The Brief Wondrous Life of the Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series

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The Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series continues tonight with three more games: Missouri at Oregon, UCLA at Kansas and Arizona State at Baylor.

What’s that? You didn’t know the series already started? Shame on you for missing Nebraska’s home victory against USC on Saturday.

(sighs)

That’s how it goes with this series. It’s also partly why it’s dying. The marketing stunk, games weren’t broadcast on one network (Pac-10 home games are on FOX, Big 12’s are on ESPN) and the scheduling became a headache. Also, the Pac-10 poached Colorado, but officials downplayed that in an article by Andy Katz.

“[The Pac-10] had indicated they would play on neutral sites, but we wanted home-and-home,” Big 12 associate commissioner John Underwood told Katz. “We started this as a scheduling alliance to get good home-and-home games on our schedules. I think it has been beneficial for both leagues. It’s hard to get games, and with us going to 18 league games, we want to play a competitive schedule. I know it’s more difficult for some schools to get games than others.”

It’s a good read on the event, why it didn’t work and what the schools involved stand to lose. Not much for programs like Kansas, UCLA and Texas, which don’t have any issues scheduling opponents. But it’s a different story for schools like Washington State, Oregon State, Texas Tech and Baylor. Hey, you try convincing a team to come to Pullman or Lubbock. It ain’t easy.

“It was a good scheduling tool, because you knew every other year you were getting a quality home game, a Big 12 opponent coming to your gym,” Oregon State coach Craig Robinson told Katz. “It’s hard to get people to play teams if you’re not ranked and they are. We’ll miss it.”

That means the Dec. 21 game between Oklahoma State and Stanford will serve as the final in this event. Not that it’ll draw much attention. Why would the finale be any different?

R.I.P. Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series. We hardly knew ye.

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