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The No. 2 ranked team in the country, the Baylor Bears, has earned first place in this year’s Big 12 tournament. The festivities begin Wednesday from the T-Mobile Center in Kansas City, Missouri. The Kansas Jayhawks took the No. 2 seed and by virtue of the playoffs, the Texas Longhorns took the No. 3 seed with the West Virginia Mountaineers at No. 4.
It looked like Bill Self’s Kansas club was going to miss the NCAA tournament after losing four of five games to close out the month of January. Instead, the Jayhawks had seven wins in their last eight regular-season games, while posting a lucrative 6-1-1 ATS run in that span.
Baylor’s only loss this season was at Kansas, 71-58, on February 27 at Allen Fieldhouse. Since that loss to the Jayhawks, the Bears have won three straight games over three ranked teams: Texas Tech, Oklahoma State and West Virginia.
Although the sportsbooks do not offer them with the most desirable advantages, the wise see Baylor as the play to win the Big 12 tournament at -134. With Baylor’s Cousy Award finalist Jared Butler running the show, the Bears look like not only a contender for the Big 12, but also for a national championship.
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12 great contenders of the tournament
No. 1 Baylor Bears (21-1; 13-1 Big 12; 15-7 ATS) -134
The Bears have just one loss on the season and are one of the favorites to cut the nets in Indianapolis next month. To get to the Big 12 title game, they will likely have to face Oklahoma State or West Virginia. They beat the Cowboys by double digits in both games of the regular season and outlasted the Mountaineers in overtime in Morgantown. Jared Butler (17.1 points per game / 5.0 assists) is the best player of the tournament, but the Bears also get a solid production from MaCio Teague (15.8 points per game) and Davion Mitchell (13.8 points per game).
No. 2 Kansas Jayhawks (19-8; 12-6 Big 12; 13-12-1 ATS) +335
Don’t look now, but here comes Rock Chalk. Kansas is 7-1 straight (SU) in their last eight games and they have likely made the top three in the NCAA tournament. If they advance to the Semifinals on Friday, the Jayhawks would rather face Texas Tech, whom they defeated twice in the regular season, than see a booming Texas club that has beaten them twice.
No. 3 Texas Longhorns (17-7; 11-6 Big 12; 10-13-1 ATS) +800
The Longhorns have won three straight games for both SU and ATS and have won six of their last eight games overall. The Longhorns have a tough opening game in the quarterfinals against a Texas Tech team they lost to twice in the regular season. Texas’ only loss in its last five games was at the hands of the Red Raiders, 69-58, in Lubbock on February 27.
No. 4 mountaineers of West Virginia (18-8; 11-6 Big 12; 13-13 ATS) +700
The Mountaineers closed the regular season strong, winning seven of their last 10 games. West Virginia will have to rely on top scorer Miles McBride (15.4 points per game / 4.7 assists) and star forward Derek Culver (14.8 points per game / 9.8 rebounds).
Breakdown of Frankie Whispers: Not much has changed at the top of the futures betting board in the Big 12 conference, as Baylor has been the favorite for months. The Bears are one of the strongest teams in the country and legitimately rank as prohibitive favorites by bettors. Baylor, who is 0-3 in Big 12 title games, will not be denied the first Big 12 tournament championship in school history.
Choose: Baylor -134
Betting odds of the 12 major tournaments
West Virginia +700
Oklahoma State +800
Texas Tech +1500
State of Kansas +30000
State of Iowa +50000
Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook
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Big 12 2021 tournament schedule
Location: Sprint Center – Kansas City
First round – Wednesday March 10
Game 1: TCU No. 8 vs. Kansas State No. 9 | 5:30 pm ET | ESPNU
Game 2: No. 7 Oklahoma vs. No. 10 Iowa State | 8:30 pm ET | ESPNU
Quarter finals – Thursday March 11
Game 3: No. 4 West Virginia vs. No. 5 Oklahoma State | 10:30 am ET | ESPN / ESPN2
Game 4: No. 1 Baylor vs. Winner of Game 1 | 1:30 pm ET | ESPN / ESPN2
Game 5: No. 2 Kansas vs. Winner of Game 2 | 5:30 pm ET | ESPN / ESPN2
Game 6: Texas No. 3 vs. Texas Tech No. 6 | 8:30 pm ET | ESPN / ESPN2
Semifinals – Friday March 12
Game 7: Winner of Game 3 vs. Winner of Game 4 | 5:30 pm ET | ESPN / ESPN2
Game 8: Winner of Game 5 vs. Winner of Game 6 | 8:30 pm ET | ESPN / ESPN2
Championship game of the 12 major tournaments – Saturday March 13
Game 9: Winner of Game 7 vs. Winner of Game 8 | 5 pm ET | ESPN
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.