REAL Standings: The revenant edition

 

              What do Lon Kruger and Bill Self have in common? No, I mean other than being two of the best college basketball coaches in all the land.

The answer is they both suck at the same thing: playing their alma maters on the Road. Self’s No. 3 ranked team got rolled by a mediocre Okie St team earlier this season.  It was his third straight loss in Stillwater.

Kruger’s No. 1 ranked team lost to K-State Saturday. It was his fourth straight loss in Manhattan.

More importantly OU’s loss of a half game in the REAL Standings brought them back to the pack. West Virginia is now tied with the Sooners for the league lead, and KU and Baylor pulled (or, more accurately, were dragged) to within one game of Oklahoma.

              The only other game that involved any movement in the REAL Standings was Iowa St defeating Okie St in Stillwater. Certainly, the loss of a half game was meaningless in the big picture for Okie St; it did, however, keep ISU as alive as Hugh Glass after his run-in with that bear.

              In other action, all non-consequential, KU took care of business on the Road by beating TCU as projected; Texas defeated Tech at Home as projected; and West Virginia downed Baylor at Home as projected.

                                                                        CURRENT TIERS

1.       Oklahoma

West Virginia

Texas

Kansas

Baylor

Iowa State

2.       K-State

Texas Tech

Okie St

3.       TCU

                                                          HOW WE GOT HERE

Good W’s (Road wins at Power 6 venues):

·       Texas (at WVU, at Baylor)

·       Oklahoma (at Baylor)

·       West Virginia (at Iowa St)

·       Baylor (at Iowa St)

·       KU and ISU (None)

Bad L’s (Losses at Home or at TCU):

·       KU and OU (None)

·       WVU (vs. UT)

·       UT (at TCU)

·       Baylor (vs. OU, vs. UT)

·       ISU (vs. Baylor, vs. WVU)

                                                                        CURRENT PROJECTIONS

1.           12.5-5.5

              OU (7-3):           

Projected L’s (at WVU, at UT)

              At risk games (at Tech)

              WVU (8-2)

              Projected L’s (at KU, at UT, at Baylor)

              At risk games (at OSU)

3.           12-6

              UT 7-3):              

Projected L’s (at OU, at ISU)

              At risk games (at K-State, at Okie St)

4.           11.5-6.5

              Baylor (6-4):

Projected L’s (at UT, at OU)

              At risk games (at K-State)

              KU (7-3):            

Projected L’s (at OU, at BU, at UT)

              At risk games (at K-State)

6.           10.5-7.5

ISU (6-4):

Projected L’s (at BU, at WVU, at KU)

              At risk games (at Tech) 

7.           6-12

              Texas Tech (3-7):

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

              At risk games (vs. ISU, vs, OU)

K-State (3-7):

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

At risk games (vs. BU, at TCU, vs. KU, vs. UT)

9.           5.5-12.5

Okie State (2-8): 

Projected L’s (at KU, at OU, at ISU)

At risk games (at TCU, vs. WVU, vs. UT)

10.         2-16

TCU (1-9):

Projected L’s (at WVU, at ISU, at Tech, vs. BU, at K-State, vs. OU)

At risk games: (vs. Okie St, vs. K-State)

 

                                                          AS SEEN ON TV

MONDAY:

6:00p.m.: Okie St at TCU (ESPNU)* (At risk)

“Dear, why don’t we watch a good basketball game?”

“Now, Mother, we are settlers. I’ve settled for games like Oklahoma St at TCU all my life. Except they used to be called the Southwest Conference Game of the Week.”

“But Texas is playing Oklahoma. That game would be far more satisfying to watch.”

“We find our satisfaction elsewhere. The boy has his stick and hoop. The girl has her faceless doll. And you have your cabbages.”

“And you have your foot stomping.”

“Yes, I do. Me and cousin Drew.”

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

Fortunately for Mother, the Texas/OU game starts after the Southwest Conference Game of the Week--I mean Okie St at TCU-- should be over.

