REAL Standings: TC Who? Edition

posted by Mark on 1/28/2015 - -

Is this season going to come down to 1.8 seconds?

That is the amount of time remaining in overtime when TCU scored the game winning basket last Saturday at West Virginia, knocking the Mountaineers out of the Big 12 race. Good luck on trying to win the conference with two Home losses, one of them to Texas Christian.

That state of affairs lasted for 1.8 seconds, as TCU forgot to finish the game, not REALizing that overtime lasts five minutes, not 4 minutes, 58.2 seconds.

It would have been a good idea to play defense in the final 1.8 seconds.

Not that WVU picked up any REAL ground in the title chase. But they couldn’t have. Home victories against TCU don’t let you make headway vis-a-vis other Contenders.

What it did was keep the Mountaineers’ heads above water instead of desperately seeking that elusive hole in the ice he just fell through on a frozen lake in Minnesota.

Then, after staying alive, they took full advantage of the reprieve by picking up a half game in the REAL Standings by defeating K-State in an At-Risk game in Manhattan.

If WVU ends the season as champion or co, remember that 1.8 seconds.

In other mid-week action, KU picked up half a game by holding off TCU in an At-Risk game in a high school gym; Baylor dropped a half game by losing an At-Risk game at Okie St; Iowa St, as projected, defeated Texas at Home; and Oklahoma, as projected, downed Texas Tech at Home by 45 (point spread not projected).

As a result:

1. Iowa St, Oklahoma, and West Virginia are tied for second place at 11.5-6.5. One or more will likely have to figure out a way to walk out of Lawrence with a victory for any of them to make a serious run.

2. UT is not dead yet. They showed some life in the final minutes in Ames. They have four chances to make up ground quickly with Road games remaining at Baylor, Oklahoma, West Virginia, and KU. The problem is that they pretty much have to win all four, as well as every other game remaining on their schedule.

3. The Big 12 still goes through Lawrence. The season still has two games remaining before the half-way point is reached, but a 2.5 game lead after seven games is nothing to sneeze at.

Current Tiers

Tier 1: Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, West Virginia

Tier 2: K-State, Okie St, TCU

Tier 3: Texas Tech

REAL Standings:

1. 14-4

KU (6-1)
Projected Losses: at WVU, at OU
At risk games: at OSU, at KSU

2. 11.5-6.5

Iowa St: (5-2)
Projected Losses: at KU, at OU, at UT
At risk games: at OSU, at KSU, at TCU

Oklahoma (4-4)
Projected Losses: at ISU
At risk games: at OSU, at TCU, at KSU

West Virginia (5-2)
Projected Losses: at OU, at ISU, at BU, at KU
At risk games: at KSU, at OSU

5. 10-8

Baylor (3-4)
Projected Losses: at WVU, at KU, at ISU, at UT
At risk games: at OSU

6. 9.5-8.5

Texas (3-4)
Projected Losses: at BU, at OU, at WVU, at KU
At risk games: at KSU

7. 7.5-10.5

K-State (5-3)
Projected Losses: at KU, at WVU, at TCU, at BU, at UT
At risk games: at Tech, UT, OU, KU, ISU

Okie St (4-4)
Projected Losses: at UT, at BU, at TCU, at WVU
At risk games: OU, KU, ISU, WVU, at Tech

9. 5-13

TCU (1-6)
Projected Losses: at ISU, at BU, at UT, at KU, at OU, at OSU
At risk games: KU, OU, ISU

10. 2-16

Texas Tech (1-7)
Projected Losses: at WVU, at ISU, KU, at UT, BU, OU, at TCU, at BU
At risk games: KSU, OSU

BIG 12 SCHEDULE

Saturday

1. Texas Tech at West Virginia (11:00am)1/2*(Projected W:WVU)

My eyes glaze over just thinking of Tech on the Road. Wake me when they are back in Lubbock.

2. K-State at KU (1:00pm)**** (Projected W: KU)

Hey, wreck Silo Tech!

