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How Does TCU Affect Big 12 Basketball?

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We all know that football drives conference and school revenue and though basketball is a money generating sport for most schools, it takes a back seat to football when conference expansion and conference realignment is discussed.

Take today's announcement that the TCU Horned Frogs will replace the Texas A&M Aggies as the Big 12's tenth school. Despite not having the football season the Horned Frogs experienced last year - highlighted with a Rose Bowl victory over Wisconsin - TCU is still a darn good football program and has been for some time.

The same cannot be said for its basketball program. According to Jeff Sagarin's 2010-11 ratings, TCU was the 186th rated school in the country last season. That would have placed them dead last in the Big 12 (TCU makes last year's Big 12 doormat, Texas Tech Red Raiders, look like Duke with their rating of 137). In fact only six schools from BCS conferences were ranked lower than the Horned Frogs: DePaul at 201, LSU at 221, Auburn at 229 and Wake Forest at 246 (aside, what was Jeff Bzdelik thinking when leaving a stacked Colorado squad for Wake?).

And unfortunately for Big 12 basketball fans - and why would you be here if you weren't - last season wasn't an anomaly. TCU's last NCAA berth was in 1987. [Ed. Note: As noted below, they also made the tourney in 1998. Whoops.]

Their best season since 2002-03 was an admirable 21-14 in 2004-05, which culminated in a mini-NIT run. But other than that, they've been downright miserable.  Last season they were 11-22, 1-15 in MWC play. Since 2002-03, they've averaged 12.5 wins while counting 18.5 losses. Over the same span, in conference, they've been averaging 4.5 wins against 11.5 losses.

Needless to say, TCU wasn't invited into the conference for their hoops prowess. But hopefully TCU has found a landing spot in the Big 12 where they can benefit from picking up recruits either the other Texas schools waived on, or those that would want to stay in the Dallas area and play against the other Texas-based institutions.

Otherwise, might as well chalk up two wins per year against a vastly inferior program.