Who woulda thunk when Cam Ridley got injured that UT could take command of the Big 12 race on February 8? If they can beat the Sooners on the Road two days after OU was ripped by K-State in Manhattan, they are the best team in the league. The jump shooting Lon Krugers will be loaded for bear. Not of the Baylor variety. More like the one that, had Hugh Glass been loaded for, Leo Dicaprio would be out of Oscar luck for another year.

TUESDAY

6:00p.m.: West Virginia at KU (ESPN2)**** (Projected W: KU)

And you thought Allen Fieldhouse was pandemonium personified for Oklahoma and Kentucky. That was kid stuff.

WEDNESDAY

7:15p.m.: Baylor at K-State (ESPNU)**** (At risk)

Uh-oh. K-State has learned to finish. At least at Home.

8:00p.m.: Iowa St at Texas Tech (ESPNU)*** (At risk)

              With two Home losses, the Cyclones need all of the at risk W’s it can get.       

--Mark

 

 

 

             

 

 

REAL Standings: Stuck in the Middle with ESPN-U Edition

 

              No changes in Tiers or REAL Standings this weekend, being the Saturday of the Big 12/SEC challenge. 

              The question, is: What did we learn from the ten games matching the two conferences?

Well, we learned the following:

1.       It was fun. A bit of fun thrown into the middle of a long, draining, conference double round robin race of 18 games has to be a good thing, right?

2.       It was a critical success. Everyone other than the coaches involved seemed to enjoy it. It gave the two conferences a day in the basketball sun, overshadowing every other conference and every other team in the country for at least one day. That has to be a good thing, right?

Blair Kerkhoff of the KC Star had his own list of pros and cons of playing these non-con games in the middle of conference in Monday’s paper. The only thing he got wrong was warning to be careful not to equate one successful day with long term success: his point was, in essence, what happens when the novelty wears off? He pointed out that the college football playoffs were wildly successful in Year One, but where were the viewers in Year Two?

Not the best analogy. Where the viewers were, Blair, was at New Year’s Eve parties and other events welcoming in 2016. The lesson to be learned here is simple: Don’t schedule future Big 12/SEC challenges on New Year’s Eve. The two conferences are smart enough to do that, right?

3.       Speaking of college football, the absolute worst aspect of what is otherwise an awesome game, is the lack of inter-conference games between teams of all strength levels. There is no way to judge the relative strengths of the conferences during the regular season, which leads to a lot of guessing that results in teams being overrated because entire conferences are overrated: there is no way to set the record straight as long as teams are avoiding opponents who might inflict losses on them that can keep them out of the 4 team playoff or one of the 32 or so bowl games.

College basketball has been much better in this respect for years. There are a veritable plethora of early season tournaments and games on aircraft carriers where the strongest teams play each other, as do the middle and lower class teams.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of these inter-conference games that serve as a litmus test of conference strength are played in November and December, before many teams have become the teams they REALly are by mid-season. A slate of games between power conferences in late January, with teams of varying strengths, is a much better gauge of actual conference strength when Selection Sunday arrives six weeks hence.

So hooray for that. Now let’s do something similar involving all five power conferences in football—including, e.g., Ohio St vs. Oklahoma and KU vs. Oregon St.

4.       The Big 12 is a bitch of a conference for visiting teams. Of course, we already knew that. All five Big 12 Home teams came away from the weekend with W’s. Only two of the five that went on the Road can say the same: both hailing from the state that, according to UT legend, keeps Texas from falling into the Gulf of Mexico.

I have read or heard many times how Iowa St was so hot but failed in their quest to beat their third Top 5 time in two weeks. For some reason, no one I have been exposed to has pointed out that Texas A&M was the first team meeting that description that the Cyclones played away from Ames.

5.       Is there a better worst team anywhere than TCU? The Horned Frogs took out Rick Barnes and Tennessee at Home.

6.       Is there a better next to worst team anywhere than Texas Tech? The Red Raiders did everything but bear Arkansas in Fayetteville, falling by a Razorthin margin in O.T. to a pretty good Razorback team.

7.       Are there two better next to worst to worst teams anywhere than Okie St and K-State? Okie St took out Auburn on the Road by double digits just days after K-State mopped the floor with the Cowboys in Manhattan.

