REAL Standings: Time to Mess With Texas

MIDWEEK RECAP

It is not that KU’s stomp of Baylor Monday night changed anything: it was a projected W, meaning that neither the Jayhawks nor the Fighting Calipari-Lites gained any ground in the REAL Standings--or lost any. Baylor, in fact, retains its half game edge over the Hawks and Mizzou. The importance of the game was that the status quo was not disturbed—as it would have been had Baylor walked out of Allen Fieldhouse still undefeated.

A Baylor W would have placed everyone else in the conference in dire straits. A win in Lawrence, and where do they lose? At least often enough to allow KU, Mizzou, or anyone else back into the race? With W’s in both Manhattan and Lawrence, the rest of the conference race would have approached being a foregone conclusion.

As it is, barring unlikely events, Baylor gets its chance to negate Monday’s loss on February 8, when it hosts the Jayhawks in Waco. One word of advice to the Bears, however: Defense. Look into it if you want a REAListic chance of avoiding the patented Jayhawk Sweep.

In a game between the teams ranked 21 and 26 by KenPom, K-state tried desperately to give Texas a post-holiday in Manhattan by missing six free throws in the final minute of a close game. Somehow, Texas avoided unwrapping that present and left Manhattan with its customary loss. It was even suggested in Tweetdom that, at this point, “K-State could beat Texas in a competition of who has the better Longhorn mascot.”

Both teams appeared ready, subjectively, for a demotion form the lofty heights of Tier One, to the less prestigious residence in Bubbledom. However, I will wait until the the third-way point of the season on Saturday before reassessing their quality. Especially since UT has done nothing objectively yet to justify its removal from Tier One. Losses at K-State and Mizzou--even Iowa St--are not necessarily fatal to a championship run. (Although relying too much on freshmen and not having a legitimate big man might be.)

In games which involved minimal sound and fury and also signified nothing, Mizzou defeated A&M in Columbia, and OU squeezed by Tech in Norman, both as projected. In a contest that contained a level of excitement, Hilton worked its magic as Iowa St erased a 66-60 deficit in the final two minutes to escape Okie St 71-68--as projected..

In short, zero change in the REAL Standings

THE TIERS

Pending Saturday’s games:

Tier 1: Baylor, KU, K-State, Mizzou, Texas

Tier 2: Iowa St, Oklahoma, Okie St, Texas A&M

Tier 3: Texas Tech

REAL BIG 12 STANDINGS

1-19-12

1. 13-5

Baylor (4-1) Projected L’s: at Mizzou, at Texas At Risk games: at OU, at A&M, at Okie St, at ISU

2. 12.5-5.5

KU (5-0) Projected L’s: at UT, at Mizzou, at Baylor, at K-State At Risk games: at ISU, at A&M, at Okie St

Mizzou (4-1) Projected L’s: at Baylor, at Texas, at KU At Risk games: at Okie St, at OU, at A&M

4. 11.5-6.5

Texas (2-3) Projected L’s: at Baylor, at KU At Risk games: at A&M, at OU, at Okie St

5. 10.5-7.5

K-State (2-3) Projected L’s: at Texas, at Baylor, at Mizzou At Risk games: at Okie St, at ISU, at A&M

6. 8-10

Iowa St (3-2) Projected L’s: at Texas, at OU, at Okie St, at Baylor, at K-State, at Mizzou

At Risk games: at Tech, vs. KU, vs. K-State, vs. Baylor

7. 7-11

Okie St (2-3) Projected L’s: at A&M, at KU, at Mizzou, at OU, at K-State

At Risk games: vs. K-State, vs. Mizzou, at Tech, vs. Baylor, vs. Texas, vs. KU

Oklahoma (2-3) Projected L’s: at A&M, at K-State, at KU, at ISU, at Baylor, at Texas

At Risk games: vs. Baylor, vs. Mizzou, at Tech, vs. Texas

9. 6-12

Texas A&M (1-4) Projected L’s: at KU, at K- State, at ISU, at Okie St, at OU

At Risk games: vs.Baylor, vs. Texas, at Tech, vs. Mizzou, vs. KU, vs. K-State

10 2-16

Texas Tech (0-5). Projected L’s: vs. K- State, at Mizzou, at Texas, at K-State, at KU, at ISU, vs. Texas, at Baylor, vs. Mizzou

At Risk games: vs. ISU, vs. Okie St, vs. OU, vs. A&M

ON THE TUBE

SATURDAY

K-State at Okie St**: (12:30p.m.—Big 12 Network) (At-Risk Game) K-State has played three bad games in a row since taking out Mizzou at Home. They can’t afford another one. Going 0-2 in Oklahoma is not OK.

Mizzou at Baylor*****: (1:00p.m.—ESPN) (Projected W: Baylor) Baylor assumes the position KU was in on Monday. Nothing to gain. Everything to lose. You would think that, with Baylor’s length, athleticism, and motivation, this would be a relatively easy game at Home. Not necessarily, if they give Mizzou’s offense as much space as they gave KU Monday. Still, one game where KU fans should pull for Scott Drew. A Mizzou win puts them in control of the REAL Standings and the conference race.

Oklahoma at A&M**: (3:00p.m.—Big 12 Network) (Projected W: A&M) With all the talk about the strength of the Big 12 at the top, and even the middle, the fact that there are 2-4 teams that suck (depending on your personal definition of “suck”) is frequently overlooked.

KU at Texas****: (3:00p.m.—CBS) (Projected W: Texas) UT”S opportunity to come of age and inject itself into the Big 12 race. If the Jayhawks come out flat, thinking they accomplished more than they did Monday, they could find themselves with a loss that will be difficult to make up.

Iowa St at Texas Tech***: (4:00p.m.—ESPN2) (At-risk game) Tech is going to beat somebody in Lubbock. Iowa ST is the better team, but not so much better that it can just show up and count this one as a W.

--Mark

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