Big 12 Basketball Tournament Preview

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BIG 12 CONFERENCE
Sprint Center, Kansas City, Missouri
March 11-14


KANSAS
Record: 24-8, 13-5
Odds to win Tournament +250 (2.5/1) 5 dimes sportsbook

The Jayhawks have an outside shot for a 1-seed in March Madness, but the odds of getting it are slim. No matter what happens for them in this Tourney, they’ll likely end up with a 2-seed. The problem is that they’re dealing with injuries and the likelihood of Cliff Alexander being done for the season.

Kansas is the 1-seed and is the de factor home team for the Sprint Center, but haven’t made the final in two of the past three years even as the top seed. At this point, Bill Self probably just wants his team healthy more than he wants to win this Tournament. The Big 12 is considered the best in the country and their road is far from easy. Unfortunately for Kansas, there are Four other teams that have a legit shot of winning this Tournament.

IOWA STATE
Record: 22-8, 12-6
Odds to win Tournament +400 5 dimes sportsbook

Iowa State shouldn’t have many problems in their first Game, but will likely face Oklahoma in the semis. That meeting could be for a 3-seed in the NCAA Tourney, although both of them already look primed for that spot.

The Cyclones improved their play on the road late in the season and we’ll get to see just how good they are away from home in this Tourney. They split with the Sooners and Jayhawks this season, but were swept by Baylor. ISU has been off and on towards the last month or so, and this Tournament should answer where they are at right now.

OKLAHOMA
Record: 21-9, 12-6
Odds to win Tournament +340 5 dimes sportsbook

The Sooners are in a similar situation as the Cyclones, but they already know their first matchup. Oklahoma gets to face Oklahoma State, a team they already beat twice. That win should be enough to get them a 3-seed for NCAAs, but they will be in for a fun Game against Iowa State.

The Sooners have a good all-around team that should make some noise in March Madness. They have size, shooters, and speedy guards. Matching the intensity of their opponents is the only thing stopping them, especially against Iowa State.

BAYLOR
Record: 23-8, 11-7
Odds to win Tournament +550 5 dimes sportsbook

The Bears are possibly the hottest team in the conference, winning five of their last six Games, with one of those at Iowa State. Like Oklahoma, they have a wide range of players that gives them a shot at beating any number of teams. And much like the previous two teams listed, they have a shot for a 3-seed, and a win over West Virginia would likely give them that.

The good news is that Baylor already beat the Mountaineers twice this season, both by double digits. Taurean Prince off the bench was the main difference maker in those meetings. However, if Baylor wins they’ll get Kansas, a team they’ve already lost to twice.

WEST VIRGINIA
Record: 23-8, 11-7
Odds to win Tournament +750 5 dimes sportsbook

On the other end of Baylor, West Virginia has actually played better against Kansas this year, beating them once. That means the Jayhawks are probably hoping Baylor gets the win in this Game. The main news is whether WVU will have starting senior guards Juwan Staten and Gary Browne for this Game as both have been hurt for the last couple weeks.

With a win here, the Mountaineers should be able to lock up a 4-seed, but a loss could see them at a 5-seed. That only shows the depth of this conference, as they are a 5-seed in the Big 12 Tournament.

OKLAHOMA STATE
Record: 18-12, 8-10
Odds to win Tournament +1300 5 dimes sportsbook

The Cowboys have struggled immensely and aren’t exactly a lock for March Madness. They have lost five of their last six Games, but sweeping Baylor and a mid-season win over Kansas may be the only things keeping them off the bubble. It doesn’t get easier for OK State as they get to face Oklahoma in their first Game, a team they were already beat by twice.

TEXAS
Record: 19-12, 8-10
Odds to win Tournament +800 5 dimes sportsbook

The Longhorns are on the bubble, but as long as they take care of Texas Tech, should be good to go for the NCAA Tourney. Ranked earlier in the season, Texas has disappointed to say the least with the 7-seed in this Tournament. Texas wins with their size, but it might be the play of guard Isaiah Taylor that pushes them over the top.

If they beat Texas Tech, a meeting with Iowa State awaits, a team they were swept by in the regular season. The Cyclones are one team that Texas needs to use their size against because they have it at almost every position on the cOurt. Easier said than done.

Kansas State 30/1, had an outside chance of making the Tournament with a win at Texas, but those hopes were dashed. The Wildcats have a ton of great wins, but will need to beat TCU and then Kansas again to get any consideration from the committee.

Much like has been the case all season long, there is no true favorite here, especially with Kansas’ injuries. It’s possible we could see any one of the top teams catch fire and make a run to the championship. Baylor and Oklahoma are probably the hottest teams going in and we could see them face off in the final.