The ever-elusive discussion of conference expansion got Big 12 coaches talking Monday.
Last week, the Austin-American Statesman wrote that “Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said the league is actively exploring a possible alliance with the Atlantic Coast Conference and two other unspecified leagues for the purposes of scheduling, marketing and possibly even television partnerships, an arrangement that might prevent further expansion.”
However, all of the coaches who discussed expansion said it's something the administration worries about, not the coaches.
Currently, the few Big 12 coaches who talked about expansion said they liked the current 10-team league and the round-robin that it created.
“I'm kind of a traditionalist,” West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said. “You get a true champion that way. The flip side of it is everybody else is expanding. You've got to wonder where everything's' going.
“But I'm trying to figure out how we can guard the pick and roll right now. I haven't really had time to think about those things.”
Kansas coach Bill Self thought the conference is a good size and doesn't need to expand to a large league for the sake of expanding, unless the universities and programs would “be a great addition.”
“I don't think there's necessarily strength in numbers, unless it's the right numbers,” Self said.
When the point was brought up by a reporter that football teams don't like the 10-team league because it doesn't allow for a true conference champion, which could possibly mean expansion of the Big 12, Huggins replied, “Well if football doesn't like it, we're probably going to expand.”
SHOTS MISSED, NOT MADE
Shooting and scoring across college basketball is down to its lowest levels in a few decades.
On Saturday, Northern Illinois, a Mid-American Conference team, set an NCAA record for fewest points scored in a half in the shot-clock era.
In the first half, the Huskies scored four points.
Low scoring across the Big 12 Conference was a big topic of discussion during Monday's Big 12 coaches' call. Here's how some of the coaches weighed in:
Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger: “Defenses are getting a lot better. ... Players are stronger, quicker, cover more ground. ... I don't think kids shoot the ball as well anymore from midrange as they used to.”
Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford: “We've talked about it ourselves as a staff that it's just amazing. Low scorers and low halves different people are having. This is a very physical game. I know the refs and people aren't wanting it to be, but it is becoming more physical and team's are more aggressive. ... I don't' think kids spend as much time in the gym shooting like they used to. I don't have an answer for it, really.”
Kansas coach Bill Self: “I know that we aren't scoring quite as much as we have in the past. A lot of it could be us not executing. I do think defenses are getting better and better all the time and I do think offenses are getting more sophisticated.”
Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg: “I think a lot of it is with all the technology that people have now and the stats elements that plays a big part on people's game planning. You're trying to do all you can to take away people's strengths.”
TCU coach Trent Johnson: “We don't shoot it very well ... Good teams and well coached teams don't let you run in transition. I think if you look at the parity of college basketball so many teams are so good defensively.”
West Virginia coach Bob Huggins: “Because guys are bigger, stronger, faster than they've ever been. Because they guard way, way better than they've ever guarded. Every time I think when I played — you go back and you watch ESPN classic. Style of play is so different. And the truth is 6-foot-7 guys were centers and now they're small forward. ... Athletically we changed so much, but the size of the court hasn't changed and the height of the basketball hasn't changed.”
*Oklahoma State redshirt sophomore Brian Williams is still day-to-day. “He'll play when he says he's ready,” Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford said.
*The Big 12 has six schools in the Top 44 in RPI, led by Kansas. The league is tied for the most of any conference in the country, along with the Big East and Big Ten.
*Huggins supposedly has a line in his contract that says he gets a $25,000 bonus for beating Kansas. “I have no idea. You have to call my attorney. I had nothing to do with it. Pretty much (I knew about it) when I was ready to sign the contract.”
*Texas coach Rick Barnes just got the Longhorns Network about “two weeks ago” when he moved closer to town. “I've been really happy with it,” the Longhorns coach said.