Best Big 12 Bets This Weekend

The Big 12 gets back into the swing of conference play this weekend, and it’ll be nice to see how some of these teams stack up against each other. The conference as a whole has not had great coverage over the first two weeks, as they collapsed versus the Sun Belt, and Oklahoma State didn’t look good in barely putting away Tulsa last week. The narrative is that it’s Oklahoma’s conference, Texas is pretty good, and it’s a lot of nothing after that, so we will see if anyone can shake that perception. That being said, let’s take a look at some of the best Big 12 bets to make this week. As with our SEC and ACC bets, nothing here includes odds better than -200.

Texas @ Texas Tech, OVER 70.5

This over/under probably would have had to have touched 80 before I would have considered betting the under. Texas dropped 59 points on UTEP in their opener, while Texas Tech gave up a horrific 33 points to Houston Baptist. Texas’s defense was not strong last year, and while I anticipate an improvement, I still think Texas Tech has the offense to put up around 30 points. But I’d also be betting on the Longhorns dropping another 50-piece on the Red Raiders, whose abysmal defense will be picked apart by Sam Ehlinger and Co. I’d consider betting Texas -17.5 here as well, but I think the over is a pretty secure shot.

Baylor (-18) vs. Kansas

Baylor has beaten Kansas ten straight times, and in nine of those ten games, they won by at least 19 points, including the past eight. Baylor has had several games postponed or cancelled and have been gearing up for gameday multiple times, so I don’t doubt that they’ll be ready to go out of the gate on Saturday. Meanwhile, Kanas lost to Coastal Carolina. By 15 points. At home. Roll Baylor here.

Kansas State (+28.0) @ Oklahoma, OVER 60.5

I’m hitting this game with the double bet. This seems like a pretty low over/under for two pretty solid Big 12 offenses. Kansas State put up 31 points in their first game, while the Sooners dropped 48. Meanwhile, Kansas State gave up 35 to Arkansas State, so I anticipate Spencer Rattler and the Oklahoma offense to easily eclipse 40+ points. If they hit 42, that leaves Kansas State needing just 19 to hit the over, bringing me to my second point.

This spread is just ridiculous to me. Over in the SEC, Georgia is a 28-point favorite against Arkansas, who hasn’t won a SEC game in two years. Kansas State went 8-5 last year…and they beat Oklahoma! How are they 28 point ‘dogs? Maybe I’m missing something drastic, but with Rattler making his first start against Power-5 competition, I just don’t see Oklahoma rolling over this 28 point spread.

This Day in March Madness History: K-State and Xavier duke it out in a double-OT classic