8.       If West Virginia, victims of the Big 12’s worst loss (at Florida), wants to be in the conference race to the end, they need Jonathan Holton unsuspended. Which will happen soon, according to a friend of mine, just before they play KU in Lawrence. And I have to say, my friend is one smart Cookie about such things.

9.       Seven of the REAL Standings Projected Winners won, the exceptions being Tech, Iowa St, and West Virginia. (You could look it up.)

10.   That’s all I’ve got, but who stops a list at 9.                                               

                                                          AS SEEN ON TV

MONDAY:

8:00p.m.: Texas at Baylor **** (Projected W: BU)

Is this the night Baylor comes crashing to earth?

But enough about their legal problems. UT is getting better as the season goes along. They are not going to win the conference title, but they are my pick to decide who does. Unless Okie St already did.

TUESDAY

7:00p.m.: TCU at Oklahoma * (Projected W: OU)

Sorry, Frogs. This is not Tennessee at Home.

8:00p.m.: West Virginia at Iowa St *** (Projected W: ISU)

Normally, a game between two Tier 1 teams would receive a 4 Star rating. Add a Star if Holton plays.

WEDNESDAY

8:00p.m.: K-State at KU ***1/2 (Projected W: KU)

Why a 3.5 Star rating with K-State’s starting PG listed as questionable? Bruce Weber has his team playing tough even with talent deficiencies up and down the lineup. And it will be interesting to see how the Jayhawks respond four days after surviving one of the wildest games and atmospheres in Allen Fieldhouse history. This game could easily make it to the under 8 minute T.O.

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

A nice match-up of Tier 2 teams. It would be well worth watching if scheduled at a different time.

--Mark

 

 

 

             

 

 

REAL Standings: The Calm Before the Calm Edition

              Okay, Baylor. You can assume the position any time now and go away. We are coming up on the mid-point of the Big 12 season, and if midnight is not fast approaching, 6:00p.m. is. That is about as long as you can retain possession of the glass slipper.

              Or is it?

              It appeared that you understood your proper place in the scheme of things last Saturday after losing in Waco to Oklahoma without putting up much of a fight. And then, instead of fading away into oblivion, you went where wise men fear to tread, where KU was trounced one week earlier, where OU was lucky to get out alive, and departed from Stillwater with a half game pick up in the REAL Standings as victors in an at risk game.

              As a result, the Bears are the only team within a game of OU eight games into the conference race. The question is: for how long? Is it possible they have a REAL coach?

              Time will tell. Good coaches more often have bad years than bad coaches have great ones.

Not much to report from the other midweek games. All four of the projected winners prevailed at Home: Iowa St over KU; Texas over TCU (avenging their loss in Fort Worth); Oklahoma over Texas Tech; and West Virginia over K-State.

                                                                        CURRENT TIERS

1.       Kansas

Baylor

Oklahoma

West Virginia

Iowa State 

2.       K-State

Texas

Texas Tech

Okie St

3.       TCU

                                                          CURRENT PROJECTIONS

1.           13.5-4.5

              OU (6-2):           

Projected L’s (at WVU)

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

2.           13-5

              Baylor (6-2):

Projected L’s (at WVU, at OU)

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

3.           12-6

              KU (5-3):            

Projected L’s (at OU, at BU)

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

WVU (6-2):        

Projected L’s (at ISU, at KU, at BU)

              At risk games (at UT, at Okie St)

5.           11-7

ISU (5-3):

Projected L’s (at BU, at WVU, at KU)

              At risk games (at Okie St, at Tech)

6.           8-10

              UT (5-3):            

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

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

7.           6.5-11.5

Okie State (2-6): 

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

              At risk games (vs. ISU, at TCU, vs. WVU)

8.           6-12

              Texas Tech (2-6):

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

              At risk games (vs. ISU, vs, OU)

K-State (2-6):

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

At risk games (vs. OU, vs. BU, at TCU, vs. KU)

10.         2-16

TCU (1-7):

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

At risk games: (vs. Okie St, vs. K-State)