3. TCU at Iowa St (1:00pm). ** (Projected W: ISU)

Let’s see how crowded and rowdy Hilton is when the opponent is TCU. If the place isn’t rocking with energy, this one could get interesting.

4. Texas at Baylor (5:00pm) **** (Projected W: BU)

Texas probably needs to win out. It’s a long shot, but conceivable.

Baylor needs to win out. That’s inconceivable.

5. Oklahoma at Okie St (7:00pm)**** (At-risk game)

Bedlam Round 2. OU might wish they could have saved some of those points from the Tech game.

–Mark

REAL Standings: No. 11 stakes its claim to No. 11

posted by Mark on 1/24/2015 - -

The punditocracy has spoken.

The overwhelming consensus prior to the start of the Big 12 season was that KU was going down–as in they would be looking up at the champion for the first time since 2004–rather than sideways or down at everyday else.

And the team most mentioned as the Jayhawks’ likely successor?

Texas. And why not? They had the momentum from a strong league campaign last year, their top 30 or 40 players were returning, and the addition of the second best freshman big man in the conference, gave UT something KU was lacking for the first time in years: an eraser in the lane.

After Saturday’s action, the Big 12 title is, suddenly, KU’s to lose. And this is a team whose personality is that it does not like losing. Further, it is a team that has, somehow, quickly, made the transformation from young team with beaucoup talent to team of tough, mature competitors with beaucoup talent.

As for Texas: Rick Barnes’ team is on life support in the ICU.

In other games: K-State won at Home, as projected, vs. Okie St; West Virginia won (ho-hum) at Home as projected, vs. TCU; and Baylor won at Home, as projected, vs. Oklahoma.

Oh, and KU’s former co-leader, Iowa St, lost, not as projected, at Texas Tech.

As a result:

1. There are only two teams in the conference without a blemish (defined as either a Loss at Home or on the Road to a team two tiers lower). Both reside in Kansas. One resides in Tier One.

The other, K-State, is lobbying hard for a position in Tier One, what with a W at Oklahoma and no Home losses. However, impressive as the win in Norman was, it was only one game. It merited a battlefield promotion from Tier 3 to 2. They need another big, un-projected win to stake a claim to Contender status. Winning a game they were projected to win (Okie St at Home) won’t get them there.

2. As noted in the last REAL Standings Report, “Lubbock is where Championships can be lost.” Iowa St’s championship dreams are not entirely lost, despite its loss to Tech, because (a) it won at West Virginia, washing away the stench of its defeat on the High Plains, and (b) the Cycones still get a shot at KU in Lawrence. But more about that next time.

3. The Big 12 still goes through Lawrence. The Jayhawks are not merely the most talented team in the league, they might be the best competitors. If this is truly the case, to paraphrase Billy Packer: “This race is ovah.” Okay, it isn’t. Every Road game the rest of the way is loseable. Teams as good or better than this one have lost in Lubbock or Fort Worth.

Current Tiers

Tier 1: Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, West Virginia

Tier 2: K-State, Okie St, TCU

Tier 3: Texas Tech

REAL Standings:

1. 13.5-4.5

KU (5-1)
Projected Losses: at WVU, at OU
At risk games: at TCU, at OSU, at KSU

2. 11.5-6.5

Iowa St: (4-2)
Projected Losses: at KU, at OU, at UT
At risk games: at OSU, at KSU, at TCU

Oklahoma (3-4)
Projected Losses: at ISU
At risk games: at OSU, at TCU, at KSU

4. 11-7

West Virginia (4-2)
Projected Losses: at OU, at ISU, at BU, at KU
At risk games: at KSU, at OSU

5. 10.5-7.5

Baylor (3-3)
Projected Losses: at WVU, at KU, at ISU, at UT
At risk games: at OSU

6. 9.5-8.5

Texas (3-3)
Projected Losses: at ISU, at BU, at OU, at WVU, at KU
At risk games: at KSU

7. 8-10

K-State (5-2)
Projected Losses: at KU, at WVU, at TCU, at BU, at UT
At risk games: WVU, at Tech, UT, OU, KU, ISU

