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Big 12 Tournament Betting – Expect Kansas To Close The Deal

Posted by Washington Tucker on 2/6/2014 2:23:22 AM

The NCAA basketball betting storyline entering the Big 12 Tournament is that the Colorado Buffaloes sit on the middle of the bubble and can determine their fate for better or worse. Yes, there’s no team with more to win or lose in Kansas City than coach Tad Boyle’s bunch, which played a terrible non-conference schedule (and lost games to bubble teams like Georgia and NIT teams such as San Francisco and New Mexico) but scored many impressive victories during the Big 12 regular season. The Buffs bested Texas and beat Missouri at home, bolstering their chances of joining the March Madness party for the first time since 2003.

Colorado’s first-round tilt against 12th-seeded Iowa State is the kind of game that, as March Madness betting experts know, must be won simply because the consequences of a loss would be disastrous. Colorado can’t pick up anything of value on its resume by winning against the last-place team in the conference, but its profile will instantly become postmarked “NIT” if it loses to the Cyclones. Should Colorado survive that opening-round contest, the Buffs would then advance to Thursday’s quarterfinals to play fourth-seeded Kansas State, a team CU swept during the regular season. If Colorado can go three-for-three against KSU, it will have a very legitimate chance of making the field of 68. A run to the finals would almost certainly arrive due to a win over Kansas. Naturally, if CU can perform that particular feat, the Buffaloes will easily crash the Big Dance in 2011.

Among the other teams relegated to first-round contests, the other squad to keep an eye on is Baylor. The Bears raced to the final of this tournament in 2009 as the No. 9 seed. They’ll have to do a similar amount of damage as the seventh seed this season. Anything less than three wins in this event will likely force Baylor to the NIT, which would be a terrible result after last year’s Bears advanced to the Elite Eight and increased the national visibility of the program.

The team that Baylor might very well face in the quarterfinals, the second-seeded Texas Longhorns, is the single most intriguing case study in this event. Of the four Big 12 teams that managed to snare first-round byes, Texas is the most enigmatic by a considerable degree. Kansas, the top seed and the outright regular-season champion, has stabilized after conspicuously struggling in January. Third-seeded Texas A&M is a low-key, blue-collar team that’s prone to scoring droughts but has generally done what it has supposed to do (just nothing more than that). Kansas State survived many off-court distractions in December and January but found its 2010 (Elite Eight) form in recent few weeks.

It’s Texas which is a truly hard team to understand. The Longhorns crushed the Big 12 for six weeks but then lost hold of their dominance right after they found it. Texas was locking down on defense and allowing no more than 58 points per game to conference foes. Suddenly, however, the Horns stepped off the pedal and could not rev up their motor in late February. Kansas State scored 75 points in Austin, and Colorado soared for 91 against coach Rick Barnes’s Burnt Orange Boys in the Rocky Mountains. Texas swept Baylor in the season series, allowing an average of 57 points in two games. If Baylor meets Texas in the quarters and rings up a big number of points, it will be a sign that the Longhorns are not ready to be at their best when the NCAA Tournament starts. All teams are vulnerable to upsets, but it’s the Longhorns who have to re-establish themselves this week. If they don’t, they’re not likely to be a transformed outfit when the NCAAs get underway one week later.

In the end, Kansas is the clear favorite, with Kansas State and Texas A&M being strong contenders. A thoroughly underachieving Missouri squad, at the No. 6 spot, could be the darkhorse that takes everyone by surprise.

The sports betting pick should be Kansas over Texas A&M in Saturday evening’s championship game. Don’t be shocked if Kansas State and Missouri wind up playing for the whole ball of wax. Still, Kansas usually closes the sale at the Big 12 Tournament; don’t start betting against the Jayhawks now.

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