REAL Standings: The Curtain is Falling Edition

  MDWEEK ACTION IN REVIEW

 

         

            Stop me if you’ve heard this before.  KU billed Monday’s game vs. Oklahoma as a Senior Night. It was lame.

 

          First, there were no benefits for Seniors. No discount on the tickets, no discount on popcorn, hot dogs, or soft drinks. Nothing. Nada. Zero.

 

          To top it off, they kept Seniors up well past their normal bedtimes by having three guys talking at mid-court for an hour after the game ended. And it’s not like you could get out during that time. No one was budging from their seat. Where were the people leaving early that ESPN went on and on about just a few days earlier.

 

          It made for a long day Tuesday. In short, nothing about Senior Night was Senior friendly.

 

          KU needs to get its act together or stop having Senior Night promotions.

 

          As for the game, the REAL Standings were unaffected with KU winning as projected. Same with Baylor over West Virginia in Waco, Iowa St over Okie St in Ames, and Texas Tech over Texas in Waco.

 

          The one game that made a REAL difference was K-State’s Win in a Projected Loss game at TCU. According to Joe Lunardi, the Fighting Webers remain alive for a spot in the NCAA tournament, while TCU is in deep doo-doo of a sort not found at the daily cattle drive in the Fort Worth Stockyards.

 

 

                                                            CURRENT TIERS

Tier 1:

KU, Baylor, Iowa St, West Virginia

 

Tier 2:

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

 

CURRENT PROJECTIONS

  1. 15.5-2.5

 

KU (15-2)

Projected L’s: N.A.

At risk games (at OSU)

 

  1. 12-6

 

ISU (12-5)

Projected L’s (at WVU)

At risk games: N.A.

 

WVU (11-6) 

Projected L’s: N.A.

At risk games: N.A.        

 

  1. 11.5-6.5

 

Baylor (11-6)

Projected L’s: N.A.

At risk games (at UT)

 

                                 

  1. 9.5-8.5                                                                                

 

Okie State (9-8) 

Projected L’s: N.A.

At risk games (vs. KU)

 

  1. 8-10

K-State (7-10)

 

Projected L’s (at TCU)

At risk games: N.A

 

  1. 6-12

 

TCU (6-11)

Projected L’s (at OU)

At risk games: N.A. 

                                                                                                

Tech (6-11)

Projected L’s (at K-State)

At risk games: N.A.

  1. 5-13

 

OU (4-13)

     Projected L’s: N.A.

At risk games: N.A.

 

  1. 4.5-13.5

UT (4-12)

Projected L’s: N.A.

At risk games (vs. BU)

 

 

 

 

                                                AS SEEN ON TV

 

Friday

 

  1. Iowa St at West Virginia (6:00pm) (ESPN2) (Projected W: WVU) ****

 

          If Iowa St steals this game on the Road, they are your Big 12 Runners-up at 13-5. If the Cyclones lose and if Baylor downs Texas in Austin, we will have a three-way at 12-6.

 

 

 

  1. Texas Tech at K-State (Noon) (ESPN News) (Projected W: K-State) ***

 

          K-State had the look of a REAL basketball team Wednesday night at TCU: one that was not distracted by worries about the NCAA tournament or the future of their coach. They appeared to be concerned only about playing basketball game and winning the game they were playing. Keep this up, and they will be in the tourney, and they will make the tourney, and they will keep their coach.

 

Just one problem: They need to be Tech despite having the  Home Court Disadvantage. they are 3-5 in conference play in the Octagon of Gloom, including losses in their last four Home games.

 

          On the bright side, Tech is 0-8 in conference Road games.

 

          It’s like the resistible force against the moveable object.

 

          Something has to not give.

 

  1. TCU at Oklahoma (2:00p.m.) (ESPN News) (Projected W: OU) ***

 

          Anyone think TCU is dead? Think again.  A W in Norman, two wins in the conference tourney, and a dearth of upsets in conference tourneys across the nation, and. . .

