The Big 12 placed 60 percent of its men’s basketball teams _ six of 10 _ in the 2012 NCAA Tournament, the highest percentage of any BCS conference.
But the league did not receive a No. 1 seed despite having more teams finish among the top 10 in RPI rating at the conclusion of the regular season (three) than any league: Missouri (30-4), Kansas (27-6) and Baylor (27-7). Missouri, the No. 2 seed in the West Regional, became the first team from a BCS league to win 30 games and not receive a No. 1 seed.
Add it up, coaches said on today’s Big 12 conference call, and it qualifies as a slap in the face to a league that deserved better.
“Our league as a whole gets disrespected,” said Kansas State coach Frank Martin, whose 21-10 team will be the No. 8 seed in the East Regional. “We should have had a No. 1 seed. That’s a little frustrating.”
Missouri, the Big 12 Tournament champion, was graded down by members of the selection committee because its non-conference schedule strength ranked No. 294 among Division I teams. Tigers’ coach Frank Haith said Monday that he pieced together the best schedule that he could as a first-year coach _ including games against Notre Dame, California, Villanova and Illinois _ but inherited a schedule with few confirmed dates when he took the job in the off-season.
“The CBE Classic (with games against Notre Dame and Cal) was about the only thing in place,” Haith said. “We had to scramble to put the rest of it together. But … we’re fine with a No. 2 seed. We’re moving on.”
Baylor coach Scott Drew, whose team received the No. 3 seed in the South Regional, said Missouri and Kansas _ teams that posted a combined 5-1 mark against Baylor _ “both had cases to be No. 1 seeds.”
In the final regular-season RPI ratings, Kansas (No. 6), Baylor (No. 8) and Missouri (No. 10) all were Top 10 inclusions. But neither KU, the league's regular-season champion, or Mizzou, the Big 12 Tournament champ, received a top seed.
“It’s disappointing one of them didn’t get it,” Drew said. “But at the end of the day, you’ve got to play and win to advance.”
_ Jimmy Burch