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Kansas Basketball 50 in 50, No. 32: Meet Our (Possible) New Conference Mate, And Evaluate Some Other Potential Choices

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.

First, I should note that I accidentally went from 34 to 34. I'm in law school, not math school. Anyways, yesterday it appeared that BYU would join and become the Big 12's 10th member. Let's take a look at the style they bring to the Big 12:


BYU offensively revolved around Jimmer Fredette the past two years, as his 36.4% usage rate was 2nd nationally and his 38.1% of shots taken ranked 1st. Other than that, the biggest thing that jumps out at me is their ability to take care of the ball. They were 3rd best at doing just that in 2011, and 9th, and 12th the two years before that. Some of that has to do with Jimmer to be sure, given that they turned it over roughly 5% more before he got there, but the Jimmer teams had a lot of guys who took care of the ball well.

One thing I will be especially interested in is their pace post Jimmer, and in the Big 12. Their pace for the past 5 years, as well as their offensive ranks:

Year 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007
Pace (national rank) 71.3 (20th) 72.5 (14th) 69.9 (48th) 69.4 (82nd) 68.5 (98th)
Off. Eff. (national rank) 117.1 (11th) 117.1 (10th) 113.4 (28th) 107.5 (94th) 117.3 (20th)


Their pace stayed somewhat the same over the past five years, which is to be expected, but it is interesting, and perhaps a bit unusual, that their offense was basically equally effective in three of the give years. The Big 12 plays slower than BYU has over the years, so how BYU reacts to that will heavily influence their success going forward.

Other teams rumored to be heading to the Big 12 to try to get back to 12 are Louisville (who is rumored to have a standing invitation. I say rumored a lot), West Virginia, and Boise State. A look at these three after the jump:


The biggest takeaway from this is that the Big 12 is possibly willing to do business with Boise's basketball program in order to do business with its football program. Or perhaps BYU is trying to drag its former conference mate with them to the Big 12 in order to have a natural rival.

The second big thing is that West Virginia is one of the best basketball programs in the country in recent times. In 2009, when they got a 6th seed and were upset before having to deal with KU in the 2nd round, West Virginia finished ranked 9th in KenPom. They don't have a very aesthetically pleasing style of play (think only slightly faster than Wisconsin) but they pound the offensive glass like crazy and get every ounce out of their talent. Surely all fans can appreciate that.

Louisville has also been a very good program, and were the #1 overall seed in 2009. Rick Pitino is not a huge fan of realignment, so it would be interesting to hear is quotes if Louisville does end up in the Big 12. Like West Virginia, Louisville has been a very good, yet somewhat under the radar program, but they have a style Bill Self would love: They have been ranked in the top 10 in defense in three of the past four years.

It seems like BYU is coming, which will help the Big 12, but if they can add West Virginia and Louisville as well, exchanging Nebraska, Colorado and A&M for those three would be a huge win for basketball in the Big 12.