 

          Nah. They are dead in the water. And rightfully so. A 7-11 team should not be anywhere near the Big Dance. (Come to think of it, nor should an 8-10 team, but someone has to fill those 68 slots.)

 

  1. Baylor at Texas (3:00p.m.) (ESPN) (At-risk) ***1/2

 

          Shaka vs. Scott.  What more need be said?

 

 

  1. KU at Okie St (5:00p.m.) (ESPN) (At-risk game) ****

 

          The conference’s two best teams go at it as the Jayhawks attempt to accomplish the only thing left to accomplish in the regular season: avenging last year’s fiasco in Stillwater. Win this one, and they are ready to tango in the Big Dance.

 

 

--Mark

REAL STANDINGS: We're number 2, 3 or 4 so we try harder edition

                                                WEEKEND ACTION IN REVIEW

 

          It is a good thing Bill Walton visited Austin on Saturday, visiting the statues of Willie Nelson and Stevie Ray Vaughan and donning a “Keep Austin Weird” tie-dyed tee shirt on camera, or there would not be much to talk about from this weekend. I mean, KU grabbed the final half-game it needed to clinch the Big 12 outright in its at-risk game Walton was covering at UT, but what else is new?

 

          Other than that, the only happening of note was West Virginia’s half-game pickup in its own at-risk game at TCU, thrusting the Mountaineers into a tie for the all-important second place position with Iowa St, and moving a half-game ahead of Baylor. The race for runner-up honors is setting up to be a REAL “barn-burner” as they say in places like Ames and Manhattan,  as WVU both visits Baylor and hosts Iowa St in the final two games of regular season action.

 

          Iowa St and Baylor settled nothing in Ames. By winning at Home, as it was projected to do, Iowa State maintained the status quo in the REAL Standings, as did BU.

 

          In other games of no consequence, Okie St stomped Texas Tech in Stillwater as projected (the W, not the stomp), and Oklahoma cremated K-State in Norman, also as projected (the W, not the cremation). As a result, Bruce Weber might be staring another funeral in the face (but not a cremation of his own creation this time). Not that he can’t still make the NCAA tourney and save his job, but that’s not the way to bet. Weber’s team looked like it had quit on him Saturday, which is never a good sign. Either that or they are totally psyched out with the pressure of the world (i.e., saving Weber’s job) on their shoulders.

           

                                                            CURRENT TIERS

Tier 1:

KU, Baylor, Iowa St, West Virginia

 

Tier 2:

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

 

CURRENT PROJECTIONS

  1. 15.5-2.5

 

KU (14-2)

Projected L’s: N.A.

At risk games (at OSU)

 

  1. 12-6

 

ISU (11-5)

Projected L’s (at WVU)

At risk games: N.A.

 

WVU (11-5) 

Projected L’s (at BU)

At risk games: N.A.        

 

  1. 11.5-6.5

 

Baylor (10-6)

Projected L’s: N.A.

At risk games (at UT)

 

                                 

  1. 9.5-8.5                                                                                

 

Okie State (9-7) 

Projected L’s (at ISU)

At risk games (vs. KU)

 

  1. 7-11

 

TCU (6-10)

Projected L’s (at OU)

At risk games: N.A.

 

K-State (6-10)

 

Projected L’s (at TCU)

At risk games: N.A

                                                                                                  

  1. 6-12

Tech (5-11)

Projected L’s (at K-State)

At risk games: N.A.

  1. 5-13

 

OU (4-12)

     Projected L’s (at KU) 

At risk games: N.A.

 

  1. 4.5-13.5

UT (4-11)

Projected L’s (at Tech)

At risk games (vs. BU)

 

 

 

 

                                                AS SEEN ON TV

 

Monday

 

  1. West Virginia at Baylor (6:00pm) (ESPNU) (Projected W: Baylor) ****

 

Baylor was once ranked No. 1 in the nation. Apparently, the voters forgot who their coach is. They are being reminded now.

