The REAL standings: Don't Cry for Baylor

As noted in the previous REAL Standings Report, we now know who the worst team is to ever be ranked No. 1 this late in the season. And who the worst coach is. (Hint: He is Mike DeCourcy’s Mid-season coach of the year.)

Baylor filled the bill of the worst best team Tuesday evening in the hills of West Virginia. Their ranking was probably inescapable, being undefeated and having beaten some big-name opponents and all, but good god-almighty, did the voters pay no attention to their previous two games vs. Okie St and Iowa St, both games in which the Wacky Waconians looked no better than your average Tier 2 team. They would have lost both games had they been in Stillwater and Ames rather than Waco.

However, and it is a big HOWEVER, being romped and stomped and shredded like an unsolicited credit card application from Wells Fargo affected not Baylor’s chances to be No. 1 in the Big 12. They merely lost a game they were projected to lose. One of only two they were projected to lose all year.  They maintained their REAL Standings record at 13-5.

The Bears did drop to second place, but that was not because of their loss. It was solely due to KU’s second W in an at-risk game, this one at Oklahoma. As mentioned in the previous RS Report, the Jayhawks were at risk in Norman, even in the absence of Jordan Woodard. With Woodard putting in an appearance, the Jayhawks trailed by 9 points at halftime and were fortunate to get out of town with the W. But get the W they did, resulting in a half game pickup in the REAL Standings.

In other action, Tech and K-State both trod water in Lubbock (a difficult task considering there is no water in Lubbock other than down by the levee when the levee’s not dry) with the Home team prevailing, sending the text and e-mail charges of the losing team’s coach further through the roof than the distance between where he stood on the court and his coaching box.

The following day, we had our first two surprises of the season. (“Surprise” being defined as any Road game won by a Tier Two team.) Iowa St took down Okie St in Stillwater, and TCU held off Texas in the final 5.6 seconds in Austin. By “held off,” I mean did nothing in particular. As described by Brian Davis of the Austin American-Statesman:

Leading by three with five seconds left, Fisher missed a free throw and the Horns got the rebound. With no timeouts at its disposal, Texas had to advance on the fly. But Kerwin Roach Jr. dribbled the ball at half-court and essentially dribbled out the final seconds.
After the horn, Roach and fellow sophomore Tevin Mack were barking at each other. Granted, Mack woofs at just about everyone but another teammate?
“It was no frustration, he was just giving me advice on what I should have done,” Roach said.
What was the advice? “Swing it ahead,” he said.

 

Good advice. Maybe Mack can be a player- coach once he comes off his indefinite suspension.

With their surprise victories, OSU and ISU both picked up a full game in the REAL Standings.

CURRENT PROJECTIONS

1. 13.5-4.5

KU (4-0)

Projected L’s (at WVU, at BU)

At risk games (at ISU, at K-State, at Tech, at UT, at OSU)

2. 13-5

Baylor (3-1)

Projected L’s (at KU)

At risk games (at K-State, at TCU, at OSU, at Tech, at ISU, at UT)

3.  12.5-5.5

WVU (3-1) 

Projected L’s (at KU, at BU)

At risk games (at UT, at K-State, at ISU, at OU, at TCU

4. 8.5-9.5

ISU (3-1)

Projected L’s (at TCU, at OU, at KU, at UT, at K-State, at Tech, at WVU)

At risk games (vs. KU, vs. WVU, vs. BU)

5. 8-10

TCU(2-2)

Projected L’s (at Tech, at OSU, at K-State, at BU, at ISU, at KU, at OU)

At risk games: (vs, BU, vs. WVU)

Texas Tech (2-2)

Projected L’s (at OU, at BU, at UT, at TCU, at WVU, at OSU, at K-State)

At risk games (vs. KU, vs. BU)

7.   7.5-10.5

K-State (2-2)

Projected L’s (OSU, at ISU, at BU, at WVU, at UT, at OU, at TCU)

At risk games (vs. BU, WVU, KU)

8. 6.5-11.5

OU (0-4)

Projected L’s (at WVU, at UT, at Tech, at ISU, at OSU, at BU, at KU) 

At risk games (vs. WVU)

UT (1-3)

Projected L’s (at BU, at KU, at TCU, at OSU, at OU, at WVU, at Tech)

At risk games (vs. WVU, vs. KU, vs. BU)

10. 6-12

Okie State (0-4) 

Projected L’s (at KU, at Tech, at OU, at WVU, at TCU, at K-State, at ISU)

At risk games (vs. BU, vs. KU) 

 

AS SEEN ON TV

Saturday

1.  Okie St at Kansas  (1:00p.m.) (ESPN2) (Projected W: KU)**

I scoff at the thought of Baylor being ranked No. 1. That, however, is the position to which KU will ascend with a W in this game. I don’t think KU is the best team in the land either. The difference is, they could be at some point in the season.

