clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Analyzing The Big 12’s Non-Conference Schedules For 2017-18

Of the 10 teams in the league, Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, and Baylor built the strongest schedules, while Texas Tech didn’t really try.

NCAA Basketball: Big 12 Championship-TCU vs Oklahoma
Oklahoma and Texas stumbled through Big 12 play last season, but both scheduled like they’re ready to return to national prominence this season.
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

For all of the posts in this series, visit the 2017-18 Non-Conference Scheduling Hub.

Ranking The Teams

With every Big 12 team among the top 70 of the four-year ranking, the conference finds itself at the top of the heap and it’s not particularly close. The league’s average team score ranking of 30.5 is a whopping 15.5 places higher than the second-place ACC’s. More impressively, half of the conference finds itself in the top 25, including an Oklahoma squad that went 11-20 last season. And there’s hope for further improvement, as last-place TCU, ranked nicely at 69th, won the NIT in 2017.

Big 12 Team Score Rankings

Team Team Score National Rank
Team Team Score National Rank
Kansas 13.298855 5
West Virginia 11.756085 11
Baylor 11.22116 13
Iowa St. 11.12917 14
Oklahoma 9.259935 23
Oklahoma St. 8.3321085 32
Texas 7.34857 39
Kansas St. 7.191877 41
Texas Tech 5.776621 58
TCU 4.6692365 69
Average 8.9983618 30.5
Conference Rank 1st of 32

Ranking The Schedules

The Big 12 finds itself smack dab in the middle of the Power 7 across all four schedule rankings—behind the SEC, Big East, and Pac-12, but ahead of the ACC, Big Ten, and American. In all but the Known Schedule Strength metric (where Oklahoma State drops to 180th), 70 percent of the conference ranks among the top half of Division I. Of the remaining three squads, Texas Tech’s slate is far worse than either Kansas State’s or Iowa State’s, as the Red Raiders’ non-conference schedule is among the 50 worst nationally.

*Denotes team will participate in a bracketed tournament. Reminder: Known Score = known matchups only; Average Score = known games+average of potential bracketed matchups; Maximum Score = known games+games against best potential bracketed matchups; Minimum Score = known games+games against worst potential bracketed matchups

Big 12 Schedule Strengths And National Ranks

Team Average Schedule Strength Natl. Rank Known Schedule Strength Natl. Rank Maximum Schedule Strength Natl. Rank Minimum Schedule Strength Natl. Rank
Team Average Schedule Strength Natl. Rank Known Schedule Strength Natl. Rank Maximum Schedule Strength Natl. Rank Minimum Schedule Strength Natl. Rank
Oklahoma* 4.869769754 36 3.837589968 60 6.358043515 13 3.075667572 90
Kansas 4.854983315 39 4.854983315 31 4.854983315 52 4.854983315 30
Texas* 4.089805876 63 2.878378325 106 5.432345506 32 2.776943862 105
Baylor* 3.654776269 78 2.902800083 103 3.693133346 98 3.616419192 69
TCU* 3.317871077 97 2.830447021 110 3.582930712 101 3.052811442 91
Oklahoma State* 2.100715175 154 1.680800492 180 2.280808723 164 1.920621627 152
West Virginia* 2.008857658 163 1.901901996 164 2.3239914 162 1.780077711 160
Kansas State* 1.38661127 213 0.695103709 238 1.671990539 203 1.101232001 212
Iowa State* 0.3570553103 263 -0.4960352445 299 1.02503814 240 -0.3929338163 292
Texas Tech* -0.8106168087 323 -1.212171413 329 -0.4937422269 315 -1.12749139 325
Average 2.152485741 119.0833333 1.656149854 135 2.560793581 115 1.721527626 127.1666667
Conference Rank 10th of 32 18th of 32 6th of 32 16th of 32

Who Over- And Under-Scheduled?

Like the Big Ten and ACC, every single Big 12 team under-scheduled. Oklahoma did the best, getting within 13 spots of its four-year ranking. However, half of the conference owns a gap that’s at least 100 places, with Iowa State and Texas Tech taking things to an extreme. The Cyclones’ gap just misses the 250-spot level, while the Red Raiders’ exceeds it by 15.

