Big 12/Pac 10 Hardwood Series Preview
The 2007-2008 college basketball season marks the commencement of the next great inter-conference made-for-TV matchup: Big 12/Pac 10 Hardwood Series. That’s right, get ready to renew a historic rivalry between two leagues who have battled it out for decades (especially since the Big 12 is but twelve years old). Get ready for the bitter hatred found between national powers Oregon State and Iowa State. Get ready for an off-the-charts war pitting Arizona State and Nebraska. And who could help but get ready for a battle of the titans as Missouri takes on California. The dunks! The dribble drives! The dishes! The defense! Are you ready?
Ok, that’s what I thought.
How about this… Every tradition has to start somewhere. Do you think the Pilgrims were pumped for the first Thanksgiving? Do you think Lance Armstrong was stoked about winning his first Tour de France? Do you think the New England Patriots were jazzed up when they started the tradition of beating everyone they play? The answer is yes to each of these questions? Oops. Oh well, I tried.
In all seriousness, the newly-formed Big 12/Pac 10 Hardwood Series lacks tradition, rivalry and history. I somehow doubt that either team in any of these matchups will use the rallying cry, “win one for the Big 12!” However, there are still a number of reasons to tune into this series:
- Good matchups at the top – Kansas vs. Arizona, UCLA vs. Texas, Arizona vs. Texas A&M. If Kansas-Arizona was any indication, these should be a lot of fun.
- Potential resume builders/bubble games – Baylor hosting Washington State, Missouri traveling to Cal, Texas Tech vs. Stanford.
- Great players – Michael Beasley, Kevin Love, D.J. Augustin, Derrick Low, Devon Hardin, to name a few.
- Two of the best teams in the nation – UCLA and Kansas.
This series was created for a few reasons; television money and ratings near the top. But it also provides teams with a scheduling mechanism to have a built-in non-conference matchup that will look good on the tournament resume come March. Each league also gets a chance to showcase its teams on national television and potentially enhance its standing as an elite conference. As a result, NCAA hoops fans benefit by getting to watch some good basketball and good basetball teams, especially from markets they do not always get to see. As for the competition itself, the Pac 10 seems to be the stronger league on paper and in the pre-season hype category. Yet, at this time, each conference has six team listed in the field of 65 here at Bracketography. One could make a good argument that the Big 12 triumvirate of Kansas, Texas, and Texas A&M is every bit as good as the Pac 10’s UCLA, Arizona, and Washington St. Therefore, the Big 12 can use this event to sway public opinion in its favor should it come out on top.
Honestly, at the end of the day, the head-to-head standings of this event are not that important. But for each team involved, winning a game (or two in the case of Arizona and Stanford) against another “power conference” team, especially on the road, could be a huge factor when comparing resumes in March.
That’s why Bracketography cares and why you should too. Just try to remember that when you’re watching that Oregon State vs Iowa State barnburner of a contest.
Big 12/Pac 10 Hardwood Series Schedule:
Sun. 11/25: Arizona at Kansas 8 PM ESPN
Sat. 12/1: Washington at Oklahoma State 4:30 PM ESPN
Sat. 12/1: Missouri at California 10 PM Fox Sports
Sat. 12/22: Texas Tech vs. Stanford (Dallas) 3:30 ESPN2