                                                          AS SEEN ON TV

SATURDAY: Big 12/SEC Challenge

11:00a.m.: West Virginia at Florida (ESPN) (Projected W:  WVU)

11:00a.m.: Vanderbilt at Texas (ESPN2) (Projected W: Texas)

1:00p.m.: Ole Miss at K-State (ESPNU)  (Projected W: K-State)

1:00p.m.: Tennessee at TCU (ESPN2) (Projected W: TCU)

1:00p.m.: Iowa St at Texas A&M (ESPN)  (Projected W: ISU)

4:00p.m.: Oklahoma at LSU (ESPN) (Projected W: Oklahoma)

5:00p.m.: Georgia at Baylor (ESPN2) (Projected W: Baylor)

6:00p.m.: Kentucky at Kansas (ESPN) (Projected W: Kansas)

7:00p.m.: Okie St at Auburn (ESPN2) (Projected W: Okie St)

--Mark

 

 

 

             

 

Oh, You Sooners! Edition

              The newspaper standings say there are four teams tied for first place in the Big 12.

              The REAL Standings tell a different story. The REAL story.

              Which is that the Big 12 title is Oklahoma’s to lose. Like the other three teams with whom they are tied in the newspaper, the Sooners have two losses. However, in OU’s case, it is ONLY two losses after having played KU, Iowa St and Baylor on the Road. Their only remaining Road game against one of the conference’s power (Tier 1) teams is at West Virginia.

              Baylor, on the other hand, has two losses with Road games remaining at West Virginia and—wait for it—the team that handled them with ease in Waco Saturday (OU).

              KU has two losses with Road trips to Iowa St, Baylor, and OU yet to come.

              WVU has two losses with upcoming Road trips to Iowa ST, KU, and Baylor.

              And last (and) least, Iowa St has three (count ‘em, three) losses and still has to visit Baylor, West Virginia, and Allen Fieldhouse.

              In other words, teams 2 through 5 in this week’s Real Standings need to spend some time on their knees praying that KU or Baylor (or both) win in Norman. Or that the Sooners get taken out by a Tier Two team in Lubbock, Manhattan or Austin. Or both.

              Or everyone can hope against hope that OU screws up. Which is a possibility. As the Sooners get closer to the prize, the pressure will build. The pressure to make three pointers will build. Which is not  good for a team that relies so much on the three. In Waco on Saturday, the Sooners downed Baylor by connecting on 16 of 28 three pointers.  

Who wouldn’t win making 48 points on 28 shots? That’s like making 86% of your two point shots.

But what happens when they go 6 for 28?  

Or are they impervious to that? They are shooting 46% as a team for the season.

              At any rate, for the moment, anyway, Buddy Hield’s dream of stopping KU’s string of Big 12 championships is not only alive, but just sitting there waiting to be plucked like low hanging fruit.

              In REAL Standings terms, OU picked up a full game on the rest of the field with its win in Waco. And, by dealing Baylor a Home loss, it picked up two games vs. the Bears.

              Later on Saturday afternoon, West Virginia avoided falling into oblivion by ending the game on an 8-0 run for a fourpoint victory in Lubbock. Ergo, a half game pickup instead of a half game drop. Enough to mean the difference between staying in the mix for a title chase and having to turn their attention to March.

              In other games, KU defeated Texas at Home as projected; Iowa State defeated TCU on the Road as projected; and K-State stomped fellow Tier 2 denizen Okie St in Manhattan as projected (the win, not the stomp).

              Which raises the question: How can Okie St beat KU by 19 points on Tuesday, then lose to K-State by 16 four days later? Is it because:

(a)    K-State is 35 points better than KU?

(b)    The Home court is worth 17.5 points in the Big 12?

(c)     Bruce Weber has finally exorcised the ghost of Bill Self?

(d)    Who the hell knows—that’s why they play the games.