Why?

To paraphrase the Wizard of Oz (perhaps the first relevant Wizard of Oz comment ever in relation to Kansas basketball): “What does KU have that Baylor doesn’t have?”

Don’t answer that: it’s a rhetorical question.

 

2.     West Virginia at Texas (3:00p.m.) (ESPN2) (At-risk game)***

Two of Texas’s three Big 12 losses have been by 3 points. So don’t count them out of the NIT just yet. Don’t laugh at UT and Shaka Smart just yet. Unless you just like laughing at UT and Shaka Smart for fun.

 

3.     Baylor at K-State (3:30p.m.) (ESPNU) (At-risk game)****

The schedule makers have a sadistic streak in them. Why else would they have Baylor play at West Virginia and at K-State K-State the week they rose to their first number one ranking in history? Do they have something personal against Scott Drew? Well, yeah, who doesn’t? Still, this is uncalled for. Jigsaw thought of it first and turned it down. But I ask you, “Is he not a man? Does he not bleed when cut?”

No, REALly, Answer these questions. I want to know.

 

4.     Iowa St at TCU (4:30p.m.) (FSSW) (Projected W: TCU)

 

The Cyclones’ opportunity to separate themselves from the rest of the Tier 2 pack.

5.     Texas Tech at Oklahoma (7:30p.m.) (ESPNU) (Projected W: TCU)

Tech catches OU on the Road with Woodard apparently at full strength or close to it.

--Mark

The REAL Standings: REAL REAL THIS TIME

Boy, is my face red. In the last REAL Standings Report, I erroneously reported that KU had lost last Tuesday night vs. K-State in Lawrence. 

I should have known better. I was at the game. I saw Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk make a driving layup at the buzzer, and I saw the scoreboard change from 88-88 to 90-88.

But that was before I made it Home and heard from ESPN that Mykhailiuk had made an illegal maneuver before releasing the ball. His basket was not legal!

“Say it ain’t so,”I thought. 

I dismissed this report as East Coast bias. 

However, the report was confirmed the following morning by local outlets like the Kansas City Star and KC radio stations 610 and 810.  Further east than ESPN, even, Pravda's lead story was, “Ukrainian Cheats!” 

Vladimir Putin quoted his favorite Russian proverb (“Comrade Cheaters do not always win”) and vowed to release damaging excerpts from the refs’ private e-mails with their bookmakers. 

 It all came so fast, so furiously, so frequently, with such intensity, venom, and even humor, that I could not discount it. Sviatoslav had violated the rules of basketball. In fact, not merely “a” rule, but one of Dr. Naismith’s original rules: 

3.  A player cannot run with the ball, the player must throw it from the spot on which he catches it, allowance to be made for a man who catches the ball when running at a good speed.

Most importantly, it was a violation that the refs call every time it occurs. At least, I am aware of no exceptions.

So I was persuaded that the Big 12 Powers-That-Be had overruled the refs’ call and awarded the victory to K-State for being denied the turnover it had earned while employing its Village of the Damned strategy; i.e., staring long and hard at Mykhailiuk’s backside, willing him to pick up his dribble early. 

After all, correcting the refs when they miss a call is what the Big 12, like all sports organizations, does. Especially on missed traveling calls.  Has the conference ever not corrected a missed traveling call, whether inadvertently or as SOP? Not that I could recall.

Likewise, has the conference ever failed to correct a missed call that has cost KU a victory? I mean, turnabout is fair play. KU has benefited from the reversal of bad calls against them in places like Lubbock, Boulder, Columbia, Manhattan, and Morgantown. Even in football, the Big 12 has declared the wronged team the victor even when doing so gave the opposing team a loss that cost them a spot in the Rose Bowl and the $$$ that come with it.

