In the 2023 edition of the Big East-Big 12 Battle, schools from the two conferences contested eleven games on five separate days. After splitting the last three Battles, the Big 12 gained the upper hand this year as they won seven of the eleven matchups.
Recapping the Big East-Big 12 Battle
Big 12 Newcomer Houston Wins On Road
A year before major conference realignment in the college football world, four basketball programs sneakily joined the Big 12 before the 2023-24 season. Of BYU, Cincinnati, Houston, and UCF, only the Houston Cougars participated in the Big East-Big 12 Battle.
Houston, the nation’s top team according to Kenpom, continued their undefeated start to the season with a 66-60 win on the road against the Xavier Musketeers. Xavier used a big second-half run to take the lead but could not score enough down the stretch to get the job done. LJ Cryer scored 23 for Houston while Quincy Olivari led the way for Xavier with 17. Head Coach Kelvin Sampson has quietly turned his Houston basketball program into a powerhouse.
Kansas Defends Home Court
The Big East-Big 12 Battle’s best game on paper had the 2023 NCAA Champion UConn Huskies visit Allen Fieldhouse to take on the 2022 NCAA Champion Kansas Jayhawks. In the matchup of potential one-seeds, Kansas handed UConn their first loss of the year. This was behind 21 points from Kevin McCullar. UConn, up by four with just under eight minutes to play, let their advantage slip away in the hostile environment. Tristan Newton led the Huskies with 31 points. These two would provide a compelling early April matchup.
Shaka Smart Beats His Former Team
The Marquette Golden Eagles welcomed the Texas Longhorns as Marquette coach Shaka Smart faced off against his old squad. Tyler Kolek (28 points) hit a deep three in the waning seconds of the first half that proved to be the dagger. Marquette kept piling it on in the second half en route to an 86-65 victory. Max Abmas of previous Oral Roberts fame led Texas with 25 points. This one got the bad taste out of Marquette’s mouth after losing to in-state rival Wisconsin days prior.
Gut-Wrenching Loss for Georgetown
The Georgetown Hoyas led by six with under two minutes to play at home against the TCU Horned Frogs. TCU hit back-to-back threes to tie it but Georgetown regained a two-point lead at the stripe with 2.7 seconds to play. TCU’s Emanuel Miller caught the ensuing inbound pass and banked in a running three-pointer as time expired, denying Georgetown a head-turning non-conference win. The replay showed Miller stepped out and the basket should not have counted. Ouch — the Big East-Big 12 Battle can be cruel. TCU won 84-83.
Free Basketball (feat. What’s Wrong With Villanova?)
Texas Tech visited Hinkle Fieldhouse to take on the Butler Bulldogs. The game went back and forth in the final minutes of regulation before it ultimately went to overtime. There, Butler used a 12-2 spurt to run away with it, 103-95. Chance McMillan‘s 8-for-10 performance from beyond the arc was not enough for the Red Raiders, as Jahmyl Telfort scored 26 for Butler. Butler earns an impressive win while scoring triple digits against a typically stout Red Raider defense.
The Villanova Wildcats traveled to the Little Apple to face the Kansas State Wildcats in an overtime game. Down the majority of regulation, Villanova did not trail in overtime until a Tylor Perry three put K-State up 72-71 with seven seconds remaining. That was the final score. In their second season under Kyle Neptune, Villanova’s results have been a roller coaster. After an impressive championship at the Battle 4 Atlantis, they’re now looking for answers after three straight losses.
Creighton visited Stillwater and took care of Oklahoma State, 79-65.
St John’s picked up a road win against West Virginia, 79-73.
Iowa State had no trouble with a trip to DePaul, winning 99-80.
Oklahoma pulled away in the second half at home against Providence, 72-51.
Baylor is undefeated and really good, and they beat Seton Hall at home 78-60.