College Basketball Betting: Big 12 Tournament Preview
by Robert Ferringo - 03/11/2009
The Big 12 Tournament begins today at Ford Center in Oklahoma City. And even though it's supposed to be a neutral court, I suppose that the hometown folks might have a certain Big 12 team in mind when it comes to preferred champions. I'll give you a hint: the schools nickname rhymes with "ballooners".
Here is Doc's Sports 2009 Big 12 Tournament preview:
No. 1 Kansas - The Jayhawks were the surprise winners of the Big 12 this season and one of the biggest surprises in the country. The defending champions definitely deserved their top seed, but even four-plus months into the season I have questions about this team. I don't like the experience of anyone not named Sherron Collins or Cole Aldrich. They did beat Oklahoma, but the Sooners were without Blake Griffin. And then there is that awkward loss to Texas Tech at the end of conference play. Just some things to consider.
No. 2 Oklahoma - The Sooners may only be the No. 2 seed but I think there is no doubt that they are the class of the conference. Blake Griffin is a guy you might be a little bit familiar with and freshman guard Willie Warren is the second-best in the country behind Memphis' Ty Evans. If the Sooners are going to win three games and secure a No. 1 seed in the Big Dance they'll need to rely on their superior depth. But they will also likely have to take down Missouri in the semis to get another crack at Kansas.
No. 3 Missouri - The Tigers put defensive pressure on opponents like no other team in the country. However, their press-and-run style is not ideal for a conference tournament. If they happen to win their first two games they would be in the title game playing their third game in three days at max energy for 40 minutes. I don't think it's going to happen. And even if it does, this team will be whipped when it comes time for their first round tournament game.
No. 5 Texas - The Longhorns are a team that we've waited for the light switch to turn on for months. They have a load of experience and talent, but something just hasn't clicked for this team and it has everything to do with their shoddy point guard play. This team is just 5-12 ATS in its last 17 games, but there is some reason to be wary. They have wins over Oklahoma, Villanova, UCLA and at Wisconsin this year, and they have a close loss to Michigan State. They have tournament experience and this group has gone toe-to-toe with the best in the country. Don't be stunned by a surprise March run.
No. 4 Kansas State - Some people think that the Wildcats are a fringe tournament team. I'm not one of them. This team played one of the worst nonconference schedules in the country and have exactly two wins - one was at home in OT - over a team rated in the Top 45. They will be overrated and may be destined for the same fate that befell bubble teams Georgetown and Cincinnati in the Big East.
No. 6 Texas A&M - The Aggies are in. They have sweet wins over LSU, Oklahoma and Arizona and they enter the tournament on a six-game winning streak. The Aggies do have some bad news though: leading scorer and team leader Josh Carter has a severely sprained ankle and is a game time decision against Texas Tech.
No. 7 Oklahoma State - Oklahoma State is as hot as any team in the Midwest right now. They have won six of seven games overall with the only loss a four-point defeat in the Bedlam Series against Oklahoma. The Cowboys have some fantastic guards, but don't like defense very much. They are on friendly territory in OKC but this is a dangerous team, for good or ill, this weekend.
No. 8 Nebraska vs. No. 9 Baylor
The Bears were actually ranked No. 3 in the Big 12 preseason poll. But that's just the tip of the disappointment that has come from one of the country's biggest underachievers. I would like to say that Baylor is a dangerous team right now. But they play with absolutely no heart at all and are just 3-14 ATS in their last 17 games. The road team, who was also the underdog, won both meetings between these clubs this year. But prior to that the favorite had won and covered seven straight.
No. 7 Oklahoma State vs. No. 10 Iowa State
I'm curious if there will be any letdown out of the Cowboys after their emotional loss at Oklahoma over the weekend. Travis Ford has done wonders with this team and I believe he'll have them focused. But Iowa State can be tricky. They have some shooters and forward Craig Brackins is one of the best in the conference. They are just 3-11 SU and 2-9-3 ATS recently. The Cyclones have failed to cover their last eight games as a double-digit underdog.
No. 6 Texas A&M vs. No. 11 Texas Tech
A lot of what happens in this game depends on the health of Carter. Since a six-point Dec. 13 loss to Lamar the Red Raiders have lost 17 games. Only three of those losses were by less than six points, including ix-point and nine-point losses to the Aggies.