 With the shoe on the other foot for once, the Jayhawks’ appropriate response was to grin and bear it. 

To my surprise, after posting the last REAL Standings Report, I learned that the Big 12 office took a different approach in this one instance and placed the game in KU’s Win column.

With this unexpected turn of events, the REAL Standings have been adjusted to indicate that KU did not lose a game vs. the field last Tuesday, and K-State did not pick up a game. 

In Saturday action, nothing notable happened. All five  Home teams won as projected: West Virginia over TCU, K-State over OU, KU over Tech, Baylor over Okie St, and Iowa St over Texas. There was no change in what the REAL Standings should have been last time.

              

CURRENT TIERS

Tier 1:

KU, Baylor, West Virginia

Tier 2:

Iowa St, K-State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma St, Texas, TCU, Texas Tech,

 

CURRENT PROJECTIONS

1. 13-5

  • Baylor (3-0):
    • Projected L’s (at WVU, at KU)
    • At risk games (at K-State, at TCU, at OSU, at Tech, at ISU, at UT)
  • KU (3-0):
    • Projected L’s (at WVU, at BU)
    • At risk games (at OU, at ISU, at K-State, at Tech, at UT, at OSU)

3. 12.5-5.5

  • WVU (2-1):  
    • Projected L’s (at KU, at BU)
    • At risk games (at UT, at K-State, at ISU, at OU, at TCU

4. 8-10

  • Texas Tech (1-2):
    • Projected L’s (at OU, at BU, at UT, at TCU, at WVU, at OSU, at K-State)
    • At risk games (vs. KU, vs. BU)

5. 7.5-10.5

  • ISU (2-1):
    • Projected L’s (at OSU, at TCU, at OU, at KU, at UT, at K-State, at Tech, at WVU)
    • At risk games (vs. KU, vs. WVU, vs. BU)
  • K-State (2-1):
    • Projected L’s (at Tech, at OSU, at ISU, at BU, at WVU, at UT, at OU, at TCU)
    • At risk games (vs. BU, WVU, KU)
  • UT (1-2):
    • Projected L’s (at ISU, at BU, at KU, at TCU, at OSU, at OU, at WVU, at Tech)
    • At risk games (vs. WVU, vs. KU, vs. BU)

8. 7-11

  • OU (0-3):
    • Projected L’s (at WVU, at UT, at Tech, at ISU, at OSU, at BU, at KU) 
    • At risk games (vs. KU, vs. WVU)
  • TCU(1-2):
    • Projected L’s (at UT, at Tech, at OSU, at K-State, at BU, at ISU, at KU, at OU)
    • At risk games: (vs, BU, vs. WVU)
  • Okie State (0-3):  
    • Projected L’s (at KU, at Tech, at OU, at WVU, at TCU, at K-State, at ISU)
    • At risk games (vs. BU, vs. KU)

AS SEEN ON TV

Tuesday:

6:00 Baylor at West Virginia (ESPN2)*****(Projected W: WVU): We now know the answer to two questions*:

  1. What is the worst team ever ranked No. 1 this late in the college basketball season?
  2. Who is the worst coach whose team has been ranked No. 1 this late on the college basketball season?           

More importantly, this is Baylor’s chance to take an early stranglehold on the league race. It is Scottsisname’s chance to quiet his doubters. Hey, if he pulls this off, I will stop mocking him until he screws up bigly again. In other words, temporarily.

*Assuming Baylor is ranked No. 1 by the AP or USA Today.

8:00p.m.: KU at Oklahoma (ESPN2)****(At-risk game): You play a Lon Kruger team on the Road, you are at risk. Even if Jordan Woodard misses his fifth straight game. The Sooners have had sufficient time to adjust to his absence. In their last two games, they have played TCU and K-State respectably on the Road.

8:15p.m. K-State at Texas Tech (ESPN News) ***1/2 (Projected W: TTU): K-State’s and Bruce Weber’s opportunity to make a statement. A W at Tech will do more for their image than their close loss (yes, it was a loss) at KU. 

Wednesday

7:00p.m. TCU at Texas (LFHN) *** (Projected W: UT): The Horned Frogs made a run at West Virginia Saturday. Like K-State, they could upgrade their image with a Road W here. Texas’s improvement is noticeable from one game to the next.

8:00p.m. Iowa St at Okie St (ESPNU) *** (Projected W: Okie St): Okie St cannot stay on the schneid forever.

Or can they?

REAL Standings: The Road to the Big 12 Runs Through Waco Edition

road runs through waco.png

Anyone will tell you that the foundation of KU’s 12 straight Bug 12 championships is Allen Fieldhouse. Being 9-0  before the first conference game even tips off is a big head start toward 14-4 nor 15-3. It leaves everyone else fighting to make up ground from the git go. As Billy Joe Shaver would add, “It’s always been that way.”

So it is a big deal when KU put itself behind the proverbial 8 Ball by losing at Home Tuesday Monday night to its archrival from the Little Apple. In so doing, the Jayhawks dropped a full game in the REAL Standings—a game that will be ultra-difficult to recoup. Not even prevailing in the return match on February 6 will atone for the Home loss. As an at-risk game it will, if it happens, but make up a half game, which is, as we all know, less than a full one. Still, it will be better than the loss of a half game. A full game better.

West Virginia, meanwhile (within minutes after the KU defeat, dropped a half game itself in the REAL Standings by losing an at-risk contest at Texas Tech. But that was not nearly as costly as a Home loss. Their competitors will, likewise, go on the Road and lose an at-risk game. Or two. Or three. Or …

As a result, Baylor assumes undisputed possession of First Place just by staying put with its W, as projected, vs. Iowa St in Waco.

Also no change in the REAL records of Texas or TCU by downing Okie St and OU respectively, as projected, in their Texas locales.

 

CURRENT TIERS

 

Tier 1:

KU, Baylor, West Virginia

Tier 2:

Iowa St, K-State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma St, Texas, TCU, Texas Tech,

 

CURRENT PROJECTIONS

 

1. 13-5

  • Baylor (2-0):
    • Projected L’s (at WVU, at KU)
    • At risk games (at K-State, at TCU, at OSU, at Tech, at ISU, at UT)

2. 12.5-5.5

  • WVU (1-1):
    • Projected L’s (at KU, at BU)
    • At risk games (at UT, at K-State, at ISU, at OU, at TCU)

3.  12-6

  • KU (1-1):
    • Projected L’s (at WVU, at BU)
    • At risk games (at OU, at ISU, at K-State, at Tech, at UT, at OSU)

4. 8.5-9.5

  • K-State (2-0):
    • Projected L’s (at Tech, at OSU, at ISU, at BU, at WVU, at UT, at OU, at TCU)
    • At risk games (vs. BU, WVU, KU)

5. 8-10

  • Texas Tech (1-1):
    • Projected L’s (at KU, at OU, at BU, at UT, at TCU, at WVU, at OSU, at K-State)
    • At risk games (vs. KU, vs. BU)

6.           7.5-10.5

  • ISU (1-1):
    • Projected L’s (at OSU, at TCU, at OU, at KU, at UT, at K-State, at Tech, at WVU)
    • At risk games (vs. KU, vs. WVU, vs. BU)
  • UT (1-1):
    • Projected L’s (at ISU, at BU, at KU, at TCU, at OSU, at OU, at WVU, at Tech)
    • At risk games (vs. WVU, vs. KU, vs. BU)

8.           7-11

  • OU (0-2):
    • Projected L’s (at K-State, at WVU, at UT, at Tech, at ISU, at OSU, at BU, at KU)
    • At risk games (vs. KU, vs. WVU)
  • TCU(1-1):
    • Projected L’s (at WVU, at UT, at Tech, at OSU, at K-State, at BU, at ISU, at KU, at OU)
    • At risk games: (vs, BU, vs. WVU)

10.         6.5-11.5

  • Okie State (0-2): 
    • Projected L’s (at BU, at KU, at Tech, at OU, at WVU, at TCU, at K-State, at ISU)
    • At risk games (vs. KU, vs. BU, vs. KU)

 

AS SEEN ON TV

Saturday:

Noon: TCU at West Virginia (ESPNU)**1/2(Projected W: WVU): Welcome to life on the Road in the Big 12, Jamie.

2:00p.m.: Oklahoma at K-State (ESPN News)**(Projected W: K-State): K-State will need a heckuva letdown after the biggest victory in Bruce Weber’s tenure at K-State to let this one get away.

6:00p.m.:  Okie St at Baylor (ESPN News) ** (Projected W: Baylor): Baylor looked like a fraud Wednesday vs. Iowa St.  They will need to look even more like one to lose to the team that could not beat Texas that same evening.

6:15p.m. Texas Tech at KU (ESPN2) ***1/2 (Projected W: KU): Much to Bill Self’s chagrin, Tech might be better than K-State.  Then again, when was the last time Self lost two straight Home games. An amusing factoid I became aware of recently: Scott Drew has lost more games in Allen Fieldhouse than Bill Self. It was on the radio, so it must be true.

8:15p.m. Texas at Iowa St (ESPN2) *** (Projected W: ISU): Texas moved to .500 on the season and in conference play Wednesday night with its victory over Okie St  in Austin. But not in the REAL Standings. A W in Ames will Shaka things up a bit.

--Mark

REAL Standings: Second Game of the Season Edition

Following the season’s first series of conference games on Friday, the ESPN talking heads seemed to get it. Their focus was on the fact that the Big Three (KU, Baylor, West Virginia) not only won their games, but did so on the Road. They were not acting as if a Win is a Win is a Win. In fact, they even went into a little bit of nuance in discussing which team’s Road Win was the best. Was it West Virginia’s at Okie St, which put the onus on KU and Baylor to win in Stillwater? Was it Baylor’s, which threw down the gauntlet to WVU and KU to overcome OU and Lon Kruger in Norman? Or was it KU’s, which said, “We just beat a team coached by Jamie Dixon that will only get better as the season progresses in Fort Worth; what are you going to do about it?”

At first glance, you might think West Virginia won the weekend, taking out Okie St by 17, compared to Baylor’s 27 point W over the crippled Sooners who were without their best player, Jordan Woodard, and KU’s victory that was in doubt in the final minute of play.

But as theysay in golf, they don’t ask how, just how many.  And if you are looking for the game that you would prefer to have in the rear view mirror, it just might be TCU. If you believe KenPom, the Horned Frogs are the best of the three losers, ranked 34 as compared to Okie State’s 34 and OU’s 69.

Of course, those rankings were influenced by Friday’s games—probably in a positive way for TCU and to the detriment of the schools from the State that is just OK on its best day.

So let’s call it a push, which is how the REAL Standings would have treated the Big Three victories anyway. As a result, the KU/BU/WVU trifecta each picked up a half game on the field now lead the Big 12 pack with projected records of 13-5.

Okie ST/OU/TCU, meanwhile, each drop a half game to 7-11, with only the Purples of the South showing a pulse.

In other games, Iowa St and K-State won at Home, as projected, vs. Texas Tech and Texas respectively, resulting in no movement for either them or their victims.

 

CURRENT TIERS

Tier 1:

KU, Baylor, West Virginia

Tier 2:

Iowa St, K-State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma St, Texas, TCU, Texas Tech,

 

CURRENT PROJECTIONS

1. 13-5

  • Baylor: Projected L’s (at WVU, at KU)
    • At risk games (at K-State, at TCU, at OSU, at Tech, at ISU, at UT)
  • KU:Projected L’s (at WVU, at BU)
    • At risk games (at OU, at ISU, at K-State, at Tech, at UT, at OSU)
  • WVU: Projected L’s (at KU, at BU)
    • At risk games (at Tech, at UT, at K-State, at ISU, at OU, at TCU)

4. 7.5-10.5

  • ISU: Projected L’s (at BU, at OSU, at TCU, at OU, at KU, at UT, at K-State, at Tech, at WVU)
    • At risk games (vs. KU, vs. WVU, vs. BU)
  • K-State: Projected L’s (at KU, at Tech, at OSU, at ISU, at BU, at WVU, at UT, at OU, at TCU)
    • At risk games (vs. BU, WVU, KU)
  • Texas Tech: Projected L’s (at KU, at OU, at BU, at UT, at TCU, at WVU, at OSU, at K-State)
    • At risk games (vs. WVU, vs. KU, vs. BU)
  • UT: Projected L’s (at ISU, at BU, at KU, at TCU, at OSU, at OU, at WVU, at Tech)
    • At risk games (vs. WVU, vs. KU, vs. BU)

8.  7-11

  • OU: Projected L’s (at TCU, at K-State, at WVU, at UT, at Tech, at ISU, at OSU, at BU, at KU)
    • At risk games (vs. KU, vs. WVU)
  • Okie State:  Projected L’s (at UT, at BU, at KU, at Tech, at OU, at WVU, at TCU, at K-State, at ISU)
    • At risk games (vs. BU, vs. KU)
  • TCU: Projected L’s (at WVU, at UT, at Tech, at OSU, at K-State, at BU, at ISU, at KU, at OU)
    • At risk games: (vs, BU, vs. WVU)

AS SEEN ON TV

 

Tuesday:

8:00p.m.: Oklahoma at TCU (ESPNU)***(Projected W: TCU): A game matching two 0-1 teams worth watching in order to assess whether TCU has kind of turned the corner or if it played over its head Friday, as is not unheard of when KU comes to town and fills the Home team’s arena. Record and watch it after:

8:00p.m.: K-State at KU (ESPN 2)****(Projected W: KU):Wouldn’t Bruce Weber like to throw a funeral for Bill Self’s conference championship streak? Here is his chance.

8:15p.m.:  West Virginia at Texas Tech (ESPN News) **** (At risk game): The Mountaineers’ opportunity to take the early inside track in the race for the Big 12 title. Tech is going to take out somebody, if not more than one somebody, in Tier One this season.

Wednesday

7:00p.m. Iowa St at Baylor (ESPN News) ***1/2 (Projected W: BU): Any team coached by Scott Whatsisname is a debacle waiting to happen. Don’t know that it will be this early in the season at Home to a team this suspect, but you never can tell.

7:00p.m. Okie St at Texas (LFHN) *** (Projected W: UT): UT’s Motto of the Week: If not now, when? If not Okie St, who?

--Mark

 

REAL Standings: First Game of the Year Edition

There has been a lot of talk recently about “fake news.” This concern is not a new one to those familiar with the REAL Standings, which, for years, has offered a REAL alternative to the Fake Basketball Standings in your local newspaper.

In fairness, it was probably not the intention of your daily paper to mislead Big 12 basketball fans as to the state of the conference race. But mislead they did, whether by intent or laziness, as evidenced every time a columnist, television or radio commentator, or casual fan over the water cooler has asserted that a 4-0 team that has played 3 home games and the four worst teams in the conference leads a 3-1 team that has played four of the conference’s best teams and won two of three on the Road.

The premise of the REAL Standings is that the 3-1 team in this scenario is actually in better shape in its quest for the conference championship than the undefeated team: that championships are won on the Road, not at Home; and with W’s over the best teams, not the worst. 

Of utmost importance is winning every game at Hoe and beating the worst teams on the Road. The teams that do this will be in the race late into the season.

We begin the REAL Standings analysis by placing each team in its appropriate Tier. This is the only subjective aspect of the REAL Standings. All Tier One teams are projected to win their nine Home games and all Road games vs. teams at least two tiers lower.  Games vs. teams one tier down are considered at risk games and projected as ½ W and ½ L.
            

PRE-SEASON TIERS

Tier 1:

  • KU: Duh! Even without Udunka a/k/a (with credit to Dave Armstrong) the Wizard of Az.

  • Baylor:    Yes, you read that correctly. Baylor. They are currently rated No. 4 in the nation by the A.P and USA Today voters and No. 9 by KenPom. Yes, I hear you saying: “But their coach is Scott Something or Other. They can’t win the Big 12 with him screwing up who knows how many games, can they?” Corrrectamundo. However, as much as one might take this as incontrovertible,  it is, nevertheless, subjective. The REAL Standings are a REAL meritocracy. And you can’t ignore No. 4 and No. 9 with W’s over Oregon, Louisville, and Michigan St.  Until their merit is proven to be lacking in league play, they are legitimately positioned in Tier 1.

  • West Virginia: No. 11 in the AP. No. 12 in the USA Today. No. 7 according to KenPom. Not to mention a W in a true Road game at Virginia.

