Stuckey: My Big 12 and Pac-12 Conference Tourney Futures Bets
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
Nine conference tournaments tip off today. NINE. If you weren’t already sucked into the madness, you will be starting today at noon. If you missed my post from yesterday, I already took a futures shot in the Big East. Below. In this piece, I will provide quick previews of the Big 12 and Pac 12 conference tourneys, along with what futures I invested in. I will also finish up with a recap of all of the futures I played for the remaining conference tournaments.
Pac 12 Conference Tournament
Dates: March 7-10
Location: T-Mobile Arena – Paradise, Nevada
Defending Champion: Arizona
Notable Injuries: UCLA guard Jaylen Hands (questionable), Utah forward David Collette (questionable),
All twelve teams in the conference play in the Pac 12 postseason tournament (bracket here), with the top four seeds (Arizona, USC, Utah, UCLA) receiving a bye into Thursday’s quarterfinal games.
I won’t overcomplicate this analysis: I’m investing in the best player (Arizona’s big man DeAndre Ayton) and the best coach (Oregon’s Dana Altman). Arizona simply matches up well with its probable first opponent, Arizona State. (The Sun Devils could struggle today with Colorado if its shots aren’t falling). ASU has no answer for Ayton. I also think this Arizona team is on a mission after the recent media swirl around head coach Sean Miller. On the other side of the draw, Oregon has played maddeningly inconsistent all season, but it has the pieces, a favorable draw, and you have to love Dana Altman in a tournament setting.
If the Ducks and Wildcats do both get through their respective sides of the bracket, we would have a rematch of last year’s Pac-12 Championship Game. Arizona won that game in a thriller by a final of 83-80. Hopefully, Oregon could avenge that loss, as a Ducks win would result in a much better payday.
PAC 12 FUTURES: Arizona +173, Oregon +725
Big 12 Conference Tournament
Dates: March 7-10
Location: Sprint Center – Kansas City, Missouri
Defending Champion: Iowa State
Notable Injuries: Texas center Mohamed Bamba (doubtful), Oklahoma guard Trae Young (probable)
All 10 league teams participate in the tournament (bracket here), with the top six seeds receiving a bye into Thursday’s quarterfinal games.
I actually think Oklahoma beats its in-state rival Oklahoma State tonight in Kansas City. Regardless, I don’t see the winner threatening Kansas off of an embarrassing loss. (Especially if the Pokes get through, as they handed Kansas that season ending loss, which resulted in Bill Self being swept for the first time at Kansas in 15 years). Trae Young could potentially get white hot, but he looks tired, the Big 12 has the book on him, and OU simply doesn’t play enough defense to stop Kansas’ elite offense.
Having said that, I don’t see any value in Kansas at +203. The Jayhawks still are heavily reliant on the deep ball. An off-shooting night at the Sprint Center could have them packing their bags. KU big man Udoka Azubuike is also still susceptible to foul trouble. Even though Kansas is now slightly better prepared to deal with him on the bench, it still needs him playing to generate offense inside. I mean, the man shoots 77.4%, which leads the nation by more than four percentage points.
It’s the other Kansas team on that side of the bracket that interests me at +1575. If Kansas State can get revenge for a recent tight loss at TCU (which I think it will), we would get an all-Kansas semifinal showdown. Junior forward Dean Wade, who really plays like a senior, can create issues for a Kansas defense that is by no means elite. The Wildcats will have double revenge from two regular season losses, one of which they missed a shot to win at the buzzer in Lawrence. I think they have a realistic shot of pulling off the upset, which is all I would need to profit at close to 16-1.
On the other side of the bracket, I will simply trust West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins and that press in a tournament setting. Texas Tech is getting healthier, but I think it might want to get out of dodge healthy more than anything else.
The Mountaineers do have a scary first round opponent in Baylor. The Bears can really play with any team in the country and have had success in tourney settings under head coach Bryce Drew. WVU swept the regular season series, which could work against them in some sense. However, Huggy should have his squad ready to go after a weekend loss at Texas. I also think this senior-laden team will be extra-motivated to cut down the nets in Kansas City. WVU has fell short in the Big 12 championship game in each of the past two seasons.
BIG 12 FUTURES: West Virginia +337, Kansas State +1575
Other Conference Tournament Futures
Atlantic 10: Rhode Island +167
Big East: St. John’s 33-1
Mountain West: Boise State +305
Sun Belt: UT Arlington +460
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