8. 7-11

Okie St (3-4)
Projected Losses: at UT, at BU, at TCU, at WVU
At risk games: BU, OU, KU, ISU, WVU, at Tech

9. 5.5-12.5

TCU (1-5)
Projected Losses: at ISU, at BU, at UT, at KU, at OU, at OSU
At risk games: KU, OU, ISU

10. 2-16

Texas Tech (1-6)
Projected Losses: at OU, at WVU, at ISU, KU, at UT, BU, OU, at TCU, at BU
At risk games: KSU, OSU

BIG 12 SCHEDULE

Monday

1. Texas at Iowa State (8:00pm)*****(Projected W: ISU)

Texas HAS to pick up a couple of Road wins vs. Contenders to re-enter the league title discussion. Iowa State MUST protect its Home court from here on out with KU having two Road wins on the plus side of its ledger. Not yet halfway through the season, this has the feel of one of those March elimination games.

Tuesday

2. West Virginia at K-State (6:00pm)**** (At-risk game)

Huggy Bear returns to the scene of the crime. You might call it Manhattan: CSI. A loss here, and the Mountaineers , who spent the last week losing big in Austin and fluking by TCU in Morgantown, might be in need of a body bag.

3. Baylor at Okie St (8:00pm). ****1/2 (At-risk game)

Forget Okie St. They aren’t going anywhere. A Tier 2 team they are, and a Tier 2 team they will stay. As for Baylor, they have a Home loss (to KU) and a loss in an at-risk game (at K-State). Another loss here, and they will be in the same position as if they had lost two Home games.

Wednesday

4. Texas Tech at Oklahoma (6:30pm) * (Projected W: OU)

The premise of the REAL Standings is that it’s a Hard Knock Life on the Road. And, unfortunately for Tech, the sun is not likely to come out for it Wednesday in Norman.

5. KU at TCU (8:00pm)**** (At-risk game)

Speaking of the scene of the crime, Fort Worth is the site of a Day that Will Live in Infamy.

Putting that forgettable moment aside, this game serves as another major hurdle in KU’s quest for No. 11. As mentioned earlier, the Jayhawks are showing a surprising level of maturity for such a young team. However, there are different types of maturity. There is the kind that it takes to keep your poise in a big game against teams with comparable talent, such as Iowa St, Oklahoma, and Texas. It is easy to remain focused in those contests, because it is necessary to focus. More than that, it is essential to focus.

In games like TCU, where the talent and reputation of the opponent are lacking, better and more experienced KU teams than this one have gone Ray Benson and walked away from a Lubbock or a Fort Worth with a capital L behind their name.

On the other hand, this game will be played at a high school venue, which should make KU’s High School All-Americans feel right at Home.

If the Jayhawks prevail in this one, they will then have to demonstrate their maturity as a front runner.

And after that. . .

–Mark

REAL Standings: The No Place Like the Big 12 Edition

posted by Mark on 1/22/2015 - -

There is more and more talk nationally among the talking heads about the Big 12 being the toughest conference in all the land.

Whether it is or not, it just might be the toughest conference on Road teams not visiting Texas Tech or TCU, who, between them have exactly zero Home conference Wins.

Which is why Iowa State and KU remain tied atop the REAL Big 12 Standings (and, strictly coincidentally, the newspaper standings). Both have a Road Win vs. a Contender and no Home losses.

The midweek games followed the REAL Standings script. KU won at Home as projected, although Oklahoma made the Jayhawks use every iota of the Phog Phactor to do it. Iowa State won at Home as projected, although K-State made the Cyclones summon every iota of Hilton Magic to do it.

Okie St had zero problem at Home vs. Texas Tech.

The only Home loser was TCU in an at-risk game vs. Texas.

As a result:

1. The only team that made any REAL progress was Texas, picking up half a game by defeating a Tier Two team on the Road. That is, if TCU REALly is a Tier Two caliber team. Until they beat someone other than Tech, somewhere, who REALly knows? The bottom line is that the half game UT picked up is only REAL if TCU beats some Tier One team somewhere. The guess here is that someone goes down in Fort Worth. Let’s just hope it is not KU.

