Big 12, Big East tops, but which can go deeper?

February, 19, 2010
2/19/10
3:36
PM CT
Our two ESPN college basketball panelists this week, Jay Bilas and Fran Fraschilla, agree that the Big 12 and Big East are hands-down the best leagues going this season.

Fran: "There’s no question in my mind the Big 12 is one of the two best conferences. I don’t know if I’m willing to say it’s better than the Big East top top to bottom, but the argument can be made that it shouldn’t take a back seat to the Big East or any league in college basketball this year. The strength in the Big 12 is in its overall depth, more so than in any year I can remember."

Jay: "The Big East and the Big 12 are the two best leagues."

OK, settled. But, once we get to the NCAA Tournament, does the Big 12, with quality teams from top-to-bottom, have more power teams than the Big East that can get to the Final Four?

Jay: "Kansas State could do it. If Texas gets it’s act together offensively I think they could do it. I don’t think there are any great teams in the league. I think Kansas is the closest thing. There aren’t any great teams nationally. This year is a lot like 2006 in my judgment, nobody’s great and Kansas could be and they’re getting there. They could still improve, but I don’t think there are a bunch of great teams out there. Most of the teams in the Big East were better last year than they are this year and a good many of the teams in the Big 12 were better last year than this year. Texas is better, Kansas is better because they are more experienced and older. Missouri isn’t better, Kansas State might be a little better, but nobody else in the league is better than they were last year."

Fran: "I think right now there's probably 2 1/2 teams that can get to the Final Four out of the Big 12 at this moment and that would be Kansas and K-State and maybe Texas. If Texas gets it together you can say three. I think Kansas State can just get into a street fight with you and can win four games, I do think they’re capable of doing that, they’ve got that much depth now. They can make like a Sweet 16 game really ugly against say Villanova and beat them. I just think if Texas gets their mojo back, but right now Kansas is really the only team that I’d say, 'Hey, I can see them in the Final Four.'"

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