The Big 12 Conference Tournament takes place in Kansas City once again, as fans descend on the land of Boulevard and BBQ. As things currently stand, five teams look like sure bets to make it into the field of 68 and Texas could be one of the last four to sneak in. Kansas has won another regular season title and looks to be the #1 overall seed in March Madness. Baylor is expected to grab another #1 seed, barring some sort of complete disaster here. That may not even be enough.
All 10 teams are on hand, ranging from top seed Kansas to bottom seed Kansas State. The Sprint Center typically has a large continent of Kansas fans with the close proximity of Lawrence, so that will be something to keep in mind. That isn’t to say that other teams won’t be represented, but there will be a lot more Jayhawks fans than any other fan base. Since the tournament moved to the Sprint Center full-time in 2010, Kansas has won it five times and lost in the title game twice.
Is it that cut and dry? Is it going to be that elementary? It could be, but we still have to do our homework.
Here are the teams, seeds, standings, and odds from BetOnline Sportsbook for the 2020 Big 12 Tournament:
- Kansas 28-3 (17-1) -125
- Baylor 26-4 (15-3) +200
- Oklahoma 19-12 (9-9) (H2H record) +1000
- Texas 19-12 (9-9) (record v. TCU/OK State) +2000
- Texas Tech 18-13 (9-9) (record v. TCU/OK State) +600
- West Virginia 21-10 (9-9) (H2H record) +800
- TCU 16-15 (7-11) +6600
- Oklahoma State 17-14 (7-11) +10000
- Iowa State 12-19 (5-13) +15000
- Kansas State 10-21 (3-15) +12500
West Virginia actually got sort of fortunate here. The Mountaineers avoid the first round play-in games by being a top-six seed, but also wind up on the half of the bracket opposite Kansas. West Virginia just beat Baylor in the regular season finale and certainly matches up better with Baylor than with Kansas. The tiebreakers generally do teams a disservice, but not this time around.
The Big 12 is a very good conference, which is how you get five and maybe six teams in the NCAA Tournament even though only two of the teams had a winning conference record. It was definitely top-heavy to say the least.
Here is the schedule for the 2020 Big 12 Conference Tournament:
Wednesday March 11
6 p.m. CT: 9 Iowa State vs. 8 Oklahoma State
8 p.m. CT: 10 Kansas State vs. 7 TCU
Thursday March 12
11:30 a.m. CT: 5 Texas Tech vs. 4 Texas
1:30 p.m. CT: 9/8 winner vs. 1 Kansas
6 p.m. CT: 10/7 winner vs. 2 Baylor
8 p.m. CT: 6 West Virginia vs. 3 Oklahoma
Friday March 13
6 p.m. CT: 5/4 winner vs. 9/8/1 winner
8 p.m. CT: 6/3 winner vs. 10/7/2 winner
Saturday March 14
5 p.m. CT: Championship Game
Texas got a really bad draw here with their NCAA Tournament hopes on the line. On the plus side, a win over a really good team like Texas Tech might be enough to cement their chances. On the other hand, if they need to make a run, they’d have to go through Texas Tech and Kansas, which is a really bad draw against two of the best coaches in this conference.
That is why I made it a point to mention that West Virginia lucked out. Being 6 instead of 5 or 4 is a bonus. Running into Texas Tech and/or Kansas would have been really tricky. Texas Tech is the strongest #5 seed of any conference tournament and Chris Beard just knows how to coach, even if his team doesn’t have the same ceiling as previous iterations. The Mountaineers have been a higher seed when they have made their runs, but they did lose in the finals three straight years from 2016-18. They were a #10 seed last year and still made it to the semifinals with wins over Oklahoma and Texas Tech. They’re sort of built for these short bursts.
Of course their price also reflects that and has been depressed a little bit. It also helps that they recently beat Baylor and that Baylor has tripped up a bit down the stretch. Oklahoma is a fine team, but a weak #3 seed. WVU really did get a favorable outcome here and it wouldn’t be a total stunner to see Bob Huggins vying for the elusive Big 12 Conference Tournament title again.
Really, there aren’t any darkhorse teams that I see making a run. Texas Tech does draw Kansas, which makes it tough to like any sort of future with them, but a Red Raiders money line rollover looks to have a good ROI with Texas, then Kansas and then the most likely opponent would be Baylor in the final. A money line rollover does better than the straight futures price. That could very well be the case with WVU as well.
Kansas is probably going to win this tournament, but we have to find something more creative than taking the chalk with so many good teams in the field, right?
To me, that team is West Virginia, but a Texas Tech ML rollover is a close second. Texas Tech is the best three-point shooting team in conference play and the best at defending the three-point line. Those types of things matter in short tournaments like this. Texas Tech is also a really good team at the free throw line.
So, we can attack this two ways. We can attack the bottom of the bracket with West Virginia and attack the top of the bracket with a Texas Tech money line rollover. If Baylor or Kansas win, it costs us some money to say the least, but those are the value plays as far as this conference goes.
Picks: West Virginia +800 and/or Texas Tech ML rollover