JEFFERSON CITY, Mo.— Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon says the Big 12 will be a stronger basketball conference without Colorado and Nebraska.

Nixon on Tuesday called the departing universities "the two weakest basketball programs" in the Big 12. Colorado is leaving for the Pac-10 while Nebraska is joining the Big Ten.

The Missouri governor says the remaining Big 12 schools could have a better shot of making the NCAA basketball tournament. He said poor win-loss records and weaker schedules by Nebraska and Colorado were dragging down the rankings of other Big 12 schools.

Nixon said of their departure: "I think it makes the basketball league stronger."

Last December, Nixon suggested Missouri should consider joining the Big Ten because it had stronger academics than some Big 12 schools. But that invitation never came.



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