Big 12 Scheduling Gaps

National Rank Team Team Score Rank Avg. Schedule Strength Rank Scheduling Gap
National Rank Team Team Score Rank Avg. Schedule Strength Rank Scheduling Gap
37 Oklahoma 23 36 -13
66 Texas 39 63 -24
76 TCU 69 97 -28
85 Kansas 5 39 -34
151 Baylor 13 78 -65
233 Oklahoma St. 32 154 -122
274 West Virginia 11 163 -152
290 Kansas St. 41 213 -172
331 Iowa St. 14 263 -249
336 Texas Tech 58 323 -265
187.9 Average (27/32 conf.) 30.5 142.9 -112.4

Big 12 Road And Non-D1 Games

True Road Games Scheduled Road Games Scheduled Against Non-Power 7 Teams Non-D1 Opponents Scheduled
True Road Games Scheduled Road Games Scheduled Against Non-Power 7 Teams Non-D1 Opponents Scheduled
11 (5 SEC/Big 12 Challenge) 1 (+2 possible semi-road games in MTEs) 1 (at a neutral site)

The Big 12’s 11 true road games scheduled—including five in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge—ranks dead last in Division I. Those 11 games are five fewer than the Big East, the other Power 7’s other Power 7’s 10-member conference, lined. And with just one road game scheduled for a non-Power 7 arena, the league ties the Big Ten for the lowest total in that statistic among the power tier. On the other hand, Baylor’s Fort Hood game against Randall is the only contest a Big 12 member scheduled against a non-D1 foe.

Big 12 Non-Conference Games By League

Conference Games Scheduled Against Possible Tournament Games Against
Conference Games Scheduled Against Possible Tournament Games Against
SEC 17 3
Southland 8 0
Summit 7 0
SWAC 7 0
American Athletic 6 3
C-USA 6 1
MEAC 6 0
OVC 6 0
Pac-12 6 4
ACC 5 3
Big Ten 5 6
Atlantic Sun 4 0
Big East 3 4
MAC 3 1
Sun Belt 3 0
A 10 2 3
America East 2 0
Big West 2 1
Horizon 2 0
MW 2 1
Patriot 2 0
WAC 2 0
Big Sky 1 1
CAA 1 0
Ivy 1 0
MAAC 1 0
MVC 1 1
Non-D1 1 0
SoCon 1 0
WCC 1 2
Big South 0 0
NEC 0 0

Beyond the SEC’s Challenge-inflated total of 17 games, there’s a fair amount of balance in Big 12 schedules. Every conference other than the NEC and Big South makes an appearance on at least one slate, with the top 11 conferences featuring at least five times each. That’s good when the opposition comes from the ACC, American, Big Ten, and Pac-12, and not quite so awesome when they originate from the SWAC, MEAC, and Southland.

Big 12 Non-Conference Games By Strength And Location

Opponent Strength Home Away Neutral Total Average Potential
Opponent Strength Home Away Neutral Total Average Potential
1-25 5 2 3 10 1 7
26-50 3 5 7 15 1.5 5
51-75 4 2 3 9 0.9 5
76-100 5 1 3 9 0.9 6
101-150 7 1 3 11 1.1 4
151-200 12 0 2 14 1.4 5
201-250 14 0 0 14 1.4 1
251-300 13 0 1 14 1.4 1
301-351 17 0 1 18 1.8 0
Non-D1 0 0 1 1 0.1 0
Total 80 11 24 115
Average 8 1.1 2.4 11.5
Percentage 0.6956521739 0.09565217391 0.2086956522
Conference Rank (of 32) 3rd 32nd 1st
UCF (136)
(or Nebraska)*

Even though the Big 12 ranks dead last nationally in terms of true non-conference road games, it sits just third in home games. That’s because neutral-site contests account for just over 20 percent of its membership’s non-league matchups. As for the rankings, the Big 12’s total of 43 top-100 games pales in comparison to the SEC’s 70, and while the total of 32 contests against the bottom 101 looks decent when compared to the SEC’s 24, you must remember that the SEC’s total accounts for 14 teams, not 10.

Team-By-Team Breakdown

Teams are listed in order of their Average Schedule Strength National Ranking. Numbers in parentheses are opponent’s Team Score Ranking. Logos via SportsLogos.net.

Games marked with a ^ are part of the Big 12/SEC Challenge.

36. Oklahoma Sooners

*Exempt Event: Phil Knight Invitational Victory Bracket

True Home Games (6) Semi-Home Games (0) True Neutral-Site Games (1-3) Semi-Road Games (2-4) True Road Games (1)
True Home Games (6) Semi-Home Games (0) True Neutral-Site Games (1-3) Semi-Road Games (2-4) True Road Games (1)
Omaha (176) None Arkansas (42)* Portland (215) Alabama (59)^
Ball State (197)* North Carolina (6) (or North Carolina)*
North Texas (303) (or Portland)* Oregon (18)
UTSA (301) Michigan State (16) or (or Michigan State,
Northwestern State (294) UConn (55) or UConn, or
Northwestern (61) DePaul (171) DePaul)*
(or Oregon)* USC (65)
(Staples Center)
Wichita State (10)
(Intrust Bank Arena)

