REAL Standings: The February Final Four Edition

Four games remain in the 2015 Big 12 season, and Iowa State has pulled into a flat-footed tie for the REAL lead in the Big 12 standings courtesy of its second consecutive At-risk victory, this time in Austin. Both ISU and KU are now projected to win 13 games, with a 14th just sitting there for the taking in Manhattan. For the first time in recorded history, the newspaper standings are relevant. They reveal that KU, at 11-3, has one advantage over ISU at 10-4: the Jayhawks are in complete control of their destiny. ISU is not. The Cyclones can only hope that the REAL Standings projections ae true to form and Oklahoma defeats KU, as projected, in Norman on March 7.

KU, on the other hand, can close out Iowa St by winning its Final Four games. Doing so would give the Jayhawks an uncatchable 15-3 record.

In spite of Iowa St’s heroics Saturday in Austin, KU maintained a share of the REAL lead by winning as projected vs. TCU in Lawrence.

Perhaps the most interesting result of the weekend was West Virginia’s Road win in Stillwater. Suddenly, everyone is beating Okie St everywhere. Does Travis Ford get a bonus if he keeps the Okie St alum from winning his 11th straight title at Kansas? That would be kind of spiteful, don’t you think? But who can tell what Boone Pickens would do for spite?

In other games, K-State went into full-fledged withering-away mode in Waco, losing by about four touchdowns. Probably saving their energy for Monday night.

And Oklahoma needed overtime to take its projected Road W at Texas Tech.

As a result:

1. The Road to the Big 12 Title still goes through Lawrence. That is unlikely to change before March 7; but if K-State beats the Jayhawks Monday night in Manhattan, all bets are off.

2. West Virginia, which was on the verge of being demoted to Tier 2 with 4 seconds remaining in last Monday’s game vs. KU, remains a factor in the Big 12 race, at least in theory, and a spoiler in fact. Get your tickets for their March 3 game in Lawrence while they’re hot.

3. Iowa St--well, we have already talked about Iowa St. For a team that lost in Lubbock, they are sitting pretty at the moment. They just need a little help from their friends.

Current Tiers

Tier 1: Iowa State, Kansas, Oklahoma, West Virginia

Tier 2: Baylor, K-State, Okie St, Texas

Tier 3: TCU

Tier 4: Texas Tech

REAL Standings:

1. 13.5-4.5

KU (11-3) Projected Losses: at OU At risk games: at KSU

Iowa St: (10-4) Projected Losses: N/A At risk games: at KSU

2. 12-6

Oklahoma (10-5) Projected Losses: at ISU At risk games: N/A

4. 11.5-6.5

West Virginia (9-5) Projected Losses: at KU At risk games: at BU

5. 9.5-8.5

Baylor (8-6) Projected Losses: at ISU, at UT At risk games: WVU

6. 9-9

Okie St (7-8) Projected Losses: at WVU At risk games: N/A

7. 8-10

Texas (6-8) Projected Losses: at WVU, at KU At risk games: N/A

8. 7-11

K-State (6-9) Projected Losses: at UT At-risk games: KU, ISU

9. 4-14

TCU (3-11) Projected Losses: at OU, at OSU, ISU At risk games: N/A

10. 2-16

Texas Tech (2-13) Projected Losses: at TCU, OSU, at BU At risk games: N/A

BIG 12 SCHEDULE

Monday

1. KU at K-State (8:00pm)***1/2 ( At-risk game)

Just like the good ol’ days when KU vs. K-State decided the conference championship. Think Kruger v. Kivisto. Hartman vs. Owens.

Of course, in the good ol’ days, the winner of this game won the championship. That will probably be the case this year if the Jayhawks come away victorious. If K-State wins, they can make a video.

Tuesday

2. Texas at West Virginia (6:00p.m.)** (Projected W: WVU)

Sometimes, the announcers who get paid handsome sums to talk about basketball just leave you shaking your head. In Saturday’s game in Austin, how any times did they mention that UT had recently won three straight games. Yes, vs. TCU in Austin, K-State with Marcus Foster suspended, and Texas Tech somewhere or other. So what?

In this game, Texas are playing a nominal contender on the Road. What do you think will happen? Who cares as long as they don’t suddenly right their sinking ship and come into Lawrence Saturday with a legitimate Road Win under their belts?

Wednesday

3. Texas Tech at TCU (7:00pm)* (Projected W: TCU)

Get some exercise. Go bowling.

4. Baylor at Iowa St (8:00pm)*** (Projected W: ISU)

Scott Drew vs. Fred Hoiberg on the Road. This is what Dickie V referred to, in his more lucid days, as an M and M’er (i.e., a Mis-Match). Of course, having more PTPer’s than Drew doesn’t hurt.

--Mark

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