Is the Big 12 the best conference in men’s college basketball?

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The Big 12 has become one of the premier conferences in college basketball. But is it the best?

An aerial shot of the court for the Men’s Big 12 Championship at T-Mobile Center in Kansas City. (Photo courtesy T-Mobile Center)

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (GBN) — The Big 12 has long been considered a football conference.

Despite the on-court success of its basketball programs, the conference hasn’t received the national acclaim on the hardwood that other leagues like the ACC, original Big East, and PAC-12 have gotten over the years.

That is, until recently.

Over the last few seasons, both Texas Tech and Baylor have played for national championships, with the Bears winning it all last year. Overall, the league has gotten stronger, as evidenced by Kansas’ streak of 14 consecutive conference titles coming to an end in 2019.

This year, the league might just be better than ever.

Half of the teams in the conference are nationally ranked. Four Big 12 teams are ranked inside the top 15 in the latest AP Poll. Baylor (13-0), which lost a significant portion of its championship team, is the No. 1 team in the country.

Every team has won at least 60 percent of its games so far. At least 63 percent to be exact.

How many other conferences can say that?

None.

In fact, the combined winning percentage of the Big 12 is .842. That, too, is the best in the country. And it’s not even close.

As of Sunday, here’s how the rest of the Power 5 conferences stack up, in terms of league winning percentage:

  • SEC – .731
  • Big Ten – .726
  • PAC-12 – .645
  • ACC – .634

The Big 12 is only joined by the Big East in conferences that have zero members with sub-.500 records. However, the Big East has six fewer teams with a winning percentage of .800 or better.

Let’s go back to a key number: 60. Sixty percent is a unique number in the Big 12.

Not only does it show the winning ways of teams throughout the conference this year, but it shows the winning ways of the coaches in the league.

Sixty percent of the coaches in the Big 12 have coached in the Final Four at least once. Only the SEC has as many active head coaches who have coached in the Final Four, but that league has four more coaches in it.

Speaking of the NCAA Tournament, ESPN’s Joe Lunardi had six of the 10 teams in the Big 12 slated to make the tournament in his latest Bracketology installment, which was released prior to the start of conference play.

That included Baylor as the top-overall seed, and both No. 6 Kansas (11-1) and No. 11 Iowa State (12-1) as top four seeds in their region.

It should be noted that Oklahoma State (7-4) is not eligible to participate in the NCAA Tournament this year.

Lunardi had No. 25 Texas Tech (10-2), West Virginia (11-2) and Oklahoma (11-2) all making the tournament. However, he had Kansas State (8-4), TCU (10-1) and No. 14 Texas (11-2) on the outside looking in.

Only the SEC has as many ranked teams as the Big 12, and only the PAC-12 features as many teams inside the top 11 spots of the AP Poll.

And no conference, top to bottom, has been able to match the success that the Big 12 has had thus far this season.

*Note: All rankings, team records, and conference statistics are as of Monday Jan. 3, 2022.

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