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Big 12 favored to produce college basketball's next champion

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February 10th, 2020

The 2019-2020 NCAA college basketball season has been a roller coaster. In 15 weeks of AP top 25 polls, there have already been seven different teams ranked No 1. The Big 12 currently has two of the top three teams in the nation.

This has led the Big 12 conference to be the favorite to win the national championship this season, just ahead of the Big Ten. Let's look deeper into this conference and figure out if it is worth betting as the favorite.

Title contenders

Baylor and Kansas are the two teams that pop out as favorites to win it all. Kansas is a co-favorite, with Gonzaga, at +1000 to cut down the nets. Baylor is tied with Duke at +1200 as the next choice. That is two of the top four favorites to win it all in one conference. The Big Ten has zero teams in the top four.

Baylor has certainly looked the part of an NCAA champion. The Bears have a 20-1 record, including a neutral-site victory over Villanova and road victories over Texas Tech, Florida, and Kansas. Baylor is ranked fifth in the nation in points allowed per game and ranks fourth in the Kenpom defensive efficiency rankings.

Odds to win the 2020 NCAA National Championship

Conference2020 NCAAB National Championship Odds
Big 12
+280
Big Ten
+320
ACC
+500
Big East
+650
West Coast Conference
+800
SEC
+900
Pac-12
+900
MWC
+1500
A-10
+1800
AAC
+2000

Kansas also has the résumé of a favorite to win it all. The Jayhawks are sitting at a 20-3, with wins over Dayton and West Virginia. They are eighth in the country in points per game allowed and rank first in the Kenpom defensive efficiency rankings. Kansas is also ranked No. 1 in the overall Kenpom ratings.

Other than the top two contenders, you also get West Virginia and Texas Tech with a wager on the Big 12. Oklahoma and Texas are also possible tournament teams from the conference. West Virginia is projected as a No. 2 seed and ranks second in the nation in Kenpom defensive efficiency rankings. Texas Tech was just in the national championship game last season and ranks sixth in Kenpom defensive efficiency rankings.

What about the other conferences?

No team stands out as a top contender in the Big Ten, but it currently has 11 teams projected to make the NCAA Tournament and any team can get hot at the right time. Michigan State found itself ranked No. 1 early in the season, while Ohio State, Maryland, and Michigan all reached the top five for a time. Maryland is currently the highest-ranked team at No. 9, so I am not endorsing a wager on the Big Ten.

The next choice is the ACC at +500. Duke is tied with Baylor as the third choice to win it all. Louisville, Florida State, and Virginia will also find themselves in the tournament come April. Louisville and Florida State are ranked in the top 10 and have their fair share of tough games throughout the year to prepare for the tournament.

ACC presents plenty of value

The Big 12 is rightfully favored with two projected No. 1 seeds and a projected No. 2 seed. However, I don't love the odds, given the up-and-down nature of this college basketball season. Give me the ACC at +500, even though you only get three true contenders. The ACC is currently projected to get two No. 2 seeds and a No. 3 seed. Duke, Louisville, and Florida State at +500 sounds great to me.


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