Record against returning opponents from 2016-17: 1 win (Northwestern State) and 1 loss (Wichita State (N))

In 2016-17, Oklahoma picked up just six of its 11 wins outside of Big 12 play. And at first glance, the Sooners can reasonably expect to only defeat the five lowest-ranked home opponents if last season’s struggles carry into the fall. With that in mind, the Phil Knight Invitational quarterfinal against neighbors Arkansas will be a nice early measuring stick for OU’s potential improvement, while semi-road games against national contenders USC and Wichita State will provide the Sooners late chances to surprise. Lon Kruger’s squad will close its home non-conference slate with a cheeky Northwestern State-Northwestern double, while late January’s Big 12/SEC Challenge has OU hitting the road to face Alabama. That could be one to keep an eye on if both teams make it through November and December relatively unscathed.

39. Kansas Jayhawks

*Exempt Event: HoopHall Miami Invitational

True Home Games (8) Semi-Home Games (1) True Neutral-Site Games (2) Semi-Road Games (1) True Road Games (1)
True Home Games (8) Semi-Home Games (1) True Neutral-Site Games (2) Semi-Road Games (1) True Road Games (1)
Tennessee State (226) Washington (103) Kentucky (3) Stanford (74) Nebraska (88)
South Dakota State (119) (Kansas City) (Chicago) (Sacramento)
Texas Southern (206)* Syracuse (38)
Oakland (115)* (Miami)*
Toledo (114)*
Arizona State (85)
Omaha (176)
Texas A&M (44)^

Record against returning opponents from 2016-17: 3 wins (Stanford, Nebraska, @Kentucky) and 0 losses

Even though Oklahoma’s schedule edges Kansas’s numerically, thanks to the Sooners’ participation in the PK80 and the two semi-road games, the Jayhawks’ slate might just be better top to bottom. For starters, KU avoids playing a team ranked in the bottom 100 nationally, with no worse than five auto bid contenders (complementing at-large threats Arizona State and Texas A&M) visiting Allen Fieldhouse. However, other than the Champions Classic tilt with Kentucky, the five games away from Lawrence feature teams with serious question marks surrounding them in November.

63. Texas Longhorns

*Exempt Event: Phil Knight Invitational Motion Bracket

True Home Games (8) Semi-Home Games (0) True Neutral-Site Games (2-3) Semi-Road Games (1-2) True Road Games (1)
True Home Games (8) Semi-Home Games (0) True Neutral-Site Games (2-3) Semi-Road Games (1-2) True Road Games (1)
Northwestern State (294) None Butler (26)* Portland State (257) VCU (35)
New Hampshire (220)* Duke (9) (or Duke)*
Lipscomb (240) (or Portland State)* Alabama (59)
Florida A&M (351) Gonzaga (4) or (Birmingham)
Michigan (27) Florida (17) or
Louisiana Tech (97) Ohio State (46) or
Tennessee State (226) Stanford (74)*
Ole Miss (63)^

Record against returning opponents from 2016-17: 1 win (Alabama), and 1 loss (@Michigan)

Like Oklahoma, the Longhorns are coming off an 11-win campaign, though expectations seem to be a bit higher in Austin, thanks to the recruiting class Shaka Smart lined up for this fall. And this schedule offers Texas the opportunity to improve upon 2016’s paltry total of six non-conference wins, even if the Longhorns’ PK80 draw (Butler) will be a challenge and they have to pay visits to Smart’s former employer VCU and Alabama (in Birmingham). An eight-game home slate makes such improvement possible for Texas—with a rematch against Michigan and the SEC Challenge contest with Ole Miss looking like the two trickiest matchups.

78. Baylor Bears

*Exempt Event: CBE Hall Of Fame Classic (Hosts’ Bracket)

True Home Games (8) Semi-Home Games (1) True Neutral-Site Games (2) Semi-Road Games (0) True Road Games (2)
True Home Games (8) Semi-Home Games (1) True Neutral-Site Games (2) Semi-Road Games (0) True Road Games (2)
Central Arkansas (336) Randall (Non-D1) Wisconsin (12)* None Xavier (25)
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (200) (Fort Hood, Texas) UCLA (28) or Florida (17)^
Alcorn State (328)* Creighton (34)*
Wichita State (10)
Sam Houston State (193)
Texas Southern (206)
Savannah State (330)
Southern (284)

Record against returning opponents from 2016-17: 4 wins (Sam Houston State, Xavier, Southern, Texas Southern) and 0 losses

Don’t expect Scott Drew’s Bears to repeat their perfect 13-0 non-conference mark of a season ago. Even though Baylor’s slate features three sub-300 home games and a trio of SWAC matchups, five games against top 35 opponents—with four of those away from home—elevate this lineup. Wichita State highlights the home slate, while the CBE Classic will provide the Bears with a pair of tests against fellow 2017 NCAA qualifiers before Thanksgiving dinner goes in the oven. Then there are the true road games—at Xavier and Florida, two of the more intimidating environments for visitors in the entire country.

