REAL Standings: There are still games left to play edition

  WEEKEND ACTION IN REVIEW

            What is this I ‘m reading about the Big 12 race being over? Why are people acting as if KU has its 13th consecutive championship locked up?

            Do they not REALize that if the Jayhawks go 0-4 in their remaining games, they will not even take away a share of the 2017 title if Baylor, West Virginia or Iowa St finish 4-0? 

            Granted, Baylor’s task is tougher than projected Friday, when KU still had a Projected Loss on its schedule (at Baylor) and Baylor had three Projected Wins (vs. KU. OU. and West Virginia). But even though closing out at 5-0 is no longer possible. 4-0 is entirely do-able, right?

            And KU going 0-4? Not only possible, but entirely likely for a team so suspect that it has outscored its opponents in its last three victories by a total of 3 points in regulation. (1 at Texas Tech, 0 vs. WVU, and 2 at Baylor.)

Just kidding. Gonzaga has a better chance of missing the NCAA tournament than KU has of not adding another Big 12 championship to its resume. The Hawks would have to lose to TCU and Oklahoma at Home, as well as Texas and Okie St on the Road even if one of the other three teams still theoretically and mathematically alive wins out. 

The actual odds against this happening are approximately the same as winning a game where you trail by 14 points with 2:43 remaining on a Monday and scoring the last eight points of the game to win by 2 five days later.  

Or put another way. The odds of someone playing defense in the NBA All Star Game.

In other words, it ain’t gonna happen.

KU, of course, picked up two REAL games on Baylor with its win in a Projected Loss game combined with Baylor’s Loss in a game it was projected to win.

Still, there are seeds to be determined for the conference tournament (not Championship) and bids to be earned for March Madness. Any team with fewer than 8 wins is in jeopardy of playing games where fouls are reset at the ten minute mark each half, there are no 1 and 1’s, and the shot clock is shortened to 20 seconds when the ball is brought in bounds in the front court.

In games bearing on these prospects, only one team helped itself. K-State picked up a full game in the REAL Standings by winning its Projected Loss game at Texas. The Fighting BW’s are now projected to finish 8-10 rather than 7-11, which could be the difference between a party in the Little Apple on Selection Sunday and a coaching search.

All three other games went to the Projected Winners, resulting in no changes in the REAL records of any of the six teams involved: West Virginia over Tech in Morgantown, Okie St over OU in Stillwater, and Iowa St over TCU in Ames.

            

                                                            CURRENT TIERS

Tier 1:

KU, Baylor, West Virginia

Tier 2:

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

 

CURRENT PROJECTIONS

1. 15-3

KU (12-2)

Projected L’s: N.A.

At risk games (at UT, at OSU)

 

2. 12-6

Baylor (9-5)

Projected L’s: None

At risk games (at ISU, at UT)

3.  11.5-6.5

WVU (9-5) 

Projected L’s (at BU)

At risk games (at TCU)                                             

4. 10.5-7.5

ISU (9-5)

Projected L’s (at Tech, at WVU)

At risk games (vs. BU)

5.  8.5-9.5                                                                                 

Okie State (7-7) 

Projected L’s (at K-State, at ISU)

At risk games (vs. KU) 

 

6.  8-10

 

K-State (6-8)

 

Projected L’s (at OU, at TCU)

At risk games: N.A

                                                                                                   

7.  7.5-10.5 

TCU (6-8)

Projected L’s (at KU, at OU)

At risk games: (vs. WVU)

 

8.  7-11

Tech (5-9)

Projected L’s (at OSU, at K-State)

At risk games: N.A.

9. 5-13

O (as in zeroUT (4-10)

Projected L’s (at WVU, at Tech)

At risk games (vs. KU, vs. BU

OU (3-11)

      Projected L’s (at BU, at KU) 

At risk games: N.A.

 

 

                                                AS SEEN ON TV

Monday

1.  Iowa St at Texas Tech (8:00pm) (ESPNU) (Projected W: Tech) ***1/2

There has been no movement between the two REAL Standings tiers through 14 games. The Cyclones can make their case for promotion to Tier One with a victory at a venue where both West Virginia and Baylor have lost, and KU escaped with a last second one point win. A W will also keep them alive in the race for the Big 12 title. At least In theory.

They will be facing a desperate team. A loss drops Tech to a Projected conference record of 6-12 with no Road wins. That is a recipe for the NIT.

