With top-ranked Kansas lording over the Big 12 and basically the entire Division I for much of the season, it seems as though the Jayhawks will find themselves with yet another conference title in hand when all is said and done. Then again, we should be reminded to expect the unexpected during March Madness’ fevered stretch, which means that the boys from Lawrence aren’t safe at all from a possible upset against any one of their conference rivals.
Should we really anticipate a shocking result from the Big 12 title game, or is Kansas really that damn good? Let’s examine how the internet’s experts have predicted the upcoming conference tournament to pan out below.
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2017 Big 12 Conference Championship Expert Picks and Predictions
No surprises here, as both Scott Phillips and Paul Kasabian from Bleacher Report went with the Jayhawks (+110) as their respective picks to win the Big 12 conference tournament this season. And how could they not? In the 13 previous seasons that head coach Bill Self has been at the helm of Kansas’ program, he’d led the team to 13-straight regular-season championships and six conference tournament titles.
Phillips even reinforced his prediction by stating that the defending Big 12 champs have the sheer tenacity to pull away with wins in close games, mostly thanks to their two All-American standouts in Frank Mason III and Carlton Bragg Jr. If that wasn’t enough, by the way, Mason is also the leading favorite to win the National Player of the Year award this season as the key cog to the No. 1 school in the country.
Another vote in favor of Kansas comes from Yahoo! Sports’ Henry Bushnell, who also couldn’t ignore the team’s dominance this season.
Apart from winning the regular-season title by a sizeable three-game margin in the overall standings, Bushnell also highlighted the fact that this year’s Big 12 tournament will be held in Kansas City of all places, giving the Jayhawks yet another reason as for why they’re so heavily touted as the eventual victors from this week’s tourney.
|Drew Dinnhaupt||West Virginia|
We’ve finally come across a non-Kentucky backer, as Drew Dinnhaupt of Busting Brackets – Fansided’s portal to everything college basketball – made a rather daring decision to side with the No. 11 West Virginia Mountaineers as this season’s Big 12 champs.
The Mountaineers, currently and decently priced at +200 to win the conference title, mustn’t be overlooked at all this week considering that they’re the closest contenders to Kansas’ Big 12 title reign. WVU beat the Jayhawks by 16 points at home in late January, and would’ve completed the regular-season sweep at Lawrence in the second regular-season meeting if the team didn’t collapse and just held on to its double-digit lead in the dying minutes of the contest.
Victories in nine of their last 12 contests and terrific roster depth are a couple more reasons why Dinnhaupt is high on the Mountaineers. That, and the team is also in search of its first-ever Big 12 title since joining the conference in 2012, so you can expect the Press Virginia crew to arguably come out with the most energy in the tournament compared to the rest of the field.
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