The sensationsl start by Big 12 men’s basketball teams this season has prompted quite a buzz among conference coaches, who are quick to point out that the Big 12 has as much talent and depth as anybody in the country and that the numbers bear that out.
Through games of Wednesday, the 10 Big 12 teams are a collective 68-20 on the season, one of the best nonconference records of any conference in America.
Here is what some of the league coaches have to say about it:
Bill Self, head coach of Kansas:
“Our league is going to be better than what a lot of people anticipated. I’ve heard an expert analyst say that we have a chance by the end of the year to maybe have four or maybe five teams as good as any conference. Everybody has had quality wins.”
Travis Ford, Oklahoma State head coach:
“Our league is off to an incredible start. I think you’re starting to see the depth of our league. I know there were a few questions before the season started, but I think pretty much every day and every week we’re proving ourselves to be one of the top league’s in America. Teams are not only winning games, but teams in our league are winning games over top opponents from very good leagues.”
Rick Barnes, head coach at Texas:
“Our league has been good for a really long time. Am I surprised? No, because I have such respect for the coaches in our league. They find ways to make their teams competitive. Our leasgue will always be right there because of the caliber of coaches in it.” (Editor’s note: Four current Big 12 coaches have 500 or more career wins,and every head coach in the Big 12 has taken a team to the NCAA Tournament.)
Tubby Smith, new head coach at Texas Tech:
“It’s pretty obvious that this is the most competitive ande best league in the country. Having coached (in the) SEC and the Big Ten, the Big 12 is as balanced as any conference in the country. Obviously the (nonconference) schedule is a little heavy. With those types of teams (nationally ranked or elite basketball brands) on our schedule, if we didn’t have a compeitive team, I’d be more concerned. I think we understand and know what it takes to compete in the Big 12.”
Bob Huggins of West Virginia (one of four Big 12 coaches with more than 500 career wins):
“The keague is a little scary. If I didn’t have to worry about playing everybody twice, I think I’d enjoy it.”
Trent Johnson, TCU head coach:
“I said before the season: If TCU’s at the bottom the season, this conference is pretty strong.”