ACC Coach Believes Big 12 Teams ‘Manipulated’ The NET Rankings

Feb 28, 2024, 12:37 PM

ACC Coach, Big 12 Basketball, Clemson Brad Brownell...

Clemson coach Brad Brownell from the ACC believes the Big 12 basketball teams "manipulated" the NET rankings.

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Did Big 12 basketball teams game the system?

One coach from the ACC believes they did.

Clemson head coach Brad Brownell in an interview with WCCP Radio “The Roar” in South Carolina discussed his frustrations with the NET rankings in college basketball.

The one is of the top tools the NCAA Selection Committee uses in piecing together the field of 68 in March.

There are 10 teams from the Big 12 Conference as of February 28 that reside in the Top 45 of the NET ratings. It’s one of the main reasons the Big 12 is viewed as a conference that could have nine or 10 teams in the NCAA Tournament in March.

Meanwhile, the ACC only has four teams inside the Top 45, six in the top 50. Because of the NET, the ACC projects to have four, maybe five teams in March Madness.

That frustrates Brownell, who believes the Big 12 inflated its lofty NET ratings by scheduling poorly in the nonconference portion of their schedules.

“You can manipulate the NET. And whether people want to say the NET is the be all, end-all,” Brownell said to WCCP radio. “It’s all anybody talks about. That’s why it is so powerful.

“There’s a strength of schedule dynamic where the Big 12 has managed it with their scheduling. They’re nonconference scheduling, they are playing 300-level teams and winning by 40 and 50 points to increase their offensive and defensive efficiency numbers, which is a big part of the NET tool. So that’s why you see teams trying to win by 30 and 40 points instead of putting in their walk-ons.”

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Last month, some national outlets that cover college basketball questioned the Big 12’s claim to being the best basketball league in the nation. The most vocal was Field of 68 host and former Clemson Tiger Terence Oglesby.

Oglesby explained how seven Big 12 teams played nonconference schedules that ranked 300 or worse before their league schedule began in January.

He also pointed out that the ACC defeated the Big 12 in nine of the 12 meetings the conferences have squared off this season. One of those games included Clemson taking down TCU in December.

BYU coach Mark Pope earlier this month was asked his thoughts on the narrative that the Big 12 “gamed the system.”

Pope said on February 8, “I think those people are crazy. Like we get to live this every day, this [Big 12] is pretty extraordinary.”

BYU has been viewed as one of the main culprits for “manipulating” the NET ratings. The Cougars have been an advanced metrics darling, even before a game was played this season. At one point in December, BYU climbed to No. 1 in the ratings.

Brownell, in his radio interview, noted that “we’re splitting hairs” in regards to all of these leagues. His Clemson Tigers squad projects to be comfortably in the NCAA Tournament field next month.

Now we can only hope that the Selection Committee lines up some juicy ACC-Big 12 matchups in March Madness next month.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for and hosts the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow Mitch’s coverage of BYU in the Big 12 Conference on X: @Mitch_Harper.

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ACC Coach Believes Big 12 Teams ‘Manipulated’ The NET Rankings