2.  Texas at West Virginia (8:00p.m.) (ESPN) (Projected W: WVU) **

Texas is a team going nowhere with nothing to play for. Which could make them dangerous. WVU tries to stay alive in the race for the Big 12 title. At least in theory.

Tuesday

3.   Oklahoma at Baylor (6:00p.m.) (ESPN2) (Projected W: BU) **1/2

      See Texas at West Virginia.

Wednesday

4.   TCU at KU (6:00p.m.) (ESPN2) (Projected W: KU) ***

No matter what happens elsewhere, a W here, and KU’s Magic Number for an unprecedented 14th straight conference championship (or share thereof) is 18.

5.   Oklahoma St at K-St (8:00p.m.) (ESPNU) (Projected W: K-St) ****

After losing its first six conference games, Okie St is looking good for a first division finish and a spot in the Ridiculously Large Field of 68. It is the second straight Must Win game for Manhattan’s Finest.

--Mark

Real Standings: REALLY Big Monday Edition

 WEEKEND ACTION IN REVIEW

          Some folks probably thought I was joking last time when I said noted that Texas Tech was damn good at Home. After all, this is Texas freaking Tech we’re talking about, which is like saying the KU football team is damn good in Lawrence.

          However, this is not your father’s (or even your big brother’s) Tech team. If the Red Raiders could play all their games in Lubbock, they would be a lock for the NCAA Tournament and a candidate for the Sweet 16.

          In 1980, Mac Davis sang, “Happiness is Lubbock, Texas in my rear-view mirror.” Thanks to Josh Jackson, KU is singing those words 37 years later. What’s more, the Jayhawks’ spirits are buoyed even higher by the fact that Lubbock is in Baylor’s front view windshield.  The Flatlanders, having already taken down West Virginia in Lubbock, are in position to determine the Big 12 champion.

          As an aside, KU being damn good at Home in football might not be as far down the Road as you might imagine. Check back in 2018.

The upshot of KU’s victory Saturday in a game that was at-risk for 39 minutes and 57.2 seconds, is KU claims sole possession of first place for the time being, moving a half-game ahead of Baylor.

          But before we get to Baylor, let’s get this edition of “Basketball Announcers’ Funniest Audios” out of the way, inasmuch as this installment happened in Lubbock.

          Tech has two players who played at Seward County Community College in Liberal, Kansas. Miles Simon pointed out for some reason that this was near Lawrence. Well, it is in the same way that Oakland is near San Diego.  Liberal is 90 miles closer to Lubbock then it is to Lawrence. And your name is MILES!

          Back to second place Baylor which fell a half game behind KU while stomping TCU at Home. Having been projected to prevail in that game, this particular win had zero effect on the Bears’ REAL record--as compared to this Monday night’s at-risk game in Lubbock.

          Same story with West Virginia, who lost a half game to the Jayhawks despite its projected victory at Home over K-State.

          The other two Saturday games, likewise, resulted in no REAL change in anyone’s record. Okie St and Iowa State won as projected (and handily) at Home vs. Texas and Oklahoma respectively, the conference’s two worst teams.

         

                                                   CURRENT TIERS

Tier 1:

KU, Baylor, West Virginia

Tier 2:

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

 

CURRENT PROJECTIONS

  1. 14-4

KU (10-2)

Projected L’s (at BU)

At risk games (at UT, at OSU)

 

  1. 13.5-4.5

Baylor (9-3)

Projected L’s: None

At risk games (at Tech, at ISU, at UT)

  1. 11.5-6.5

WVU (8-4) 

Projected L’s (at KU, at BU)

At risk games (at TCU)                                

  1. 9.5-8.5

ISU (7-5)

Projected L’s (at K-State, at Tech, at WVU)

At risk games (vs. BU)

  1. 8.5-9.5

TCU (6-6)

Projected L’s (at ISU, at KU, at OU)

At risk games: (vs. WVU)

 

  1. 8-10

 

K-State (5-7)

 

Projected L’s (at UT, at OU, at TCU)

At risk games: N.A                                      

 

  1. 7.5-10.5

Okie State (5-7) 

Projected L’s (at TCU, at K-State, at ISU)

At risk games (vs. KU)

 

  1. 6.5-11.5

Tech (4-8)

Projected L’s (at WVU, at OSU, at K-State)

At risk games (vs. BU)

  1. 6-12

UT (4-8)

Projected L’s (at OU, at WVU, at Tech)

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

  1. 5-13

OU (2-10)

     Projected L’s (at OSU, at BU, at KU) 

At risk games: N.A.

