Entering last weekend, the Big 12 Conference had a chance of sending three teams to the 2018 Final Four. After a wild weekend of play on the hardwood, Kansas is the lone representative from the conference headed to college basketball’s biggest stage.
For the Jayhawks, it’s the first time since 2012 that Bill Self has led his team to the Final Four. And while that may seem like a long wait for Kansas’ standards, it’s not even close to some of the droughts that other Big 12 teams have had to endure.
So how long has it been sine your Big 12 team last earned a trip to the Final Four? Here’s the complete list, starting with Kansas and ending with those who have yet to earn that coveted trip with national championship hopes on the line.
The Jayhawks are back in the Final Four for the first time since 2012 and the 15th time in program history. Kansas’ last trip ended in a national title game loss at the hands of Kentucky. They now have a chance to win a national title in the same city where they last won it all in 2008, but they’ll have to get past Villanova first. If they down the Wildcats, it will be the Jayhawks and the winner of Michigan vs. Loyola Chicago for the national championship on Monday.
No. 7 Oklahoma, behind a dominant senior season from Buddy Hield, rode a wave of momentum all the way to the Final Four in Houston, Texas. It marked the fifth Final Four appearance in program history and first trip since 2002. Villanova, however, was too much for Oklahoma to handle, as the Sooners were crushed in a 95-51 loss in front of a national audience. The Wildcats went on to defeat North Carolina in the national title game with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from Kris Jenkins.
West Virginia: 2010
The Mountaineers, in their third to last season in the Big East Conference, reached the Final Four for just the second time ever after finishing the regular season with a program-record 31 wins and a No. 6 ranking in the AP Top 25 poll. The Mountaineers also captured their first Big East Championship in school history. West Virginia’s trip to Indianapolis, Ind., however, ended in disappointment with a loss to eventual national-champion Duke, 78-57.
Oklahoma State: 2004
In the team’s 14th season under coach Eddie Sutton, the Cowboys went 31-4 in the regular season with a No. 4 ranking in the AP Top 25 poll before advancing all the way to San Antonio, Texas for the Final Four of the 2004 NCAA Tournament. Oklahoma State suffered a heartbreaking 67-65 loss to Georgia Tech after Will Bynum sunk a last two-pointer for the Yellow Jackets, narrowly missing a trip to the national title game. Connecticut went on to defeat Georgia Tech for the national championship.
The Longhorns, under the leadership of Rick Barnes, posted a 26-7 overall record to finish the regular season ranked No. 5 in the AP Top 25 poll. The season was highlighted by the performance of sophomore T.J. Ford, who took home the John Wooden and Naismith awards as the top player in college basketball. Texas advanced out of the South Regional, past Michigan State, to earn a date with Syracuse in the Final Four at the Superdome in New Orleans, La. The Longhorns lost the matchup, 95-84 as Jim Boeheim went on to lead the Orange to a national title.
Kansas State: 1964
After a 22-7 regular season mark under coach Tex Winter, the Wildcats won the Big Eight before advancing all the way to the Final Four, although the tournament featured just 25 teams at the time. Kansas State couldn’t get past legendary coach John Wooden and the UCLA Bruins in the semifinals, enduring a 90-84 loss. UCLA went on to defeat Duke for the national championship.
Under coach Bill Henderson, Baylor went 14-13 with an 8-4 mark in league play to finish the season atop the Southwest Conference Standings. In what was then just an eight team tournament, the Bears defeated BYU before losing to Bradley in the Final Four — albeit just the second round of the tournament. The Bears played in a consolation game with North Carolina State, which resulted in a 53-41 loss.
Iowa State: 1944
Coach Louis Menze took Iowa State to a 14-4 regular season finish and a 9-1 mark in league play, good enough to win what was then the Big Six Conference. The Cyclones posted 44-39 win over Pepperdine to advance into the Final Four, but were defeated by Utah in the semifinals in a 40-31 loss.
Texas Tech: Never
Coach Chris Beard took the Red Raiders one win away from the Final Four this season, as Texas Tech reached the Elite Eight, only to suffer a season-ending defeat at the hands of Villanova. Despite the heartbreak, bright times appear to be ahead in Lubbock after the Red Raiders posted their first ever road win vs. Kansas at Allen Fieldhouse and achieved a No. 6 ranking in the AP Top 25 poll — the highest in school history.
The Horned Frogs made it to the Elite Eight once way back in 1968. TCU snapped a 20-year NCAA Tournament drought in 2018 under second-year coach and alumnus Jamie Dixon. He led the Horned Frogs to a NIT title in his first year with the team during the 2016-17 season. Like their foes in West Texas, the Horned Frogs appear to be on an upward trajectory, especially after going from a 2-win Big 12 team to a March Madness team in just two years.