REAL STANDINGS: THE “LET’S PLAY SOME POOL” EDITION

Minnesota Fats had been beaten like a drum all night. Eddie Felson had won all the money he had come to win. It was suggested that it was time to leave. It was, after all, over. Fats sat slumped In his chair across the room, looking the way only a very proud man who has long been acclaimed the best in the world at his craft looks when he knows he’s beaten.

“The pool game is not over until Minnesota Fats says it’s over,” Eddie says. “Is it over, Fats?”

Fats pauses, then gets a new bottle of whiskey. He washes his hands and face and spruces up his clothing as if headed for church.

He looks his opponent in the eye and says, “Fast Eddie, let’s play some pool.”

No spoilers. If you have not seen the movie, you will have to watch it yourself to find out what happens next.

In REAL life, Bill Self might as well have said to Fran Fraschilla on camera Saturday afternoon: “Bruce, Chris, Steve, let’s play some basketball.”

After Iowa State avenged its Home Loss to K-State with a Road W in Manhattan Saturday, four teams now have a solid shot of grabbing at least a share of the 2019 Big 12 Championship. Two control their own destiny (K-State and KU), while Tech and Iowa St are ready to pounce if someone—anyone—can beat K-State down the stretch.

Indeed, it is time to play some basketball.

CURRENT TIERS

TIER 1

K-STATE

Lost at Home to Iowa St 64-78

The Wildcats are, of course, in the best position to grab the Big 12 title. That is, if Dean Wade can overcome his latest foot injury in a timely manner.

If Wade cannot go, K-State could still grab a share of the championship but would probably need to win at TCU.

TEXAS TECH

Defeated Baylor at Home 86-51.

Baylor downed Tech 73-62 in Waco on January 14. That was 32 days and 350 miles ago. Not to mention two Baylor starters ago, one of whom was a POY candidate.

KU

Defeated WVU at Home 78-53.

Everything’s not Lawson. Everything is cool when you’re part of a team.

Five players in double figures bodes well for the Jayhawks down the stretch. Especially when one of them is Dedric’s long lost brother.

IOWA STATE

DNP

Defeated K-State on the Road 78-64

Remember Villanova last year in the Final Four? That was Iowa State Saturday afternoon. They will win any game they play the rest of the year if they can go 14-24 from 3-point range. Check that: Steph Curry range. Still, even if they win out, they have to rely on someone else giving K-State its fourth Loss.

TEXAS

Defeated Okie St at Home 69-57

UT is a longshot at best to claim even a share of the title They are, nevertheless, a Tier 1 caliber team, being a handful of points away, including having a potential game winning (and season sweeping) shot in the air at the buzzer in Allen Fieldhouse, of being solidly in the championship mix. Win or not, they might play a big role in who does claim the title with a Home game vs. Iowa State and a Road contest at Tech on March 2 and 4 respectively,

TIER 2

BAYLOR

Lost to Tech on the Road 61-86

It would have been interesting to see where Scott Drew could have taken this team had Makoi Mason and King McClure stayed healthy. At full strength, they looked as good as anyone in this league.

But as Robert DeNiro said in the Deer Hunter, “This is this!”

TCU

Lost to OU at Home 62-73

One week ago, TCU was sitting on top of the Big 12 world. Or at least within a half game of the REAL top.

Then came two consecutive Losses at Home, violating the most basic of REAL Standing tenets.

OKLAHOMA

Defeated TCU on the Road 73-62

The Sooners hang on to Their 2 status and their hopes for an NCAA tournament bid.

TIER 3

OKIE ST

Lost to Texas on the Road 57-69

Fran keeps saying they have a good recruiting class on its way. That and about $5.00 will get them a cup of coffee at Starbucks this year.

TIER 4

WEST VIRGINIA

Lost to KU on the Road 53-78

If the Big 12 teams were cuts of meat, and the top 4 teams were sirloin steaks, ribeyes, porterhouses, and KC Strips, and Okie St a pink slime, West Virginia would be Soylent Green--except no one would be trying to figure out their secret.

If you are interested, Texas would be a pork chop (being Longhorns and all); and Baylor and TCU chopped beef steaks without their difference makers, mushrooms and sauce. And OU? Let’s just call them a veggie burger (Which, face it, is still better than pink slime and Soylent Green.).

