West Virginia’s Bob Huggins had something to say about reports of the Big 12’s interest in adding Gonzaga to the conference.
He was more than happy to share them on Thursday.
“I would think it would be a tremendous awakening for Gonzaga to play who we play day after day.”
Huggins is probably right about that. But it might not stop the reports from coming to fruition.
ESPN reported on Wednesday that Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yormark met with Gonzaga athletic director Chris Standiford in Frisco last week to discuss the possibility. The meeting came as Gonzaga was in the Dallas-Fort Worth area to play Tennessee in a preseason scrimmage.
This isn’t the first time that Gonzaga has been connected to one of the game’s top conferences. The ESPN report noted that Gonzaga has been exploring its conference options and that the Pac-12 and Big East have both been in talks.
Currently, Gonzaga plays in the West Coast Conference, a mid-major conference with schools across the West Coast. BYU is currently a members of the WCC for non-football sports but will move to the Big 12 in July.
Gonzaga joined the WCC in 1979 but moved into national prominence about 20 years ago when the Bulldogs began making long NCAA Tournament runs as a mid-major underdog. Since then, Gonzaga has grown into one of the best programs in the country and made two Final Four appearances in 2017 and 2021, reaching the national championship game in both.
The Bulldogs don’t play football. In fact, the school last fielded a team in 1942.
Entering this season, every Big 12 team — current and future — is in the Top 100 of the KenPom rankings. Gonzaga is ranked third.
Adding the Zags to an already stacked Big 12 slate would make this conference the unquestioned hub of college basketball.
Huggins knows that. But he also knows the rigors the conference would present to a newcomer. He’s been experiencing them for more than a decade.
HCS writer Bryan Clinton contributed to this report.
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard