- BetOnline favors Kansas (+275) to win the Big 12 regular-season title
- The NCAA’s allegations against the Jayhawks shouldn’t impact the school’s chances this season
- Texas Tech (+300) is returning a talented team after making it all the way to last year’s championship game
Let’s start our Big 12 preview with two eye-opening stats. The first is that the Big 12 Conference only has ten teams in it. The second is that last year was the first time since 2003-04 that the Kansas Jayhawks didn’t earn at least a share of the regular-season title.
With coach Bill Self and the Kansas program hit with major NCAA violation charges stemming from an FBI probe, it’s fair to wonder if this will be the last season the school will be competitive in quite some time.
Before we pick a regular-season winner in the Big 12, here are the latest odds at BetOnline.
ODDS TO WIN THE BIG 12
Given the allegations against Kansas aren’t expected to have any major ramifications on the program for the 2019-20 season, the Jayhawks are still the team to beat.
Both sophomore point guard Devon Dotson and center Udoka Azubuike decided to return to school after initially declaring for the NBA Draft.
Bill Self starring in a Kansas video while wearing two chains (including one with a $ sign) and an oversized Adidas logo shirt in the same week he gets charged with NCAA offenses in connection WITH Adidas is UNQUESTIONABLY college basketball’s greatest moment in history pic.twitter.com/dbFhys2qW3
— Sam Vecenie (@Sam_Vecenie) September 27, 2019
Forward Silvia De Sousa, the only player on the current roster with a connection to the investigations, actually won his appeal in May and is eligible to suit up this season.
The Jayhawks also added Iowa grad transfer Isaiah Moss, one of the nation’s elite shooters last season (42% from three), and top-50 recruit Jalen Wilson.
TEXAS TECH RED RAIDERS
Expectations are high for the Red Raiders after an incredible March run that took them all the way to the national championship game. Many pundits believe this year’s Texas Tech squad is even more talented than the one that lost the 85-77 overtime heart-breaker to Virginia last season.
New shooting guard Jahmius Ramsey is the highest-ranked recruit in school history and a popular pick for Big 12 Freshman of the Year. He joins returnees Davide Moretti and Kyler Edwards in what should be a dynamic backcourt.
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) April 27, 2019
Coach Chris Beard also used the grad-transfer portal to add 6-foot-6 wing Chris Clarke from Virginia Tech and 6-foot-8 forward T.J. Holyfield from Stephen F. Austin, two of the most experienced seniors in college basketball.
Baylor’s chances took a hit this week when Mario Kegler announced he was leaving the program to turn pro after being indefinitely suspended by the university. The sophomore guard averaged 10.5 points and 5.8 rebounds last season, filling in admirably after Tristan Clark went down with a season-ending knee injury.
The good news is that Clark, one of college basketball’s most underrated forwards, is back and fully healthy. Before going down last year, he averaged 14.6 points and 6.3 rebounds per game and led the nation in field-goal shooting at 73.7 percent.
? Devon Dotson – Player of the Year
? Jahmius Ramsey – Freshman of the Year
? Tristan Clark – Underrated
? Top 5 Impactful Non-Conference Games.
? 8/10 teams in #MarchMadness? pic.twitter.com/FdwNJKwMYK
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) September 13, 2019
With guards Jared Butler and Mark Vital also returning to the team and the incoming transfers of Davion Mitchell and MaCio Teague, the Bears can’t be fully counted out.
However, considering Kansas’ winning history in the conference, I’ll pick the Jayhawks to squeak out the Big 12 regular-season title over Texas Tech.