Tier 2: 

As a general rule, the rest of the teams are relegated to Tier 2 or 3, with the latter being bottom feeders whose only purpose is to pad the other teams’ W-L record.

The problem this year is there are no clearly defined Tier 3 teams. Normally, prior to Big 12 play, there are one or two teams rated between 120-160 by KenPom. This year, the conference’s lowest rated team is Texas at No. 74.  And they have enough nice young talent that Bill Self would make a run at winning the Big 12;  and they have a good coach (though not, as Kent State’s coach offered after defeating Texas in Austin Tuesday night, “one of the best, if not the best,” in the country.) Although they are probably the only conference team that would have lost to Kent State at Home, they will likely turn into a tough out at Home as the year progresses and win a game or two it shouldn’t on the Road.

So we will start conference play with all seven of the non-Tier 1 teams assigned to Tier 2. In order of their KenPom ranking (not that it’s flawless, but it appears reasonable at this point), they are:

  • Texas Tech (No. 27)
  • Iowa State.  (No. 30)
  • Kansas State (No. 31)
  • Oklahoma St (No. 33)
  • TCU (No. 37)
  • Oklahoma (No. 54)
  • Texas (No. 74)


PRE-SEASON PROJECTIONS

1.    12.5-5.5

  • Baylor: Projected L’s (at WVU, at KU)
    • At risk games (at OU, at K-State, at TCU, at OSU, at Tech, at ISU, at UT).
  • KU: Projected L’s (at WVU, at BU)
    • At risk games (at TCU, at OU, at ISU, at K-State, at Tech, at UT, at OSU)
  • WVU: Projected L’s (at KU, at BU)
    • At risk games (at OSU, at Tech, at UT, at K-State, at ISU, at OU, at TCU)

4.    7.5-10.5

  • ISU: Projected L’s (at BU, at OSU, at TCU, at OU, at KU, at UT, at K-State, at Tech, at WVU).
    • At risk games (vs. KU, vs. WVU, vs. BU)
  • K-State: Projected L’s (at KU, at Tech, at OSU, at ISU, at BU, at WVU, at UT, at OU, at TCU)
    • At risk games (vs. BU, WVU, KU)
  • OU: Projected L’s (at TCU, at K-State, at WVU, at UT, at Tech, at ISU, at OSU, at BU, at KU) 
    • At risk games (vs. BU, vs. KU, vs. WVU)
  • Okie State:  Projected L’s (at UT, at BU, at KU, at Tech, at OU, at WVU, at TCU, at K-State, at ISU).
    • At risk games (vs. WVU, vs. BU, vs. KU)
  • TCU: Projected L’s (at WVU, at UT, at Tech, at OSU, at K-State, at BU, at ISU, at KU, at OU
    • At risk games: (vs. KU, vs, BU, vs. WVU)
  • Texas Tech: Projected L’s (at ISU, at KU, at OU, at BU, at UT, at TCU, at WVU, at OSU, at K-State)
    • At risk games (vs. WVU, vs. KU, vs. BU)
  • UT: Projected L’s (at K-State, at ISU, at BU, at KU, at TCU, at OSU, at OU, at WVU, at Tech).
    • At risk games (vs. WVU, vs. KU, vs. BU)


AS SEEN ON TV


Friday:

3:00p.m.: West Virginia at Okie St (ESPN 2)**** (At-risk game): The three Tier 1 teams all start conference play on the Road, which could give us an early indication as to who is serious about winning the Big 12 title.

5:00p.m.: Texas Tech at Iowa St (ESPN News)***(Projected W: ISU): Are the Red Raiders REALly on the way up? Or is Iowa St on the way down?

6:00p.m.:  Baylor at Oklahoma (ESPN2) **** (At risk game): Lon Kruger vs. Scott Something or Other? If Baylor is for REAL, this is a REAL chance to prove it.

7:00p.m. Texas at K-State (ESPN News) ***1/2 (Projected W: K-State): Neither team has much to hang its hat on from the non-conference portion of the schedule. Early as it is,  K-State is in an almost must-win situation if it hopes to participate in March Madness.

8:00p.m. KU at TCU (ESPN2) **** (At-risk game): Welcome to the Big 12, Jamie. Could be worse. It could be in Lawrence.