This Day in March Madness History

March 25, 2010
Xavier vs. Kansas State

  • The Setup
    Kansas State and Xavier met in West Regional Sweet 16, and the winner would be in the driver’s seat to get to the Final Four with top-seeded Syracuse having been eliminated by #5 Butler. Xavier was in their first season under head coach Chris Mack, but they were making their ninth straight tournament appearance and third straight appearance in the Sweet 16. They weren’t a favorite to get there in 2010, but the Musketeers pulled an upset in the Round of 32 over #3 Pittsburgh to reach this game.
    Meanwhile, Kansas State could hardly match Xavier’s tournament experience, but the Wildcats had been the better team in 2010. They had only one tournament win since 1988, which was also the last time they had been in the Sweet 16. They had had no issues in getting there this time around, having beaten North Texas by 20 and BYU by 12. 
  • How it went down
    For a while, it looked like the higher-ranked Wildcats may absolutely bury Xavier in the first half. Just over eight minutes into the game, Wally Judge tipped in a rebound, and Kansas State went up 19-4. However, Xavier ripped off an 8-0 run to make it a competitive game. Later in the half, the Musketeers repeated the feet to close within a point, and then they grabbed their first lead in the final minute on a free throw. Xavier led 32-31 at the half.
    Kansas State jumped back in the lead right at the start of the half, and they kept Xavier at bay for a long time, but the Musketeers never went away. Xavier crawled back into the lead at 59-58 with 5:31 to play, but they never extended their lead beyond the one-point advantage, and the Wildcats pushed back in front, 72-69 with 10 seconds left. Terrell Holloway of Xavier was fouled on a three-point attempt, and he calmly drained all three free throws to tie the game and send it to overtime.
    In a very competitive overtime, Xavier needed another late comeback to survive. After getting an initial layup to take their biggest lead of the game at two points, the Musketeers surrendered their advantage once more. With under ten seconds to go, Xavier found themselves down three again, but this time it was Jordan Crawford draining a game-tying triple with seven seconds left. For the second time, Kansas State saw a game-tying effort go off target.
    However, Xavier’s tightrope act could not continue for another overtime.  They took a two-point lead twice, but they couldn’t sustain their desperate comeback efforts. Down 99-96, Xavier’s game-tying three was off the mark this time, and Kansas State drilled a pair of shots from the charity stripe to ice the result. It was Jacob Pullen who knocked down the game-winning three for the Wildcats with 35 seconds left. 
  • The Aftermath
    Kansas State’s win made them the favorite in their Elite Eight matchup, but they were just another domino to fall in Butler’s Cinderella run to the national championship. Kansas State lost in five straight opening weekends after that, but in 2018, the Wildcats made a re-appearance in the Elite Eight, losing to another Cinderella story in Loyola-Chicago.
    Xavier continued to struggle to get past the Sweet 16, not doing so until 2017 as an 11-seed. The Musketeers welcomed in a new era with Travis Steele taking over as head coach upon the departure of Mack, and they were firmly on the bubble prior to the cancellation of March Madness. 
  • NBA Notables (Teams they played 100+ games for)
    Xavier – Jordan Crawford (Wizards)
    Kansas State – None

Big 12 Status Report: Baylor or Kansas On Top?

Baylor is the #1 team in the nation, and they’re on a 15-game winning streak. Yet I still don’t think they’re winning their conference. Their style of play, to me, is not a sustainable formula for winning in March. They play a lot of close, defensive games, and that will be a tough approach to winning games when the lights shine the brightest. I still believe Kansas is the odds-on favorite to win the Big 12, while Baylor and West Virginia are right outside the picture and looking up at the Jayhawks. Here are this week’s biggest risers and fallers.

Biggest Risers: Oklahoma

  • This may be a slightly odd pick for the biggest riser, but I picked the Sooners for a very specific reason; I believe the Big 12 has a clear top four in the conference between the Jayhawks, Baylor, West Virginia, and Texas Tech. I think Oklahoma is the next best team, and I believe the Sooners did a good job of separating themselves from some of the other wannabes in the Big 12. They dominated TCU and then went on the road and nearly knocked off #1 Baylor. While they fell short in the latter game, Oklahoma, I think, showed themselves to be very clearly the next best team in the Big 12.

Biggest Fallers: Texas, Oklahoma State

  • Texas lost a winnable game at home to Kansas, and they followed up that disappointment by being obliterated by West Virginia. They showed both an inability to close out big games, and their continued proclivity for being run out of the building – their 38-point loss to the Mountaineers was their fourth by 15+ points. The Longhorns have really played themselves out of the Big 12 picture. They’ll need a small miracle to even be considered on Selection Sunday.
  • Oklahoma State is in a similar position to Texas. Entering conference play at 9-3, the Cowboys are now 9-9 with an ugly 0-6 conference mark. They’ve lost four of those games by double digits, and they have shown very little ability to win on the road or at home against conference opponents. I believe their 12-point loss to Texas at home was a true statement about where this team stands in the national and conference picture – they are not close to contention, and they won’t be this year.

Quick Hits

  • While the Big 12 has some top tier talent, I believe they have very little depth in the conference. I’m only confident in four teams making it to the Dance – Kansas, Baylor, West Virginia, and Texas Tech.
  • Picking bubble teams is tough in this conference, but I’ll go with Oklahoma, Iowa State, and TCU, although I would not lay money down on those teams making it right now.
  • I’m declaring 3 Big 12 teams done, as I simply don’t see a path to the tournament – beyond an unlikely conference championship – for Texas, Oklahoma State, or Kansas State.

Biggest Upcoming Games (BIG 12/SEC CHALLENGE)

  • #1 Baylor @ Florida
  • TCU @ Arkansas
  • Tennessee @ #3 Kansas