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The Big 12 Men’s Basketball Tournament (Phillips 66 Big 12 Men’s Basketball Championship) is an annual conference that features all ten members: Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, West Virginia, Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State, Baylor, Texas Christian, Texas Tech, and Texas.
As is the case for every conference, the winner will receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament; however, there will be plenty of teams from this conference that make the tournament even without the automatic bid. The Big 12 is arguably the toughest conference in the country, with five teams ranking in the top 15 in the strength of schedule this season.
There are multiple teams capable of getting hot at the right time in March and rattling off enough wins to take the Big 12 Tournament Championship home. Check out the list of teams most likely to come away from the tournament as champions below. For additional college basketball content, including March Madness, check out our March Madness predictions and betting guide.
The Kansas Jayhawks are likely the best team in the Big 12, despite losing their top two players and scorers last season to the NBA Draft. Fresh off a National Championship last season, Kansas looks poised and ready to go at it once again. Head coach Bill Self has this team rolling in the right direction, and interestingly enough, it isn’t with a ton of five-star recruits like he usually has on his roster.
As a matter of fact, Gradey Dick is the only consensus five-star recruit that starts for the Kansas Jayhawks. Two other five-stars (M.J. Rice and Ernest Udeh Jr) get some minutes but are not heavily relied upon on either end of the floor. The Jayhawks are filled with four-star recruits that have stayed around long enough to know what it is like to win a National Championship, and sometimes, experience is far more important than raw talent. College basketball often gives us that display.
As far as players go, Jalen Wilson is a legitimate National Player of the Year candidate after taking a massive step forward in his junior season. He leads the Jayhawks in points and rebounds per game and has truly taken on the role of primary option in a dominant offensive attack. Freshman forward Gradey Dick has been an incredibly reliable second option for this Jayhawks squad, while Kevin McCullar Jr provides elite defensive prowess, and Dajuan Harris Jr captains the offense with exceptional playmaking for others.
Kansas is dangerous and an obvious odds leader to win the Big 12 Tournament Championship. The Jayhawks have only looked rattled in one game, which was against a consistently-ranked top-ten Tennessee Volunteers squad. It would be difficult to imagine the Jayhawks losing many more games, even though the Big 12 is the most competitive league in the nation this year.
Despite all of the distractions surrounding former head coach Chris Beard and a domestic violence charge that eventually led to his firing, the Texas Longhorns have found a way to continue winning. The Longhorns have put together quite the NCAA Tournament resume; they have beaten Gonzaga, Creighton, TCU, and Texas Tech. The remaining schedule will undoubtedly test them, though.
Fortunately, Texas has a loaded roster with tons of experience, maturity, and scoring ability. The Longhorns’ top scorer, and leader, is Marcus Carr, a transfer from Minnesota. Carr is one of the best offensive weapons in the nation, and his presence allows other teammates to get open much easier. Carr is joined by other experienced, high-octane scorers, Timmy Allen, Tyrese Hunter, and Sir’Jabari Smith. Texas even has an uber-athletic five-star forward in Dillon Mitchell to bridge any necessary gaps on either end of the floor.
The one thing that Texas lacks is a true center; it has plenty of athletic, rangy forwards and high-scoring guards, but its tallest player is 6-foot-9. Rebounding has been really a hit or miss for Texas this season, and an improvement in that department could catapult it to National Title-contender status. Size won’t hurt the Longhorns against teams like Kansas, which like to roll out smaller starting lineups; however, it is something to monitor if they face bigger teams toward the end of the season.
Iowa State is just two years removed from finishing a season with an abysmal 2-22 record that included 18 losses and zero wins in conference play. Now, the Cyclones are looking for their second-straight NCAA Tournament appearance and, hopefully, another return to the Sweet 16. Things can change fast in college basketball.
This season, Iowa State has garnered several impressive wins already, including against Villanova, North Carolina, Baylor, Oklahoma, TCU, and Texas Tech. The Cyclones even came up just two points short of an incredible road win against the Kansas Jayhawks in mid-January.
Iowa State is once again the real deal and is led by Jaren Holmes, Gabe Kalscheur, and Caleb Grill, a trio of double-digit-scoring seniors. Aljaz Kunc and Osun Osunniyi patrol the frontcourt for the Cyclones and provide elite interior defense for the Cyclones. What makes Iowa State a contender for not only a Big 12 Tournament Championship but an NCAA Championship contender is its defense, which has been towards the top in most significant defensive categories. The bottom line: this Iowa State team will go as far as its three senior guards, and its defensive can take it.
Baylor continues to churn out wins, despite losing a plethora of players to the NBA, graduation, and the transfer portal over the past few seasons. Since the Bears won the NCAA Tournament in the 2020-21 season, they have lost Jared Butler (NBA Draft), MaCio Teague (Graduated), Davion Mitchell (NBA Draft), Matthew Mayer (Transfer Portal), James Akinjo (Graduated), Kendall Brown (NBA Draft), Jeremy Sochan (NBA Draft), Dain Dainja (Transfer Portal), and Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua (Injury.) That is a Kentucky-level turnover for a team that generally keeps talent around for multiple years.
Still, Scott Drew’s program continues building from within by recruiting talented, high-upside players, and then developing them; it is extremely organic, and well-suited for taking a program from good to great. The Bears have a few players still on their roster from the 2020-21 championship season: LJ Cryer, Adam Flagler, and Flo Thamba. Cryer and Flagler are now two of the top three scorers for the Bears this season, along with five star freshman, and surefire one-and-done guard, Keyonte George.
The combination of Cryer, Flagler, and George can cause havoc in the Big 12 Tournament, as well as the NCAA Tournament shortly thereafter. While Baylor may not be quite as good as it was expected to be in the preseason, the Bears can still be a dangerous team, especially if they peak at the right time. Scoring is not an issue for this basketball squad.
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The 2023 Big 12 Conference Tournament takes place between March 8th, 2023, and March 11th, 2023. The tournament will be wrapped up on Saturday, one day before the official NCAA Selection Sunday.
The 2023 Big 12 Tournament will be held at the T-Mobile Center once again, which is located in Kansas City, Missouri. The T-Mobile Center has been home to the Big 12 Tournament 21 times, with this year being the 22nd.
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