Handicapping this week's major conference tournaments

Mar 11, 2013 |
Handicapping this week's major conference tournaments
OSU is a No. 2 seed but the fourth overall favorite to win the Big Ten tournament.
Photo By - USA Today Sports
OSU is a No. 2 seed but the fourth overall favorite to win the Big Ten tournament.
Photo By - USA Today Sports
March Madness is already in full swing with many mid-major conferences already starting their postseason. Now it’s time for the big boys to get in on the fun.

Major conference tournaments begin this week and we take a look at the favorites and some live long shots to win the conference crowns.

ACC – March 14-17

Favorite: Duke -120 – The Blue Devils enter the postseason off three straight wins and could earn the No. 1 overall seed for the NCAA with an ACC tournament title.

Upset watch: Virginia +700 – The Cavaliers have one of the best defenses in the country and have wins over the top teams in the conference. No. 4 seed Virginia is actually getting higher odds than No. 5 NC State (+400).

2012 tournament record: Favorites – 7-4 SU/5-6 ATS, Over/Under – 7-4

Big East – March 12-16

Favorite: Louisville +180 – The Cardinals captured a share of the Big East title and earned a No. 2 seed in the tiebreaker. Louisville comes into the tournament with the most momentum, winning seven in a row (5-2 ATS).

Upset watch: Marquette +600 – The Golden Eagles also took home a piece of the Big East season crown but got the short end of the straw in the tiebreaker as a No. 3 seed. Marquette plays great defense and shoots the ball well, two key components of winning the grueling conference tournament.

2012 tournament record: Favorites – 12-3 SU/11-4 ATS, Over/Under – 6-9

Big 12 – March 13-16

Favorite: Kansas -150 – The Jayhawks took the tiebreaker over KSU but no seed is safe in this conference. Kansas, which lost its last game to Baylor, could face Oklahoma or Iowa State in its second game. The Sooners have a win over KU and ISU took Rock Chalk to OT in both meetings this season.

Upset watch: Iowa State +500 – The Cyclones can flat out score, averaging more than 80 points per game – fourth in the country. Iowa State is getting more respect from books as a No. 5 seed than OU, which is priced at +800 as a No. 4 seed, and is on par with No. 2 seed KSU (+500).

2012 tournament record: Favorites – 7-2 SU/7-2 ATS, Over/Under – 7-2

Big Ten – March 14-17

Indiana +120 – The Hoosiers edged out Michigan this past weekend to secure the No. 1 seed in the Big Ten tournament. Indiana, however, takes on the winner of Minnesota-Illinois – two teams that beat IU last month.

Upset watch: Ohio State +400 – The price tag seems a little slim to call Ohio State an upset to watch, but the No. 2 seed is the fourth overall favorite in the tournament. The Buckeyes strut into the postseason on a five-game winning streak, which included victories over IU and MSU (+300).

2012 tournament record:
Favorites – 7-4 SU/6-5 ATS, Over/Under - 7-4

Pac-12 – March 13-16

Favorite: UCLA/Arizona +260 – The Bruins and Wildcats have traded spots atop the Pac-12 all season, but it seems funny that the No. 4 Wildcats would be on par pricewise with No. 1 UCLA. Being the favorite doesn’t mean much in the most volatile conference in the land.

Upset watch: Colorado +500 – The Buffaloes took wins over the conference’s top teams but slipped up against weaker opponents, dragging Colorado down to a No. 5 seed. The loss of Andre Roberson (illness) is a big hit to take right before the postseason.

2012 tournament record: Favorites – 6-5 SU/5-6 ATS, Over/Under -3-8

SEC – March 13-17

Favorite: Florida -120 – The Gators limp into the SEC tournament after a loss to Kentucky in the season finale, going 2-2 SU in their final four games. Florida waits for the winner of LSU-Georgia in the quarterfinals.

Upset watch: Kentucky +800 – Could last weekend’s win over UF be the Wildcats’ wakeup call? Kentucky may need to win the entire SEC tourney to secure a place among the field of 68 NCAA teams. You won’t find a more talented underdog in the country.

2012 tournament record: Favorites – 8-3 SU/4-7 ATS, Over/Under – 6-5

Mountain West - March 12-15

Favorite: New Mexico +125 – The Lobos secured a No. 1 seed but took their foot off the gas in the final week of the schedule. New Mexico lost to Air Force in the finale, which could serve as a jolt of reality before the postseason.

Upset watch: Boise State +800 – Las Vegas has become a second home for BSU teams in the postseason. The Broncos won five of their final six contests, with the one loss coming by four points at UNLV. Boise State has wins over SDSU, CSU, UNLV and lost to New Mexico in OT this season.

2012 tournament record: Favorites – 6-1 SU/4-3 ATS, Over/Under – 4-3

Atlantic 10 – March 14-17

Favorite: Saint Louis +200 – The Billikens could nail down a nice seed in the NCAA with a tournament win. Saint Louis has been one of the hottest teams in the country, going 12-1 SU and ATS in its last 13 conference tilts.

Upset watch: Butler +600 – If any program knows how to get the job done in March, it’s Butler. The Bulldogs slid back to a No. 5 seed but entered the postseason off back-to-back wins. They open versus Dayton Thursday.

2012 tournament record: Favorites – 7-4 SU/5-6 ATS, Over/Under – 7-4

C-USA – March 13-16

Favorite: Memphis -125 – The Tigers are head and shoulders the top team in the C-USA, but Josh Pastner’s young roster could be looking ahead to the NCAA and get caught with their shorts down in the conference tournament.

Upset watch:
Southern Mississippi +225 – The Golden Eagles earned the No. 2 seed in the C-USA tournament and will more than likely need to win the whole thing in order to make the cut for the NCAA tournament. But if coach Donnie Tyndall – formerly of Morehead State - knows one thing, it’s upsets.

2012 tournament record: Favorites – 9-2 SU/8-3 ATS, Over/Under – 6-9

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