Big 12 Tournament 2021: Bracket Seeds, Odds, Matchups and Predictions

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistMarch 9, 2021

Big 12 Tournament 2021: Bracket Seeds, Odds, Matchups and Predictions

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    Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press

    The Big 12 men's basketball tournament is set to tip-off on March 10 with several teams heading to the NCAA Tournament looking to make a statement while contending for a conference title. 

    Kansas and Iowa State have traditionally run the tournament. The Jayhawks and Cyclones have won every iteration of the event since 2012. This could be a year where that cycle is broken.

    The Baylor Bears are the odds-on favorite as the No. 1 seed, the Cyclones are definitely out of the race and Kansas is part of a large group of contenders that haven't really separated themselves from the pack. 

    With more than half of the conference expected to be in the NCAA Tournament, the committee could be looking at some of these matchups to determine seeding. Here's a look at the complete schedule, odds and key matchups for an eventful extended weekend of conference tourney action. 

Schedule and Odds

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    Kathy Batten/Associated Press

    First Round—Wednesday, March 10
    Game 1: No. 8 TCU vs. No. 9 Kansas State, 6:30 p.m. on ESPN
    Game 2: No. 7 Oklahoma vs. No. 10 Iowa State, 9:30 p.m. on ESPN

    Quarterfinals—Thursday, March 11
    Game 3: No. 4 West Virginia vs. No. 5 Oklahoma State, 11:30 a.m. on ESPN or ESPN2
    Game 4: No. 1 Baylor vs. Game 1 winner, 2:30 p.m. on ESPN or ESPN2
    Game 5: No. 2 Kansas vs. Game 2 winner, 6:30 p.m. on ESPN or ESPN2
    Game 6: No. 3 Texas vs. No. 6 Texas Tech, 9:30 p.m. on ESPN or ESPN2

    Semifinals— Friday, March 12
    Game 7: Game 3 winner vs. Game 4 winner, 6:30 p.m. on ESPN or ESPN2
    Game 8: Game 5 winner vs. Game 6 winner, 9:30 p.m. on ESPN or ESPN2

    Championship Game—Saturday, March 13
    Game 9: Game 7 winner vs. Game 8 winner, 6 p.m. on ESPN

    Championship Odds

    • Baylor -134
    • Kansas +325
    • Texas +700
    • West Virginia +700
    • Oklahoma State +800
    • Texas Tech +1000
    • Oklahoma +5000
    • Kansas State +30000
    • TCU +30000
    • Iowa State +50000

    Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook. All times ET. Complete Bracket available here

Quarterfinal Matchup to Watch: Texas vs. Texas Tech

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    Reed Hoffmann/Associated Press

    Baylor has been dominant. Iowa State has been bad. Outside of those two truths, there's been quite a bit of parity in the Big 12 this season. That makes the quarterfinal round really interesting and unpredictable. 

    For instance, the matchup between three-seed Texas and six-seed Texas Tech pits two teams against one another that are separated by just two games and Tech won both of the regular-season matchups with the Longhorns. 

    It sets up an interesting elimination game with the winner moving on face Kansas. The Jayhawks should be rooting for Tech to come through. The Longhorns beat them both times this season while they swept the Red Raiders. 

    Texas will need to find a rhythm offensively if it is to exorcise their Tech demons. In their most recent loss to the Red Raiders, they were shut down and shot just 34.7 percent from the floor. 

    Tech, on the other hand, will have to get back to playing the solid defense they've been known for this season. They closed out the regular season by giving up 88 points to Baylor and losing by 15 despite shooting 50 percent from three. 

    Given the potential trilogy it could set up between Texas and Kansas, this is the quarterfinal game to have circled for Thursday. 

Player to Watch: Avery Anderson III, G, Oklahoma State

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    Kathy Batten/Associated Press

    Oklahoma State faced some serious adversity when it closed its regular season against West Virginia. Playing a top ten team without leading scorer Cade Cunningham or leading bounder Issac Likekele, the Cowboys were in a tough spot. 

    Thanks to a huge performance from Avery Anderson that didn't matter. The sophomore put up 31 points on 11-of-14 shooting from the field, including a clutch jumper that put the game out of reach for the Mountaineers. 

    Oklahoma State pulled off the upset, 85-80. 

    The win is a positive sign for the Cowboys' postseason hopes and makes Anderson an interesting player to watch going forward. With those two out of the lineup he was free to be much more aggressive as his 10 free throw attempts show. 

    If Anderson can continue to play with that kind of urgency when Cunningham returns to the lineup all of a sudden the Pokes become an interesting challenge in the tournament.

Championship Prediction: Baylor over Kansas

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    Jerry Larson/Associated Press

    Scary Oklahoma State aside, this tournament is Baylor's to lose. The lone team to give the Bears a loss this season was Kansas and that was as much a product of an off-shooting night as it was anything Kansas did. 

    The Jayhawks are strong on defense undoubtedly but Baylor shot 6-of-16 from the free-throw line and 6-of-26 from three. Those numbers aren't likely to repeat themselves. Outside of the Jayhawks, Baylor has torn the conference with few single-digit margins of victory. 

    The other side of the bracket is much harder to forecast. Kansas, Texas and Texas Tech all have a case to make it to the championship game and they've exchanged victories in the regular season. However, Kansas is the best defensive team in the conference by KenPom's efficiency metrics. 

    Offensively, the Jayhawks don't rely too much on any one scorer. They have six who average more than 10 points per game. Sometimes that works against them as they don't have a go-to guy in the offense but it also leads to consistency as they can survive an off night from anyone. 

    That makes them the safest bet to meet Baylor in the finals. Just don't expect a repeat of Baylor's only loss this season.


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