50 in 50 is a feature here at RCT counting down until the Jayhawks kick off the 2011 basketball season on November first. Got an idea for something you'd like to see featured here? tweet @rockchalktalk or @fetch9 or email me at fetch9 at gmail dot com.
While the Big 12 looks to have survived for the second year in a row, it will be at nine members once Texas A&M leaves for the SEC. The first and most widely rumored school was BYU, and it looked to be virtually a done deal that they would join the Big 12 assuming it got stabilized until a Salt Lake Tribune report that BYU might not want in after all.
Coincidentally, today reports surfaced that the Big 12 would be taking a shot at TCU instead. TCU would obviously be better for travel, but it would obviously be another Texas school to fight against recruiting wise and there are questions as to how Texas would interact with TCU.
But today is not about examining any of that. Instead, let's look at what each of the schools brings, basketball wise:
TCU: To put it simply, TCU's not very good. Their KenPom rankings the past 5 years are 173, 178, 124, 169, 152. About the only thing they have going for them is that their coach is named Jim Christian. The Horned Frogs haven't made the NCAA tournament since 1987, and have only been three times. They have made the NIT 6 times, making the quarters in 2005.
Assuming they play in the Big 12 in 2012-13 (which I would say is a longshot), we won't get to see any of their best players. TCU would instantly be in the bottom third of the conference and would be a bottom third team every year. I honestly don't see them having the odd year where they're middle of the pack like Texas Tech and Iowa State managed (or Nebraska and Colorado this year). They're just a bad program.
BYU: No Jimmer, but the Cougs have had a lot of success recently. When Dave Rose took over in 2006 they were ranked 91st in KenPom. Since then they have been ranked 51, 45, 21, 10 and 13. They don't have the depth to be a consistent challenger for the Big 12 crown, but they're probably a top third of the league caliber program, and honestly would probably be the best bet after Texas to be the team to finally not let Kansas win a Big 12 title.
Though they have to look for a different type of athlete, BYU's recruiting would improve a lot in the Big 12, which can only help. They haven't had a recruiting class ranked since their 2004 class was ranked 17th. Pretty impressive to pile up that many wins, and do it in such impressive fashion, without any elite recruiting classes.