                                                                      CURRENT TIERS

1.       Kansas

Baylor

Oklahoma

West Virginia

Iowa State

2.       K-State

Texas

Texas Tech

Okie St

3.       TCU

                                                          CURRENT PROJECTIONS

1.           13.5-4.5

              OU (5-2):           

Projected L’s (at WVU)

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

2.           12.5-5.5

              Baylor (5-2):

Projected L’s (at WVU, at OU)

              At risk games (at Okie St, at K-State, at UT)

3.           12-6

              KU (5-2):            

Projected L’s (at ISU, at OU, at BU)

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

WVU (5-2):        

Projected L’s (at ISU, at KU, at BU)

              At risk games (at UT, at Okie St)

5.           11-7

ISU (3-3):

Projected L’s (at BU, at WVU, at KU)

              At risk games (at Okie St, at Tech)

6.           8-10

              UT (4-3):            

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

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

7.           7-11

Okie State (2-4): 

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

              At risk games (vs. BU, vs. ISU, at TCU, vs. WVU)

8.           6-12

              Texas Tech (2-5):

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

              At risk games (vs. ISU, vs, OU)

K-State (2-5):

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

At risk games (vs. OU, vs. BU, at TCU, vs. KU)

10.         2-16

TCU (1-6):

Projected L’s (at UT, at OU, vs. KU, at WVU, at ISU, at Tech, vs. BU, at K-State, vs. OU)

At risk games: (vs. Okie St, vs. K-State)

                                                          AS SEEN ON TV

MONDAY

8:00p.m.: Kansas at Iowa St (ESPN) **** (Projected W:  ISU)

              The Jayhawks are not in desperation mode yet. A W here, and they are a half game back of Oklahoma (assuming an OU win vs. Tech) and back in the hunt for their 12th straight Big 12 title.  A third straight loss on the Road, however, and you have to wonder where the all-important Road victories necessary to win a championship will come from.

TUESDAY

6:00p.m.: Texas Tech at Oklahoma (ESPN2) *1/2 (Projected W: OU)

              Tech will win this game if they make 16 of 28 three point shots.

6:00p.m.: K-State at West Virginia (ESPN3) ** (Projected W: WVU)

              West Virginia defeated K-State in double overtime in the first conference game of the season for both teams. The Mountaineers better play better than they did in Morgantown last week vs. Texas, or they could be looking at its second straight Home loss to a Tier 2 team. Which might leave them with too big of a mountain to eer.

7:00p.m.: TCU at Texas (LHFN) * (Projected W: UT)

              Texas left Lawrence saying, “We know we’re as good as KU.” So they have confidence.

              They lost to TCU in Fort Worth. So they have motivation.

              It’s like feeding the Texas Christians to the Longhorns.

WEDNESDAY

8:00p.m.: Baylor at Okie St (ESPNU) ***1/2 (At risk game)

              Both teams come in off humbling defeats. A victory for Baylor on the court where KU was blown out and OU was lucky to hold on will pull them back to within half a game of the Sooners at the top of the REAL Standings.

--Mark

 

 

 

             

 

 

"Whaddaya mean there are no nights off?" EditION

 

              I have heard a common refrain from a number of different sources recently. It goes something like this:

“Of course KU wins the Big 12 every year; they play in Allen Fieldhouse. They have the biggest Home court advantage west of Durham, North Carolina and east of, well, Durham North Carolina. They start off every season 9-0 in conference. How could they not pick up enough wins on the Road to win the league championship?”

There is some truth to this.  It is easier to win Home games when your crowd won’t let you get down. When it is always there to pick you up. 

However, there is a corollary to this theory that goes like this:

“Although life is easier at Home when you play at AFH, it is tougher on the Road. No other Big 12 team plays before packed houses game after game, wherever they go, whenever they go. No one else plays nine games in arenas where, for this one game, the fans refuse to let their team get down, Where the fans are there to pick their team up for this forty minutes (or longer if necessary). Where they are poised to charge onto the court if the final buzzer sounds with their team in the lead.”

Which brings us to Tuesday night. A Road game for KU against a Tier 3 team with a 1-4 newspaper record and a projected REAL Standings record of 2.5-15.5.  Not to mention a less than capacity crowd without much apparent passion, at least at tip-off (according to my source in attendance). Should have been one of the easy Road W’s that, along with nine Home wins, add up to a twelfth straight championship.

