Big 12 South: Women’s hoops central
When the Big 12 was formed, the South Division figured to be a monster, and that’s mostly been true.
Football was down at the time — OU was pre-Bob Stoops, Texas was pre-Mack Brown — but that’s been fixed over time. In the 2000s, OU and Texas have dominated, but Texas Tech and Oklahoma State have elevated their programs. Texas A&M has slipped and Baylor has mostly floundered, but you’d have to say that South Division football has been everything the conference hoped it would be.
Men’s basketball has zoomed. This decade alone, OSU, OU and Texas have made Final Fours, and the other three have made Sweet 16s. Baylor came close to reaching a Final Four over the weekend, and A&M remains a strong program. Tech is struggling without Bob Knight and that probably won’t change. But you’d have to say Big 12 South men’s basketball has been very good. Maybe great.
Baseball has been a small disappointment in the Big 12 South. OU and OSU haven’t made a College World Series since the ’90s. Texas is still Texas, but Texas Tech has fallen on hard times. Baylor made the CWS in 2005, but A&M hasn’t been since ’99. Only two schools have made it to Omaha from the South Division in the 2000s. That’s a disappointment.
But women’s basketball has been anything but disappointing. It might be the South’s best sport. Baylor just made its second Final Four and OU can join the Bears there tonight. The Big 12 South is full of successful coaches. OSU’s Kurt Budke is the South’s only coach who hasn’t been to a Final Four. Sherri Coale and Kim Mulkey coached their current schools there, and the others were hired away. Texas A&M’s Gary Blair coached Arkansas to a Final Four, Texas Tech’s Kristy Curry coached Purdue to a national championship and Texas’ Gale Goestenkors coached Duke to multiple Final Fours.
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