Texas's Prince Ibeh fights for the ball with Connecticut Huskies Jalen Adams during the seond half of an NCAA men's college basketball game at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Tex., Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2015. RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

BEVO BEAT Men's Basketball

ESPN lists the top basketball programs looking to join the Big 12

Posted August 29th, 2016

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A few months ago, we weighed in on the Big 12 expansion with a list of  the best possible men’s basketball additions.

Our list included only those teams we had previously picked as best additions the Big 12 could make.

ESPN writer Myron Medcalf did the same, but he included schools that, well, likely aren’t joining the Big 12 (sorry, but Temple, New Mexico and San Diego State are unlikely to make the Big 12 cut).

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How does our list compare to ESPN’s?

Here’s a few notes:

The top choice is obvious

Connecticut is the best choice in terms of basketball, men’s or women’s hoops. Four national championships for the men’s team since 1999 is more than the one Kansas has in the same time frame. Kansas and UConn would make for some of the best regular season games every year. Also, Kevin Ollie and Shaka Smart are (probably) buds, coaching the U18 Team USA squad this summer, so watching them compete against each other would be fun. Medcalf and our list had the Huskies No. 1, likely by a mile.

The top 3 is the same

Our list included Cincinnati at No. 2 based on the Bearcats’ recent success compared to a Memphis team starting a new with Tubby Smith. Medcalf has Memphis No. 2 and Cincinnati No. 3. Clearly, though, there three teams that would make the conference even better than it already is at basketball, and those are UConn, Memphis and Cincinnati.

No Houston, South Florida

We understand rebuilding South Florida not making the list. But Houston has made strides in hoops under coach Kelvin Sampson.

Temple, New Mexico and UNLV

Temple and UNLV have great basketball histories. New Mexico has had success and play in a great venue. But the chances of these schools joining the Big 12 is pretty slim because of the football factor. Please break the news to former Hall of Fame Temple coach John Chaney carefully, or this could happen.

 

 

 

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