 

                                         AS SEEN ON TV

Monday

1.Baylor at Texas Tech (6:00p.m.) (ESPNU) (at-risk game) ********

           This week’s schedule is frontloaded. If things fall right, the Big 12 race could be all over but the shouting before the sun rises in West Virginia on Valentine’s Day. The first domino that needs to fall is Baylor at Texas Tech. The Red Raiders did everything but beat Baylor in Waco. If they finish the job in Lubbock, where they are damn good, the Bears will be reduced to hoping and praying for a share of their first straight Big 12 championship. Pending, of course, what happens two hours later in Lawrence.

        But what if Baylor wins in Lubbock? Then they are Damn Good.

  1. West Virginia at KU (8:00p.m.) (ESPN) (Projected W: KU) **********

          Need I mention that this is a monster game? West Virginia either wins and stays in the race or loses and turns its attention to the conference and NCAA tournaments.

          A W for the Jayhawks, and No. 13 nears REALity. With five games remaining, their last major stumbling block would be Okie St in Stillwater. (Not that defeating OU and TCU at Home and Texas on the Road are sure things, but the Jayhawks are projected to win the first two and will be a heavy betting favorite to win the at-risk game at UT.) (But what about Waco, you say? That’s what they call playing with house money: with a victory, the Jayhawks can pick up two REAL games on Baylor; they cannot lose any REAL ground, being a Projected Loss and all.)

          A second Home loss for the Jayhawks Monday night, however, and all bets are off.

          On the other hand, when was the last time a Bill Self team lost two consecutive games at Allen Fieldhouse? That did not even happen when he was at Oral Roberts, Tulsa, or Illinois.

Tuesday

  1. Texas at Oklahoma (8:00p.m.) (ESPN2) (Projected W: OU) ****

      Wake me up when the State Fair rolls around in October.

Wednesday

  1. Iowa St at K-State (6:00p.m.) (ESPN2) (Projected W: K-State) ***1/2

     At this point, every game is a big game for K-State’s post-season aspirations.

  1. Okie St at TCU (8:00p.m.) (ESPNU) (Projected W: TCU) **1/2

     Like Tech, TCU is not bad at Home this year, either.

--Mark

Real Standings: A Surprising Edition

MIDWEEK ACTION IN REVIEW

            Damn! If there were any glaring blunders or ridiculous statements by college basketball commentators in the last few days, they occurred when I was not watching. Just makes it that much longer before the release of my newest project tentatively entitled “Sports Announcers Say the Darnedest Things.” Pre-order your copy soon on a web site near you.

            A sensible statement, however, was made by none other than Bill Walton. Surprising.

            What is not surprising is what you can save at Geico.

            But back to Walton. At the Oregon/UCLA game Thursday night, he admonished his Play By Play man, Dave Paske, saying, “You act as if it’s easy to win on the Road. It’s not. It’s the hardest thing there is.” 

            Which is the basic premise of the REAL Standings. It is hard to win on the Road. Not everyone can do it. Few teams can do it consistently. Those who can win championships.

            On the lighter said, Walton also claimed that he did all his shopping at Nordstrom’s. I am skeptical, because I have never seen the “OH MY UCLA” tee shirt he was wearing at Nordstrom’s or on Nordstrom.com.          

In the Big 12’s MTW games this week, the three Tier One teams that lost at Home to Tier Two opponents last Saturday all came roaring back to pick up Road Wins vs. Tier Two squads.

            KU and Baylor won at K-State and Okie St respectively, while West Virginia took down Okie St in Stillwater. With all three trams picking up a half game in the REAL Standings, nothing REALly changed at the top. The Jayhawks and Bears remain tied for first place, with the Mountaineers trailing both by two full games. The Mountaineers, however, have a chance to mine gold, pick themselves up, and get back in the race with potential Road victories in Lawrence and Waco. Now that would be surprising.

            What would not be surprising is what Bob Huggins could save at Geico.

            In games of less import and of no REAL consequence, Texas and TCU won, as projected, at Home vs. fellow Tier Two teams Iowa St and Texas Tech. What was not projected was that both games would be one-point nail biters.That was sur[rising.

