REAL Standings: Final Four Edition. . .

The problem with declaring the Big 12 race over after 8 games is: what do you do the rest of the year? Declare that it is more over? Well, guess what: Two weeks later, after 12 games, the Big 12 race is more over.

Moreover, it is so more over that the focus is now on Places 2-4. Or, more importantly, Places 2-3, which come with not only a bye in the first round of the Big 12 After-the-REAL-Season Tournament, but no possibility of encountering KU before the Final game.

In the battle for those coveted spots, K-State, Mizzou, A&M and Texas all picked up wins in at-risk games on the Road.

What’s that, you say, isn’t that an abnormal number of Road wins? Isn’t the premise of the REAL Standings that Road wins are extremely difficult to come by?

Well, yes--and no. The REAL Standings stands for the proposition that it is extremely difficult to win on the Road vs. better or comparable teams. If the teams are assigned to the correct Tier, it is like pulling teeth without anesthetic for a lower Tier team to take out a higher one on the Road; and nearly as tough to pull out a Road victory against a team in the same Tier.

But a certain number of Road wins are expected. It is just that most of them are what Dickie V would call M and M-er’s; i.e., mismatches.

The four Road wins Saturday were not surprising. All were by more highly regarded teams over ones lower in status: K-State, A&M, Mizzou, and UT over Oklahoma, Iowa St, Nebraska, and Tech, respectively. All were accurately characterized as at-risk games—not Projected Losses, with the exception of A&M over Iowa St, which was a Projected victory for the Aggies.

Both Home victors had been Projected to prevail: KU over Colorado and Okie St over Baylor.

WEEKEND UPDATE

We started the season with two Tiers, back when it appeared that Nebraska, Iowa St, and Colorado might be on the verge of being good teams. And they might have been in other conferences. But, in the Big 12, they are simply punching bags. So a third Tier was necessitated.

And now, would you believe a fourth? Oklahoma and Tech are both a notch above NU, ISU, and CU, yet clearly less than on peer-level with Baylor, Mizzou, Okie St, Texas A&M, and UT.

Nevertheless, even with four Tiers, the same general Rules of Projection, however, apply:

Projected W’s: Home games vs. Peer and lower level teams and Road games vs. teams two or more Tiers lower;

Projected L’s: Road games vs. Peer and higher level teams and Home games vs. teams two or more Tiers higher;

At-risk games: Home games vs. teams one tier higher and Road games vs. teams one tier lower.

With 12 games down, 4 to go:

Tier 1: KU, K-State

Tier 2: Baylor, Mizzou, Okie St, Texas A&M, UT.

Tier 3: Oklahoma, Texas Tech

Tier 4: Colorado, Iowa St, Nebraska

With but 4 games remaining in 2010, the REAL Big 12 Standings:

1. 15-1

KU (12-0) Projected L’s: N/A Losable games: at Okie St, at Mizzou 2. 12-4

K-State (9-3) Projected L’s: at KU Losable games: N/A

3. 10.5-5.5

Texas A&M (8-4) Projected L’s: at Baylor Losable games: at OU

Mizzou (8-4) Projected L’s: at K-State, Losable games: vs. KU

5. 10-6

Baylor (7-5) Projected L’s: N/A Losable games: at OU, at Tech

6. 9-7

UT (7-5) Projected L’s: at A&M, at Baylor Losable games: N/A

7. 8.5-7.5

Okie St (7-5) Projected L’s: at UT, at A&M Losable games: vs. KU

8. 5.5-10.5

Texas Tech (4-8) Projected L’s: vs. K-State Losable games: at NU, vs. Baylor, at CU

9. 5-11

Oklahoma (4-8) Projected L’s: at KU, at UT Losable games: vs. Baylor, vs. A&M

10.4.5-11.5

Colorado (3-9) Projected L’s: at Mizzou, at NU Losable games: vs. Tech

11. 3-13

Iowa St (2-10) Projected L’s: at CU, vs. Mizzou, at K-State, Losable games: N/A

12. 2.5-13.5

Nebraska (1-11) Projected L’s: at ISU, at OSU Losable games: vs. Tech

What to Watch

BIG MONDAY

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

If OU were at full strength and on a roll, this game would be on Upset Watch. As it is, the Jayhawks go dormie with their 58th straight W at Home in Collins’ penultimate game in AFH.

TUESDAY

2. K-State at Texas Tech (7:00p.m.)*** (at-risk game for both teams)

Tech can make life difficult for visitors to Lubbock. Last year, when they were arguably the worst team in the league, the Red Raiders took out the Big 12 champions at Home. They would likely have beaten UT Saturday in a 41 minute game. If K-State does not get off to a good start, they will be in trouble.

WEDNESDAY

3. Nebraska at Iowa St (6:30p.m.) ½* (Projected W: ISU)

This game promises to be so uninteresting it should be declared an Olympic event.

4. Colorado at Mizzou (6:30p.m.)* (Projected W: Mizzou)

It’s on the schedule. Tickets have been sold and all. Might as well play it whether anyone wants to watch it or not. . .

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

Somebody says, “Bye-bye, bye. . .”

6. Texas A&M at Baylor (6:30p.m.)***1/2 (at-risk game for both teams)

The continuation of a wild one in College Station.

--Mark

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