“I know it isn’t fair, but life isn’t fair.”
We have all been told that phrase a time or two in our lives. More than likely, it was from our parents during an argument. When nothing seems to be going your way, or you just can’t catch a break, it just isn’t fair.
Well you know what else isn’t fair? The Big 12 Conference in 2016.
Take a look at the men’s college basketball rankings. Oklahoma worked its way up the rankings and sits at No. 1 and No. 2 in the AP Poll and USA Today Coaches’ Poll, respectively. Kansas sits at No. 4 and No. 3. Bob Huggins’ West Virginia squad is ranked No. 9 in both polls.
That is three teams from the Big 12 that are ranked in the top 10 of both polls.
Steve Prohm, who is in his first season in the Big 12, has Iowa State ranked at No. 14 and No. 16. Baylor is the final Big 12 team in the polls at No. 17 and No.18.
That’s five — count ’em — five teams in the top 25 polls. The Big 12 has 10 teams. Fifty percent of your conference is nationally ranked? Yeah, that’s not too shabby.
So how brutal is the Big 12 in terms of competiton? Well, take a peek at the Big 12 standings.
Oklahoma, Baylor and West Virginia are tied atop the conference at 6-2. Nothing is really unusual about that. Oklahoma dropped a triple-overtime thriller at Kansas and was beaten by Iowa State in Ames, Iowa. West Virginia fell to Texas and also lost to Oklahoma. Baylor defeated Iowa State and Oklahoma in Ames but lost to Kansas on the road.
This is where it gets confusing.
Kansas dismantled Baylor 102-74 in Lawrence. Baylor would respond to that thorough butt-kicking by knocking off Iowa State in Ames. The Cyclones would then face Kansas, who had destroyed Baylor, and dominate the second half to run away with their game against the Jayhawks.
But it isn’t just the top teams of the conference that are beating up on each other. Take K-State for example.
The Wildcats sit tied for seventh place in the Big 12. They have won two out of eight games on their Big 12 slate. On paper, that is horrible. Yet when you break down all six of K-State’s losses, you see a team that could very easily have five wins instead of just two.
The Wildcats had West Virginia, the top team in the conference, in their grasp in double-overtime, only to let it slip away down the stretch. They dropped a game to Texas by a mere three points. And had they not dug a monster-sized hole to start, they might have knocked off the No. 1 Sooners as well.
All of that from a team that is tied for seventh in the Big 12.
This conference is brutal. Everyone has talent, and no team is safe on any given night. When March Madness rolls around, the top-tier teams will be beaten up so badly that the Big 12 might take another early bow out of the tournament. The rest of this conference slate will be rigorous for every team. No one knows how this will end up when it is all said and done, but one thing is for sure for every team in the Big 12 Conference:
“It isn’t fair.”