The fall sports are kicking into gear and it’s time to look at some NCAA Basketball. Today we look at the Big-12 Conference and review the betting odds for our upcoming NCAA Basketball picks.
From the look of things. it looks like it will be a two team race between the
Kansas Jayhawks and the Oklahoma State Cowboys.
This is a conference in which not many players left for the
NBA and we should see a high level of play with a lot of returning talent.
Kansas is the team to beat as they’re the 2nd
ranked team in the nation at +525 NCAA Basketball odds to win the NCAA
Championship. Oklahoma State is not far behind at +3000 and Baylor is a distant
+8000. Do the Jayhawks have what it takes to win the title without Ben McLemore
and a bunch of youngsters?
Kansas Jayhawks +525
Kansas had somewhat of a disappointing season last year as
they were a number 1 seed in the Big Dance and were upset by the 4th
ranked Michigan Wolverines, 87-85 in overtime in the Sweet 16. Kansas will be
relying on possibly the number 1 pick in the 2014 in freshman, Andrew Wiggins,
along with all of the young talent that they possess.
Unless it’s a university like Duke, teams like Kansas and
Kentucky (the odds on favorite to win it all) are on a “1 and out system”,
recruiting big-time talented players that play one year in college and move
onto the NBA. This is the case for Andrew Wiggins.
Wiggins beat out Jabari Parker of Duke for the top spot in
ESPN’s top 100 recruits. This native Canadian has unlimited potential at 6 foot
7, 205 pounds. He plays longer than his height and can play more than one
position if needed. Wiggins will have all the touches that he can handle as
Kansas is short on experience.
Are we looking at a player in the same category as Lebron
James, Kevin Durant, or Russell Westbrook? Only time will tell, but on the
college level, his pure athleticism and ability to play on the perimeter will
separate him from the rest of the pack and make Kansas and instant contender.
Head coach, Bill Self, claims that this the most athletic
team that he’s had. Sophomore power forward Perry Ellis will attempt to make
his imprint on this team as he’s the player with the most experience returning.
That said, the go to guys will be the3 - 5 star recruits in Wiggins, center
Joel Embiid (the 6th ranked player on ESPN’s list) and power
forward, Wayne Selden (14th ranked on ESPN’s recruiting list). The
sky is the limit for this very inexperienced team.
This is a team in a much different situation than Kansas.
The Cowboys have 3 key players returning in sophomore and leading scorer Marcus
Smart (15.4 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 4.2 apg, 3spg), Le’Bryan Nash (14 ppg and 4.1 rpg),
and sophomore Phil Forte (10.2 ppg, 91.3% ft%). They also had a disappointing
outcome at the Big Dance, but expect this team to go much further this season
and be a thorn in Kansas’ side. Nothing replaces talent, but experience is an
asset that they have and that Kansas doesn’t. Not to mention, Smart will be joining
Wiggins in the NBA IN 2014.
While Kansas dominated the recruiting scene, Oklahoma State
did manage to snatch the 5 foot 10 Clark and this is a player that can shoot
the lights out. Expect big-time scoring from this little man. Oklahoma State
could surprise a lot of teams as they provide a lot of offense.
Baylor Bears +8000
The NIT Champions look to make a splash this season at the
Big Dance and they’ll have to do it without point guard Pierre Jackson. Senior
Corey Jefferson (13.3 ppg, 8 rpg, 61% FG shooting ) and sophomore Isiah Austin
(13 ppg, 8.3 rpg) will be the key returning figures in improving upon the 23-14
season that the Bears had last season.
Expect freshman Ishmail Wainwright (ESPN’s top 60th
recruit) and Allerik Freeman (72nd ranked recruit) to make an
immediate impact. Freeman possesses all of the same traits as Russell Westbrook,
minus the speed, while Wainwright has great athleticism and possesses great
court vision. The Bears won’t be top contenders, but they’ll definitely find
their way onto the NCAA Bracket.
Quite often overlooked is that this is a conference laced
with talented head coaches. We’ll see if that has an impact on the higher
ranked teams in the conference, but for now, this conference is all Kansas and
Oklahoma State for our NCAA Basketball Picks.