Well, no. A 67-86 loss for the Jayhawks. The worst kind of loss. A loss in a Projected Win Game. To that point, there had been only one other example of a PWG loss in the Big 12 this season: Iowa St losing at Home to Baylor. (Unless you count Texas, when they were considered Tier 1 worthy, at TCU. More about that later.)

One such loss is not necessarily fatal. KU has overcome them before: on the Road at Texas Tech and TCU; at Home vs. Texas A&M, UT, and Okie St. But it does cut into your margin of error. Big time.

Which raises the question: Whose PWG loss is worse, Iowa St’s or KU’s?

On the one hand, Iowa St at least gets a chance to atone for their loss when they play Baylor in Waco. A W in that Projected Loss Game, and they are back to Square One. As in Even-Steven. As in No Harm, No Foul.

But there is nothing you can do to atone for losing to a Tier 3 team. Beating them later at Home has no effect on the REAL Standings. You remain -1 for the season vs. that team.

But Riddle me this: When is a tier 3 team not a Tier 3 team?

Maybe—just maybe—when it is Oklahoma St.

It was noted in the last REAL Standings report that:

"Okie St has been playing above its paygrade recently, but with nothing to show for it. After trailing by 16, they were one bounce away from beating OU in Stillwater. After trailing by 23 in Austin, they closed within three before UT held on at the free throw line. In other words, if KU is fortunate enough to take a workable lead in this game, here are two words of advice from someone Who is knowledgeable about such things: Don’t Blink."

              The problem for the Jayhawks is that they never took a workable lead AND they Blinked. And Okie St took advantage.

Along with their other recent performances, Okie St demonstrated that they are not a bottom feeder. They are capable of playing anyone tough at Home. They are a legit Tier 2 team.  The good news is that this makes the fact of KU’s loss somewhat less devastating.  The bad news is the manner of the loss (19 points and a non-competitive second half) remains inexplicable.

Still, even defeating the Tier 2 Cowboys in February at Home will result in a net negative of .5 in the REAL Standings.

Again, what is worse: a certain -.5 in the REAL Standings or a potential push offset by the possibility (probability) of a net -1?

Pick your poison.

              The following day, West Virginia became the latest Tier 1 team to drop a Projected Win Game. This one at Home to a Tier 2 Texas team. Or, with this victory, did UT earn its way back to Tier 1 status?

              Let’s not jump the gun. However, as mentioned in the last REAL Standings Report, UT thinks it has turned the corner.

              In other mid-week action, Texas Tech picked up half a game in the REAL Standings with its at risk victory on the Road at TCU; Iowa St won at Home as projected vs. Oklahoma; and Baylor won as projected at Home vs. K-State.

                                                                        CURRENT TIERS

1.       Kansas

Baylor

Oklahoma

West Virginia

Iowa State

2.       K-State

Texas

Texas Tech

Okie St

3.       TCU

                                                          CURRENT PROJECTIONS

1.           13.5-4.5

              Baylor (5-1):

             Projected L’s (at WVU, at OU)

              At risk games (at Okie St, at K-State, at UT)

2.           12.5-5.5

              OU (4-2):           

             Projected L’s (at BU, at WVU)

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

3.           12-6

              KU (4-2):            

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

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

 

4.           11.5-6.5

              WVU (4-2):        

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

              At risk games (at Tech, at UT, at Okie St)

5.           11-7

              ISU (3-3):

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

              At risk games (at Okie St, at Tech)

6.           8-10

              UT (4-2):            

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

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

7.           7-11

               Okie State (2-4): 

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

                At risk games (vs. BU, vs. ISU, at TCU, vs. WVU)

8.           6.5-11.5

              Texas Tech (2-4):

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

              At risk games (vs.  WVU, vs. ISU, vs, OU)

              K-State (1-5):

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

              At risk games (vs, OU, vs. BU, at Okie St, at TCU, vs. KU)

10.         2-16

               TCU (1-5):

               Projected L’s (vs. ISU, at UT, at OU, vs. KU, at WVU, at ISU, at Tech, vs. BU, at K-State,                vs. OU)

                 At risk games: (vs. Okie St, vs. K-State)

                                                          AS SEEN ON TV

SATURDAY

11:00a.m.: Oklahoma at Baylor (ESPNU) **** (Projected W:  BU)

              The Sooners’ chance to leap-frog the Bears into first place in the REAL Standings.