 

As for West Virginia, they are holding on for dear life in their fight for second place. If truth be told, these two teams might be the fourth and fifth best teams in the conference at this point.

 

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

 

OU got its kicks on Route 66 vs. K-State Saturday. Good for them. I feel sorry for what is going to happen to them Monday night on Frank Mason’s and Landen Lucas’s last game in the Phog.

 

Not to mention Tyler Self getting to take apart the Sooners at the start of the game as opposed to the end.

 

Tuesday

 

  1. Okie St at Iowa St (8:00p.m.) (ESPN2) (Projected W: ISU) *****

 

Might be the best game of the week between the REAL second and third best teams in the league.

 

Wednesday

 

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

 

Despite being the Home town of Buddy Holly, Tech apparently is not familiar with the concept of not fading away. But Texas, from Willie’s haunts, is On the Road Again, which is good news for the Red Raiders,

 

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

 

Pretty much an elimination game. The winner might get a date in Dayton if it can follow up with a W on Saturday and two more in Kansas City. And, in K-State’s case, maybe hang on to its coach for another year. If “hanging on” is the right term.

 

--Mark

Real standings lucky number 13 edition

 MIDWEEK ACTION IN REVIEW

            Now that Title No. 13 is in the books (for some reason, they don’t put the REAL Standings’ Projections in the “books”), It is time for the inevitable nay-saying articles, columns, commentary, and blog entries.

            You know the ones: “They only did it because they were in the Big 12.”

            “They couldn’t have done that in the ACC.”

            “They couldn’t have done that in the Big East.”

            “They couldn’t have done that in (the B1G or the Pac 12).”

            And you know what? They are probably right.

There is no way KU could have won or shared the last 13 ACC titles. Not with both Duke and UNC to contend with, both of whom have won two National Championships during that time.

Nor could the Jayhawks have done it in the REAL weak sister of college basketball, the SEC. Not with Florida’s back to back National Championship teams, Kentucky’s 2012 that defeated the Jayhawks in the National Championship game, and certainly not against UK’s team that took a 38-0 record to the Final Four.

It is also unlikely that KU could have accomplished this feat in the Big East or Pac 12. Or, dare I say, the MVC that included some dominant Wichita St teams or the West Coast Conference and Gonzaga.

Or even the Big 12, notwithstanding the fact that it REALly happened.

Conceding this, however, does not diminish the Jayhawks’ accomplishment one whit. This is because it answers the wrong question. In fact, it has the question backwards.

The REAL question is not, “Would (or could) KU have won any other conference 13 straight times?”  

The REAL question is “What other team would (or could) have won or tied for the Big 12 Title every year from 2005-17?”

You can’t name one, because there are not any:

·         Duke? They have won 2 conference titles from 2005-16 (’06 and ’10). They have also had 6 second place finishes. If you say they might have won the Big 12 in their second place years, what do you do with their 6th place finish and 8-8 conference record in 2007? (You know, when Texas was third place in the Big 12 with Kevin Durant, D.J. Augustin, and Damion James?) Or 5th place in the ACC in 2016 at 11-7?

 

·         UNC? They have an impressive seven conference championships from 2005-16. They also have a second, third, and fifth place finish. But what can you say about a 10th place finish at 5-11 in 2009-10?

 

·         Kentucky?  Four SEC East Division titles from 2005-16, accompanied by third and fourth place finishes at 9-7 in 2005-06 and 2006-07, as well as fourth place in ’08-’09 at 8-8. And, although Calipari has led them to one Division and two conference championships in his seven years at UK, he has also garnered one second place Division finish and has three times been runner-up since the Division forma was abandoned.

 

No other program even comes close being be in this conversation.

           But one team did it. REALly.

In case I didn’t mention it, KU was Projected to defeat TCU at Home and did so. Ergo, no change in either team’s REAL record. But everyone else hoping to win the Big 12 Title outright, is now out of time. 

