Big 12 Basketball Tournament Betting Preview, Bracket & Odds: Will Baylor or Kansas Win Title?
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If you thought that Big 12 play was wild, well, that was just the tip of the iceberg.
A season filled with upsets, blowouts, elation and devastation is all in the rearview mirror now, as the conference tournament is a beast of its own.
The deepest and most competitive conference in college basketball finished with seven teams over .500. It is also fitting that its two best teams finished tied at the top for a share of the regular-season crown.
While the rubber match between Baylor and Kansas may be highly anticipated, there are plenty of other teams vying for that ticket to the Big Dance.
Big 12 Tournament Bracket & Schedule
2022 Big 12 Tournament Odds
The Top Dogs
Ending the season with a share of the Big 12 title is a significant victory for a team that was all but written off just a few weeks ago.
The Bears were once the clear-cut best team in the nation, as they rattled off 15 straight wins to begin the season. Unfortunately, they then dropped two games in a row, were hit by the injury bug and had multiple key pieces miss time.
Unfortunately, the Bears will never be the same team that started the year undefeated, as Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua (knee) is out for the season, and LJ Cryer’s status is up in the air due to a foot injury.
Despite all the adversity, the Bears adapted and overcame their holes to win five straight to end the season, including a massive victory over Kansas at home.
Just like with Kansas (we’ll get to the Jayhawks shortly), the Bears’ semifinal matchup will be a big hurdle to climb, as they very well could face the Texas Tech Red Raiders. The Red Raiders were the only team to defeat the Bears twice this season, and are one of the best defensive teams in the country.
I’ve been shouting from the rooftops all season about how the Bears are the best team in the conference, and that remains true here. Scott Drew & Co. still have what it takes to win this tourney.
Bill Self and the Jayhawks were certainly rocking, but they’re not exactly chalk to win this tournament. However, that is not a knock on this team, as the Jayhawks showed throughout the season that they have the talent to be title contenders.
Going 14-4 in the Big 12 is no easy task, but Kansas proved that it could handle its business night after night.
It also helps when you have the talent that the Jayhawks do.
It all starts with the leading scorer in the conference, Ochai Agbaji. He averaged almost 20 points per game and was a KenPom MVP in nine of 30 games.
When Agbaji was not at his best, the veteran big man David McCormack picked up the slack. McCormack was the leading offensive rebounder in the conference and became a matchup nightmare for any team that lacked the size to contend with him.
The duo of Agbaji and McCormack alone make Kansas tough to knock off.
The Jayhawks’ road to the finals will not be easy, as odds are they will meet Texas in the semifinals. Kansas split the season series with the Longhorns, and both were very tough contests.
Mark Adams’ crew is not to be taken lightly. The Red Raiders enter the postseason sporting not only the No. 1 defense in the Big 12 (in terms of AdjD, via KenPom), but in the country.
They finished third in the regular season standings, but took down every conference foe at least once along the way. Their resume is impressive, with two wins against Baylor, a split series against Kansas and a win against Tennessee. They also hung around against Providence and Gonzaga.
The Red Raiders’ suffocating defense — combined with their half-court style of offense — allows them to dictate nearly every matchup and gives them an opportunity to beat anyone.
However, one big question mark heading into the tournament is the health of starting guard Kevin McCullar. Bryson Williams has stepped up and carried the load offensively in his absence, but they’ll need to be at full strength to have the best chance.
They certainly proved themselves against Big 12 opponents, and there is no reason as to why they can’t run through this bracket.
They say everything is bigger in Texas, and there’s not much that would be bigger than a conference tournament win for the Longhorns.
Much like their counterparts in Lubbock, the Longhorns are a tremendous defensive team. Texas finished the regular season 12th in adjusted defensive efficiency and 14th in turnover percentage.
The major question mark is their offense. It has been very streaky from game to game, which is shown in their effective field goal percentage. Texas has a 50.1 effective field goal percentage on the season, which is on point with the national average.
They have plenty of potential on offense thanks to weapons like Timmy Allen, Marcus Carr and Andrew Jones. If Texas can get those three guys going, it will be able to compete with any team in the conference.
The Long Shot
Iowa State has everything you look for when trying to identify Cinderella teams in tournaments.
First, the Clones are excellent defensively, ranking 10th in adjusted defensive efficiency, sixth in turnover percentage and 15th in 3-point percentage allowed.
Secondly, they have a guy who can take over games and lead them to victory. That guy is Izaiah Brockington. Brockington transferred from Penn State for his senior season and became the heart and soul of this team. He averages 17.5 points and 7.2 rebounds per game.
We saw his magic early on in the year, as he burst onto the scene with two big performances against Xavier and Iowa. However, the Cyclones managed to beat Texas Tech, Memphis and Creighton, even when Brockington wasn’t at his best.
This is a very dangerous team when it puts it all together, and its Big 12 constituents know it.
Big 12 Tournament Selections
The best conference in college basketball may very well produce the best conference tournament, and it would not surprise me one bit to see any of the programs above win it.
Here are my picks, though.
Picks: Baylor +200 | Texas Tech +350
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