            What was mot surprising . . .

            

                                                            CURRENT TIERS

Tier 1:

KU, Baylor, West Virginia

Tier 2:

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

 

CURRENT PROJECTIONS

1. 13.5-4.5

KU (9-2)

Projected L’s (at BU)

At risk games (at Tech, at UT, at OSU)

 

Baylor (8-3)

Projected L’s: None

At risk games (at Tech, at ISU, at UT)

3.  11.5-6.5

WVU (7-4) 

Projected L’s (at KU, at BU)

At risk games (at TCU)                                             

4. 9.5-8.5

ISU (6-5)

Projected L’s (at K-State, at Tech, at WVU)

At risk games (vs. BU)

5.  8.5-9.5                                                                                 

TCU (6-5)

Projected L’s (at BU, at ISU, at KU, at OU)

At risk games: (vs. WVU)

 

6.   8-10

 

K-State (5-6)

 

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

At risk games: N.A                                                    

 

7.  7.5-10.5 

Okie State (4-7) 

Projected L’s (at TCU, at K-State, at ISU)

At risk games (vs. KU) 

 

8.  7-11

Tech (4-7)

Projected L’s (at WVU, at OSU, at K-State)

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

9. 6-12

UT (4-7)

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

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

10. 5-13

OU (2-9)

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

At risk games: N.A.

 

                                                AS SEEN ON TV

Saturday

1.  K-State at West Virginia (11:00a.m.) (ESPN) (Projected W: WVU) ****

K-State goes for the sweep of the Mountaineers. If they achieve it, WVU can kiss their Big 12 title hopes good-bye before their games in Lawrence (on Monday) and Waco. 

2.  KU at Texas Tech (1:00p.m.) (ESPN) (At-risk game) ****

There is a reason this is called an at-risk game. Tech is damn good in Lubbock. They are no longer merely High Plains Drifters. Ask West Virginia how the Gunzuppers can put a damper on your championship dreams on their Home court.  And has been known to play over its head at Home against KU. And get a good whistle. Why, they once won a game by punching a guy in the eye, causing him to “travel.”

With a W, the Jayhawks grab sole possession of first place for REAL, because Baylor cannot improve its lot in its Projected Win game at Home vs. TCU.

A loss, on the other hand, and KU falls behind the fighting Drews. Unless Baylor loses to TCU.

3.   TCU at Baylor (1:00p.m.) (ESPNU)***1/2

And Baylor proved it could lose at Home last Saturday vs. K-State. TCU is a comparable opponent. So I’m saying there’s a chance. 

4.   Texas at Oklahoma State (3:00p.m.) (ESPN2) **

Texas has not been looking good on the Road. Not sure why this game would be any different.

5.   Oklahoma at Iowa St (5:00p.m.) (ESPN2) **

Iowa St fights to cling to the inside track for first place in Tier Two.

--Mark

REAL STANDINGS: LOST WEEKEND EDITION

WEEKEND ACTION IN REVIEW

And just like that, Scott Drew pulled back into a tie with Bill Self in Allen Fieldhouse losses at 10.

More importantly, KU’s loss at Home in a Projected Win game to Iowa St gave Baylor a chance to make the Big 12 Title theirs to lose.

Instead, Baylor matched KU’s loss and dropped a full game in the REAL Standings by losing a game it was projected to win at Home vs. K-State. Bottom line? The two teams remain deadlocked atop the REAL Standings.

These results opened the way for West Virginia to halve the distance between them and both KU and Baylor. (Though not, as declared by Rich Hollenberg, announcing the West Virginia game for ESPN, a chance to move past Baylor. It must be nice to get paid big bucks for saying stupid things.)

On the flip side of this scenario, ISU, K-State, and Okie St all picked up a full game and enhanced their NCAA Tournament resumes.

All of which goes to show, as stated in the previous REAL Standings Report: “Just a reminder: There are no gimmes in the Big 12. Even for the top teams at Home.”

In other action, TCU defeated Texas, and Texas Tech held off Oklahoma, both as projected and both at Home. No REAL change there.