12:00 noon: West Virginia at Texas Tech (ESPN3) *** (At risk game)

The old saying about going from the penthouse to the outhouse is appropriate here because (a) West Virginia, with a loss here, will have dropped 1.5 games in the REAL Standings in four days; and (b) it’s West Virginia. BTW—do they have penthouses in West Virginia?             

1:00p.m.: Texas at KU (ESPN N) **** (Projected W: KU)

Whatever is lower than the outhouse is where KU will reside if they allow their Road woes to follow them Home.

If UT wins, better get ready to hear the phrase, “There’s a new sheriff in town,” early and often.

3:00p.m.: Iowa St at TCU (ESPNU) ** (Projected W: ISU)

TCU makes a run at turning the Big 12 into a two Tier league.

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

Will Okie St justify its battlefield promotion to Tier 2? Will K-State justify staying there?

--Mark

 

 

 

             

 

 

REAL Standings: Spot the Faux Pas Edition

 

              

              Let’s play the game of knowledge and skill that is sweeping the nation: Spot the Faux Pas.

              This week’s entry comes to us from Oklahoma. In her column about the Sooners’ last second victory over West Virginia on Saturday in Norman, Jenni Carlson of the Daily Oklahoman wrote:

                     On an afternoon OU avoided the same fate as top-ranked Kansas earlier this                      week and staked its claim on the No. 1 ranking in all the land,                                                  Lattin’s putback that skidded along the back of the iron before falling                                    through the rim set off a wild celebration at Lloyd Noble Center.

              Okay, that was too easy. Who doesn’t know that losing to West Virginia at Home is a different and much worse fate from losing to West Virginia in Morgantown? One is a bump in the Road. The other a devastating setback that puts your season on the brink.

              One more rime: Road Wins are the currency of championships. Home losses are a recipe for also-ran status.

              The corollary being: Home Wins are pars on short par 5’s. As are Road losses to contenders.

              More accurately, Ms. Carlson should have said, “On an afternoon OU held serve at Home, the same as Kansas had done against the Sooners in Lawrence . . .”

              I have read Ms. Carlson from time to time and think she does a good job, so I don’t want to sound like I am picking on her, but let’s look to the same column for our next Faux Pas:

                      “It takes a tough team to battle West Virginia on the boards,” Sooner coach                          Lon Kruger said. “We’re not the most physical group.”

                      Maybe not, but this team is tough.

                       How else to explain battling back against Iowa State, then going three                                   overtimes at Kansas, then beating back Kansas State, then hanging on at                               Oklahoma State, then overcoming West Virginia.

          Here is how else:

·       Iowa State: Home game

·       Kansas: Granted. Played tough at the most difficult Road venue in the conference, perhaps the country. But lost.

·       Kansas State: You mean Tier 2 (for the time being), 1-4 K-State?

·       Okie St: Losing a 16 point lead to the league’s last place team, then being reduced to watching helplessly as the Cowboys’ game winning three bounces off the rim instead of through the hoop  does not say “tough” to me.

·       West Virginia: Home game.

Ms. Carlson notes that OU is so tough they are three points from being undefeated. The other side of that coin is that, despite playing four games they were projected to win, they could just as easily be 1-4.

 Now, I am not saying OU is not tough. Just that it is too early to tell. Let’s see them win a Road game against a Tier 1—or even Tier 2—team before drawing conclusions.

You also can’t tell how good at basketball the Sooners are from these games. Maybe they are not quite as good as advertised, and their “toughness” has allowed them to barely squeak by in games that should not have come down to one play.

Time will tell when OU plays more Road games against teams in Tiers 1 and 2. Especially if they win.

              Speaking of winning on the Road against Tier 1 and 2 teams, Baylor has been there, done that. Which is why the Bears sit atop the REAL Big 12 standings.

