Big 12 Tournament Predictions and College Basketball Odds
by Robert Ferringo - 3/9/2011
Outside of the Big Ten there is perhaps no conference with as many teams still fighting for NCAA Tournament berths than the Big 12. While there is little intrigue about who the favorite and dominating force is in this league, there are still several clubs – Baylor, Colorado, Nebraska and even Oklahoma State – that are clinging to hope that a rush this week can earn them a ticket into The Big Dance.
The Big 12 conference tournament begins Wednesday, March 9 and is being held in Kansas City, MO. Here is Doc’s Sports Big 12 Tournament predictions with college basketball odds from BetUS:
The Favorite: Kansas (-200)
The Jayhawks are the best team in the Big 12 and one of the top three or four teams in the country. They have dominated the conference and, obviously, are heavy favorites while playing near their backyard. That said, there are plenty of reasons why they could fall this weekend. First, they don’t really have any motivation outside of bragging rights. They are a lock for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Second, they are very banged up. Tyrel Reed and Josh Selby are both hurting and the Morris Twins, Mark and Marcus, have plenty of wear on their bodies after banging their way through a full schedule. But all of that is clutching at straws. Kansas has won this championship four of the last five years and they should make it five of six.
The Contender: Texas (+320)
Good luck figuring out this Longhorns team. They are in the midst of yet another late-season swoon and they have dropped three out of five games after an 11-game winning streak. Texas was one of just two teams that was able to beat Kansas this year – in Lawrence, no less – and there is little question that they have the talent and depth to win this tournament and lock up a potential No. 2 or No. 3 seed. However, they need to find some answers on offense. Jordan Hamilton has regressed into being a gunner again and none of the guards are playing with confidence. I think Tristan Thompson and Gary Johnson need to get more involved, and if they do this team can go on a rush. But I still think that Rick Barnes is one of the worst coaches at a major program in the country
The Sleeper: Kansas State (+250)
There isn’t a hotter team in the conference right now than the preseason favorites. I’m not sure what clicked with this team (my hunch is the emergence of Rodney McGruder and the stability in the locker room that came with trimming some bad attitudes). But they have won six straight and their only loss since January was by tenths of a second in Colorado. Jacob Pullen is the best guard in the conference. But I don’t know if they have enough depth in the backcourt to hold up for the whole weekend. However, the way they are playing right now it is tough to bet against them.
The Spoiler: Texas A&M (+600)
The Aggies are always the spoiler. This team is always just a little better than anyone thinks or gives it credit for, nationally, but never good enough to go out and win a tournament like this. The Aggies defend and they have a nice draw, having swept potential second round opponent Missouri in the regular season. They defend and they have a crop of sneaky-good swingmen. But their biggest problem is that they only go about seven-deep with their rotation so it’s going to be tough for them to win three games in three days.
No. 8 Nebraska (-3.5) vs. No. 9 Oklahoma State (12:30 p.m., Wednesday, March 9)
Nebraska is a fringe bubble team out of the Big 12 and is a team that is desperate for a win or two in Kansas City. The Huskers dominated Oklahoma State in the lone meeting this year. But that game was in Lincoln. And that’s the key to Nebraska’s whole season: they have been exceptional at home but they haven’t done a thing on the road this year. Nebraska played only 11 of its 30 games outside of Lincoln this year and they lost all but two of them. Oklahoma State has been all over the map. They started the season 13-2 and picked up some solid nonconference wins. But they ended conference play just 2-5 and are just 7-10 since Jan. 1. OSU has some size to counter Nebraska’s massive frontcourt. But Marshall Moses and Matt Pilgrim need to stay out of foul trouble for the Cowboys to have a chance. Neither team shoots well from deep. So whichever team has some guards break through and knock down some shots should end up winning this one. The Cowboys are 11-5-2 ATS on neutral courts but just 1-7 ATS in their L12 conference games.
No. 5 Colorado (-4.5) vs. No. 12 Iowa State (3 p.m., Wednesday, March 9)
This is a huge game for a Colorado team that is on the verge of making the NCAA Tournament. The smart money says that if the Buffaloes can get this ‘W’ they should have done enough to earn an at-large bid. However, just last week the Cyclones toppled Colorado in Ames and Iowa State seems to matchup well with Colorado. The home team had won 10 straight meetings between these two so I suppose it is fitting that they are meeting on a neutral court. Colorado is light on the inside but they have a pair of stud players in senior Cody Higgins and sophomore Alec Burks. As long as they don’t let ISU’s Diante Garrett go bonkers – he’s good, but not that good – then they should advance.
No. 7 Baylor (-7.5) vs. No. 10 Oklahoma (7 p.m., Wednesday, March 9)
If you hear anyone say that Baylor is a “bubble team” go ahead and laugh in their face. The Bears stink and are headed to the NIT. But they do have a chance here to score a blowout win and advance. Oklahoma is wretched. But they did beat the Bears in one of the two meetings this year and they have to be feeling pretty good after a win in the Bedlam Series over the weekend. That said, OU is just 1-8 since beating Baylor at home on Feb. 2. The Bears have the superior athletes and Lace Dunn is the type of guy that can make or break a tournament run. The Sooners are 9-3-1 ATS in their last 13 games against Baylor.
No. 6 Missouri (-11) vs. No. 11 Texas Tech (9:30 p.m., Wednesday, March 9)
I was really excited about getting on the Red Raiders bandwagon one last time in the NCAA Tournament, but this is the worst possible matchup for them. I think that the Red Raiders would have beaten any of the other six teams playing on the opening day but Missouri is just going to run them into the ground with their relentless pressure. These clubs met just once this year with Missouri winning, 92-84. This is the last hurrah for the entire Texas Tech team. They have four senior starters who won’t be playing in the postseason beyond this week and coach Pat Knight was just fired. Do they mail it in against the aggressive Tigers? Or will they go all Alamo on us and make a move? Missouri is a team that was limping to the finish line of the regular season and I’m sure is excited to get the postseason underway. But they are facing a team with nothing to lose.
Big 12 Tournament Predictions: Kansas really excels in these tournaments because of their depth and overall talent. As I mentioned, they have taken the crown in four of the last five years. I think they are going to have their most difficult matchup in the semifinals if they have to square off with Kansas State. The Wildcats have the size to match up with the Jayhawks underneath and should be able to match Kansas’ crowd support. The winner of that game should win the tournament. Look for upsets early and chalk late.
Robert Ferringo keeps proving himself to be one of the best college basketball handicappers in the nation. His college basketball picks have earned $100 bettors nearly $7,300 in the last two months. Another strong card is coming today and you can get his pick HERE for only $30.
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