CURRENT TIERS

Tier 1:
KU, Baylor, West Virginia

Tier 2:
Iowa St, K-State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma St, Texas, TCU, Texas Tech,

 

1. 13-5

KU (8-2)

CURRENT PROJECTIONS

 

Projected L’s (at BU)
At risk games (at K-State, at Tech, at UT, at OSU)

Baylor (7-3)

Projected L’s: None
At risk games (at OSU, at Tech, at ISU, at UT)

3. 11-7

WVU (6-4)

Projected L’s (at KU, at BU) At risk games (at OU, at TCU)

4. 9.5-8.5

ISU (6-4)

Projected L’s (at UT, at K-State, at Tech, at WVU) At risk games (vs. BU)

5. 8.5-9.5 TCU(5-5)

Projected L’s (at BU, at ISU, at KU, at OU) At risk games: (vs. WVU)

K-State (5-5)

Projected L’s (at WVU, at UT, at OU, at TCU) At risk games (KU)

7. 8-10

Okie State (4-6)

Projected L’s (at TCU, at K-State, at ISU) At risk games (vs. BU, vs. KU)

8. 7-11

Tech (4-6)

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

At risk games (vs. KU, vs. BU) 9. 6-12

UT (3-7)

Projected L’s (at OSU, at OU, at WVU, at Tech) At risk games (vs. KU, vs. BU)

10. 5.5-12.5

OU (2-8)

Projected L’s (at ISU, at OSU, at BU, at KU) At risk games (vs. WVU)

AS SEEN ON TV

Monday
1. KU at K-State (8:00p.m.) (ESPN) (At-risk game)****

K-State is still smarting from its loss at Allen Fieldhouse on a last second layup by Svi Mykhailuk. And they are flying high with the winds of Waco beneath their wings. After losing to a Tier two team at Home on Saturday, however, the Jayhawks will not take this game lightly. And how many times has Bill Self lost back to back conference games? Something has gotta and is gonna give.

Tuesday
2. Texas Tech at TCU (8:00p.m.) (ESPN News) (Projected W: TCU)***

Remember the childhood game King of the Hill? That’s what all of these match-ups between Tier Two teams are like. Except the Hilltop is Fourth Place in the Big 12 Standings.

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

After its W on Mount Oread, ISU has moved to the crest of the Hill. At least temporarily. Another Road W could ensconce them there permanently.

Wednesday
4. Baylor at Okie St (6:00p.m.) (ESPNU) (At-risk game)****

Okie St is the hottest team in the Big 12, having won 5 straight times (4 in conference). They might be a Tier One caliber team, much to Baylor’s and KU’s chagrin, since both have yet to visit Stillwater. The Big 12 Title might well be decided by what the Bears and Jayhawks do in Eskimo Joe-ville.

 

5. West Virginia at Oklahoma (8:00p.m.) (ESPN) (At-risk game)****

Your basic must win game for WVU. You are not likely to end the season as Big 12 champions if you get swept by the conference’s last place team—even if that last place team is the best last place team in the country.

--Mark

REAL STANDINGS: NO BIG DEAL EDITION

MIDWEEK ACTION IN REVIEW

First, an apology. In the last edition of the REAL Standings, I stated that Scott Drew had lost more games in Phog Allen Fieldhouse than Bill Self (9-8). It was pointed out to me later that it was actually a tie at 9-9.

But as of Wednesday night, I was correct. Self now trails Drew 9-10. So you could say I was wrong on Sunday. Or that I was ahead of my time.

Self also leads Drew in wins in Allen Fieldhouse 217-0.

As for that game’s effect on the REAL Standings, it was zero.

I do wish I had a dollar for every time I read or heard since the game that KU was in “sole possession of first place” in the Big 12. I wouldn’t retire, but I could. From Dick Vitale to the Kansas City Star to the Lawrence Journal World to the NY Times , to local and national radio commentators, to the radio interview of the Star’s Blair Kerkhoff, no one seemed to REALize that the Jayhawks had not REALly accomplished anything: they had only held their ground; they had merely avoided going backward; they had simply played Baylor in Lawrence first.

One exception to this lack of awareness was none other than Bill Self. Without citing the REAL Standings, he basically stated its premise: “If we hadn’t have won tonight, obviously, we weren’t out of the race, but we know it would’ve been more of an uphill climb.”

