Why the Baylor Bears Are Favored in the Big 12 Conference Title Odds
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By Travis Pulver
For the first time since the 2004 NCAAB season, Kansas did not end the regular season with at least a share of the conference title. Instead, that honor went to Kansas State and Texas Tech. But the changing of the guard is not expected to last.
Yes, Texas Tech is expected to contend for the Big 12 title again. With a 3-2 conference record, they are not in bad shape. Their odds are not half-bad either (+500). Kansas State, on the other hand, is believed to have an NCAA tournament-bound team (8-9; 1-4).
But they will not be defending their half of the conference title (+5000).
Kansas, of course, is expected to contend for the conference title again. But with their recent loss to Baylor, their conference record stands at 4-1, and they only have the second-best odds in the conference (+225) behind Baylor (+150).
As for Baylor, they began the season viewed as the team with the best shot at keeping Kansas from regaining the title. If their recent 12-point win over Kansas is any indication, there is an excellent chance they are going to do just that.
Big 12 Conference Title Odds
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What Other Big 12 Teams Have A Shot at the Conference Title
If they do, it will certainly not be a cakewalk. It is not hard to imagine several teams making a run down the stretch:
- West Virginia (3-2; +525) struggles to score points sometimes, but their opponents tend t struggle even more. So far this season, the Mountaineers are allowing teams to hit just 36.2 percent of their shots. They are also undefeated at home this season.
- A lot of new faces made Oklahoma a big question mark to start the season. They looked good heading into conference play, but with back-to-back double-digit losses recently (Iowa State and Kansas), it is hard to get excited about them (3-2; +2200).
- Little was expected of TCU entering the season, so when they opened conference play with just three losses, fans had reason to be curious. However, after losing to West Virginia by 32 points and Oklahoma by 20, the curiosity has dissipated (3-2; +5000).
Out of the remaining Big 12 teams, Texas fans had high hopes entering the season. While they have one of the better defenses in the country, their offense leaves something to be desired. With the shellacking they took at the hands of Baylor, Oklahoma, and Kansas since conference play began, they are not looking like contenders (2-3, +2000).
That leaves Iowa State (1-4, +3300) and Oklahoma State (0-5; +3000).
So—who’s going to win the Big 12?
Going with Kansas would be the safe bet, and not one people would fault you for, but they may not be the best bet this season. Yes, they have a better balance of offensive and defense compared to Baylor and West Virginia. But Baylor’s defense has already proven to be too much for Kansas, and the Bears have enough offense to win.
The same could be said for West Virginia—but their offense is less consistent than Baylor’s or Kansas.
After getting to the NCAA Tournament Finals last season, it would be foolish to overlook Texas Tech. But after losing four starters from that squad, this year’s group has some work to do still. However, they still have plenty of time to get there.
Outside of the top four, Oklahoma may have a shot. TCU has been tough to beat at home (10-2) but will need to do better on the road after getting crushed in their last two.
For now, it looks like the Big 12 will come down to Baylor, Kansas, Texas Tech, and West Virginia. But with so much basketball left to play this season, the conference title is still anyone’s to win.