With football season approaching much of the discussion with regard to West Virginia University’s move to the Big 12 conference has been about football. That is understandable, to be sure. Last week, the Big 12 and WVU announced the 2012-2013 basketball schedule. With that announcement it is time to take a minute and talk basketball and how the move to the Big 12 may affect Coach Bob Huggins’s charges.
The Big East was truly a great basketball conference, perhaps even the best in the land some years, and served the Mountaineers well. As strong as the Big East was, the Big 12 will offer as much or more of a challenge for the Mountaineers. In the top heavy Big East there were 16 teams. The top four or so were usually top 15 to 20 type teams. There could be as many 10 NCAA playoff caliber teams. A .500 record in the conference could be considered successful by most teams.
An 18 game conference schedule meant that a team would play every other conference team once and three teams twice. In that setup a team could get lucky with scheduling. For example, a team could end up with the tougher conference opponents at home and be dealt three of the lower regarded teams to play twice. Of course the opposite of that scenario can also happen which would create a very difficult challenge.
Welcome to the Big 12 and a round robin basketball schedule. Because the Big 12 currently has 10 teams, every conference team will play every other conference team twice, at home and away. Of course that includes Kansas, one of the winningest programs in history. Virtually every other conference team has experienced recent success, so Huggins is not just blowing smoke when he talks about the upcoming schedule.
“I know I say this every year, but top to bottom, this has to be one of the toughest regular season schedules in school history,” says coach Bob Huggins. “We have ranked in the top 20 in terms of strength of schedule in each of the last four years, including two years where we were ranked in the top three, and this year’s schedule will be no different. To have 19 of our 31 games already selected for national television is something our basketball program is proud of and certainly proud to be able to showcase our University and the great state of West Virginia.
Not only will the level of competition be stiff, but the home court advantages will be more challenging in many cases as well.
“I’ve spent a year in the Big 12, and the fan support is tremendous. I think the Big 12 has the best home court advantages in college basketball in addition to having great coaches,” says Huggins. “I was sitting at the Big 12 meetings in the spring and looking around and we had 10 coaches there and five of them have been to the Final Four. When 50 percent of your coaches have been to the Final Four, you have a pretty good league.”
Tuesday, Nov. 6, Glenville State (exhibition), TBD
Monday, Nov. 12, at Gonzaga, 11:59 p.m.
Thursday, Nov. 22, vs. Marist (Lake Buena Vista, Fla.), Noon
Friday, Nov. 23, at Old Spice Classic, TBD
Sunday, Nov. 25, at Old Spice Classic, TBD
Thursday, Nov. 29, VMI, TBD
Wednesday, Dec. 5, vs. Marshall (Charleston, W.Va.), 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 8, Virginia Tech, 4 p.m.
Tuesday, Dec. 11, at Duquesne, TBD
Saturday, Dec. 15, vs. Michigan
(Brooklyn, N.Y.), 8 p.m.
Wednesday, Dec. 19, Oakland, TBD
Saturday, Dec. 22, Radford, TBD
Sunday, Dec. 30, Eastern Kentucky, TBD
Saturday, Jan. 5, Oklahoma, 4 p.m.
Wednesday, Jan. 9, at Texas, 9 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 12, Kansas State, 1:30 p.m.
Wednesday, Jan. 16, at Iowa State, 9 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 19, at Purdue, 2 p.m.
Wednesday, Jan. 23, TCU, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 26, at Oklahoma State, 1 p.m.
Monday, Jan. 28, Kansas, 9 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 2, at Texas Tech, 1:30 p.m.
Monday, Feb. 4, Texas, 9 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 9, at TCU, 4 p.m.
Wednesday, Feb. 13, at Baylor, 9 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 16, Texas Tech, 4 p.m.
Monday, Feb. 18, at Kansas State, 9 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 23, Oklahoma State, 2 p.m.
Wednesday, Feb. 27, Baylor, 8 p.m.
Saturday, Mar. 2, at Kansas, 2 p.m.
Wednesday, Mar. 6, at Oklahoma, 9 p.m.
Saturday, Mar. 9, Iowa State, 1:30 p.m.
Wed-Sat, Mar. 13-16, Phillips 66
Big 12 Championship, TBD