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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Tuesday, February 5, 2013 at 7:35 PM

The Big 12 has largely stayed off the radar this season for sports fans and sports bettors. Sure, Kansas is still a consensus pick to go deep in the Big Dance even with a loss this past weekend to Oklahoma State. But, after Kansas? Well…the league is currently being presented as “The Big One” with a bunch of non-entities after the Jayhawks.

Is that a fair assessment for a conference that will probably get SIX teams into the NCAA tournament? For a league that’s well-presented in respected computer ratings?

Instead of picking a showcase game to preview Wednesday (the only game matching ranked teams comes in the Big 10, and we’ve talked a lot about that conference already the past several days…and will do so again this weekend when Ohio State plays Indiana!), we’ve decided to give “spotlight” coverage in our key indicators to the six Big 12 teams who are currently on pace to reach the Dance. Is Kansas the only team that matters? What other teams should Las Vegas bettors and sports fans be paying attention to down the stretch?

BIG 12 WON-LOST RECORDS (thru Monday)

Kansas: 7-1

Kansas State: 6-2

Iowa State: 6-3

Oklahoma State: 5-3

Baylor: 5-3

Oklahoma: 5-4

 

Kansas still leads the loop even with that one conference loss. They finish off their first trip through the double-round-robin schedule Wednesday against TCU…the worst team in the Big 12. Given the competitiveness just behind Kansas…we can assume that the Jayhawks are likely to take the regular season title. If teams 2-6 are going to keep beating each other up, the margin for error that Kansas enjoys should stay meaningful.

In terms of handicapping value, it’s worth noting that Iowa State took Kansas to overtime in Lawrence, while Oklahoma State beat them outright there. That speaks very well for the chances of those two teams to surprise some people in March…and is another reminder that it’s hard to trust Kansas to go the distance in tournaments because this coaching regime has never figured out how to go for the jugular game in and game out.

COMPUTER RANKINGS

Kansas: #4 with Sagarin, #8 with Pomeroy

Oklahoma State: #20 with Sagarin, #18 with Pomeroy

Baylor: #23 with Sagarin, #31 with Pomeroy

Kansas State: #24 with Sagarin, #27 with Pomeroy

Iowa State: #33 with Sagarin, #29 with Pomeroy

Oklahoma: #50 with Sagarin, #56 with Pomeroy

These, of course, are from the computer ratings of Jeff Sagarin at USA Today and Ken Pomeroy. Kansas is projected to get a #1 or #2 seed based on those ratings. But, note how Oklahoma State through Kansas State are slotted into reasonable spots as well. Nobody besides Kansas is currently projected as a Sweet 16 team. Yet…it wouldn’t be much of a stretch for any of those teams above Oklahoma to sneak in. There’s depth of quality in this league, if not a lot of high end superpower stuff.

COMPUTER STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE RANKINGS

Oklahoma: #4 with Sagarin, #7 with Pomeroy

Kansas: #10 with Sagarin, #29 with Pomeroy

Baylor: #31 with Sagarin, #46 with Pomeroy

Kansas State: #45 with Sagarin, #50 with Pomeroy

Oklahoma State: #58 with Sagarin, #76 with Pomeroy

Iowa State: #82 with Sagarin, #105 with Pomeroy

These are respectable enough. Iowa State jumps out as a possible pretender because they weren’t battle tested in pre-conference action. That kind of team (energetic, three-point happy) is usually more of a dangerous Cinderella possibility than a team you can count on in March. They can beat anybody. They can lose to anybody if the treys aren’t falling. As a group, that doesn’t really compare well to the Big 10 or Big East though.

WON-LOST RECORDS VS. SAGARIN’S TOP 50

Kansas: 8-2

Kansas State: 4-4

Oklahoma State: 3-4

Iowa State: 4-5

Baylor: 3-5

Oklahoma: 2-5

Only Kansas has a winning record. And, let’s not forget that their winning record includes a road win at Ohio State! This hunk of data is a strike against the Big 12 being a truly dangerous threat as a unit in March. Somebody, or a couple of somebodies cold break through. Greatness outside of Kansas would have shown up by now in those records.

JOE LUNARDI’S BRACKETOLOGY

Kansas: projected #2 seed

Kansas State: projected #5 seed

Oklahoma State: projected #8 seed

Iowa State: projected #10 seed

Baylor: projected #10 seed

Oklahoma: projected #10 seed

What’s interesting here is that the bracketology guys don’t like the Big 12 as much as the computer guys do. Historically, the computer guys have had a better read on actual quality. The bracketology guys tend to read the tea leaves well for how the committee will rank teams…but NOT how those teams ACTUALLY rank! This sets up some potential handicapping value down the road. Iowa State may be three-happy, but they’re better than a #10 seed. Oklahoma State just beat Kansas in Lawrence…suggesting they deserve better than a #8. If they go in as a #8, they’re going to scare a #1 in their second game. Possibly the biggest lesson of today’s article is that the Big 12 is better than the MEDIA realizes.

POMEROY’S ADJUSTED OFFENSE RANKINGS

Iowa State: #16

Kansas: #18

Baylor: #30

Oklahoma State: #48

Kansas State: #52

Oklahoma: #73

Iowa State’s three-happiness has worked so far. But, that’s a fickle approach for neutral site tournaments. Kansas is more consistently solid on this side of the ball…though their lack of reliable long range shooting may jump up and bite them against a Cinderella. From Baylor on down, we’re looking at teams who will have trouble scoring vs. quality defenses on neutral courts. Those are strong rankings for the top 300 teams…but not really impressive once you’re down to the 50 teams who matter most.

POMEROY’S ADJUSTED DEFENSE RANKINGS

Kansas: #7

Oklahoma State: #10

Kansas State: #29

Baylor: #52

Oklahoma: #54

Iowa State: #82

Defense wins championships. Oklahoma State really jumps up here as a threat in March. Again, they’re much more lethal than a #8 seed would suggest at the moment. We’re guessing they’ll play their way to something better between now and then. Iowa State is basically a Missouri Valley team for handicapping purposes. Dangerous when their shots fall, but vulnerable otherwise.

We’ll pick and choose our spots this year for conference evaluations. YOU need to know that JIM HURLEY is on top of ALL Las Vegas betting conferences to an even greater degree of depth than you’ve seen here. At his fingertips is this kind of information for the Big Ten…the SEC…the Horizon…the Sun Belt…you name it. This is why you should be linking up daily for BIG, JUICY WINNERS!

Daily selections are available right here at the website for credit card purchase. If you have any questions, call us in the office at 1-800-323-4453. Wednesday Nights are like Saturdays because the schedules are so busy. That makes this a great day to lock in for the rest of the season. What you win tonight can pay your way through MARCH MADNESS!.

Back with you tomorrow to look at the return engagement in the ACC matching NC State and Duke. The Wolfpack won the first meeting. You know Duke will have revenge on its mind against its longtime rival. We’re looking at WALL-TO-WALL BASKETBALL here in the NOTEBOOK for the next several weeks. Join us daily for handicapping information right here…then link up with JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK for the best bets on the Las Vegas board!

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