Texas has become the symbol of power conference privilege this season. Many people are questioning why the Longhorns deserve a bid, having failed to achieve a .500 record in conference play. “You’re a bunch of losers,” people say. At least that is what I am making them say in this argument. “If you can’t win half your games, you are not worthy of playing basketball. Give us Murray State. They won all of their games (in regular-season conference play),” these people might also say.

College basketball is a perplexing landscape. In nearly every other sport at every other level, conferences/divisions/whatever are generally pretty equal in strength. We can compare two teams’ records and get a rough first cut at which team accomplished more. But not so in college sports, where the average strength of each conference is very different. In conference play, Murray State didn’t have a single road game that was more difficult than Texas’s easiest road game.

I know Texas has a huge budget, great facilities, and it’s own ESPN-backed TV network. We shouldn’t feel sorry for Texas or its fans but we also shouldn’t penalize them for having to play most of its conference games against top 20 teams. “Well, just win them,” the people would say. But really, only great teams win often against top 20 teams. The NCAA tournament is not made up exclusively of great teams. Otherwise, it would be like an eight-team field. Teams that can only occasionally beat top 20 teams are in the field, too. And Texas is one of those teams.

All that said, Texas is starting to drop out of some brackets and thus one might assume the Longhorns need to win their opening game against Texas Tech to stay alive for a bid. As for the rest of the conference, it appears this going to be at least a six-bid league regardless of the results.

Big 12

All-kenpom.com: Buddy Hield, Oklahoma (kPOY); Perry Ellis, Kansas; Taurean Prince, Baylor; Le’Bryan Nash, Oklahoma State; Rico Gathers, Baylor.

March 11-14 at Kansas City.

                Qtrs Semis Final Champ
 1 Kansas        100  83.5  52.9  33.4
 3 Oklahoma      100  67.9  38.3  18.7
 4 Baylor        100  61.0  28.4  15.4
 2 Iowa St.      100  61.1  32.0  14.6
 7 Texas        86.1  37.4  17.2   6.8
 5 West Virginia 100  39.0  14.3   6.2
 6 Oklahoma St.  100  32.1  12.2   3.9
 9 TCU          59.3  11.0   3.1   0.9
 8 Kansas St.   40.7   5.5   1.2   0.3
10 Texas Tech   13.9   1.5  0.19   0.02