If this sounds like the beginning of a television commercial, it was intended to. For many of the larger basketball conferences, their regular season ends March 5th, so time is running out.
The Big 12 is a hard league to understand. They are second in RPI and they are 6-1 against the ACC, which is considered the finest conference in the land. The Big 12 has three teams in the AP Top 12, yet something does not feel quite right.
Take for example, if this conference is so strong, why do only four teams have a winning record in league play? (as of 2/22) Though sometimes competitive, Texas and Oklahoma have deplorable records and while youth is the biggest reason for the failures, when are the Longhorns and Sooners ever this bad?
As Kansas (24-3) prepares to wrap up its impossible to imagine 13th straight conference title, guess which Big 12 club in the worst bet in the league? (I know you saw it coming, the Jayhawks, but did you realize they are 7-16 ATS?)
Clearly, Bill Self’s team deserves what they have achieved, but given their record versus the college basketball odds, this particular Kansas team knows how to win, rather than be dominant like so many other previous Self squads. Baylor and West Virginia have shown to be vulnerable in the last month, so how many from this conference reach the Sweet 16?
While I’m not sold on how good this conference is listed, this I do know, the difference from top to bottom is not as great as the records indicate.
Knowing How to Win is Driving the Big 12
How do I know the differences in the teams is closer than it appears, it starts with how teams play in their own building. Home teams in this league are only 42-26, 61.7 percent. While I did not check every single conference, this is among the worst records in all of college basketball and certainly among any of the major conferences.
For those of us making college basketball picks, this is where the weakness really shows up, as home favorites are pathetic 15-36 ATS in league play.
[Big 12 Home Favorites are Pathetic 15-36 Against The Spread]
Maybe I missed one, but this is the poorest ATS mark I have seen by a league in about a decade, with the Missouri Valley having somewhat similar figures years ago. This is all about the favorites, as home underdogs are respectable 8-9 ATS.
All this points to is Kansas, Baylor, West Virginia and Iowa State know how to win when the game is on the line and the others do not. The inability of home favorites to beat the spread, is part familiarity with each other and upper echelon clubs not being superior to those in the lower regions.
Remember this for the rest of the regular season and think about the underdogs also in the Big 12 Tournament.
Doug Upstone wrote this for www.sportsbookreview.com