Big 12 basketball is home to a few of the bigger disappointments in all of college basketball this season.
Like every league, there have been players who did not meet preseason expectations. But what stands out about the league are the recently consistent programs that are experiencing down years. Texas has reached the NCAA tournament each of the last 14 years while West Virginia has made the tournament seven of the last eight years, but barring a conference tournament title, both teams will be sitting at home in March.
Here are the 10 biggest disappointments in the Big 12 this season.
The Billy Gillispie situation really put the Red Raiders in a bind prior to the season. Gillispie had to resign in September due to allegations of mistreating some of his players at Texas Tech. Because of the preseason turmoil, it was tough to expect much this season.
Even so, the Red Raiders have not been competitive for the majority of the conference season. Texas Tech is just 2-13 in Big 12 play, and the Red Raiders have lost nine in a row. Seven of those nine losses have been by at least 15 points.
TCU’s first basketball season in the Big 12 has been a long one. The Horned Frogs have won just one conference game, which did come against Kansas, and their 13 Big 12 losses have all been by at least nine points.
The offense has been dreadful. TCU is ranked No. 327 in offensive efficiency, according to KenPom.com, and the Horned Frogs have failed to score 60 points in all but one of their conference games.
Le’Bryan Nash was named to the preseason all-conference team, but he has had an inconsistent sophomore season. He can put up 26 points in an overtime win against Oklahoma but only eight points in a double overtime loss to Kansas.
Nash has not made any significant strides in his second year at Oklahoma State. He is averaging 13.2 points per game compared to 13.3 last year, and he still struggles from the outside, making 20.9 percent from three compared to 23.5 percent last year.
The only thing keeping Iowa State from being a lock for the NCAA tournament at this point is its road record. The Cyclones are 3-7 in true road games with losses at Texas Tech and Texas.
Iowa State does have a road win over Baylor, but the other two wins came against TCU and University of Missouri-Kansas City. The Cyclones still have trips to Oklahoma and West Virginia on the schedule.
Sheldon McClellan played just one minute in Texas’s 68-59 win over TCU on Feb. 19. According to The Austin American-Statesman, when Longhorns coach Rick Barnes was asked why after the game, he responded, “Strictly accountability.”
McClellan has been incredibly inconsistent during conference play. For example, he scored 10 points in double overtime to push Texas past Iowa State on Feb. 13 but followed that up with seven points on 1-of-7 shooting at Kansas.
Elijah Johnson had an excellent run in the NCAA tournament last year as Kansas made it to the national title game. He scored in double figures in every game, including an 18-point performance against Purdue in a 63-60 win and a double-double against Ohio State in the Final Four with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
This season, Johnson has not built on that tournament run. His scoring average is down to 9.1 points per game from 10.2 a season ago, and he is shooting a career-worst 37.9 percent from the floor.
Still, Johnson will play a big role in how far Kansas ultimately goes this year. If he turns it on like he did last March, the Jayhawks could have another Final Four run in them.
West Virginia’s first year in the Big 12 has not been smooth. The Mountaineers have struggled offensively with their leading scorer, Aaric Murray, averaging just 9.2 points per game. As a team, West Virginia is shooting just 40.5 percent from the floor.
Bob Huggins has made the NCAA tournament 19 of the last 20 years in which he has been on the sideline. The lone exception was his one-year stop at Kansas State.
This year, however, Huggins will once again be home in March unless the Mountaineers put together an improbable run to the Big 12 tournament title.
Baylor has been to the Elite Eight two of the last three years, but at 16-11, the Bears are currently fighting for a spot in this year’s NCAA tournament. This despite being picked second in the preseason Big 12 coaches' poll.
Baylor put itself in a good position, but the Bears have lost six of their last eight games and sit 7-7 in conference play. Baylor coach Scott Drew has never made back-to-back NCAA tournament appearances since taking over in 2003. Unless his team rights the ship in a hurry, that trend figures to continue.
No result in college basketball was as surprising as what happened in Fort Worth, Texas on Feb. 6: TCU 62, No. 5 Kansas 55.
The win still stands as TCU’s lone Big 12 victory.
It was the biggest upset of the season and the ugliest loss the Jayhawks have suffered in a long time. Kansas made just three field goals in the first half and scored 13 points.
The Jayhawks got their revenge with a 74-48 win on Feb. 23, but the loss at TCU could still be enough to keep Kansas off the one-seed line in the NCAA tournament.
Rick Barnes has made the NCAA tournament in each of his first 14 seasons in Austin. With the Longhorns under .500 at 12-15 and 4-10 in Big 12 play, that run figures to come to an end this year.
Point guard Myck Kabongo’s suspension certainly had a large impact on how the season has played out, but it does not excuse a 13-point loss to Division II Chaminade or just one win over a conference opponent other than TCU or Texas Tech.