Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
ROSELLE, N.J. –– While momentum seems to be building for bigger and bigger conferences, Kansas coach Bill Self says he would prefer the Big 12 remain at nine schools.
“I just want to see the league stay together and then I’ll be supportive of whatever because it’s most important that the league stay together, but nine is a great number,” Self told SNY.tv during an exclusive interview Thursday at Roselle Catholic High School, where he was on a recruiting trip.
“Nine is a great number for scheduling for football and basketball.”
The Big 12 currently has 10 teams, but will move to nine once Texas A&M officially joins the SEC in July.
That leaves nine schools, which Self thinks is ideal for scheduling.
“I don’t know of any coach in America that wants to play 18 league games or 20 league games,” said Self, who guided the Jayhawks to the 2008 NCAA championship. “League games wear you out. It’s a grind. In a great league like ours or the other leagues, it’s a grind.
“And so with 10 [teams], you know you’re playing 18 league games. But with nine, you know you’re playing 16 and you can kind of do some things with your out-of-conference schedule that maybe you couldn’t do if you had to play those two extra games.”
Still, Self believes that “if the league survives, which I think it will, I think we’ll expand.”
Missouri is still weighing whether to become the SEC’s 14th program or to remain in the Big 12.
Meantime, the Dallas Morning News reports that the “the Big 12 has a new stance about adding members from Texas, potentially opening the door for TCU and other schools.”
TCU is currently slated to join the Big East next year, but could make a quick escape to the Big 12 by only paying the $5 million exit fee and not having to endure the 27-month exit period that Syracuse and Pittsburgh may have to wait through before joining the ACC.
The Morning News also reported that if Missouri leaves for the SEC, the Big 12 could look at Louisville, Cincinnati and West Virginia.
Self said he expects Louisville to be targeted.
“I think that there’s several schools out there that would be strong considerations that would be attractive to us, and I’m sure they [Louisville] would be one of them,” Self said.
Self said he doesn’t think it’s good that leagues are expanding, but believes anything is possible because university presidents are driven by the pursuit of football and television money.
“It’s not about what’s best for the level of the play or the rivalries, it’s not about what’s best for your fans as far as travel,” Self said. “It’s not about what’s best for student-athletes as far as travel.
“What it’s about is the dollar. I mean, people can say what they want to. They can slice it up however they want to. But what is driving the buggy right now is the almighty dollar.”
Self was watching Tyler Roberson, a 6-foot-7 junior wing from Roselle Catholic, who owns a number of offers. Self was also at St. Benedict’s Prep for 2013 PG Tyler Ennis, whom the Jayhawks have offered…..The Kansas coach is scheduled to speak Friday at Rutgers on behalf of the Brayden Carr Foundation. Other slated speakers include St. Anthony coach Bob Hurley, Kentucky coach John Calipari, former Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy, former NBA coach Larry Brown and Rutgers coach Mike Rice. Miami Heat coach Eric Spoelstra is also expected to attend. Click here to learn more about the Brayden Carr Foundation.
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.