By winning, all the Jayhawks accomplished was to make it less of an uphill climb. There are no gimmes in the Big 12, and Baylor will be waiting their turn to play Home team in Waco on February 18. As noted in the last REAL Standings Report and demonstrated by the Bears for 39 minutes and 58.7 seconds Wednesday, this is not your father’s Baylor team: It looks like it has been coached, and it has some mental toughness. You would not want to go into Waco having to win to keep your title hopes alive. Well, now the Jayhawks don’t have to if all goes well until then.

The bottom line is that KU and Baylor remain tied atop the REAL Big 12 Standings and will continue to do so through the weekend unless KU ‘s Home Court winning streak ends at the hands of Iowa St or Baylor falls to K-State in Waco,

The most important move in the REAL Standings in the Midweek games was made by West Virginia, which picked up a half game by defeating Iowa St in an at-risk contest in Ames. As a result, the Mountaineers moved within two REAL games of KU and Baylor, with Road games remaining with both. In other words: “opportunity.”

The biggest moves were made by TCU, picking up a full game in the REAL Standings by winning a projected loss game in Overtime at K-State; and by Okie St, which won its projected loss game on a three pointer by Phil Forte in the final 10 seconds—this one week to the day OU lost to Texas on a flukey three-pointer at the buzzer. Oh, well. At least either OU or K-State will have to win when they play each other. Probably in the final second of the fourth overtime.

Texas also downed Texas Tech at Home. No change in the REAL Standings there.

         

                                                   CURRENT TIERS

Tier 1:

KU, Baylor, West Virginia

Tier 2:

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

 

CURRENT PROJECTIONS

1. 14-4

KU (8-1)

Projected L’s (at BU)

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

Baylor (7-2)

Projected L’s: None

At risk games (at OSU, at Tech, at ISU, at UT)

3. 12-6

WVU (6-3) 

Projected L’s (at KU, at BU)

At risk games (at OU, at TCU)                      

4. 8.5-9.5

ISU (5-4)

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

At risk games (vs. BU)

TCU(4-5)

Projected L’s (at BU, at ISU, at KU, at OU)

At risk games: (vs. WVU)

6. 7.5-10.5

K-State (4-5)

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

At risk games (KU)                                      

7. 7-11

Okie State (3-6) 

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

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

Tech (3-6)

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

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

9. 6-12

UT (3-6)

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

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

10. 5.5-12.5

OU (2-7)

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

At risk games (vs. WVU)

 

                                         AS SEEN ON TV

Saturday

Texas at TCU (12 News:00p.m.) (ESPN) (Projected W: TCU)***

The Horned Frogs beat Texas in Austin to turn their season around.  The Longhorns’ chance to return the favor.        

Iowa St at KU (1:00p.m.) (ESPN) (Projected W: KU)***1/2

Just a reminder: There are no gimmes in the Big 12. Even for the top teams at    Home.                                                

K-State at Baylor (2:00p.m.) (ESPN News) (Projected W: Baylor)***1/2

Baylor has allowed Second Tier teams to play hang around at Home. And K-State is   a desperate team right now, in neeed of a signature win prior to Selection Sunday. Can they help themselves and KU at the same time? Basketball makes strange bedfellows.

Okie St at West Virginia (4:00p.m.) (ESPNU) (Projected W: WVU)***1/2

The two hottest teams in the league face each other. Okie St has won 4 straight, WVU 3. The Sooners won in Morgantown: Why not their in-state rivals?                                    

Oklahoma at Texas Tech (600p.m.) (ESPNU) (Projected W: Texas Tech)***

Not a glamorous game by any means. And that’s all I’m going to say about that.                                                         

--Mark

REAL STANDINGS: BEFORE A MONSTER GAME

More stupid announcer tricks:

  • During the K-State/Tennessee game, K-State was down 57-46. They score a basket to make the score 57-48. They foul Tennessee. The Vols make one free throw and extend their lead to 58-48. K-State brings the ball up court. Tom Hart says, “K-State has been unable to get within single digits. This is their chance.”

           Uh, Tom. They were within single digits three seconds ago.

 

  • During the Oklahoma/Texas game on Monday, Fran and his sidekick noted in amazement that, seven games into the conference season, KU had already distanced itself from everyone but Baylor—and, of course, Baylor trailed the Jayhawks in the newspaper standings by a full game at the time.

           And these guys get paid good money to talk about basketball. To talk about the Big 12. SMH.