97. TCU Horned Frogs

*Exempt Event: Emerald Coast Classic (Hosts’ Bracket)

True Home Games (9) Semi-Home Games (0) True Neutral-Site Games (3) Semi-Road Games (0) True Road Games (1)
True Home Games (9) Semi-Home Games (0) True Neutral-Site Games (3) Semi-Road Games (0) True Road Games (1)
ULM (202) None New Mexico (105)* None Vanderbilt (37)^
Tennessee Tech (245)* Maryland (30) or
South Dakota (191) St. Bonaventure (84)*
Omaha (176)* Nevada (112)
Belmont (111) (Los Angeles)
Yale (96)
SMU (15)
Texas Southern (206)
William & Mary (113)

Record against returning opponents from 2016-17: 1 win (Texas Southern) and 1 loss (@SMU)

The Horned Frogs saw their win total double between Trent Johnson’s final season (12) and Jamie Dixon’s first—with TCU making late noise by knocking KU out of the Big 12 quarters, then storming to the NIT title. And even though there’s just one true non-conference road game on TCU’s 2017-18 schedule—Vanderbilt in the Big 12/SEC Challenge in late January—there’s enough here to help push the Frogs into the NCAAs for the first time since 1998. Visits from Belmont, Yale, SMU, and Texas Southern highlight a greatly improved home slate, while TCU could face Maryland in the Emerald Coast Classic final. Most notably, however, the HoopHall LA matchup with Mountain West favorite Nevada might just be a crucial game in case both teams find each other as bubble neighbors come March.

154. Oklahoma State Cowboys

*Exempt Event: Legends Classic (Hosts’ Bracket)

True Home Games (9) Semi-Home Games (0) True Neutral-Site Games (2) Semi-Road Games (1) True Road Games (1)
True Home Games (9) Semi-Home Games (0) True Neutral-Site Games (2) Semi-Road Games (1) True Road Games (1)
Pepperdine (192)* None Texas A&M (44)* Florida State (36) Arkansas (42)^
Charlotte (203) Pittsburgh (53) or (Sunrise, Fla.)
Oral Roberts (216)* Penn State (95)*
Houston Baptist (282)
Austin Peay (290)
Mississippi Valley State (347)
Wichita State (10)
Tulsa (87)
UTRGV (335)

Record against returning opponents from 2016-17: 3 wins (@Tulsa, @Wichita State, Arkansas), and 0 losses

After a single 20-win campaign that featured 11 non-Big 12 victories, Brad Underwood departed for Illinois. That leaves Mike Boynton to keep things going in Stillwater—and four games on this slate look far more important than the others when working toward that goal. The first of those will come in Brooklyn, where Oklahoma State faces a dangerous Texas A&M squad in the Legends Classic semis—a game that could be considered a de facto final since neither second day opponent looks like an NCAA-caliber team. Later, the Pokes will welcome Wichita State to Gallagher-Iba, and they’ll travel to South Florida for the Orange Bowl Classic for the second time in three, this time to take on Florida State. Finally, Oklahoma State will step out of league play in late January to visit Arkansas in the SEC Challenge. If the Cowboys split those games and finish at .500 or better in the Big 12, they might just find themselves in the thick of the NCAA hunt again.

163. West Virginia Mountaineers

*Exempt Event: AdvoCare Invitational

True Home Games (8) Semi-Home Games (0) True Neutral-Site Games (3-4) Semi-Road Games (0-1) True Road Games (1)
True Home Games (8) Semi-Home Games (0) True Neutral-Site Games (3-4) Semi-Road Games (0-1) True Road Games (1)
American (283) None Texas A&M (44) UCF (136) Pittsburgh (53)
Morgan State (322) (Ramstein AFB) (or Nebraska)*
Long Beach State (156)* Marist (312)*
NJIT (249) Nebraska (88)
Virginia (2) (or UCF)*
Coppin State (339) St. John's (102) or
Fordham (186) Oregon State (135) or
Kentucky (3)* Missouri (150) or
Long Beach State (156)*

Record against returning opponents from 2016-17: 2 wins (@Virginia, Texas A&M) and 0 losses

Only an NIT Season Tip-Off final defeat to Temple prevented the Mountaineers from recording a perfect non-conference mark last season. This time three significant challenges appear to stand in the way of that goal—and I’m not including the AdvoCare Invitational in that group, since WVU looks to be a heavy favorite to claim that event. Instead, Bob Huggins’s squad will encounter its biggest challenges in Germany on Opening Night against Texas A&M and at home against Virginia in December and Kentucky in the SEC Challenge in late January. While the Mountaineers must travel to Pittsburgh for the resumption of the Backyard Brawl, the Panthers look to be the ACC’s 14th or 15th-best team this season, although strange things can and do happen in rivalry games.

