It has been several weeks since "Expansionpalooza" died down, and, well, we wanted to bring a little excitement back to the forefront. So we were thinking about schools that would be a good fit in the Big 12 so that it can remain the Big 12.
And being a basketball blog, we are going to look solely at the expansion in terms of hoops. So you can toss out a school like TCU, who may have had a perfect 12-0 regular season football record but only won 13 basketball games coupled with their 18 losses. We're also going to overlook Rice's ranking by US News and World Report as the 17th best college to attend because frankly their basketball team stinks (8-22 last season, 1-15 in Conference USA).
Instead after The Jump, you'll find a list of schools that would make the Big 12 an even stronger basketball conference than it already is. We will stick, loosely, to geographical lines and won't try and shake the world up by pilfering from any of the BCS power conferences. Instead, like any good big brother we will pick on the little guys and steal from some of the smaller conferences.
ST LOUIS U BILLIKENS
Why it'd work: They already have a rival 90 miles east on I-70. SLU fans already argue that Mizzou is scared to play them, and they sort of have a point... it is kind of a lose-lose situation for Mizzou. The big, bad, public school in the Big 12 should wallop their smaller brethren in the Gatwway City so if they do then it they get no credit and if they should lose, well, heads will fly.
Why it won't work: Looking past the fact that they don't have a football squad, SLU would only be the second private school in the conference, and if we learned anything about the status of Baylor in the conference over the summer, it is that they don't hold much water.
Why it'd work: Houston didn't have the greatest season in their storied history last year, but they do have a tradition that might be able to start up again if they had the Big 12 as a backdrop to recruit players. All you need to do is think back to Clyde Drexler and Hakeem Olajuwon on Houston's Phi Slamma Jamma squad to know that the potential for excellence is there. And with Houston being the 4th largest city in the country, there is lots of recruiting potential.
Why it won't work: Houston is considered a "commuter school." So while they have upwards of 37,000 students, the passion for Cougar hoops isn't where it might be with the support of an entire city.
Why it'd work: The Texas 10, errr Big 12, conference would love to see another Texas school come into the mix. UTEP had a tremendous season last year, finishing 26-6 while losing in the first round of the NCAA tournament in the 8/9 game to eventual national champion runner-ups Butler Bulldogs. Texas-El Paso also has a storied history of basketball, winning the 1966 national championship (as Texas Western) in a memorable victory over Kentucky in what was the first championship won by a squad featuring an all African-American starting five.
Why it won't work: "Another Texas school?" (quote attributed to Missouri, Kansas, Kansas St, Iowa State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma St.)
NORTHERN IOWA PANTHERS
Why it'd work: Did you see the NCAA tournament game against Kansas?
Why it won't work: "Did you see the NCAA tournament game against Kansas?" - Kansas
Why it'd work: BYU lost their in-state rival to the Pac-10, so they would be open to moving. They traditionally field great squads and would be competitive in the league. Besides, Jimmer Fredette was a Gunner Draft superstar.
Why it won't work: "Fletch: Mr. Stanwyk's parents Marvin and Velma of Provo, were unable to attend the wedding. Those are three names I enjoy; Marvin, Velma, and Provo."
COLORADO STATE RAMS
Why it'd work: The Big 12 lost the Denver television market, this might be able to retain it.
Why it won't work: CSU won't retain the Denver television market.
NEW MEXICO LOBOS
Why it'd work: Even as a three seed in the NCAA tournament all the talking heads thought that nobody had ever heard of them and that they could sneak up on a few teams. They also went 2-0 vs Big 12 squads, beating A&M and Tech.
Why it won't work: Fans of at least one Big 12 school don't know that New Mexico is a state (are you thinking of the same school as me?).
Why it'd work: THEY ARE CALLED THE KANGAROOS!
Why it won't work: They are called the Kangaroos.
So there you have it. Any to add?