Selection Sunday is right around the corner, but before we get there we’ll have to work our way through the conference tournaments. It is an interesting week for handicapping as some teams really need to make a good impression to build their resume and qualify for the NCAA Tournament. In other cases, there really isn’t much on the line other than playing to stay crisp and keep momentum. Here is a look at the odds for the Big East, Big Ten and Big 12.
Big East Tournament
The reigning NCAA champions from Villanova are the favorites at -150. Their experience led them to a three-game lead over Butler for the regular-season crown. However, the Bulldogs, who come in at +400, beat the Wildcats twice in the regular season. They’ve been a thorn in Villanova’s side even though the Bulldogs are ranked 19th in the country while the Wildcats are ranked second. Creighton comes in at +500 while Marquette is at +900 and Xavier is at +1200. This tournament is huge for both the Golden Eagles and the Muskateers, who are both on the bubble and need a run to make it to the Big Dance. Finally, the defending champions from Seton Hall are +2000 longshots to repeat, but after last season you can’t count the Pirates out. They beat the top two seeds from Villanova and Xavier to win the conference tournament. They split a pair with Butler this season but lost twice to Villanova. They come into this tournament on a roll with four straight wins.
Big Ten Tournament
Purdue are the favorites at +160 as they finished with a two-game lead in the regular season over Maryland, who are listed at +1000. The two met once this season as the Boilermakers won a 73-72 thriller on the road in College Park. It would be a treat to see the rematch in the final of this tournament because they’re quite evenly matched. However, Wisconsin comes in second place in terms of the odds at +220. They have lost five of their last seven to close out the regular season, so they’ll need a good showing in the conference tournament to change their momentum. They split a pair of meetings with Purdue (a road loss) and Maryland (a home win), and they’ll be looking to crash the party. Minnesota comes in at +650 while Michigan and Michigan State are posted at +1000. Neither of the Michigan schools are in the Top 25 but Michigan did receive 16 votes while Michigan State received one.
Big 12 Tournament
Kansas are the defending Big 12 Tournament champs and they’re favored at -110 after winning the regular season title, which they’ve won outright or a share of for the last 13 seasons. West Virginia is next at +210. They split their two meetings with Kansas this season with both teams winning on their home courts. West Virginia is highly rated in the Sagarin ratings (third-best in the country), so many bettors feel they are underrated in terms of the Associated Press rankings and the betting odds. Baylor comes in at +600 but they’ve split their last 10 games of the regular season. It’s tough to figure out which team will come out to play from night to night as they’ve been so inconsistent. Iowa State is listed at +800 and Oklahoma State at +900, and both should be safely in the NCAA Tournament. It doesn’t hurt to grab a win or two to pad the resume but only one will have the opportunity to do so as these two sides will meet in their first matchup in the Big 12 tournament. Kansas State comes in at +2800 and they might need to win the whole thing in order to get to the NCAA Tournament. They have wins over Baylor and West Virginia, but are just 19-12 on the year and 8-10 in Big 12 play.