--Mark

REAL Standings: The Fat Lady Edition

    It wasn’t long ago that KU was 1.5 games out of first place in the REAL Standings. Then something funny happened. The Jayhawks beat Oklahoma on the Road in a Projected Loss Game. They defeated Baylor on the Road in a Projected Loss Game. They overcame arch-rival K-State on the Road in an At Risk Game. And they Hooked Texas on the Road in a Projected Loss Game.

    That’s how you win championships.  Which is the mantra of the REAL Standings: Championships are won on the Road.

    What’s more, it is how you win championships by three games. Off the top of my head, I don’t recall a year when the champion turned a 1.5 game deficit into a three game lead.  Yet the Jayhawks are on pace to do just that provided they win at Home Saturday vs. Iowa St and Baylor wins, as projected, vs. West Virginia. 

    In Midweek contests not involving KU and Texas, West Virginia kept its hopes alive for an undisputed second place finish by taking Texas Tech apart, as projected, in Morgantown; Iowa St took care of business against Okie St on Senior Day in Ames, as projected; Oklahoma won in Norman, as projected, vs. Baylor (although blowing a 26 point lead and then having to come from behind to pull the game out in the final seconds was neither projected nor expected); and K-State parlayed its best shooting game of the season into a projected W in Manhattan vs. TCU. 

    Meaning only KU picked up ground in the REAL standings. The rich just get richer. And you thought income inequality was bad.  

                    CURRENT TIERS
1.    Oklahoma
West Virginia
Texas
Kansas
Baylor
Iowa State 

2.    K-State
Texas Tech

3.    Okie St
TCU
                HOW WE GOT HERE
Good W’s (Road wins at Power 6 venues):
•    Texas (at WVU, at Baylor)
•    Oklahoma (at Baylor, at WVU)
•    West Virginia (at Iowa St)
•    Baylor (at Iowa St, at Texas)
•    KU (at Oklahoma, at Baylor, at UT)
•    ISU (None)

Bad L’s (Losses at Home or at TCU/Okie St):
•    KU (at Okie St)
•    WVU (vs. UT, vs. OU)
•    OU (vs. KU)
•    UT (at TCU, vs. Baylor, vs. KU)
•    Baylor (vs. OU, vs. UT, vs. Tech, vs. KU)
•    ISU (vs. Baylor, vs. WVU)

                    CURRENT PROJECTIONS
1.    15-3
KU (14-3):     
Projected L’s: None
    At risk games: None

2.        12-6

    OU (11-6):     
Projected L’s: None
    At risk games: None

    WVU (12-5)
    Projected L’s (at Baylor)
    At risk games: None 

4.    11-7

Baylor (10-7): 
Projected L’s: None
    At risk games: None

        UT (10-7):     
Projected L’s: None
    At risk games: None


6.    10-8

ISU (10-7): 
Projected L’s (at KU)
    At risk games: None    

7.    9-9
    
    Texas Tech (8-9):
Projected L’s: None
              At risk games: None

8.    5-13
K-State (5-12)
Projected L’s (at Tech)
At risk games: None

9.    3-15

Okie State (3-14):  
Projected L’s (vs. UT)
At risk games: None

10.     2-16

TCU (2-15): 
Projected L’s (vs. OU)
At risk games: None

                AS SEEN ON TV

FRIDAY: 

8:00p.m.: Texas at Okie St (ESPN2)** (Projected W: UT)

    You’ve heard of Friday Night Lights in Texas. Call this a Friday Night Lightweight for Texas.

SATURDAY

Noon: Oklahoma at TCU (ESPW) *1/2 (Projected W: OU)

    Don’t look for Trent Johnson to talk about OU sucking prior to game time.

1:00 p.m.: West Virginia at Baylor (ESPN)**** (Projected W: BU)

    Sole possession of second place for the Mountaineers wouldn’t suck.

2:00p.m.: K-State at Texas Tech (ESPW)*** (Projected W: Tech)

K-State’s only Road win of the season was at TCU. They could use another here to wrap up an NIT invite.
    
3:00p.m.: Iowa St at KU (ESPN)**** (Projected W: KU)

    Senior Day at KU. And this time, KU has some seniors you have heard of.


--Mark

 

    

 

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