KANSAS CITY, MO - MARCH 25: A Big 12 logo during a quarterfinal game in the NCAA Division l Women's Championship between the UCLA Bruins and Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs on March 25, 2018 at Sprint Center in Kansas City, MO. Mississippi State won 89-73 to advance to the Final Four.
Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Big 12 in Talks to Add a Top-Tier Basketball Program

The Big 12 Conference may be losing Texas and Oklahoma after this year, but that hasn't slowed it down regarding expansion.

The conference is reportedly once again in talks to add Gonzaga, according to Seth Davis of The Messenger. During last week's conference meetings, Commissioner Brett Yormark presented the plan to add the Bulldogs, according to the report.

This isn't the first time the Big 12 and Gonzaga have talked about a possible marriage. Several months ago, there were rumors the school could be added as a basketball entry. But the talk died down after the Big 12 announced the additions of Utah, Colorado, Arizona and Arizona State.

Gonzaga, which currently plays in the West Coast Conference, hasn't fielded a football team since 1941, so the appeal is clearly centered on its basketball program. The Bulldogs haven't missed going to the NCAA Tournament since 1999, when Mark Few took over as head coach.

In the past 24 seasons, they have won 22 WCC regular season championships and 19 conference tournament titles to go along with two Final Four appearances. The Bulldogs have also seen five-star prospects Jalen Suggs and Chet Holmgren go on to the NBA as first-round draft picks.

According to Davis' report, Gonzaga could be added to the Big 12 as early as next season, although that seems a bit soon. Still, the conference is clearly attempting to position itself as a basketball powerhouse.

Even if the Bulldogs don't end up as a member, the conference is already loaded with basketball juggernauts. Along with the addition of Arizona, teams such as Kansas, Kansas State, Houston, Baylor, TCU and Iowa State already make a formidable membership. Oklahoma State, Arizona State, Colorado and Utah could arguably put as many as eight teams in the NCAA Tournament if they can become more consistent in their success. At the very least, the tournament committee could have its work cut out for it over the next several years.

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