The Big 12 is massively underrated

Anybody who does not live on the East Coast constantly complains about a perceived bias. It seems sports fans are particularly guilty of this, claiming the national media never notices anything west of the Mississippi River.

In reality, the complaint have validity to an extent. So much of the Midwestern and Western sports take place either in smaller cities or later at night, when much of the country is already asleep. Unfortunately, this leads to franchises on the Eastern seaboard getting a lopsided amount of attention from outlets such as ESPN and the like.

In Men’s college basketball, the same rules apply. Often times it is the Atlantic Coastal Conference and the Big East getting much of the adulation while the other power conferences toil in relative anonymity (save the SEC, because outside of Kentucky there is not much to write home about).

However, there is plenty of good basketball being played elsewhere; especially the Big 12.

When the new AP Poll came out on Monday, no fewer than six teams in the Big 12 were ranked in the top 25. Among them were the No. 10 Texas Longhorns, No. 12 Kansas Jayhawks, No. 14 West Virginia Mountaineers, No. 16 Oklahoma Sooners, No. 17 Iowa State Cyclones and No. 21 Baylor Bears. The TCU Horned Frogs and Oklahoma State Cowboys also received votes for inclusion. All told, the Big 12 has more ranked teams than any other conference in the nation, including the beloved ACC (5), Big East (3) and Big Ten (3).

Despite the name leading most to believe there are 12 teams in the conference, there are only 10, making six ranked teams and two more getting votes all the most impressive. Only the Texas Tech Red Raiders and Kansas State Wildcats are being left out of the party.

With conference play beginning in earnest this month, there will be internal carnage. With so many games against each other, the losses will begin to pile up for Big 12 and some will drop from the rankings. On the opposite end of the spectrum, a few schools will have the opportunity to rise up with a string of wins against quality opponents, with so few weak sisters in the mix. Last year, seven Big 12 teams qualified for the NCAA Tournament, and that number appears ready to be matched or perhaps even exceeded in 2015.

With premiere programs like Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas in the mix for the conference crown and a high seed in March, the Big 12 will begin to get its due over the next eight weeks.

The ACC and Kentucky will still grab headlines with pundits wondering whether Duke or Virginia can knock off the juggernaut from Lexington, but there will be more eyes on the Midwest with each passing day.

It only seems fair to the best conference in America.

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