College Basketball: 2012 Big 12 Tournament Predictions and Betting Odds
by Robert Ferringo - 3/6/2012
The Big 12 Tournament begins Wednesday, March 7, and is being held at the Sprint Center in Kansas City. The conference has altered its format a bit this season with the top six teams in the regular season standings receiving a bye. No. 1 seed Kansas and No. 2 seed Missouri will face the winners of the respective first-round games between the bottom four teams in the league.
Here is Doc’s Sports 2012 Big 12 Tournament predictions:
The Favorite: Kansas (-125)
The Jayhawks are a powerhouse and they are playing in their backyard. Good luck trying to take them down. The inside-outside duo of Tyshawn Taylor and Thomas Robinson is perhaps the best in the country. They combine to average over 35 points per game and Robinson is the front-runner for the National Player of the Year award. Kansas has only fallen twice since Dec. 20 – at Iowa State and at Missouri – and they haven’t lost in this tournament in three years.
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The Contender: Missouri (+175)
If guard play is key during tournament time then Missouri is basically that little Asian guy from The Matrix: Reloaded. The Tigers have the best overall backcourt in the nation, relying on a five-guard rotation that triggers the No. 8 scoring and No. 3 shooting offense in the nation. Obviously, the Tigers have a glaring weakness on the interior and they basically only play two guys taller than 6-7 and no one taller than 6-9. The Tigers only lost four times this year so obviously it isn’t a crippler. But if they are going to get beaten it will likely because they can’t hold back a bigger, more physical team like Kansas, Baylor or Kansas State.
The Sleeper: Baylor (+500)
In a lot of ways the Bears have been the most overrated team in the country. They have been in the Top 12 in the country for the entire season. But have they ever really played up to their hype level? The Bears are just 8-6 straight up in its last 14 games and 6-14 against the spread in their last 20. They were swept by Kansas and Missouri and the big question is whether they are a paper tiger or a legit contender. They have as much frontcourt talent as any team in the nation (they are the yang to Missouri’s yin) and one of the more underrated guards in the nation in Pierre Jackson. But it remains to be seen if they have the heart or discipline to actually win anything this year.
The Spoiler: Iowa State (+1000)
No one in the country could have seen Iowa State’s NCAA Tournament bid-worthy 22-9 season. Well, no one in the country but ME! That’s right – in my Big 12 Conference Preview I said that ISU would make a run at the Big Dance and that, in fact, they would be the best team against the spread in the league. And voila: they have gone 18-8-1 ATS and behind stud forward Royce White they have become a team that is good enough to knock out any of the Big Three teams in the league. They are one of the best shooting teams in the nation and if this group gets hot they could do some serious damage to this bracket.
No. 8 Oklahoma (-1.5) vs. No. 9 Texas A&M (6 p.m., Wednesday, March 7)
It doesn’t get much shakier than this pairing. Oklahoma is just 2-8 in its last 10 games and has been plagued by sloppy play and soft defense. Texas A&M is just 1-9 in its last 10 games and they have been done in by one of the worst offenses in the country. These two teams met just last Saturday with Oklahoma winning, 65-62, on their home turf. The first matchup was an A&M win in overtime. These two seem pretty equal in their ineptitude and this game should again be decided in the last four minutes.
No. 7 Oklahoma State (-8.5) vs. No. 10 Texas Tech (8:30 p.m., Wednesday, March 7)
It’s been another brutal year for Travis Ford’s squad. Youth and injuries have done in the Cowboys this year, with their recent loss of Big 12 top freshman Le”Bryan Nash really driving the stake through the heart of their season. Texas Tech has won just one time since the calendar turned to 2012. When they don’t turn the ball over they aren’t that bad on offense. But they are always turning the ball over (they have the most in the country and over one-quarter of all of their possessions end with a TO) so it can be brutal to watch. This one isn’t going to be pretty and neither of these teams is going to be playing more than two games. The winner of this game will take on Missouri in the quarterfinals.
No. 4 Baylor (-2) vs. No. 5 Kansas State (11:30 a.m., Thursday, March 8)
This will likely be the best game of the quarterfinals, with the winner getting a shot at Kansas in the next round. Baylor and K-State boast two of the best frontcourts in the nation and this game should be a slugfest. These teams split their two meetings this year with the games decided by a total of just three points. Assuming their interior play cancels each other out, this game should come down to who has a bigger game: Baylor’s Jackson or Wildcats guard Rodney McGruder. I think the will of the Wildcats may just be too much for Baylor. We’ll see if they can prove me wrong.
No. 3 Iowa State (Pk) vs. No. 6 Texas (8:30 p.m., Thursday, March 8)
Texas is playing for its season this week and they know they need to win at least two games to have a prayer at getting into the NCAA Tournament via an at-large bid. They have been better over the last month, going a decent 6-3 in their last nine games. They split with the Cyclones during the regular season. The main difference in this game is the youth of Texas (four of their top six players are freshmen) against the experience of Iowa State (four of their top five players have been in college at least three years). I think experience will win out over Texas’ desperation.
2012 Big 12 Conference Tournament Predictions
The top two teams in the Big 12 have met in the Championship Game in each of the past two seasons and four of the last six years. However, I am not ready to say that is going to occur this week. Kansas is clearly the dominating team in this league. But the draw means that they would likely have to top Baylor for the third time and then could have a rubber match with either Missouri or Iowa State, the only two teams in the Big 12 to beat them this year. It’s a tall order. And I am actually going to go out on a limb and say that a team other than the Jayhawks will cut down the nets here. Who will it be? I can’t be sure. But I don’t think the chalk holds.
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