What BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF will bring to Big 12 basketball when they join the conference

Dropping Oklahoma and Texas to the SEC could also be crushing for the Large 12 from the views of monetary and soccer power, however with reigning nationwide champion Baylor and blue blood Kansas nonetheless round, shedding the Sooners and Longhorns will not be as devastating on the hardwood. However how will the additions of BYU from the WCC and Cincinnati, Houston and UCF from the AAC affect the convention’s standing within the school basketball panorama?

Increasing to 12 groups — and possibly even 14 briefly till Oklahoma and Texas transition out — may drive the league to recalibrate its scheduling setup, altering the easy present format wherein each workforce performs one another twice. But when BYU and Houston keep on their present trajectories, and Cincinnati will get again on monitor beneath new coach Wes Miller, the newcomers may maintain a robust hoops close to the highest of the fray. Even UCF, not sometimes identified for basketball, practically knocked off Duke within the 2019 NCAA Tournament.

Here is what the 4 new members of the Large 12 convey to the desk in realignment.


2020-21 document: 20-7 (NCAA Match first spherical)
NCAA Match appearances: 30
Greatest end: Elite Eight 1980

BYU shall be added to the Large 12 due to the power of its wide-reaching model, due to the historic high quality of its soccer program that is performed in a bowl recreation in 15 of the previous 16 seasons, and due to Salt Lake Metropolis’s tv market that ranks thirtieth nationally. Basketball has virtually nothing, if not fully nothing, to do with it.

However that does not imply BYU will not improve the Large 12’s basketball product.

No, the Cougars have by no means made a Ultimate 4 — however they’ve performed in 9 of the previous 14 NCAA Tournaments, gained video games in two of them, and produced a nationwide participant of the yr in 2011 (Jimmer Fredette). So this has been a constantly good program for an prolonged time period beneath a number of coaches. And it is a program that additionally attracts properly on the Marriott Middle — proof being how the Cougars completed twenty fifth in attendance within the pre-pandemic 2019-20 season. Is BYU a greater basketball program than both of the basketball applications the Large 12 is shedding? Truthfully, no. However it’s a high quality program that is being led by a high-level coach in Mark Pope, who has been spectacular by six seasons on the Division I stage. So this can be a good addition to the Large 12 within the sense that it will present the league with one more high quality basketball program that ought to be capable of yearly compete for a bid to the NCAA Match. — Gary Parrish


2020-21 document: 12-11 (Didn’t make NCAA Match)
NCAA Match appearances: 33
Greatest NCAA Match end: Champion 1961, 1962

Bob Bowlsby and the Large 12’s presidents actually did handle to protect many of the integrity that was jeopardized with the OU and Texas information. So kudos. From a basketball standpoint, I will argue that this forthcoming 12-team union shall be extra strong than the 10-team Large 12 because it’s presently constituted. (The one minor defect is round-robin play will quickly go the way in which of the dodo within the Large 12.) How does Cincinnati match into all this? Pretty properly. The college in impact edged out Memphis to obtain the ultimate bid, in no small half as a result of its media-market rank (No. 37) and its location (Ohio) supply a whole lot of promise for the Large 12’s goal of changing into essentially the most stretched out league, geographically, within the nation. 

Talking of geography, UC will instantly change into the pure locational rival for West Virginia, which is a pleasant enhance for WVU and a bonus for the convention. The Bearcats additionally boast the most effective basketball historical past of any program becoming a member of: two nationwide championships, six Ultimate Fours and 33 NCAA Tournaments. That beats the opposite three incoming members. The truth is, UC ranked No. 10 all time in my rating of the most effective applications within the historical past of males’s hoops. 

That is additionally a program that is thrived on its inter-conference flexibility over the a long time. Cincinnati has been within the MAC, Missouri Valley, Metro, Nice Midwest, Convention USA, Large East and the AAC because the Fifties. It is by no means dropped off, actually, and now comes the subsequent step within the college’s evolution. UC employed Wes Miller this spring. If he is the suitable man, then Cincinnati is the addition that may assist maintain the Large 12 No. 1 or No. 2 in general power in males’s basketball going ahead.  — Matt Norlander


2020-21 document: 28-4 (Ultimate 4)
NCAA Match appearances: 22
Greatest NCAA Match end: Nationwide runner-up 1983, 1984

After I consider Houston I consider Phi Slama Jama and the golden period of this system within the Eighties. That is a testomony to simply how good this system was that decade — they made three consecutive Ultimate Fours starting in 1982 — but additionally an indictment on simply how a lot it slipped within the 90s and early 2000s. (From 1990 to 2010, the Cougars made simply three NCAA Match appearances.)

Houston has undoubtedly turned the proverbial nook as a program beneath the route of Kelvin Sampson, although. The leap from Convention USA to the AAC has performed wonders for its nationwide profile and Sampson has taken the workforce to new heights, with consecutive regular-season convention titles and a Ultimate 4 exhibiting in 2021 — the primary since 1984 — setting a brand new customary of excellence. That is the bar shifting ahead.

Leaping to the Large 12 ought to solely up its possibilities of sustaining that success. Sampson and his employees have constantly performed extra with much less in recruiting by successful with underrated recruits or transfers searching for a brand new house. Within the hotbed of talent-rich Houston, recruiting ought to increase because of the Large 12’s profile, latest on-court success and the attract of taking part in for a legend in Sampson. Making the soar from any convention is a problem however Houston appears uniquely positioned to make that transition as seamlessly as any of the opposite potential additions.  — Kyle Boone


2020-21 document: 11-12 (Didn’t make NCAA Match)
NCAA Match appearances: 5
Greatest NCAA Match end: Second spherical 2019 

UCF will assume the bottom spot on the basketball totem pole within the new-look Large 12 because the Knights have only one NCAA Match victory of their historical past. This system solely joined Division I for the 1984-85 season and had by no means achieved an NCAA Match seeding increased than No. 14 earlier than touchdown a No. 9 seed in 2019 and knocking off VCU in a first-round recreation. 

UCF practically pulled off an upset of the No. 1 seed Duke workforce that includes Zion Williamson within the second spherical of that event, however that dramatic loss to the Blue Devils constitutes this system’s all-time high-water mark. The Knights are simply 15-21 in a weak AAC over the previous two seasons. Transferring to a extra prestigious league would give coach Johnny Dawkins some contemporary ammo in recruiting, however this program has work to do earlier than it is able to compete with the likes of Baylor, Kansas, Oklahoma State, West Virginia, and so forth.

Within the quick run, Dawkins’ 2021-22 workforce is wanting up because it returns practically each contributor after closing the 2021 common season AAC slate with 4 straight wins. If UCF can parlay that roster continuity into an NCAA Match journey and construct some momentum, it could assist in the transition to a brand new league. It is quite a bit simpler to rapidly construct a aggressive roster in school basketball than in college football, however and not using a agency basketball identification or legacy to attract upon, UCF must be ready to spend a number of seasons paying dues as a basketball doormat within the Large 12. — David Cobb

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