2. The Big 12 still goes through Lawrence. With four minutes remaining Monday night, it looked like there might be a detour through Ames or Norman. But as Lee Corso would say, “Not so fast, my friend!”

Current Tiers

Tier 1: Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, West Virginia

Tier 2: K-State, Okie St, TCU

Tier 3: Texas Tech

REAL Standings:

1. 12.5-5.5

Iowa St: (3-1)
Projected Losses: at KU, at OU, at UT
At risk games: at OSU, at KSU, at TCU

KU (4-1)
Projected Losses: at UT, at WVU, at OU
At risk games: at TCU, at OSU, at KSU

3. 11.5-6.5

Oklahoma (3-3)
Projected Losses: at BU, at ISU
At risk games: at OSU, at TCU, at KSU

4. 11-7

West Virginia (3-2)
Projected Losses: at OU, at ISU, at BU, at KU
At risk games: at KSU, at OSU

5. 10.5-7.5

Baylor (2-3)
Projected Losses: at WVU, at KU, at ISU, at UT
At risk games: at OSU

Texas (3-2)
Projected Losses: at ISU, at BU, at OU, at WVU, at KU
At risk games: at KSU

7. 8-10

K-State (4-2)
Projected Losses: at KU, at WVU, at TCU, at BU, at UT
At risk games: WVU, at Tech, UT, OU, KU, ISU

8. 7-11

Okie St (3-3)
Projected Losses: at KSU, at UT, at BU, at TCU, at WVU
At risk games: BU, OU, KU, ISU, WVU, at Tech

9. 5.5-12.5

TCU (1-4)
Projected Losses: at WVU, at ISU, at BU, at UT, at KU, at OU, at OSU
At risk games: KU, OU, ISU

10. 1-17

Texas Tech (0-6)
Projected Losses: ISU, at OU, at WVU, at ISU, KU, at UT, BU, OU, at TCU, at BU
At risk games: KSU, OSU

BIG 12 SCHEDULE

Saturday

1. Okie St at K-State (11:00am)***(Projected W: K-State)

K-State came close Tuesday night to injecting itself into the Tier One and March Madness discussion. Maybe even moving into first place in the REAL world, what with two Tier One Road victories and zero Home losses. Instead, four days later, they face a Must Win situation. Will it prove to be the Octagon of Doom or Gloom?

2. TCU at West Virginia (1:00pm)*1/2 (Projected W: WVU)

TCU is not beating a good team on the Road. Fortunately, there is another game being played at the same time. Namely:

3. KU at Texas (1:00pm). ***** (Projected W: UT)

KU has more sheer talent and a better coach. UT has more experience and the Home court. This is the type of game that can separate the Jayhawks from the rest of the field if they can somehow get out of Austin with a W. This is why the premise of the REAL Standings is that Championships are won on the Road.

4. Iowa St at Texas Tech (3:00pm) * (Projected W: ISU)

Lubbock is where Championships can be lost. Surely, Tubby will surprise somebody in front of the Home crowd. If you call 250 spectators a crowd.

5. Oklahoma at Baylor (5:00pm)**** (Projected W: BU)

The Sooners are running out of time to gain ground by beating a Contender on the Road. Their win in Game No. 1 at Texas disappeared into the Mystic when K-State came to town. After falling short in Lawrence, OU’s only remaining opportunities for staking its claim to the Big 12 Title are this game and at Iowa St. In other words, an early must Win game for OU. AND, already having lost at Home (to KU), for Baylor.

–Mark

REAL Standings: The Football is so 2014 for TCU Edition

posted by Mark on 1/17/2015 - -

Two teams made statements Saturday.

TCU conformed that it is a legitimate Tier 2 team. At least, that is, if Texas Tech REALly belongs inTier 3. The Horned Frogs beat Tech in Lubbock almost as badly as its football team did.

Okay, not quite. The score Saturday was 62-42. The football game was 82-27. But that was a Home game for TCU, so there’s that.

