Tuesday, March 9, 2010

2010 Men's College Basketball Conference Tournament Probabilities: Big 12 Conference

Part 20 of a 30 part series. Using Sagarin's Predictor ratings in a prediction formula, I'll weigh the probability of each conference team in each possible tournament matchup and through a Markov chain determine their chances of winning the tournament.

With six legit top 20 teams (whether they poll that way or not) and probably seven legit at-large teams, the Big 12 is one of college basketball's best power conferences this fractured season, and you'd expect their 12 team tournament to be a beat-down titanic barnburner of a dogfight once we get to the semis.

Except the Kansas Jayhawks are probably at this point the #1 team in the country (sorry, Syracuse) and are easily the best team in a loaded Big 12, which makes them an even shot (51.2%) to win the Big 12 tournament. If not for them, the above paragraph might be true, but as it stands they're probably playing for 2nd place and hopefully a 2 or 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament if they can't topple the Jayhawks. Top dark horses include #2 Kansas State (5 to 1), amidst one of their best seasons in a while, and #6 Texas (9 to 1), still one of the best teams in the country but suffered a bit of the dumps in Big 12 Conference play and landed themselves a relatively crappy 6 seed. The funny thing for the Longhorns is that if they can thread the needle through a winnable tournament stretch and make the finals, they can probably notch a 3 seed in the NCAAs... yes, despite being a 6 seed in the Big 12 Tourney.

Everyone else falls back in the pack. #4 Baylor's probably the 3rd best team in the conference but is an 11 to 1 shot to win it. A semifinal loss to superior K-State is likely, and not exactly a scarlet letter on Baylor's resume. They too could warrant a 3 seed in the NCAAs if Texas doesn't. Texas A&M has an argument for the same, but chances that they take a quarterfinal or semifinal loss is fairly likely, and probably drops them back even though the loss would likely come to a superior team (Missouri and Kansas are the suspects). It'd be hard for the committee to give A&M a 3 seed if they take a quarterfinal conference tourney loss, even to a higher seed in A&M. A 4 or 5 is more realistic unless the Aggies thread the needle and at least reach the semis. They are 19 to 1 to win it all so don't hope too hard.

#5 Missouri is a likely 5 seed in the NCAAs as well, and will be hard pressed to down a pesky #12 in Nebraska AND win a tough matchup with Baylor in the quarters. The Tigers are 12 to 1 to win the tourney so don't hold your breath there.

#7 Oklahoma State is on the good side of the bubble, and running a 21-9 record in this tough conference certainly helps. What would also help is holding serve with a 1st round win over #10 Oklahoma and then putting forth an admirable effort in quarterfinal defeat against K-State. One Big 12 Tourney win should be enough for the Cowboys, and scoring the upset to reach the semis certainly will, let alone the 64 to 1 shot that they win the thing. Take comfort, bubble mongers, that Oklahoma State probably isn't ruining anyone's season by winning the Big 12 tourney because they're probably in otherwise anyway.

Here are the Big 12 odds for every team involved:

1. Kansas: Even (51.2%)
2. Kansas State: 5.3 to 1
3. Baylor: 11.2 to 1
4. Texas A&M: 19 to 1
5. Missouri: 12.4 to 1
6. Texas: 9 to 1
7. Oklahoma State: 63.9 to 1
8. Colorado: 612.4 to 1
9. Texas Tech: 593.6 to 1
10. Oklahoma: 1289.6 to 1
11. Iowa State: 580.5 to 1
12. Nebraska: 2001.1 to 1

Next: The Big West

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