Big 12 Conference Tournament Odds: Look Past The Favorites

Written By Eli Hershkovich on March 9, 2023
Big 12 Tournament Odds

The Big 12 Conference men’s basketball tournament tips off on Wednesday, and one of eight participants will earn a ticket to the Big Dance. We’ll take a look at all of the pertinent 2023 Big 12 Tournament odds, schedule, and how you can watch. It all begins on March 8, yet No. 1 seed Kansas — the favorite to win the tournament — won’t take the court until Thursday.

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Big 12 Conference Tournament Odds

Tournament Notes

As seen in the Big 12 tournament odds table, the Jayhawks are currently +240 (courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook) to claim their fourth conference tournament title in the last seven years. That’s good for a 26.67% implied probability. Mind you, the defending national champs also won the Big 12 regular season title.

However, the most glaring trait of Bill Self’s present-day team is its good fortune. It’s similar to what I pointed out about Morehead State in the OVC betting guide. Kansas ranks No. 14 in KenPom’s “luck” factor. This category showcases the deviation in winning percentage, regarding their actual record and their expected record. It incorporates the correlated gaussian method.

While the Jayhawks boast the ninth-rated adjusted defensive efficiency, they’ve accrued 11 wins of six points or fewer. Your initial inclination when reading that may be, “This team isn’t lucky; they’re just great at winning close games!” They certainly are led by a Hall of Fame coach, along with hyper-skilled ballhawks (Dejaun Harris, Kevin McCullar, and Grady Dick). But the notion regarding those potentially “coin-flip” games is still worth considering.

Moreover, Self’s unit isn’t built like his most successful ones. That’s a result of failing to possess a traditional post-up threat, a la David McCormackUdoka Azubuike, or even the infamous Perry Ellis. Ernest Udeh, the 6-foot-11 freshman, began to develop into one down the stretch. Nevertheless, the four-star product is too raw to be counted on consistently.

Big 12 Tournament Odds To Target

Comparable to a handful of conference tournaments this week, a team’s draw and motivation are both extremely critical variables to weigh before betting these futures. With that in mind, Kansas has essentially locked up a No. 1 seed come the Big Dance. Whether or not you’re a believer in its mid-March prospects, there isn’t nearly as much motivation to make a deep run in Kansas City.

Enter eight-seeded West Virginia. For starters, Bob Huggins’ bunch would avoid a possible matchup with Texas until the title game. The Longhorns are an arduous test for the ‘Neers stylistically, which was illustrated in their regular season sweep. Instead, they’ll face Texas Tech in the first round, and the Red Raiders are handing plenty of off-the-court tension via suspended head coach Mark Adams.

If they advance to the quarterfinals, they’ll nab a third contest against the Jayhawks. Kansas won both games against West Virginia as well, yet the Mountaineers received their fair share of negative variance, shooting 10-for-41 (24.4%) from behind the arc.

The most recent tilt was decided by two points — a part of the aforementioned close-game luck — at Allen Fieldhouse. ShotQuality noted that they should have came away victorious in both, too.

Mountaineers’ Alluring Profile

Speaking of untimely results, West Virginia ranks No. 310 in KenPom’s luck rating. Unsurprisingly, over half of its Big 12 losses came by two possessions or less. Granted, this team is littered with high-variance traits. Not only do the Mountaineers manufacture the fourth-highest 3-point attempt rate in league play, but their offense also operates at the conference’s third-slowest average possession length.

On the other hand, those same variables make them just as tantalizing to back on a “neutral” floor — with sizable odds to boot. They even force a top-50 turnover percentage, a result of Huggins’ patented ball pressure and sporadic full-court press. Kansas, Baylor, Iowa State, and Baylor have all scuffled against these looks at times, including the Jayhawks’ 21 turnovers on Feb. 25.

The ‘Neers are paced by 3-point marksman Erik Stevenson, who also generates their second-highest individual steal rate. Two-time transfer Tre Mitchell slots in behind Stevenson as the program’s second-leading scorer. He and Jimmy Bell have propelled them to top-three rebounding rate — at both ends of the floor — versus Big 12 competition. That’s critical towards dictating their desired pace.

West Virginia put itself in prime position for a NCAA tournament bid with its recent wins against Kansas State and Iowa State. There’s still incentive to leave no doubt, though, along with hauling in a finer seed on Selection Sunday. Given their average DI depth, the ‘Neers have enough pieces to make a four-day run.

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Big 12 Conference Tournament Schedule

  • First Round: Wednesday, March 8
  • Quarterfinals: Thursday, March 9
  • Semifinals: Friday, March 10
  • Big 12 Tournament Championship: Saturday, March 11

How To Watch

Every round, for Big 12 tournament odds, can be viewed on an ESPN channel. On March 11, the Big 12 tournament title game will tip off at 6 p.m. ET on ESPN. Here is the rest of the conference tournament schedule.

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