The State of Big 12 Basketball on Christmas Eve


2013 is just around the corner and with the New Year we will finally get to immerse ourselves in the joys of the conference portion of the Big 12 college basketball schedule.

The Jayhawks are sitting comfortably in their quest to capture another conference title. (Photo Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports)

While watching Missouri and Illinois play yesterday, the announcers mentioned that the Big 10 is by far the best basketball conference in the country. While my initial reaction was to laugh and say “whatever,” the longer I pondered that statement the more convinced I became that it was accurate. In fact after doing a little digging and research, the Big 12 typically ranks 5th among the conferences right now trailing the Big Ten, Big East, Mountain West and ACC.

As terrific as Kansas has been, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact the the only other team in the conference that is currently ranked is Oklahoma State at #24. It gets worse from there as the bottom of the conference is really dragging things down. Texas Tech’s RPI is currently at 292 and their strength of schedule (SOS) is 298th in the nation. Keep in mind there are only 347 Division I basketball programs as you ponder that.

Set on this path, I thought it would be a fun Christmas Eve exercise to break down each team in the conference listing their RPI, current SOS and projected SOS as well as each team’s best win and worst loss (using RPI primarily). To eliminate any personal bias the teams are ranked in order of their RPI. While I looked at the numbers on several sites, the numbers below reflect the RPI and SOS rankings from Stat Sheet as it was the most current and seemingly accurate.

#9 Kansas Jayhawks (10-1)

RPI: 2nd
Current SOS: 6th
Projected SOS: 25th
Best Win(s): 74-66 over the Ohio State (38th in RPI) and 90-54 over Colorado (4th)
Worst Loss: 67-64 to Michigan State (26th)
Conference Opener: January 9th vs Iowa State

#24 Oklahoma State Cowboys (10-1)

RPI: 20th
Current SOS: 127th
Projected SOS: 48th
Best Win: 76-56 over NC State (5th in RPI)
Worst Loss: 81-71 to Virginia Tech (131st)
Conference Opener: January 5th at Kansas State

Oklahoma Sooners (7-3)

RPI: 23rd
Current SOS: 15th
Projected SOS: 37th
Best Win: 64-54 over Texas A&M (72nd in RPI)
Worst Loss: 56-55 to Stephen F. Austin (27th) at home
Conference Opener: January 5th at West Virginia

Baylor Bears (8-3)

RPI: 48th
Current SOS: 35th
Projected SOS: 24th
Best Win: 64-55 over Kentucky (56th in RPI)
Worst Loss: 63-59 to Charleston (224th) at home
Conference Opener: January 5th vs Texas

Iowa State Cyclones (9-3)

RPI: 61st
Current SOS: 138th
Projected SOS: 58th
Best Win: 83-62 over BYU (36th in RPI)
Worst Loss: 80-71 to Iowa (70th)
Conference Opener: January 9th at Kansas

Kansas State Wildcats (9-2)

RPI: 89th
Current SOS: 240th
Projected SOS: 82nd
Best Win: 67-61 over Florida (22nd in RPI)
Worst Loss: 68-52 to Gonzaga (16th)
Conference Opener: January 25th vs Oklahoma State

West Virginia Mountaineers (6-5)

RPI: 102nd
Current SOS: 52nd
Projected SOS: 34th
Best Win: 76-71 over Oakland (114th in RPI)
Worst Loss: 60-56 to Duqense (136th)
Conference Opener: January 5th vs Oklahoma

Texas Longhorns (7-5)

RPI: 111th
Current SOS: 102nd
Projected SOS: 49th
Best Win: 85-67 over North Carolina (51st in RPI)
Worst Loss: 86-73 to Chaminade (Not Division I)
Conference Opener: January 5th at Baylor

TCU Horned Frogs (8-4)

RPI: 218th
Current SOS: 291st
Projected SOS: 82nd
Best Win: 68-57 over Southern (93rd in RPI)
Worst Loss: 54-48 to Houston (237th) at home
Conference Opener: January 5th vs Texas Tech

Texas Tech Red Raiders (5-4)

RPI: 292nd
Current SOS: 298th
Projected SOS: 68th
Best Win: 89-79 over Prairie View A&M (206th in RPI)
Worst Loss: 77-62 to Arizona State (66th) at home
Conference Opener: January 5th at TCU