MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Earlier this month, we at Gold and Blue Nation asked the question “Is the Big 12 the best conference in men’s college basketball?”
At the time, it looked that way. Half of the league was ranked in the AP Top 25, and all ten conference members had a strong standing in the NCAA NET Rankings.
Two weeks later, with conference play in full swing across the nation, the Big 12 has only gotten stronger in the eyes of advanced rankings systems.
As of Monday, all 10 teams in the conference are ranked in the top 75 in the NET Rankings. That’s significant for two reasons.
One: it makes the Big 12 the only league in the country that can make the claim.
Two: it means that, as of Monday, every road contest qualifies as a Quad 1 game for the visiting team. In other words, it’s a road game against one of the 75 toughest teams in the nation.
Big 12 teams have an average NET ranking of 32.1, with all but two teams ranked inside the top 50.
The Pomeroy College Basketball (Ken Pom) Rankings like the Big 12 even more.
As of Monday, all of the teams in the conference are rated in the top 65.
Kansas State (9-7, 1-4 Big 12) is the lowest-rated team in both ranking systems, but the Wildcats did just upset No. 18 Texas Tech on Saturday.
West Virginia (13-3, 2-2 Big 12) checks in at No. 44 in both the NET and the KenPom rankings.
Baylor (15-3, 3-2 Big 12) is the highest-rated Big 12 team in both polls. The Bears are rated as high as No. 2 in the KenPom, and ranked No. 6 in the NET. Kansas (14-2, 3-1 Big 12) joins Baylor in the Top 10 in both systems.
While this is good for the conference overall, it does mean tough competition night in and night out for every single team.
That means nothing but Quad 1 opponents for every road game moving forward, including WVU’s matchup against Arkansas (12-5, 2-3 SEC) in the SEC/Big12 Challenge, and all Quad 1 and 2 opponents for home games.
West Virginia hosts Baylor on Tuesday, which checked in at No. 5 in the latest AP Top 25 poll.
After that, the Mountaineers travel to take on No. 18 Texas Tech (17 NET, 16 KenPom), followed by a home game against Oklahoma (35 NET, 33 KenPom) next Wednesday.
Following a meeting against the Razorbacks, West Virginia has scheduled contests against three teams currently ranked in the AP Top 25, and all three are ranked in the top 30 in both the NET and KenPom rankings.
As Bob Huggins said on Monday, “You just don’t get a break in this league.”