There’s no doubting it whatsoever — Baylor is the best Big 12 team in this tournament and will advance the furthest in the Big Dance.
The Big 12 underwent a phenomenal regular season in college basketball. The talent was off the charts and the resumes were superb, and because of it, seven teams within the conference are headed to the 2021 NCAA Tournament.
Baylor (one-seed), Kansas (three-seed), Texas (three-seed), West Virginia (three-seed), Oklahoma State (four-seed), Texas Tech (six-seed), and Oklahoma (eight-seed) are all in this year’s edition of the Big Dance, with a number of teams located in the same region of the bracket.
Every team possesses its own strengths, weaknesses, and overall reasons why it deserves the prestigious privilege of taking part in March Madness. However, there’s only one team that will advance further than the rest.
Baylor will be that one lucky program, and you could look at this prediction from a multitude of perspectives.
Don’t forget Baylor’s pre-tournament record and performance
Despite the fact it didn’t win the Big 12 Tournament (having lost to Oklahoma State in the semifinal round while Texas won the final), you cannot forget how dominant Baylor has been throughout this entire season. The Bears are a phenomenal 22-2 overall while 13-1 within the conference. The overall winning percentage is 91.7%; the next-best in the conference is 71.4% from Kansas (20-8 overall).
Not to mention, Baylor is additionally averaging a sensational 84.4 points per game. That scoring mark is good for third in the country and first among the Big 12 teams who advanced to the NCAA Tournament. The next-best scoring team out of the aforementioned programs happens to be West Virginia, who’s averaging 77.3 points per game (48th in the country).
Baylor is alright, not great from a defensive standpoint, allowing 66.4 points per game (good for 62nd in the country). However, this mark is still better than four of the other Big 12 teams in the Big Dance.
Losing in the Big 12 Tournament didn’t matter — the committee still rewarded the Bears with a No. 1 seed in the South region. Why was that? Because this Baylor team has portrayed sheer talent all year long, courtesy of guard Jared Butler (first-team All-Big 12 selection), who leads the team with 17.1 points per game, and MaCio Teague (third-team All-Big 12 selection), who’s averaging 16.2 points.
The potential in-region Big 12 opponent
If two Big 12 teams face each other in the tournament, it wouldn’t be until the Elite 8 — Baylor and Texas Tech are both in the South region, Kansas and Oklahoma are both in the West, and West Virginia and Oklahoma State are both in the Midwest. Texas is the lone Big 12 team in the East. There’s a chance the Final Four could be all Big 12, but a lot would need to happen for that to be the ultimate outcome.
Baylor could thus match up with one of the bottom Big 12 teams in this tournament in Texas Tech — an advantage for the Bears if it got to the point where Baylor had to win just one game to advance to the Final Four and make it further than other in-conference teams.
Baylor is a better team when it comes to scoring and rebounding, averaging 84.4 points and 36.5 rebounds in comparison to Texas Tech’s 73.0 average points and 35.1 average rebounds. Texas Tech’s defense has statistically been better (63.4 average points allowed in comparison to 66.4 average points allowed for the Bears), but Baylor’s high-powered offense (third in the country in average scoring) would find a way to overcome the on-court adversity.
For what it’s worth, Baylor has defeated Texas Tech twice this season — once by eight points and once by 15.
You can look at it from a betting perspective
And finally, there’s the fact the DraftKings Sportsbook oddsmakers believe Baylor has a better chance than any other Big 12 team to win the championship. The Bears are +500 to win it all while Oklahoma State carries the next-highest odds at +2700.
Baylor additionally carries the highest odds out of the Big 12 teams to reach the Final Four at -134. Oklahoma State (again at No. 2 in the conference) possesses +600 odds.