Big-12 Basketball Hurt By Realignment
BIG 12 BASKETBALL HURT BY CONFERENCE REALIGNMENT
It was bad enough for the Big 12 when Texas A&M left just before becoming a national football power. When the Aggies crushed Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl, it was a tough blow for a league that's now clearly off the national pace in football. What's been overlooked by the media and many sports bettors is how hard the Big 12 was hit by conference realignment in basketball.
Missouri is now in the SEC, and currently sits in the top 10 of the national rankings.
Colorado just got hosed at #4 Arizona in a game they should have won, and is clearly a Dance-caliber team at this stage of the season according to computer projections.
West Virginia was supposed to bring its Big East pedigree to the Big 12, but has fallen off the map this year in early action.
TCU brought toughness to the football side of the ledger (though both TCU and West Virginia lost their bowl games as newcomers this year), but doesn't have much of a basketball team. TCU and Texas Tech will likely be fighting it out for last place in the Big 12.
Normally, a league like the Big 12 would be able to deal with that. Okay...they're not quite a superpower any more. But, Kansas, the Oklahoma schools, Texas...and more recently Kansas State and Baylor have tournament pedigrees. Surely the league would still be in position to make its mark even after realignment?
BIG 12 TEAMS IN THE AP RANKINGS
#16 Kansas State
#28 Oklahoma State
Right now only Kansas is in the top 10, only the two Kansas schools are in the top 25. Oklahoma State was there until losing to K-State this past weekend. Nobody else got any votes! Kansas will always be meaningful in this sport. It's possible that ONLY Kansas will be meaningful this year based on those numbers.
Let's see what the most respected computer ratings have to say about this league. In our conference work over the next week and through March Madness, we'll be regularly consulting with the publicly available numbers from Jeff Sagarin at USA Today and college basketball guru Ken Pomeroy. All serious college basketball bettors should have those numbers at their fingertips every day!
BIG 12 TEAMS IN THE COMPUTERS
Kansas: #4 in USA today, #5 in Pomeroy
Oklahoma State: #19 in USA today, #18 in Pomeroy
Baylor: #31 in USA today, #30 in Pomeroy
Kansas State: #38 in USA today, #38 in Pomeroy
Iowa State: #41 in USA today, #47 in Pomeroy
Oklahoma: #43 in USA today, #56 in Pomeroy
Texas: #85 in USA today, #62 in Pomeroy
West Virginia: #121 in USA today, #108 in Pomeroy
Texas Tech: #212 in USA today, #231 in Pomeroy
TCU: #240 in USA today, #257 in Pomeroy
Remember, there are only 10 teams in the Big 12 at the moment. As we mentioned yesterday, teams typically need to be in the top 40-45 to be safe for Big Dance invitations. The field of 68 has a lot of automatic bids that go to lesser teams from lesser conferences. The computers are suggesting very good news for the Big 12 in terms of the Dance, even if the league may have trouble making a splash in the polls.
Kansas will compete for a very high Dance seed.
Oklahoma State, Baylor, and Kansas State seem like likes at this point given that they'll have decent strengths of schedule the rest of the way.
Iowa State and Oklahoma are knocking on the door, with plenty of opportunity to make some statements.
Texas beat North Carolina, and might be gelling at just the right time to play their way into the postseason. And, their recent road loss in overtime at Baylor is a sign of improvement too.
The best case scenario is that at least six teams from the Big 12 make the NCAA Tournament, with more than half playing their best ball of the year at that time. The worst case scenario is that everyone beats each other up down the stretch in a way that keeps many teams on the bubble. Bubbles are bad, because you either miss the event or get a bad seed.
JIM HURLEY will be watching tonight's Iowa State-Kansas game closely (nationally televised on ESPNU); as well as West Virginia-Texas on ESPN2. The main reason we picked the Big 12 for today was because of those two TV games. To see if either made the "best bet" cut for NETWORK clients, sign up for service online or by calling 1-800-323-4453.
Back with you tomorrow and Friday for more basketball...then it's back to football this weekend for the NFL Playoffs! Make sure you're with us EVERY DAY so you know what's really happening in the world of sports betting!
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