The news Friday that UCF, Houston and Cincinnati will officially join BYU in becoming Big 12 Conference members in 2023 has reignited conversations about what the Power Five league will look like going forward.
That prompted The Field of 68’s Riley Davis to look at the future of the Big 12 when the four new league members join, and how dominant the league has become in college basketball.
How dominant has Big 12 basketball been in recent years?
Davis pointed to several impressive statistics that show the superiority of Big 12 men’s basketball over the past decade.
Among them, the Big 12 has ranked first in KenPom’s conference rankings in seven of the past 10 seasons, per Davis.
The league has also had a tremendous amount of success in the NCAA Tournament over that same time frame.
The Big 12 has sent a minimum of five teams to the NCAA Tournament every year in the past decade, and seven teams in five different season, Davis reported.
While the Big 12 had one just team, Oklahoma, reach the Final Four from 2013-17, the conference has had a Final Four representative in every NCAA Tournament since 2018 — excluding 2020, when the NCAA Tournament was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The last two NCAA Tournament champions are Big 12 members: Kansas in 2022, and Baylor in 2021.
The Big 12 is predicted to be No. 1 again
Ken Pomeroy has already released his preseason conference rankings for the 2022-23 season, and the Big 12 is easily in the No. 1 position.
“How dominant is KenPom predicting the Big 12 to be? The gap between the Big 12 and the No. 2 conference is almost the same size as the gap between No. 2 and No. 5,” 247 Sports’ Kevin Flaherty wrote. “Some rankings so far have the Big 12 with as many as four teams in the top 12: Baylor, Kansas, TCU and Texas.”
What will the four new Big 12 teams bring?
Davis briefly looked at each of the new Big 12 members, and what kind of impact they could have.
Houston, which played in the Final Four in 2021 and reached the Elite Eight last year, appears to be best set up to compete immediately.
Cincinnati has a history of making the NCAA Tournament, though it’s been absent the past two seasons.
UCF, while more competitive in other sports, has had less success traditionally in basketball.
As for BYU?
“BYU enters the league with a rising star at the helm in head coach Mark Pope. Pope established himself as an offensive mastermind during his days at Utah Valley, where the Wolverines put up staggering numbers for a WAC school,” Davis wrote.
“Specifically, his scheme relies heavily on dribble-hand-offs, ball screens, 3-point shooting, and offensive rebounding. These emphases have yielded the nation’s 7th, 23rd, and 50th best offenses through his first three seasons in Provo.”