K-State also solidified its status as a Tier Two team and even cracked open the door for the discussion as to whether it is a Tier 1 team.

Not REALly. Even though they currently sit atop the misleading newspaper standings, they still have work to do to prove they are worthy of their second battlefield promotion of the season.

Otherwise, it was an uneventful day. Texas won at Home over West Virginia, as projected.

Oklahoma won at Home over Okie St, as projected.

Iowa St won at Home over KU, as projected.

The humorous thing was hearing Jay Bilas make the Reid-iculous type of statement that Iowa St had accomplished something meaningful by winning a Home game—let alone one on Gameday–that was in doubt with 12 seconds remaining.

Come on, Jay. You’re better than that.

As a result:

1. The only important REAL Standings movement was Baylor blowing another big lead, but losing this time and dropping ½ game to the other Tier One teams.

2. The Big 12 still goes through Lawrence. And, after the young’uns got a taste of extreme animosity and adversity and had the intestinal fortitude to, nevertheless, hang around to the bitter end., the Road just got steeper for everyone else.

Current Tiers

Tier 1: Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, West Virginia

Tier 2: K-State, Okie St, TCU

Tier 3: Texas Tech

REAL Standings:

1. 12.5-5.5

Iowa St: (3-1)
Projected Losses: at KU, at OU, at UT
At risk games: at OSU, at KSU, at TCU

KU (3-1)
Projected Losses: at UT, at WVU, at OU
At risk games: at TCU, at OSU, at KSU

3. 11.5-6.5

Oklahoma (3-2)
Projected Losses: at KU, at BU, at ISU
At risk games: at OSU, at TCU, at KSU

4. 11-7

West Virginia (3-2)
Projected Losses: at OU, at ISU, at BU, at KU
At risk games: at KSU, at OSU

5. 10.5-7.5

Baylor (2-3)
Projected Losses: at WVU, at KU, at ISU, at UT
At risk games: at OSU

6. 10-8

Texas (2-2)
Projected Losses: at ISU, at BU, at OU, at WVU, at KU
At risk games: at TCU, at KSU

7. 8-10

K-State (4-1)
Projected Losses: at ISU, at KU, at WVU, at TCU, at BU, at UT
At risk games: WVU, at Tech, UT, OU, KU, ISU

8. 7-11

Okie St (2-3)
Projected Losses: at KSU, at UT, at BU, at TCU, at WVU
At risk games: BU, OU, KU, ISU, WVU, at Tech

9. 6-12

TCU (1-3)
Projected Losses: at WVU, at ISU, at BU, at UT, at KU, at OU, at OSU
At risk games: at UT, KU, OU, ISU

10. 1-17

Texas Tech (0-5)
Projected Losses: at OSU, ISU, at OU, at WVU, at ISU, KU, at UT, BU, OU, at TCU, at BU
At risk games: KSU, OSU

BIG 12 SCHEDULE

Monday

1. Texas at TCU (6:00pm)***(At-risk game)

TCU played Texas tough at Home last year. The Horned Frogs are better this year. Texas might or might not be. This could be an interesting Big Monday Opening Act.

2. Oklahoma at KU (8:00pm)**** (Projected W: KU)

The Jayhawks need a good start in this one. The Sooners have shown that they are tough with an early lead.

Tuesday

3. K-State at Iowa St (6:00pm). ***1/2 (Projected W: ISU)

Can K-State make the jump from one time Tier 3 Bottom Feeder all the way to Tier One Contender? Probably not. But here is their chance. ‘Twould be hard to argue with two Road victories versus Tier One tems.

Wednesday

4. Huston-Tillotson at Baylor (7:00pm) (Projected Winner: Is there a Winner in a game like this?)

I live 15 minutes from the Huston-Tillotson campus and was not aware they had a basketball team. My guess is that HTU vs. University of Southern New Hampshire would be a pick.

Insert Scott Drew joke here.

5. Texas Tech at Okie St (8:00pm)* (Projected W: OSU)

Can Tech REALly go 0-18?

–Mark