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Who Should the Big 12 Package with Gonzaga if They Add Basketball-Only Schools?

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Denny Medley

This week it was reported by ESPN that the Big 12 has been in talks about adding Gonzaga to the conference for basketball. If the Big 12 added Gonzaga would they turn to add another school?

Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark not only wants to be the best basketball conference but wants to dominate the landscape of men’s and women’s college basketball. To keep the conference at an even number for basketball, let’s take a look at some programs the conference should consider if they add basketball-only schools.

Dayton

If the Big 12 really wants to consider basketball-only schools, look no further than to package Dayton with Gonzaga. Anthony Grant has built the Flyers into a perennial top mid-major program. The Flyers would give West Virginia and Cincinnati another close trip for conference play only being three hours from Morgantown and under an hour from Clifton. Dayton’s fans are another point to consider to bring them to a power conference. UD Arena will host their 44-straight sellout as all 16 games are sold out this season.

Wichita State

Wichita State just makes too much sense for a traditional Big 12. The future of the conference won’t be a midwest conference with the addition of UCF and the continued talks of adding Pac-12 schools. If you’re adding basketball-only schools you have to consider adding WSU. The Shockers are trying to revive the program under Isaac Brown. Wichita State also has a great fanbase like Dayton, selling out many games at Charles Koch Arena.

Saint Mary’s 

If the Big 12 adds Gonzaga, they’re just committing to not having any proximity consistency. By going out west, Yormark and the conference should consider adding Saint Mary’s to join with the Zags. That would make three WCC programs to the Big 12 as BYU will officially join in July 2023. Saint Mary’s would give Gonzaga a travel partner and vice versa if the conference doesn’t poach from the Pac-12. The Gaels have reached the NCAA Tournament eight times under head coach Randy Bennett.

Poach from Big East

This is where things can get interesting and change the landscape of college basketball. Yormark is a basketball guy, he spent 14 years as the Brooklyn Nets CEO. The conference should consider adding most of those programs. Butler, UConn would make the most sense as they stand as the only two non-Catholic schools in the Big East. If the Big 12 was to add a Catholic school, Creighton would make too much sense geographically.

Other to consider: Loyola-Chicago, VCU

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Ethan Bock is pursuing his bachelor’s degree in journalism at WVU. Ethan has covered WVU men’s basketball, football and recruiting for the past two years. He is from Cincinnati, Ohio.

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