- Andy Katz, ESPN Senior Writer
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1. West Virginia is only the third Big 12 team to open up with two straight road games in the history of the conference. But the Mountaineers wanted to do it -- by choice. West Virginia wanted to play early road games to avoid more missed class time later in the season. The first two road games are at TCU and Texas Tech on Jan. 4 and 6. West Virginia has one other two-game road trip at Oklahoma State and at Baylor on Jan. 25-28. Baylor, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas have two sets of back-to-back road games in the conference while Kansas State, TCU and Texas Tech have three. Kansas has one -- at Texas and at Baylor. So, too, does Iowa State -- at Kansas State and at Baylor. West Virginia coach Bob Huggins discussed the Big 12 and the scheduling format for year two on our ESPNU college basketball podcast.
2. As we break down the nonconference schedules, it's more apparent how easy it is to put aside former conference alignment feelings for the good of the game. Colorado is a great example. The Buffaloes play three former Big 12 schools in three different locations -- Baylor in Dallas, Kansas at home and Oklahoma State in Las Vegas. The Buffaloes are no fools. Tad Boyle knows he has to put together a high-level schedule and can't limit himself by eliminating the Big 12. These are quality games for the Buffaloes, for the opponents, and for the fans. Kudos to Kansas for doing a straight home-and-home (the first game of the series was last season in Lawrence) and for the other two schools for signing up with the former rival. Colorado didn’t leave the Big 12 with any hard feelings toward its rivals and vice versa. The game in Dallas is perfect for Colorado which wants to continue to get its brand in Texas.
3. Harvard's schedule could have been a bit better and the Crimson weren't dealt any favors by a weak Great Alaska Shootout. The Crimson did the smart thing by picking up Colorado on the way to Anchorage on Nov. 24 but the pressure will be on the Crimson to show how it can win on the road with nine games away from Cambridge. The top 25-30 Crimson have one monster showdown at Connecticut and host Boston College in two other high-profile games where the Crimson must show well. Of course, Harvard still has to win the Ivy League for the bid, but these nonconference games will have a say in the Crimson's seed, assuming they get the bid. Harvard has had tremendous success at Boston College. It's amazing that the Eagles took the road game at Harvard.