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Big 12 Conference Tournament Betting Preview - presented by Betfred Sportsbook



Credit: Kansas Athletics

It’s officially the start of conference tournament season! The Big 12 gets started on Wednesday afternoon. The Big 12 was easily the best college basketball conference this season. All 10 teams in Kansas City are capable of winning multiple games here, and we should see up to seven or eight teams get in to the Big Dance.



Overall, Kansas, Texas, and Baylor are the three favorites going into this tournament. Kansas won the regular season title by one game over Texas at 13-5, compared to 12-6 for the Longhorns. Baylor is next at 11-7. These three are all legitimate title contenders. Kansas State is up there too. Iowa State and TCU are dark horses that can win this tournament. West Virginia and Oklahoma State are both in the mix too and are on the bubble right now. This tournament has the potential to be the best one of all the major conferences. Let’s look at the madness happening in Kansas City this week!


Here is our preview and prediction provided by Betfred Sportsbook:


When: March 8-11


Where: T-Mobile Center, Kansas City, Missouri


Format: Top Four teams get a bye before playing


Watch: ESPN/ESPN2/ESPNU. Championship game is on ESPN at 6 p.m. ET.


Odds Presented by Betfred Sportsbook:


Kansas +300

Texas +330

Baylor +450

Kansas State +650

Iowa State +700

TCU +800

West Virginia +1600

Oklahoma State +2500

Oklahoma +4000

Texas Tech +5000




The Favorite:


Kansas (+300)


Kansas comes into this tournament as the favorite after winning the Big 12 regular season Title. The Jayhawks dominated the Big 12 for most of the season, winning seven straight games before losing this past Saturday, but they already had the title locked up.


Bill Self has done an incredible job with this Kansas team just one year after they won a national title, and they’re right back on top of college basketball. They lost four key contributors from that team and it’s almost like it didn’t matter. Jalen Wilson has been one of the best players in all of college basketball this year. He leads the Jayhawks this year in points at 20 per game and rebounds at 8.4 per game. Gradey Dick has been a perfect complement to Wilson as a freshman. He’s second in PPG at 14.3 and he’s the best three-point shooter on the team at 40.6 percent. Kevin McCullar Jr. is the best defender on the team too. He scores 11 PPG and averages 2.1 steals per game.


Kansas is the best team in a loaded Big 12. They get a bye before playing West Virginia or Texas Tech, which should be easy, and then would play Baylor or Iowa State, which could be difficult.


Texas. TCU and Kansas State linger on the other side of the bracket, three teams that were able to take down the Jayhawks in the regular season.


Contenders:


Texas (+330)


Texas lost twice in a row before rebounding with an emphatic win against Kansas at home. They finished second in the conference just behind Kansas. This finish was huge by the Longhorns, considering all the off-court issues they dealt with at the beginning of the season.


Rodney Terry was thrust int this job as an interim coach and it seems like it’s fit like a glove at least for this season. Texas still finished second in the Big 12 which is a great accomplishment considering what they dealt with this year. Marcus Carr leads the team in points at 16, assists at four per game, and steals at 1.6. Sir’Jabari Rice has cemented himself as the best 6th man in the conference and maybe the country. Timmy Allen is also a hybrid player, capable of leading the team at rebounds with 5.5 per game, but also able to stretch the floor with his 6'7 frame.


Texas has athletes across the board and can compete with anyone because of that. Texas gets a bye first, then plays Oklahoma State or Oklahoma. They then would play Kansas State or TCU which would be difficult, and then the highest seed they’d play in the championship game is Kansas which is difficult too.


Baylor (+450)


Baylor went cold in their regular season finale, but they’ve been great all year. They finished third in the conference, but a big key is going to be how healthy Keyonte George is going to be. George suffered an ankle sprain a week ago, and while he came back for Saturday's finale looked less than 100 percent.


George is parted of a three-headed monster in Baylor's backcourt. In addition to George (17 ppg), the Bears also have Adam Flagler, who is not only a dynamic scorer (15.6 PPG) but leads the team in assists at 4.8 per game. LJ Cryer is also next up in that trio of guards. He averages 14.6 PPG. What makes Baylor dynamic are those three guards, so hopefully George is okay.


Baylor’s offense could carry it far this year if needed. Baylor opens the tournament against Iowa State, which is going to be hard after the Cyclones just blew Baylor at Baylor on Saturday, then they’d play Kansas in the semifinals.



Sleeper:


TCU (+800)


TCU dealt with injuries all season long, with the biggest being to Mike Miles Jr. at point guard. He missed eight games this season, most of which came during Big 12 play, and the Horned Frogs lost four straight without him. He is now back, and the Horned Frogs are again a threat.


Jamie Dixon has a great team in Fort Worth when they’re clicking on all cylinders. They defend well and can score. Miles Jr. leads the team in scoring at 17 PPG and is one of the best guards in the country. Damion Baugh is second in scoring at 13 PPG and leads the team in assists and steals, averaging six and two respectively. Emanuel Miller is a very good inside-out player for the Horned Frogs too. He’s third in scoring at 12.8 PPG and leads the team in rebounds per game at 6.5.


TCU has the experience to go far because virtually everyone is back off last year's NCAA Tournament team. TCU opens the tournament against Kansas State, which is going to be very tough, then could play Texas, which is even more difficult, and then Kansas in the championship which would be the toughest option.


The Pick: Texas (+330)


Kansas and Texas are the two best teams in the conference, and both are two of the best teams in the country. Baylor and Kansas State are right behind them too. The Big 12 is the most wide-open tournament because of all the good teams involved, and literally any team could beat anyone.


However, the pick here is Texas. The Longhorns have the most motivation after just missing out on a Big 12 title to Kansas. This tournament should be evenly matched fanwise too. If Texas plays Kansas again, it’s going to be very evenly matched, but the Longhorns have slightly better guards and, in a tournament, setting they dictate the level games will be played at. Kansas’ wins have been very impressive, but they have eyes on the whole thing not just the Big 12 tournament. The Longhorns win a close game against Kansas and claim the Big 12 Tournament Title.


Follow Jake Faigus on Twitter - @Jake_Faigus


To get full odds on the Big 12 and all conference tournaments, visit Betfred Sportsbook


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