College Basketball
Big Ten, Big East, ACC and other conference tournament predictions, odds, picks
College Basketball

Big Ten, Big East, ACC and other conference tournament predictions, odds, picks

Updated Mar. 13, 2024 9:16 a.m. ET

Here we go! It’s championship week in college basketball — the perfect appetizer to the madness that we’re in for with the Big Dance. 

When conference tournaments are in full swing, they don't always get due justice on a national level.

In most of these league tourneys, teams play on back-to-back-to-back days to claim a championship. 

Sometimes, they have to do it in four or five days like Kemba Walker and UConn when they pulled it off in 2011.


Will we see some bid-stealers emerge in college hoops this week? Mike Decourcy’s current Last Four In of St. John’s, Virginia, Colorado and Providence certainly hope not. 

Texas A&M, Iowa, Pitt and Wake Forest — who, by the way, could play in the ACC Tournament — join them in the same boat but need some other things to happen to make the big dance. 

In addition to giving you my top pick to win each conference tournament, I'll also give you my second favorite — and in some cases, even a third!

March Madness is here, and the drama is on, so let’s get into it.

Big Ten

My Top Pick: Purdue 

How could I not take Purdue? The Boilermakers are the favorites to win this tournament and the third-best favorite to win the national championship. 

That being said, if a quarterfinal game with Michigan State happens Friday, it will be intriguing considering the Spartans really could use a signature breakthrough moment this week ahead of the NCAA Tournament.

My Second Favorite: Ohio State 

Ohio State. Yes, the 10-seed in this tournament has won four in a row and goes into a massive second round game with Iowa on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. ET on BTN.

I do think the winner of that game can be an issue for Illinois since the Illini are suspect on defense. Bruce Thornton and Jamison Battle are rolling as of late. Give me OSU to crash the party if someone does. 

PICK: Purdue (+100) to win Big Ten Conference Tournament
PICK: Ohio State (+3000) to win Big Ten Conference Tournament 

Big East 

My Top Pick: UConn 

To me, UConn is the most complete team in college basketball and the Huskies answer every question.

However, they’ve yet to win the Big East Tournament since returning to the league in 2020. 

But here's a fun fact: Connecticut is 4-0 at Madison Square Garden this year. I think the Huskies will end up at 7-0.

My Second Favorite: Seton Hall 

Shaheen Holloway has shown that he has the ability to go on a magical March run. Now he has an elite point guard in Kadary Richmond, a tough wing in Dre Davis and a group that’s getting overshadowed heading into a matchup with St. John’s at 2:30 p.m. ET Thursday on FS1. 

The Pirates have toughness, and are one of only three teams that beat UConn. Don’t sleep on them. 

PICK: UConn (-160) to win Big East Conference Tournament
PICK: Seton Hall (+4000) to win Big East Conference Tournament

Pitino Chronicles: Rick Pitino speaks on the Big East Tournament

Big 12 

My Top Pick: Baylor 

I’m going to go against the grain here and say the bracket lines up well for Baylor to win this tournament. 

Kansas won’t have Hunter Dickinson or Kevin McCullar and the Bears’ offense can overwhelm Iowa State in a semifinal. 

Give me Scott Drew to shock Houston.

My Second Favorite: Texas Tech 

The Pop Isaacs Show can take over this tournament and Darrion Williams is on a roll for the Red Raiders, who have won three in a row. 

PICK: Baylor (+550) to win Big 12 Conference Tournament
PICK: Texas Tech (+1600) to win Big 12 Conference Tournament


My Top Pick: Kentucky 

There’s not a conference championship game I want more than Tennessee and Kentucky Round 3, with each road team taking the first two meetings this year. 

Who do I like in the third edition? 

The Cats have won five in a row. Give me Reed Sheppard, Rob Dillingham and Big Blue Nation.

My Second Favorite: Auburn 

The Tigers may be on the same side of the bracket as Tennessee, but they match up fairly well with the Vols and only lost 92-84 in Knoxville a few weeks back. 

Can Denver Jones stay hot from three? Will Jaylin Williams and Chad Baker-Mazara use their length to create matchup issues on both ends of the floor? I like Bruce Pearl to make some noise.

My Super Long Shot: Arkansas 

Sprinkle some bucks on a distant shot with Arkansas. 

The Razorbacks can absolutely get to playing Auburn, and they’re fighting for their lives if they do. They have to knock off South Carolina in the second round. It’s doable. 

PICK: Kentucky (+400) to win SEC Conference Tournament
PICK: Auburn (+240) to win SEC Conference Tournament
PICK: Arkansas (+25000) to win SEC Conference Tournament 


My Top Pick: Duke 

The Blue Devils got embarrassed by North Carolina on their home floor and Cormac Ryan couldn’t miss. 

I like a revenge week powered by Duke’s guards.

My Second Favorite: Clemson 

Even though Clemson is entering the tourney off a loss to Wake Forest, it just feels like this team can get to the semis and knock off UVA in the quarters. 

Brad Brownell has a veteran duo at the top with PJ Hall and Joe Girard. I wouldn’t be shocked at all to see Clemson in the final playing North Carolina if my top pick, Duke, isn’t there.

PICK: Duke (+100) to win ACC Conference Tournament
PICK: Clemson (+1000) to win ACC Conference Tournament


My Top Pick: Arizona 

If the Wildcats notch a 3-peat, last weekend’s loss to USC turns out to be a good wake-up call. 

My Second Favorite: UCLA 

I guess I’ll take a 5-seed UCLA for no other reason than the fact that Mick Cronin could get his team to lock in defensively and grind it out. 

PICK: Arizona (-150) to win Pac-12 Conference Tournament
PICK: UCLA (+4000) to win Pac-12 Conference Tournament

Mountain West 

First off, this league deserves a standing ovation for the year it’s had and I do believe it’s deserving of six bids. 

My Top Pick: Nevada 

Jarod Lucas and Nevada are 26-6 and riding into Las Veagas with a seven-game winning streak. 

They have a bucket in Lucas, and Kenan Blackshear adds offense and rebounding. Give me Steve Alford! 

My Second Favorite: New Mexico 

Desperation comes out of a bubble team and I think we’ll see that from their stacked backcourt headlined by Jamal Mashburn Jr. and Jaelen House

Richard Pitino has a group fully capable of winning this league tournament. I’d sprinkle money on them and Isaiah Stevens and Colorado State, because Stevens (2,296 points) makes so much happen for the Rams. 

PICK: Nevada (+500) to win Mountain West Conference Tournament
PICK: New Mexico (+500) to win Mountain West Conference Tournament
PICK: Colorado State (+800) to win Mountain West Conference Tournament

John Fanta is a national college basketball broadcaster and writer for FOX Sports. He covers the sport in a variety of capacities, from calling games on FS1 to serving as lead host on the BIG EAST Digital Network to providing commentary on The Field of 68 Media Network. Follow him on X at @John_Fanta.


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