Those who believe the Big 12 Conference's sports reputation comes predominantly from football wouldn't know it by studying at the schedule of Big 12 men's basketball games to be televised in the coming 2012-13 season.
The conference recently announced that 84 conference games will be televised nationally or regionally, beginning in January 2013, on an ESPN network, CBS or on the regionally syndicated Big 12 Network. That amounts to over 90 percent of the scheduled Big 12 contests this coming season. The total number of games featuring at least one Big 12 team in 2012-13 grows more than 100 when you include the non-conference schedule, which begins in November.
ESPN will continue to feature Big 12 games on Monday as part of the cable sports network's "Big Monday" package of games, beginning Monday, Jan. 14 with Baylor at Kansas. Seven-time defending conference regular-season champion Kansas will appear the most times on "Big Monday" telecasts in 2012-13 with five scheduled appearances. Big 12 newcomer West Virginia is scheduled for three "Big Monday" games, as are Kansas State, Texas and Baylor.
During the Big 12 portion of the 2012-13 schedule, ESPN or ESPN2 has scheduled nine Kansas games and will carry eight games each for West Virginia, Texas and Baylor. Kansas State, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are scheduled to appear eight times when league action gets under way.
In addition, Kansas, Texas and West Virginia have conference games scheduled on CBS.
The Big 12 Network will carry two games every Saturday afternoon beginning in January as well as some weeknight games during the season. The Big 12 Network has a regional viewership that reaches fans of all the Big 12 schools, but games are also sometimes distributed outside of the Big 12 geographic footprint to markets such as New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Phoenix and Baltimore.
Big 12 men's basketball has been rated among the top three conferences in the final RPI (Ratings Percentage Index) each of the past three seasons, and Big 12 teams have the highest winning percentage in the NCAA Basketball championship the last five years.
Six or more Big 12 teams have received NCAA Tournament bids in four of the last five seasons, and eight of the 10 schools in the league have been ranked among the top 25 teams in the country the last three seasons. All of this has contributed greatly to the conference's basketball popularity and the strong schedule of network TV appearances.
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