It may be going out on a limb to make a team the favorite on the conference tournament betting lines to win the event for the first time, especially without earning the top seed. But the second-seeded Texas Tech Red Raiders (26-5) are in that spot as the team to beat in the Big 12 Tournament at +160 odds. The top-seeded Kansas State Wildcats (24-7) are the +350 second choice.
The seventh-ranked Red Raiders are currently higher than the 15th-ranked Wildcats in the AP Top 25, so pollsters and oddsmakers share the same view that they are the better team right now. The two schools actually finished with the same record in conference play at 14-4, two wins ahead of the 17th-ranked Kansas Jayhawks (23-8), who had won at least a share of the regular-season crown in the previous 14 years.
Texas Tech is riding a nine-game winning streak into the Big 12 Tournament, going 8-1 against the spread during that stretch. Before that, the Red Raiders went 2-4 straight up and 1-5 ATS in their previous six games, including double-digit road losses to the Jayhawks and Wildcats.
Kansas is 8-6 SU and 5-8-1 ATS in its last 14 games and enters the tournament as the No. 3 seed and +450 third choice to win it. Kansas State is 9-2 SU and 8-3 ATS in its last 11 games since losing 65-53 to the Texas A&M Aggies as four-point road favorites. The Jayhawks are the defending tournament champions – winning it two of the past three years – while the Wildcats and Red Raiders have only appeared in the title game.
While the Big 12 has three teams in the Top 25, the Pac-12 has none heading into its conference tournament. The top-seeded Washington Huskies (24-7) went 15-3 in Pac-12 play, and they sit as +250 favorites on the conference tournament betting lines in a wide-open field.
The second-seeded Arizona State Sun Devils (21-9) are the only other Pac-12 team projected to make the NCAA Tournament field at the moment, and they are the +400 third choice to win the conference tournament behind the Huskies and sixth-seeded Oregon Ducks (19-12) at +375. Oregon has the Pac-12’s longest current winning streak at four games after upsetting Washington as a 5.5-point road underdog last Saturday.
The third-seeded Utah Utes (17-13), fourth-seeded Oregon State Beavers (18-12) and fifth-seeded Colorado Buffaloes (19-11) are also teams to watch with odds at +1000 or less. All of these teams along with the Ducks will likely need to win the conference tournament in order to get into the Big Dance, with the Buffaloes sitting at +700 followed by the Beavers (+800) and Utes (+1000).
In the SEC Tournament, it appears to be a four-team race between the top-seeded LSU Tigers (26-5), second-seeded Kentucky Wildcats (26-5), third-seeded Tennessee Volunteers (27-4) and fifth-seeded Auburn Tigers (22-9). Kentucky and Tennessee are listed as +175 co-favorites followed by Auburn (+500) and LSU (+550).
The fourth-seeded South Carolina Gamecocks (16-15) earned a double bye into the quarterfinals, and they are +3300 to win the SEC Tournament behind the sixth-seeded Mississippi State Bulldogs (22-9) and eighth-seeded Florida Gators (17-14). The Bulldogs are the +1200 fifth choice to win it while the Gators are +1600.
It is important to keep in mind that LSU will still be without freshman guard Javonte Smart (11.5 points per game) and head coach Will Wade, who were both suspended indefinitely prior to the school’s regular-season finale amidst an FBI probe into recruiting violations. That is the main reason these Tigers do not have better odds than Auburn.