Big 12: Best Conference in Women's Basketball

Luke McConnellCorrespondent IJanuary 7, 2010

ST. LOUIS - APRIL 05:  Danielle Robinson #13 of the Oklahoma Sooners reacts after a foul is called on the Louisville Cardinals during the Women's Final Four Semifinals on April 5, 2009 at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

Connecticut may be running away with the title of the best women's college basketball team, but the Big 12 is running away with the title of best conference.

In Monday's Associated Press poll, the Big 12 had seven teams ranked:

#5 - Baylor

#10 -Texas A&M

#12 - Nebraska

#14 - Oklahoma

#15 - Texas

#23 - Oklahoma State

#24 - Kansas

Also, Iowa State was the third team out of the top 25, which realistically means the Big 12 has eight teams ranked in the top 30 of the country.  

The next closest is the ACC with five teams.  

Every school in the Big 12 has at least 10 wins at this point in the season except for Kansas State, who is a respectable 8-6.  

Besides the Wildcats, the most losses that a team has is three.  

Nebraska sits undefeated and atop the conference at the end of non-conference play. Baylor, Texas A&M and Iowa State each have one loss. Oklahoma State and Texas Tech each have two losses and Texas, Missouri, Colorado, Kansas and Oklahoma each have three.  

Last season, the Oklahoma Sooners won the regular season conference title while  Baylor made a strong run through the Big 12 tournament, claiming the tournament crown.  

This preseason, Baylor was picked to win the conference, but it was hardly unanimous. Baylor received five first place votes from the coaches in the conference while Texas and Kansas each received three.  

Texas A&M received the last vote.  

The preseason rankings have been a good indicator of how the season has gone so far. However, the big surprise has been Nebraska, who is currently 13-0. The Huskers welcomed back Kelsey Griffin this season after Griffin missed all of last year with an injury.

Also surprising has been Texas Tech, who was predicted tenth in the conference but has started off the year at 12-2.  

In the history of the conference, only three teams who were projected to win the conference at the beginning of the season have actually won the conference outright: Texas Tech in 1998 and Oklahoma in 2002 and 2009.

Conference play starts on Saturday and with that, a new season begins.  

There doesn't figure to ever be a dull game between Big 12 teams this season. As conference play goes through February, the elite teams will start to separate themselves from the pack.  

However, there could be as many as five or six elite teams that will really battle for the conference title.

With this kind of depth and talent, the Big 12 figures to get a lot of teams into the NCAA tournament come March.  

There is no way of knowing how many will get in.  

Only time will tell.  

What is for sure is that the team that emerges as the conference champion will be battle tested and could pose a threat to the dominant Connecticut Huskies in San Antonio at the Final Four.