Big 12/SEC report

Double bonus: Conference-changing teams dip in transition year

Updated: 2013-03-11T23:58:28Z

By BLAIR KERKHOFF

The Kansas City Star

A year ago this week, West Virginia was off to New York, TCU headed to Las Vegas, Texas A&M flew and Missouri hopped on a bus to Kansas City.

They’ve all changed conferences and will spend this week at new tournament destinations. Only Texas A&M has a better record than it did this time a year ago but the Aggies are in the same place in another way, needing to win its league tournament to reach the NCAA Tournament.

Turns in fortune have more to do with internal (team), rather than external (conference) factors, but Mountaineers coach Bob Huggins is certain his team was impacted by its move from the Big East to Big 12.

“We have a team that was recruited to play in the Big East, and that style is a whole lot different than the Big 12,” Huggins said. “The travel has been different, the officiating is different, there’s a whole lot of things going from one league another becomes an adjustment for you.”

From a personnel standpoint, no team changed more than Missouri, with four new starters in its first season in the Southeastern Conference. Only point guard Phil Pressey played in the Big 12 last season. Forward Laurence Bowers, who played three years in the Big 12, sat out last season recovering from knee surgery.

The Tigers have been more about finding chemistry with a new cast, and solving last minute possessions on road games, as much as learning life in a new league. Besides, Mizzou coach Frank Haith can now write the book on adjusting to a new power conference. The SEC is his third different league in three years, with the Big 12 last year and the ACC in 2010-11, his final season at Miami, Fla.

With a 7-11 conference record, highlighted by a triumph at Kentucky, Texas A&M improved by three games in league play this season.

TCU, 18-15 overall and fifth place in the Mountain West last year, dropped to 11-20 this season. But the Horned Frogs collected one of the greatest victories in their history, over Kansas, and enter their first Big 12 Tournament fresh off a triumph over Oklahoma, a likely NCAA Tournament team.

Changing places

Overall records heading into conference tournaments for teams that changed leagues this season:

Team 2011-12 (Conf.) 2012-13 (Conf.)
Missouri27-4 (Big 12)22-9 (SEC)
Texas A&M13-17 (Big 12)17-14 (SEC)
West Virginia19-12 (Big East)13-18 (Big 12)
TCU17-13 (Mtn. West)11-20 (Big 12)

Two quotes

• “I’m disappointed in our team’s fire. I don’t see it.”

| Florida coach Billy Donovan

• “I try not to listen too much to it. My assistants do it.”

| Kansas State coach Bruce Weber on NCAA Tournament projections

Double Bonus top 10

Team (prev. rank) Overall Conf. Last wk. RPI*
1. Kansas (1)26-514-41-17
2. Kansas State (2)25-614-41-120
3. Florida (3)24-614-41-16
4. Oklahoma State (4)23-713-51-123
5. Missouri (6)22-911-71-134
6. Iowa State (7)21-1011-72-047
7. Oklahoma (5)20-1011-71-133
8. Kentucky (9)21-1012-61-150
9. Tennessee (8)19-1111-72-055
10. Baylor (nr)18-139-91-161

*Unofficial RPI through Sunday

NCAA Tournament top-four seed projections

EAST REGION MIDWEST REGION WEST REGION SOUTH REGION
Washington, D.C. Indianapolis Los Angeles Arlington, Texas
1.Duke (Philadelphia)Indiana (Dayton, Ohio)Gonzaga (Salt Lake City)Louisville (Lexington, Ky.)
2.Michigan State (Auburn Hills, Mich.)Georgetown (Philadelphia)Michigan (Auburn Hills, Mich.)Kansas (Sprint Center)
3.Florida (Lexington, Ky.)Miami, Fla. (Austin, Texas)Arizona (Salt Lake City)New Mexico (Austin, Texas)
4.Saint Louis (San Jose, Calif.)Kansas State (Sprint Center)Marquette (San Jose, Calif.)Ohio State (Dayton, Ohio)

To reach Blair Kerkhoff, call 816-234-4730 or send email to bkerkhoff@kcstar.com. Follow him at twitter.com/BlairKerkhoff.

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