213. Kansas State Wildcats

*Exempt Event: Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational (Hosts’ Bracket)

True Home Games (8) Semi-Home Games (1) True Neutral-Site Games (2) Semi-Road Games (1) True Road Games (1)
True Home Games (8) Semi-Home Games (1) True Neutral-Site Games (2) Semi-Road Games (1) True Road Games (1)
American (283) Tulsa (87) Arizona State (85)* Washington State (183) Vanderbilt (37)
UMKC (251) (Wichita) Xavier (25) or (Spokane)
UC Irvine (100)* George Washington (83)*
Northern Arizona (319)*
Oral Roberts (216)
USC Upstate (250)
Southeast Missouri (285)
Georgia (54)^

Record against returning opponents from 2016-17: 1 win (Washington State (N)) and 0 losses

Last March, K-State snuck into the field of 68 with an 8-10 Big 12 mark and a non-conference schedule that was arguably weaker than this one. So, if Bruce Weber’s Wildcats can take care of business against the sprinkling of decent opposition here—Arizona State in the Las Vegas Invitational semifinals and SEC matchups against Vanderbilt and Georgia—and pick up eight to 10 conference wins, they might just be able to edge their way into March Madness for the second year in a succession.

263. Iowa State Cyclones

*Exempt Event: Puerto Rico Tip-Off

True Home Games (7) Semi-Home Games (0) True Neutral-Site Games (3-4) Semi-Road Games (0-1) True Road Games (1)
True Home Games (7) Semi-Home Games (0) True Neutral-Site Games (3-4) Semi-Road Games (0-1) True Road Games (1)
Milwaukee (194) None Appalachian State (286)* South Carolina (45) Missouri (150)
Western Illinois (300) Tulsa (87) or (or Illinois State,
Northern Illinois (184) Western Michigan (155)* Boise State, or UTEP)*
Iowa (33) Illinois State (70) or
Alcorn State (328) Boise State (77) or
Maryland Eastern Shore (315) UTEP (168)
Tennessee (62)^ (or South Carolina)*
UNI (82)
(Des Moines)

Record against returning opponents from 2016-17: 0 wins and 1 loss (@Iowa)

Steve Prohm expects a rare rebuilding season in Ames and this schedule reflects that. Home games against Iowa and SEC Challenge opponent Tennessee are the only two that don’t look sure wins here in the preseason. Meanwhile, the season opener against Missouri is the lone true road game. In fact, between the Cyclones’ return from the relocated Puerto Rico Tip-Off and their third Big 12 game on January 6th in Stillwater, ISU won’t leave the state of Iowa.

323. Texas Tech Red Raiders

*Exempt Event: Hall Of Fame Tip-Off (Hosts’ Bracket)

True Home Games (9) Semi-Home Games (0) True Neutral-Site Games (2) Semi-Road Games (1) True Road Games (1)
True Home Games (9) Semi-Home Games (0) True Neutral-Site Games (2) Semi-Road Games (1) True Road Games (1)
South Alabama (263)* Boston College (160) Seton Hall (48) South Carolina (45)^
Maine (343)* Northwestern (61) or (Madison Square Garden)
Wofford (145) La Salle (159)*
Savannah State (330)
Nevada (112)
Kennesaw State (305)
Rice (224)
FAU (291)
Abilene Christian (332)

Record against returning opponents from 2016-17: 1 win (@UNC Greensboro, and 1 loss (Wet Virginia)

The good news for the Red Raiders is that they could face Northwestern in the Hall of Fame Tip-Off final and they’ll definitely visit South Carolina for the Big 12/SEC Challenge and face Seton Hall in a semi-road game at the Under Armour Reunion. Unfortunately, Chris Beard’s team’s NCAA hopes might rely heavily on those three contests because of the weakness of the home slate. While Nevada visits Lubbock, the Wolf Pack are the lone highlight of a nine-game schedule that features a half-dozen teams ranked in the bottom 100.

Be sure to follow @ChrisDobbertean on Twitter and to like Blogging the Bracket on Facebook .