the difference with the B10)? No natural recruiting hotbeds (Texas?)? Paucity of good recruiters (except Self and Barnes?)?
Do we resign ourselves to continued mediocrity? What can “we” do to change recent trends???
I agree about the lack of talent / stud players in the Big 12 but I don’t really care that much. I honestly just care about KU and what they do during the regular season and the tournament. I tend to cheer for Big 12 teams during the NCAA but I think it is just because I know the players. I don’t think that the lack of talent in a league helps or hurts that much in the post season. The Big 10 this year was pretty lousy and they have 2 teams in the Final 4.
If OU or ISU or Baylor lose in the NCAA I don’t really lose any sleep. I just want KU to go to the Final 4. That is my only concern. Do many people on this site really take other Big 12 teams and how they perform in the NCAA that seriously?
As you point out two of the teams in the FF are OAD teams and two are “system” teams who have developed players over 3-4 years. This gives me hope that our team next year will be something special. A “veteran” team. MSU does not have one highly recruited player on this team. They don’t have one “rim protector”. They don’t have an NBA All Star. They simply have guys who play hard, rebound, play great defense and with Izzo’s help appear to play without nerves.
I have never wanted 2 teams to lose more than I want UK and Duke to lose. A MSU vs. Wisconsin final would be all you can ask for at this point.
@joeloveshawks Great come back. Especially agree with the last sentiment!
I guess I care about the rest of the league for two reasons. One is a belief that playing against at least some E8/FF caliber teams after December would help better prepare for the tournament. Nothing really empirical to back that up. The only factual point is that the B12 hasn’t had a FF team other than KU in the past decade, and only a couple of E8s. The second reason is more from a legacy standpoint. It devalues the conference championship string at least somewhat if there aren’t really good challengers. No one gives any credence at all to Gonzaga’s string, with good reason. They do with KU’s, but it always seems to come with a qualification. Perhaps I’m overly sensitive to the talking heads. But I suspect that even a 5 or 6 stretch of consecutive championships in the ACC or B10 would be viewed as an even more remarkable run.
The Big 12–with five teams in the Top 25. And none in the Top 10.
The Big 12 Sucks. Let’s see, where have I heard that before?