            One other Midweek game that made a REAL difference, standings-wise, came in Lubbock, where Iowa St became the only conference team not named KU to down Texas Tech at the only arena in the conference named after a grocery store. Coupled with the Cyclones being the only team to defeat KU in Lawrence, their battlefield promotion could not be denied. Their change in status also moves them ahead of Baylor and West Virginia in the race for second place.

            As for the other teams still clinging to the dream of at least sharing the 2017 title with the Jayhawks, West Virginia’s Home win over Texas, as projected, resulted in no change in their REAL Record. Nor did Baylor’s Projected win at Home over Oklahoma.

            Finally, Okie St picked up a REAL game with its victory in a Projected Loss game at K-State. If the conference season were beginning tomorrow, the Cowboys would be assigned a slot in Tier One. At this point, they might be, in REALity, the second-best team in the league regardless of record.

            K-State, on the other hand, dropped a full game in the REAL Standings, moving a game closer to the NIT and a possibe coaching search.

            

                                                            CURRENT TIERS

Tier 1:

KU, Baylor, Iowa St, West Virginia

Tier 2:

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

 

CURRENT PROJECTIONS

1. 15-3

KU (13-2)

Projected L’s: N.A.

At risk games (at UT, at OSU)

 

2. 12-6

ISU (10-5)

Projected L’s (at WVU)

At risk games: N.A.

3. 11.5-6.5

Baylor (10-5)

Projected L’s: (at ISU)

At risk games (at UT)

 

WVU (10-5) 

Projected L’s (at BU)

At risk games (at TCU)           
                                  

5.  9.5-8.5                                                                                 

Okie State (8-7) 

Projected L’s (at K-State, at ISU)

At risk games (vs. KU) 

 

6.  7.5-10.5 

TCU (6-9)

Projected L’s (at OU)

At risk games: (vs. WVU)

 

 

7.  7-11

 

K-State (6-9)

 

Projected L’s (at OU, at TCU)

At risk games: N.A

                                                                                                   

 

8.  6-12

Tech (5-10)

Projected L’s (at OSU, at K-State)

At risk games: N.A.
 

9. 5-13

UT (4-11)

Projected L’s (at Tech)

At risk games (vs. KU, vs. BU

OU (3-12)

      Projected L’s (at KU) 

At risk games: N.A.

 

 

                                                AS SEEN ON TV

Saturday

1.  West Virginia at TCU (1:00pm) (ESPN) (At-risk game) ***1/2

TCU is much improved this season, but the grind of the double round robin schedule appears to be getting to them. They need to dig down deep and pick up this at-risk win to stay alive for an 8-10 record, which might well be the minimum record to qualify for the Big Dance. 

2.  Texas Tech at Okie St (1:00p.m.) (ESPNU) (Projected W: Okie St) ***

After its would-be game-winning shot vs. Iowa St was a half second late, dropping their Projected record to 6-12, Tech has to pick up that game somewhere plus another one to reach the critical 8-10 mark. Which means two straight Road wins here and at K-State for a team without a Road win on the season.

3.   Baylor at Iowa St (3:00p.m.) (ESPN) (Projected W: ISU) *****

      Iowa St did everything but beat Baylor in Waco. Can they finish the job at Hilton? The Cyclones are better now. Baylor does not appear to be. (Your guess as to why is as good as mine. And probably the same)

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

      When is a Projected Loss game on the Road a Must Win? For K-State, it is this Saturday in Norman.

5.   KU at Texas (5:00p.m.) (ESPN) (at-risk game) ***1/2

      Texas has played tough at Home this year. It should be a boisterous crowd (much of it Rocking and Chalking), and Shaka, if he’s Smart, will have his team fired up at the chance of taking down the back to back to back to back to back to back to back to back to back to back to back to back to back Big 12 champions.

--Mark

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

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