After topping the past two NCAA men's tournaments, the Big 12 continues to establish itself as the best conference in men's college basketball in 2022-23. Here are just a few stats from ESPN Analytics that show how dominant the conference has been this season:
The weakest team, Texas Tech, has a BPI (how many points above or below average a team is) of 9, higher than the average of the second-ranked Big Ten (8.5).
The 10 hardest remaining schedules belong to the 10 teams from the Big 12.
All 10 teams in the conference are in the BPI's top 40. No other conference even has 10 teams in the top 50.
Joe Lunardi's bracketology currently has seven of the 10 teams making the tournament field, with two of the remaining three among his First Four Out (Oklahoma) and Next Four Out (Oklahoma State). If the Big 12 can get eight teams in, it will top the 1991 Big East for the highest percentage of teams in a conference to make the Big Dance. ESPN Analytics gives this a 33% chance of happening.
The Big 12 has four teams with more than a 1% chance to win the 2023 NCAA tournament. No other conference has more than two.
Using a combination of BPI ratings and how close the game is projected to be, ESPN Analytics generates a metric called Matchup Quality for each game. This measures how entertaining a game is predicted to be on a scale of 0 to 100. Using this metric, three of the most exciting games of the regular season will take place tonight, and all three are Big 12 matchups featuring the conference's top-10 BPI teams.
Baylor at Texas Tech (9 p.m. ET, ESPNU) earns a 94.6, with the BPI favoring the Bears by 1.1.
Kansas at Kansas State (7 p.m. ET, ESPN) gets a 95.2, with Kansas winning by 1.3 on average.
Texas at Iowa State (8 p.m. ET, Big 12/ESPN+) grabs a 96.3, with the BPI predicting the Cyclones to win by 1.8.
Of the 10,000-plus regular-season matchups in men's college basketball, only about 50 each season earn a rating above 94. So far this season, we've had 20. Thirteen of those have included clutch time (within five points with under five minutes) and two more were within six points. All 20 have included AP Top 25 teams. (Depending on Monday's AP rankings, Baylor versus Texas Tech could be the first matchup to break this trend.)
More than half of these highly anticipated matchups featured, or will feature, a team from the Big 12. With so many high-quality teams, the conference has been must-watch TV all season and has a legitimate chance to extend its NCAA tournament championship streak to three.