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As the Texas Longhorns men’s basketball team hosts the Gonzaga Bulldogs on Wednesday night, it could be looking at its replacement in the Big 12 ahead of its impending departure to the SEC.
According to Action Network’s Brett McMurphy, Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark and Gonzaga athletic director Chris Standiford met earlier Wednesday in Austin and there is “growing mutual interest” for the Bulldogs to join the Big 12.
Texas is set to leave the Big 12 along with Oklahoma and they will become official members of the SEC on July 1, 2025. The Big 12 has already announced that BYU, Houston, Cincinnati and UCF will join the conference beginning in July 2023.
ESPN’s Pete Thamel reported earlier this month that Gonzaga and the Big 12 were engaged in talks about joining the conference. The Bulldogs are a basketball powerhouse that plays in the West Coast Conference, which is a mid-major. Thamel noted that the school is fielding multiple discussions to move to a Power Five league.
“Sources indicate that Gonzaga has been exploring its conference options, as it has emerged as one of the premier basketball programs in the country,” Thamel wrote. “Both the Pac-12 and the Big East have been engaged with Gonzaga, according to sources, but the extent of those conversations is uncertain.”
The last two NCAA men’s basketball champions are Big 12 schools in Baylor and Kansas, respectively, so adding Gonzaga to that mix would be a major boost to what is already a strength of the conference. The Bulldogs have been the No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament in four of the past five years.
However, there’s a chance Gonzaga would not be welcomed with open arms to the Big 12. West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins told reporters he “would think it would be a tremendous awakening for Gonzaga” to join the conference because “you don’t get to make your own schedule in the Big 12.”