The Big 12 Men’s Basketball Tournament gets underway March 8 with several Texas teams in the mix to wrestle the title away from defending champion Kansas.
Kansas will be tough to beat, and it enters the tournament as the top-seeded team, ahead of the Texas Longhorns, who have the second seed and with it one of two first-round byes.
This year's edition of the tournament takes place in Kansas City at T-Mobile Center and will conclude Saturday with the championship game.
As the top seed, the Jayhawks enter with the shortest odds at +275 at BetMGM Sportsbook, followed by Texas at +300 and Baylor at +450. TCU also checks in with a chance to win it with current odds of +700.
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Big 12 Tournament Odds
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Longhorns Have Shot to Dethrone Kansas
The Longhorns clearly have the best chance at taking down Kansas, as they defeated the Jayhawks 75-59 in the regular season finale Saturday. It is hard to take too much stock from that game as Kansas had little motivation with the regular season championship already clinched.
The win was crucial for Texas as it needed it to wrap up the second seed in the tournament, and it will also have implications on the Longhorns seeding come Selection Sunday.
Sir’Jabari Rice led the Longhorns to victory in the game, and he along with fifth-year guard Marcus Carr and big forward Dylan Disu will need to bring their best games to Kansas City if they hope to win the tournament.
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Baylor, TCU Overcoming Injuries
Baylor enters the tournament as a bit of a wild card partly due to the status of freshman sensation Keyonte George. George was just named Big 12 Freshman of the Year, sitting sixth in the conference in scoring. George made his return to the lineup Saturday after missing the previous game and half due to injury, and one has to wonder how much the Bears will push him with the NCAA Tournament upcoming.
Perhaps more worrisome is Baylor’s first-round matchup against the fifth-seeded Iowa State Cyclones, who have already beat Baylor twice this year, including Saturday in the regular season finale. If the Bears make it past Iowa State a likely matchup with Texas looms in the semifinals.
George and fellow guards Adam Flagler and LJ Cryer will be the players the Bears look to lead them to victory.
TCU faces an even tougher path to the finals with an opening tilt against Kansas State, the third seed. However, TCU has looked strong against tough opponents all year long, knocking off Kansas State, Kansas, Texas and Baylor at points throughout the regular season.
The return of point guard Mike Miles Jr has spurred a resurgence for the Horned Frogs, who will likely be a short underdog in their opening game, but are more than capable of running through the stacked conference.
Damian Baugh has also had a strong stretch of games, including a 24-point performance against Texas in an upset win March 2. The Big 12 is an exceptionally strong conference with multiple teams destined for a March Madness berth come Selection Sunday. There are no shortage of challengers to take down the defending champion Jayhawks, and when the final comes around Saturday no one would be surprised if both of the top two seeds were watching from the sidelines.
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