Big 12 Conference play starts at the beginning of the new year, and each of its members, including WVU, will face a true measure of who’s a contender and who’s a pretender. The Big 12 is arguably the best conference in the nation currently with 3 top 10 teams, 5 top 25 teams, and the top two “others receiving votes” teams. The only other conference that may be able to contend with the top talent in the Big 12 is the Pac 12, with 3 teams themselves in the top 10, but from top to bottom, the Big 12 is superior.
The Big 12 currently has a combined overall record of 96-16 so far this season. These wins aren’t just against inflated by beating up on poor opponents. The Big 12 Is 2nd in total Q1 wins, 3rd in total Q2 wins, and 3rd in total Q1 + Q2 wins despite having 4 less teams than the two conferences ahead of them (Big 10 and SEC). Additionally, the bottom of the Big 12 is stronger than the bottom of all the other conferences, and it is not close. The Big 12 has the least Q3 and Q4 losses of any Power 5 conference. Every other conference has at least 4 times as many losses to Q3 and Q4 opponents on the season.
Big 12 Conference is going to going to hurt its members in as many ways as it No game is going to be a “gimme” for any team this year. Oklahoma State and TCU may be the weakest of the bunch, but they will each win several games. Baylor and Kansas are likely the teams to beat, but they will each have several losses. Every team will take it’s lumps, but by the time Selection Sunday rolls around, those that come out with a .500 record or better will move on an be a formidable opponent for any potential matchup come tournament time.
For WVU, Big 12 play will pit Taz Sherman and Sean McNeil against some of the best defenses they will see all season. The defense of Keddie Johnson, Gabe Osabuohien, and Pauly Paulicap will be tested against teams with strong guard play and others who rely on length and athleticism. And young, developing stars like Kobe Johnson, Isaiah Cottrell, and Jalen Bridges will face an opportunity to raise their games up as teams try to counter WVU’s two-headed monster offensively. Bob Huggins has a with as much or more talent from top to bottom than it ever has. If WVU can adapt, rise to the challenge, and persevere, the Mountaineers ceiling is limitless.
Check out more of Brandon’s analysis on the Mountaineers’ basketball team and Big 12 play on the Voice of Motown Podcast below!