Seven Big 12 teams made it to a post-season tournament: five of them to the NCAA Tournament (Kansas, Oklahoma State, Kansas State, Oklahoma and Iowa State) and two to the NIT (Texas and Baylor).
On Monday, the coaches of the tournament-bound teams talked in the final Big 12 coaches' teleconference of the season.
A lot of the talk centered on the coaches' respective matchups, their stand-out players and their excitement about the postseason.
SEVEN GREATS OF THE BIG EIGHT
Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger knows a thing or two about the Big Eight conference. Sometimes, he still slips up, he said and refers to the Big 12 conference as the Big Eight, the conference he played in as a young hoops star.
“My players remind me of that frequently. ‘Coach, it's the Big 12,'” Kruger said.
Although Kruger hadn't thought of it, it was brought to his attention that seven of the eight Big Eight schools are in the NCAA Tournament. Nebraska is the only team who didn't make the tournament.
“It's not a surprise when you think about the depth of the league,” Kruger said.
Kansas coach Bill Self talked about the Big Eight's dominance, too.
“They've always said there's strength in numbers,” Self said. “It's always been an unbelievable basketball area and league and, of course, it's good to see that tradition continuing.”
JAYHAWKS COULD MEET UP WITH ROY WILLIAMS
Roy Williams and Kansas have a history -- and they could add a little more this year.
Williams, now the coach at North Carolina, built a 94-18 record as KU's coach from 1988-2003 and reached the Sweet 16 nine times and the Elite Eight five times.
This year, Williams' UNC team has a chance to meet up with Kansas in the second round. Kansas would have to beat Western Kentucky and UNC would need to defeat Villanova to make it happen.
Self was asked if the possibility of playing KU's former coach will be a distraction.
“It is a potential distraction, but we won't allow it to be,” Self said. “None of them were around 10 years ago. Some of them were just in fourth or fifth grade. That doesn't mean anything to the guys. It will not even be brought up.
“It will not be a distraction for me or my preparation. If we're fortunate enough to advance and they're fortunate to advance, we're going to have two good teams with unbelievable history and tradition going against each other. That will be the focus instead of the ex-coach at KU. I don't see that being a factor.”
Texas coach Rick Barnes on if sophomore guard Myck Kabongo, who served a 23-game suspension this season for accepting impermissible benefits but added a boost to his team in his return, will leave for the NBA: “I have no idea what Myck wants to do or anything. I'll say what I always say, 'Every kid has to do what's best for him.'”