              In fact, Baylor, with its victory in Ames, is the only Big 12 team to win a game it was projected to lose.

              That’s right. The ONLY one.

              Having lost at KU, Baylor is 1-1 in Projected Loss Games.

              Every other contender is 0-1 in PLG’s. Iowa St lost at Oklahoma. Oklahoma lost at Kansas. Kansas lost at West Virginia. West Virginia lost at Oklahoma.

              For good measure, Baylor padded its resume Saturday with a buzzer victory in an at risk game in Lubbock.

              With this half game pickup, the Bears now lead KU and West Virginia by a full game in the RS and OU by a game and a half.

              Iowa St, likewise, picked up a half game in an at risk contest in Manhattan. In doing so, they pretty much avoided being relegated to the role of spoiler for the next 13 games.

              In games of no REAL consequence (a la OU vs. WVU), KU won at Home as projected vs. TCU; and Texas won as projected at Home vs. Okie St.

                                                                        CURRENT TIERS

    1.       Kansas

Baylor

Oklahoma

West Virginia

Iowa State

    2.       K-State

Texas

Texas Tech

    3.       Okie St

TCU

                                                          CURRENT PROJECTIONS

1.           14-4

              Baylor (4-1):

Projected L’s (at WVU, at OU)

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

2.           13-5

              KU (4-1):            

Projected L’s (at ISU, at OU, at BU)

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

WVU (4-1):        

Projected L’s (at ISU, at KU, at BU)

              At risk games (at Tech, at UT)

4.           12.5-5.5

              OU (4-1):           

Projected L’s (at ISU, at BU, at WVU)

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

5.           11.5-6.5

ISU (2-3):

Projected L’s (at BU, at WVU, at KU)

              At risk games (at Tech)

6.           7.5-10.5

              UT (3-2):            

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

              At risk games (vs. WVU, Vs. BU, vs. OU, vs. KU, at Okie St)

7.           6.5-11.5

              Texas Tech (1-3):

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

              At risk games (at TCU, vs.  WVU, vs. ISU, vs, OU, at Okie St)

K-State (1-4):

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

At risk games (vs, OU, vs. BU, at Okie St, at TCU, vs. KU)

9.           3-15

TCU (1-4):

Projected L’s (vs. ISU, at UT, at OU, vs. KU, at WVU, at ISU, at Tech, vs. BU, at K-State, vs. OU)

At risk games: (vs. Tech, vs. K-State)

10.         2.5-15.5

Okie State (1-4):  

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

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

                                                          AS SEEN ON TV

MONDAY

6:00p.m.: Texas Tech at TCU (ESPNU) * (At risk game)

              Who ya got? Smith or Johnson? The losing coach reveals his REAL last name.

8:00p.m.: Oklahoma at Iowa St (ESPN) **** (Projected W: ISU)

The Sooners are the Notre Dame of basketball. Their claim to fame is a close loss to a good team. Will a W in Ames validate their perception as a top team in the Big 12 and nationally? As for Iowa St, they cannot lose another Home game and maintain a REAListic hope of winning the Big 12 championship.

TUESDAY

6:00p.m.: KU at Okie St (ESPN) *** (Projected W: KU)

Okie St has been playing above its paygrade recently, but with nothing to show for it. After trailing by 16, they were one bounce away from beating OU in Stillwater. After trailing by 23 in Austin, they closed within three before UT held on at the free throw line. In other words, if KU is fortunate enough to take a workable lead in this game, here are two words of advice from someone Who is knowledgeable about such things: Don’t Blink.

WEDNESDAY

6:00p.m.: Texas at West Virginia (ESPNU) ***1/2 (Projected W: WVU)

UT has looked good in winning two straight at Home vs. Iowa St and Okie St. They think they have turned it around without Cameron Ridley. A Road W in Morgantown, and somebody else might believe them.

7:15p.m.: K-State at Baylor (ESPN3) ***1/2 (Projected W: BU)

I know you are waiting for the other shoe to drop on Baylor. It will be a surprise, however, if this is that game.

--Mark