This is the time of the season when the newspaper standings finally make sense-because they are beginning to merge with the REAL Standings. Again, the REAL Standings, while not predictions, showed their value in indicating who was REALly in control of the Big 12 race, as KU consistently retained a slight edge over A&M in the REAL Standings down the stretch, while the newspapers had the two teams tied-and at one point even farcically listed A&M as the first place team.
The REAL Standings, noting KU's less hazardous schedule, had KU in charge virtually the entire season, and tied with the Aggies during that short period of time when A&M was atop the conference in the "current records standings."
This week, for example, while newspapers and web sites across the country showed KU and A&M in a flat-footed tie for first place, the REAL Standings correctly listed KU as having a ½ game edge, because the Jayhawks Road finale in Norman was ½ game easier than A&M's Road game in Austin. Indeed, in REALity, KU pulled out a nail-biter to pick up a half game, while A&M came agonizingly close to downing UT in Austin. But KU fans, of all people, know what agonizingly close means: in this case it means second place.
The good news for A&M is that its final game of the season vs. Mizzou is less dangerous than KU's season-finale vs. UT.
The bad news for the Aggies is that both teams are at Home. And what is the first rule of the REAL Standings Club? Right. Champions win their Home games. A&M's only hope is that KU is not a REAL champion, but only a co for the third consecutive year.
Yes, there were some other games Tuesday and Wednesday, but none that REALly mattered.-unless you consider Okie St climbing out of is funk for 40 minutes and knocking k-state for a ½ game loop in an at-risk game for both teams in Stillwater as having mattered. Which it could if k-state follows that performance up with an unprojected Home loss to OU.
Or Iowa St's surprising victory in Lincoln, completing a regular season sweep of the Cornhuskers. This leaves Iowa St in position to grab a share of the final first division berth and send Mizzou plummeting into a tie for 7tth or 8th place, depending on the outcome of Nebraska's victory in Boulder.
REAL STANDINGS as of March 2, 2007
Texas A&M (12-3)
(projected L at KU)
Texas Tech (8-7)
(projected L at ISU)
(projected L at A&M)
Iowa St (6-9)
(at risk game at CU)
(projected loss at k-state)
Oklahoma St (6-8)
(projected L's at Baylor, at NU)
(at risk game vs. NU)
The Final moments of Big XII basketball for 2007, with IQ (Interest Quotient) are:
1. UT at KU**** (11:00a.m.) Projected W: KU
This game, between the two most talent-laden teams in the conference, is for all the marbles-or a third of them.
2. Nebraska at Colorado*1/2 (12:30p.m.) No projection: At-risk game
Nebraska, along with Iowa St, is still in the hunt for a tie for 6th place. Colorado is still in the hunt-as it has been for lo these many years-for a coach.
3. Okie St at Baylor** (12:30p.m.) Projected W: Baylor
Okie St's last stand. Ex-Cowboy Doug Gottlieb thinks they are still in the running for an NCAA berth if they win this and three more.
4. Oklahoma at k-state*** (2:30p.m.) Projected W: k-state
The second most intriguing game of the weekend. OU takes its NIT hopes to Manhattan. k-state is already assured of at least that level of post-season action. A W here, and a 10-6 record, might mean bigger, though not necessarily better, things for Huggins' ______ (fill in the blank).
5. Mizzou at A&M*** (3:00p.m.) Projected W: A&M
If Mizzou comes to play, it could claim an unprecedented number of sixth place finishes outright. Especially if KU has already clinched the outright Big 12 championship and the Aggies suffer a letdown.
6. Texas Tech at Iowa St*** (7:00p.m.) Projected W: Iowa St
Tech will know before the tip-off whether k-state has secured the final first round bye in the conference tournament, or whether that lofty goal is still on the table.
7. Okie St at Nebraska**1/2 (7:00p.m.)
This is the way the season ends: No with a bang, but a whimper.