REAL Standings: 1/16/14/Edition

RECAP After the K-State game on Saturday, it came to my attention that a KU fan stated, “If Oklahoma State beats West Virginia, we will be all alone in first place.”

Quick: What is wrong with that statement?

If your answer has something to do with grammar, punctuation, or spelling, guess again.

I knew you had it. As anyone familiar with the premise of the REAL Standings knows, the correct response, “What the hell does West Virginia losing have to do with KU?”

Yes, West Virginia was 2-0 and in first place in the newspaper standings Saturday morning, but that and five dollars might have gotten Bob Huggins a cup of coffee at Starbucks.

Might.

It did not, however, make West Virginia a Person of Interest to KU. The Mountaineers were a Tier 2 team whose record was achieved entirely as a result of scheduling: i.e., drawing Texas Tech and TCU as their first two opponents, a feat that will be accomplished by just about everyone in the Big 12 not named Texas TCU, Texas Tech, or Baylor.

Of more interest to KU was the possibility that Oklahoma St might lose and drop its second game to a Tier 2 team in two attempts (the other being K-State in Manhattan).

But that’s why we have the REAL Standings. So you know to root for the 2-0 team to remain undefeated and the 1-1 team to lose again.

In other words, the correct wording of the above sentence would have been: “If West Virginia beats Oklahoma St, we will be a half game closer to Number 10.”

In REALity, Oklahoma St failed to cooperate and picked up a half game itself in the REAL Standings.

But then came Monday night, when KU trumped Okie St’s half game pickup by picking up a full game of its own, with that rarest of feats: a win vs. a contender on the Road. And not just any contender at any Road venue, but a magical one: Indeed, the Hogwarts of the Big 12.

As a result, the Big 12 race, merely three games into the season, is beginning to look like it is the Jayhawks’ to lose.

But, with 83% of the season remaining to be played, we’ll hold off on declaring a champion at this point.

Not that KU was the only conference team to pick up a full game in the REAL Standings. Texas Tech decided to pick on someone other than KU in its annual “Let’s beat someone we shouldn’t” night. This year it’s Baylor.

I have heard rumblings that Baylor does not deserve to be classified as a Tier One team. This game certainly supports that contention. However, it’s kinda hard to justify dropping a team ranked in the Top 15 (29 and 25 by kenpom and Sagarin respectively) from Tier One Big 12 status. KU fans know better than anyone that one loss to a bad team does not necessarily define who you are.

Still, Baylor, you are now officially on double secret probation. Nothing to do for the time being but grin and Bear it.

In the only other mid-week game of consequence, Texas picked up the game it lost at Home vs. Oklahoma by taking out West Virginia on the Road. In games having no effect on the REAL Standings, K-State downed Oklahoma as projected in Manhattan; and Okie St, of course, defeated TCU in Stillwater.

THE CURRENT REAL STANDINGS TIERS

1. Tier One: Baylor, Iowa St, KU, Okie St

2. Tier Two: K-State, Oklahoma, Texas, West Virginia

3. Tier Three: TCU, Texas Tech

THE CURRENT REAL STANDINGS:

1. 14.5-3.5

KU (3-0) Projected L’s: at BU, at OSU At-risk games: at UT, KSU, at WVU

2. 13-5

Okie St (3-1) Projected L’s: at KU, at BU, at ISU At-risk games: at OU, at UT

3. 12-6

Baylor (1-2) Projected L’s: at KU, at OSU At-risk games: at OU, at UT, at WVU, at KSU

4. 11.5-6.5

Iowa St (2-2) Projected L’s: at KU, at OSU, at BU At Risk Games: at UT, at WVU, at K-State

5. 9-9

K-State (3-1) Projected L’s: at UT, at ISU, at WVU, at BU, at OU, at OSU At-risk games: KU, at Tech, ISU, BU

Oklahoma (2-2) Projected L’s: at BU, at ISU, at WVU, at OSU, at KU At-risk games: at Tech, OSU, BU, at TCU

7. 8-10

Texas (2-2) Projected L’s: at BU, at KSU, at ISU, at KU, at Tech At-risk games: ISU, KU, at TCU, OSU, BU, at Tech

8. 7.5-10.5

W. Virginia (2-2) Projected L’s: at KSU, at OSU, at BU, at KU, at UT, at ISU, at OU At-risk games: ISU, BU, KU

9. 3.5-14.5

Texas Tech (0-3) Projected L’s: at TCU, at WVU, at KSU, at OSU, at OU, at ISU, KU, at OSU, at BU, at KU At-risk games: OU, KSU, UT

10. 2-16

TCU (0-4) Projected L’s: at OU, KU, at Tech, at ISU, BU, at KU, at KSU, ISU, OSU, at WVU, at UT

At-risk games: UT, OU

Upcoming Games

All times CST

Saturday:

1. West Virginia at K-State (12:30p.m.)* ** (Projected W: KU)

West Virginia let Okie St beat them twice. And now, they go on the Road to someplace other than Lubbock or Fort Worth. If the Mountaineers have March hopes, they would do well to take this game seriously.

2. Oklahoma at Baylor (1:00p.m.) **** (Projected W: BU)

OU is Baylor with less talent and a better coach. The Over/Under will be High.

3. Oklahoma St at KU (3:00p.m.)***** (Projected W: KU)

Can Okie St beat the Jayhawks I Lawrence two straight years? Will the Hawks have a letdown after their “statement” game in Ames? If the Cowboys pull this out, their loss at K-State will be long forgotten; they will, in fact, be in first place by themselves where it matters; in the REAL Standings.

4. Iowa St at Texas (3:00p.m.) **** (Projected W: N/A)

A must game for the Cyclones if they wish to be a serious contender in the conference and retain a high national ranking. Three losses in a row would kinda suck.

5. Texas Tech at TCU (5:00p.m.)* (Projected W: TCU)

TCU could be staring 0-18 in the face. This is its best chance for a conference win. At least until Baylor comes to town.

--Mark

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