          Even without the REAL Standings, anyone who was paying attention during non-conference play was aware before the first conference games on December 30 that there were only three teams in contention: KU, Baylor, and WVU.

          Anyone paying attention to the REAL Standings REALized while Fran was talkin that Baylor did not trail the Jayhawks by a full game. Or even a half game. They were in a flat out tie for the conference lead. Yes, the Bears had a loss, but it was at West Virginia. KU had not yet played at West Virginia, which was a projected loss in the REAL Standings. (Not to mention a predicted loss by virtually anyone else.)The Jayhawks could, certainly, leave Morgantown with a full game lead, but they would have to earn it. Until then, KU’s perceived one game lead atop the conference standings was simply a mirage.

          Indeed, KU lost in West Virginia, and the mirage of a one game lead over Baylor vanished.

          As a result, nothing of significance happened in the REAL Standings. KU’s projected record of 14-4 changed not. Baylor’s projected record, likewise, remained at 14-4 when it won, as projected, vs. Texas Tech in Waco.

          In other games, all three Home favorites won as projected: Okie St over TCU, Texas over Oklahoma, and Iowa St over K-State.

 

                                                   CURRENT TIERS

Tier 1:

KU, Baylor, West Virginia

Tier 2:

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

 

CURRENT PROJECTIONS

  1. 14-4

KU (7-1)

Projected L’s (at BU)

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

 

Baylor (7-1)

Projected L’s (at KU)

At risk games (at OSU, at Tech, at ISU, at UT)

  1. 11.5-6.5

WVU (5-3) 

Projected L’s (at KU, at BU)

At risk games (at ISU, at OU, at TCU)

         

  1. 9-9

ISU (5-3)

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

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

 

  1. 8.5-9.5

 

K-State (4-4)

 

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

At risk games (KU)                                      

  1. 7.5-10.5

TCU(3-5)

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

At risk games: (vs. WVU)

 

  1. 7-11

Tech (3-5)

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

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

 

  1. 6.5-11.5

OU (2-6)

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

At risk games (vs. WVU)

 

  1. 6-12

UT (2-6)

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

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

 

Okie State (2-6) 

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

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

 

 

                                         AS SEEN ON TV

Monday

  1. Okie St at Oklahoma (8:00p.m.) (ESPN) (Projected W: OU)***1/2

       Might not mean much in the Big 12 standings, but who doesn’t like Bedlam?  

 

Tuesday                                                                       

  1. West Virginia at Iowa St (8:00p.m.) (ESPN2) (At-risk game)****

      With a loss at Home and two on the Road, the Mountaineers can’t let this one get away. But if they can’t win in               Lubbock or the Octagon, how do they expect to cope vs. Hilton’s Magic? Harry Potter is not walking through that           door.

 

Wednesday                                                                  

  1. TCU at K-State (6:30p.m.) (ESPN News) (Projected W: K-State)***1/2

     It has been said before, but there is no such thing as a gimme in the Big 12. And every game is critical. Especially if      K-State wants to continue its dream of making the Field of 68.

  1. Texas Tech at Texas (8:00p.m.) (ESPNU) (Projected W: UT)***1/2

       Tech had to work hard to avoid beating Baylor Wednesday night in Waco. ESPN is grateful, because it set up the          Big 12 Game of the Year (so far) on Wednesday:               

  1. Baylor at Kansas (8:00p.m.) (ESPN2) (Projected W: KU)*****

      When both teams won Saturday evening, this became a monster game. Probably two top 5 teams. Maybe two Top       3 teams. Biggest game in Allen Fieldhouse since the Jayhawks played Buddy Hield and Oklahoma last year.

       And make no mistake about it. It is bigger for KU than Baylor. A KU win has no effect on the REAL Standings, as          both teams’ REAL record will remain 14-4. A Baylor win puts KU behind the 8 ball by two full games: The                      Jayhawks would drop to 13-5 compared to the Bears’ 15-3.

       Two  things to note about this game:

         a. This is not your father’s Baylor team. It appears to be organized and mentally tough. Is Scott Drew improving as a coach, having learned every way to avoid screwing up by actually screwing up in every possible way through the years? Is he one of those coaches who works better with second level talent than with the demands presented by elite players? Or did he just get lucky that this particular group just happened to “gel”?

          b. Regardless, Scott Drew has the distinction of having lost more games at Allen Fieldhouse (9) than Bill Self (8).

--Mark

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