Here is how the Big 12 (Big Eight until 1997) has fared since the current NCAA Tournament format was adopted in 1985:
The Big 12 has received 79 tournament bids in the 17 years of
six-round play. This averages between four and five bids (4.64) per
Exactly one-third of Big 12 entrants (33) have advanced to at least the Sweet 16. Overall, the Big 12 has comprised 12.1 percent of the
total regional berths since 1985.
Six Big 12 teams have advanced to the Final Four in this era, including two in 1988 (Kansas, Oklahoma). The conference posted a 14-4
(.778) record in the tournament that year. Interestingly, the Big 12 is just 82-74 (.526) in the remaining 16 tourneys.
The six Big 12 Final Four slots have been dominated by Kansas, which went four times between 1988 and 1993. Only Oklahoma (1988) and Oklahoma
State (1995) have broken the trend.
Kansas (1988) has won the only national championship for the conference during this era, defeating fellow Big Eight member Oklahoma
in the title game. The Jayhawks also played for the title (vs. Duke) in 1991.
The most "overachieving" Big 12 team of this era was obviously Kansas in 1988. "Danny and Miracles" were a No. 6 seed, but did not stop until
they cut down the nets. Not quite as dramatic were the No. 3 Jayhawks of 1991, who beat a No. 1 (Arkansas) and No. 2 (Indiana) on their way to
the final game.
Three No. 1 seeds are notable Big 12 "underachievers." Oklahoma (1990, "upset" by North Carolina) and Kansas (1992, 1998) were similar
second-round victims. And let's not forget the shocker of No. 2 seed Iowa State losing to Hampton in last year's opening round.
The Big 12's overall NCAA winning percentage from 1985-2001 is .551 (96-78). Its "Bracketology Score" is 0.883, the lowest score we have
seen from a major conference thus far. (Translation: NCAA games played divided by number of games conference members were seeded to play;
average score equals 1.000).
Joe Lunardi is the resident "bracketologist" for ESPN.com. He may be reached at email@example.com.