Texas is listed as the Big 12 basketball team most likely to win the 2022 NCAA Tournament in April, according to oddsmakers.
Big 12 basketball was arguably the nation’s best conference during the 2020-21 season and produced the national champion in Baylor. Yes, as good as the conference was last season, this season might be even better.
The Bears return a good deal of production, as does Kansas, while Texas is flying high after a flurry of successful offseason moves.
All three are among the favorites to win (or repeat, in Baylor’s case) the 2022 NCAA Tournament and cut down the nets. In fact, the conference has five teams among the top 21 betting favorites.
Here are those five teams and why there’s so much buzz surrounding them:
The buzz surrounding the Texas program has been building all offseason following the hire of Chris Beard. The Longhorns have landed arguably the best transfer class in the country headlined by four players who started in power conferences last season in Timmy Allen (Utah), Devin Askew (Kentucky), Christian Bishop (Creighton), and Dylan Disu (Vanderbilt). Yet that doesn’t even include Tre Mitchell (UMass), who was one of the best overall transfers available.
It might take time for all these new pieces to come together, but the roster talent in Austin is undeniable. That excitement, in addition to the massive Texas fan base, have made the Longhorns one of the popular bets to win the national championship.
Speaking of winning a national title, the defending champs check in at No. 2 in the Big 12 with the nation’s ninth-best championship odds.
We know Baylor will look different in 2021-22 without Jared Butler, Davion Mitchell, and MaCio Teague, but Scott Drew is still going to have a really good team on his hands. Adam Flagler, Matthew Mayer and Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua give Baylor a new Big Three to work with, and five-star freshman Kendall Brown figures to play a major role as well. With Arizona transfer James Akinjo receiving a waiver to play immediately, it certainly wouldn’t be a surprise if the Bears repeated as conference champions.
Simply put, the Bears aren’t going anywhere.
The highest-ranked Big 12 team in our HeatCheckCBB Way-Too-Early Top 25, the Jayhawks might provide some value for bettors here with the third-highest odds in the Big 12.
Four of their five starters return and will be joined by two elite transfers in Arizona State’s Remy Martin (a two-time All-Pac-12 first-team performer) and Drake’s Joseph Yesufu, who averaged 23.5 points per game in the NCAA Tournament.
Throw in a top 10 recruiting class and Bill Self‘s coaching pedigree, and you have a legitimate Final Four contender in Lawrence yet again — even if they aren’t getting the same buzz as the first two teams on this list.
West Virginia (+2000)
West Virginia’s national championship odds seem quite optimistic as the fourth highest in the Big 12, but many bettors put their money in ahead of the NBA Draft. WV’s month-by-month revenue has been relatively low compared to other states that have legalized sports betting, yet the early offseason excitement surrounding the Mountaineers likely generated a lot of action.
Bob Huggins’ squad does have an uphill battle after star guard Miles McBride’s decision to stay in the NBA Draft. He’s a projected first-round pick, but the Mountaineers are now tasked with replacing their three top offensive options from the start of last season (Culver, McBride, and Oscar Tshiebwe, who transferred to Kentucky), which is no easy feat.
The remaining optimism is placed on the shoulders of Taz Sherman and Sean McNeil, two returning starters who both showed flashes of offensive dominance last season. Both returned after testing NBA Draft waters and both are set for much larger roles. West Virginia will be counting on them to handle the load on the perimeter with Gabe Osabuohien continuing to progress inside.
Oklahoma is another program receiving a bump thanks to a new head coach in Porter Moser, who is fresh off another stellar NCAA Tournament run with Loyola-Chicago.
OU’s outlook appeared rather bleak when the program’s three best players left (De’Vion Harmon to Oregon, Brady Manek to UNC, Austin Reaves to the pro ranks) in the offseason, but Moser has tried to replenish the roster with transfers as well. Point guard Jordan Goldwire will suit up for the Sooners after spending the last four years at Duke, while Jacob and Tanner Groves transferred to Oklahoma after stellar seasons at Eastern Washington. Ethan Chargois is also in Norman after transferring from SMU.
The Sooners don’t appear to have the firepower to match the top three teams in the Big 12 but with Moser at the helm, and a group of talented newcomers, bettors like Oklahoma as a dark horse outside the favorites.