The real Big 12 winner: basketball
The Big 12 is alive and by shrinking to 10 teams without Nebraska and Colorado, Big 12 helps hoops actually grew tougher.
The league completed a banner year last season. The Big 12 had the best winning percentage (30-18) amongst the six major conferences when playing each other. Three teams placed in the top eight and four among the top 13 of the final NCAA RPI ratings and seven teams advanced to the NCAA tournament. As many as nine Big 12 players could be selected in the first round of the NBA draft next week.
When the Big 12 officially begins play as a 10-team league, it will lose two of its worst teams in Nebraska and Colorado. Those teams combined to win eight conference games last year, or fewer than the conference's top seven teams.
Add to that an 18-game, round-robin conference schedule as opposed to the 16-game schedule in which teams in the same division faced each another twice, but played the other division teams just once. Now, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Baylor, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State will face Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri and Iowa State twice. It also allows for all 10 teams to visit each Big 12 arena every year instead of every other year.
"When it comes to the specifics of men's basketball in the new 10-team Big 12 Conference, our staff is most excited about the possibility of using a full round-robin schedule during the regular season," Texas coach Rick Barnes said in a release. "This should create even more excitement about our league, and we know the fans will appreciate the opportunity to see a home-and-home series between all teams in the conference every year."
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Kirk Herbstreit joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss Bob Stoops' recent comments about the SEC and the pending college football playoff, what appears to be an unpredictable Big 12 in 2013, how the Aggies will handle expectations and more.
Play Podcast Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin talks about the improvements being made to Kyle Field, what those improvements will to for the program, the success of last year, Johnny Manziel's offseason and the expectations for the Aggies in 2013.
Play Podcast Scott Van Pelt and Ryen Russillo talk about Texas A&M's decision to expand its stadium and say although the Aggies had a fantastic year, the school must also be careful not to overextend its resources based on a single hot stretch.
Play Podcast Baylor head coach Art Briles joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss what kind of player the Cowboys are getting in Terrance Williams.
Play Podcast Arlington and Texas A&M product Luke Joeckel, the potential No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft, joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Richard Durrett to discuss the draft, coaches and advice from his dad.
Play Podcast Florida Gulf Coast athletic director Ken Kavanagh joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss his school's Cinderella story and playing in the Sweet 16 at Cowboys Stadium.
Play Podcast Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby joins Fizsimmons & Durrett to discuss Cowboys Stadium as a venue, the state of Big 12 basketball, the new 2014 college football format, why there's no hurry to have a Big 12 football championship and much more.
Play Podcast Jay Bilas joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the remaining 16 teams in the NCAA tournament, the intrigue surrounding the Northwest Region and the excitement over FGCU, even though a similar story happens every year.