Best Bets to Win Each Major Conference Tournament

Devon Dotson and the Jayhawks are odds-on favorites in their tournament. Photo from @JPCGATA (Twitter)
  • It’s NCAA men’s basketball conference tournament time in the Power Six conferences
  • Which schools will win the tournament championships in the ACC, Big 10, Big 12, SEC, Pac 12 and Big East?
  • All of the odds and the best bet in each conference are listed right here in the story below

It’s conference tournament time in the Power Six. That’s an apt name for this sextet of tourneys. The last 29 NCAA Tournament champions have come from Power Six conferences. These are the teams you should be giving the most consideration to in the National Championship odds.

Where’s the smart money going at conference tourney time within this sextet of muscle-flexing, hardwood-dominating groups? Let’s look at that. Below, all of these six conferences are analyzed to determine the school within each that is the best bet to emerge victorious from the conference tournament.

Down Year For ACC

The Atlantic Coast Conference has provided three of the past five March Madness champions. Last year, the ACC sent seven teams to the NCAA tournament.

This year is being looked upon as a down year for this conference. KenPom rates the ACC as only the fifth-best conference in the nation.

2020 ACC Tournament Odds

School (seed) Odds at BetOnline
Florida State (1) +175
Duke (4) +200
Louisville (3) +350
Virginia (2) +600
North Carolina (14) +1000
Clemson (8) +2500
North Carolina State (5) +3300
Syracuse (6) +3300
Notre Dame (7) +3300
Miami (9) +6600
Pittsburgh (13) +10000
Virginia Tech (11) +10000
Wake Forest (12) +15000
Boston College (10) +15000

All odds taken March 10th

Still, the top four teams in the ACC all won at least 23 games. In conference play, one game separated champions Florida State (16-4) from the next three teams. Virginia, Duke and Louisville were all 15-5.

The best play entering the ACC Tournament is to go with the team that’s playing the best entering the tournament. That would be the Virginia Cavaliers. The defending national champions are 12-1 in their last 13 games.

Pick: Virginia Cavaliers (+600).

Deep Field In Big Ten

There are seven Big Ten schools currently situated in the AP Top 25 rankings.

Michigan State, Wisconsin and Maryland finished in a three-way tie for the conference title, each with 14-6 records. The top-seeded Badgers are riding an eight-game winning streak into the Big Ten Tournament. The #2 Spartans have won five in a row.

During regular-season play, Michigan State beat the Badgers by 12 points at home. The Spartans lost by a point at Wisconsin.

2020 Big Ten Tournament Odds

School (seed) Odds
Michigan State (2) +275
Maryland (3) +400
Michigan (9) +600
Wisconsin (1) +600
Ohio State (7) +800
Iowa (5) +800
Rutgers (8) +800
Illionois (4) +1000
Penn State (6) +1000
Purdue (10) +2000
Indiana (11) +4000
Minnesota (12) +4000
Nebraska (14) +15000
Northwestern (13) +15000

Michigan State coach Tom Izzo always seems to have his team peaking at tournament time. Spartans guard Cassius Winston is the best player in the Big Ten.

Pick: Michigan State Spartans (+275).

Big 12 is a Big Deal

Two of the top-three teams in the nation are housed in the Big 12 – the #Kansas Jayhawks and the #3 Baylor Bears.

They just went head-to-head on Feb. 22. The Jayhawks beat the Bears 64-61. Kansas avenged a 67-55 Jan. 11 loss to Baylor.

2020 Big 12 Tournament Odds

School (seed) Odds
Kansas (1) -125
Baylor (2) +200
Texas Tech (5) +600
West Virginia (6) +800
Oklahoma (3) +1000
Texas (4) +2000
TCU (7) +6600
Oklahoma State (8) +8000
Kansas State (10) +12500
Iowa State (9) +15000

That was the only loss suffered by the Jayhawks (17-1) in conference play this season as they won their 15th title in 16 seasons. Kansas is the heavy -125 chalk to win the Big 12 tournament.

Center Uboka Azubuike averaged a double-double for the year  with 13.7 points and 10.4 rebounds. Guard Devon Dotson averaged 18.2 points per game.

Pick: Kansas Jayhawks (-125).

SEC Race Wide Open

Top-seeded Kentucky are the +150 favorites to win the SEC Tournament but like the ACC, this traditional powerhouse conference feels equally up for grabs.

The #6 Wildcats (15-3) won the regular-season title by three games. Kentucky lost to Auburn, Tennessee and South Carolina. The Wildcats come to the tourney with nine wins in their last 10 games.

Kentucky will be looking for a fifth title in six years. It’s17th-ranked Auburn that is the defending champion. But the Tigers stumbled to the regular-season finish line 3-4.

2020 SEC Tournament Odds

School (seed) Odds at BetOnline
Kentucky (1) +175
Auburn (2) +275
Florida (5) +350
LSU (3) +550
Mississippi State (4) +900
Tennessee (8) +1200
Arkansas (11) +2200
Alabama (9) +2500
South Carolina (6) +3300
Texas A&M (7) +6600
Georgia (13) +8000
Ole Miss (12) +10000
Missouri (10) +10000
Vanderbilt (14) +15000

A concern for the Wildcats is the status of starting point guard Ashton Hagans. He briefly left the team late in the season for what was termed personal reasons.

Pick: Kentucky Wildcats (+175).

Pac 12 Is Just Ducky

There’s something about Las Vegas that brings out the best in the Oregon Ducks. The Pac 12 tournament moved to Sin City in 2013. Five of seven events since saw Oregon reaching the tourney final.

2020 Pac 12 Tournament Odds

School (seed) Odds at BetOnline
Oregon (1) +150
Arizona (3) +275
Colorado (6) +400
UCLA (2) +700
Stanford (7) +1000
USC (4) +1000
Arizona State (3) +1200
Washington (12) +2500
Oregon State (8) +4000
Utah (9) +6600
California (10) +8000
Washington State (11) +8000

The Ducks are favored to do so this year. In 2019, they won the tourney as the six seed.

Could UCLA be this year’s Oregon? The Bruins finished 11-3 and came within a win of taking a share of the regular-season title. The Ducks, though, closed the campaign 6-1.

Pick: Oregon Ducks (+150).

Big East Figures to be Chaotic

Another title that is up for grabs is the Big East Tournament. As many as five Big East teams could play their way into March Madness.

Villanova, Seton Hall and Creighton all finished 13-5 to tie for the regular-season title. Providence (12-6) was a game back.

2020 Big East Tournament Odds

School (seed) Odds
Seton Hall (3) +250
Villanova (2) +300
Creighton (1) +350
Butler (5) +600
Providence (4) +600
Marquette (6) +700
Xavier (7) +800
Georgetown (8) +3300
DePaul (10) +5000
St. John’s (9) +5000

The Wildcats have won the last three Big East tourneys, and they like even-numbered years. Villanova won the 2016 and 2018 national titles.

Pick: Villanova Wildcats (+300).

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