CURRENT REAL STANDINGS

1. 13.5-4.5

K-State (9-3): Projected L’s: (at KU)

Up for Grabs: (at TCU)

2. 12.5-5.5

KU (9-4): Projected L’s: (TT)

Up for Grabs: (at OU)

Texas Tech (9-4): Projected L’s: (at ISU)

Up for Grabs: (at TCU)

ISU (8-4): Projected L’s: (at UT)

Up for Grabs: (at TCU)

5. 10-8

UT (7-6): Projected L’s (at TT)

Up for Grabs (at OU, at BU)

6. 9.5-8.5

BU (7-5): Projected L’s (at ISU, at KSU, at KU)

Up for Grabs: (UT)

7. 8-10

TCU (5-7): Projected L’s: (at UT)

Up for Grabs: (at OSU, ISU, Tech, KSU)

8. 6-12

OU (4-9): Projected L’s: (at ISU, at KSU)

Up for Grabs: (UT, KU)

9. 3.5-14.5

Okie St (2-10): Projected L’s (at KSU, at TT, KU, at BU)

Up for Grabs: (TCU)

10. 2-16

West Virginia (2-10): Projected L’s (KSU, at BU, TCU, at OU, ISU, at OSU)

Up for Grabs N.A.

AS SEEN ON TV (All times CST)

Monday

1, 8:00p.m. K-State at West Virginia (ESPN) *1/2 (Projected W: K-State)

K-State has not swept anyone this season to date. They have beaten nine teams one time each. That bizarre stat ends here.

2. 8:00p.m. TCU at Oklahoma St (ESPNU) ** (Up for Grabs)

This game could have some effect on TCU’s chances of receiving an NCAA tournament invitation. It has no Big 12 overtones.

Tuesday

3. 8:00p.m. Baylor at Iowa St (ESPN2) ** (Projected W: ISU)

The third and last game in the lightest segment of Midweek games of the season. But not the least. This is a losable game for the Cyclones if Mason and McClure are able to play. If not, “This is this!”

--Mark

REAL STANDINGS:  THE “IT AIN’T OVER ‘TIL IT’S OVER/THE FAT LADY SINGS/WHATEVER” EDITION

            Following its Road sweep of Baylor and Texas, K-State picked up two full games in the REAL Standings and are looking down—way down—at the rest of the Big 12 with a daunting 14-4 Projected Record.

            This might be a good time to point out, however, that Projections are not Predictions. They are simply a way of showing which team is in the best position to prevail in the Big 12 race if they take care of business: i.e., by winning those games a team sporting hopes of a championship should win, It does not mean that they will win those games.

            Which takes us back to the Prime Directive of the REAL Standings: Win your damn Home Games and as Many as Possible on the Road.

            K-State is on top at the moment (meaning every other team would like their current record and remaining schedule) because they have won 5 Road games. That equates to a net of 4 Road Wins if you deduct their Home Loss in the first game of the conference season vs. Texas.

            KU, on the other hand, has 2 Road victories (Baylor and TCU) with no deductions for Home Losses. Texas Tech has 4 Road W’s (WVU, UT, OU and OSU) offset by their Home Loss to ISU. That would be a net of 3 except that 2 of those W’s were at Tier 2 venues (OU and OSU), resulting in a net equivalncy of 2 Road Wins.

            Without going through each team’s Road and Home outcomes, suffice it to say that no one is going to catch K-State unless the Wildcats incur some negative outcomes: the most likely of which would be at Home to Iowa State this Saturday or Baylor on March 2. Their games at KU and TCU are Projected Losses so losing either or both of those games will not affect their REAL Standings Record. Nor will W’s in those games help the Wildcats REAL Standings record. They would simply maintain the REAL status quo--which, at the moment, is a Projected Record of 14-4. If achieved, that record would guarantee K-State no worse than a co-championship.

            Of course, K-State could Lose to one of the Oklahoma schools at Home, or to West Virginia on the Road; but if this what you are basing your hopes on, you are the proverbial man up to his neck in quicksand without a paddle.

                                                CURRENT TIERS

                                                            TIER 1

K-STATE

Defeated Texas on the Road 71-64

K-State has gone from a team on the verge of being out of the Big 12 race after 3 games to having a stranglehold on the conference after 11. If they do not claim the title (or a share of it) at this point, it will be the most devastating failure for the school since their Overtime Loss to Texas A&M in 1998 that kept them from playing for the Pretend National Championship in football.

TEXAS TECH

Defeated Oklahoma State on the Road 78-50

Kinda like a bye in the middle of the conference race, with one added perk: picking up a half game in the REAL Standings. Their Home games vs. KU and K-State will be worth the price of admission.

KU

Defeated TCU on the Road 82-77

Suddenly, the Jayhawks are in position to make a run for No. 15. They just need to rely a little bitty bit on the kindness of Iowa St, Baylor, or some team you would never suspect going 18 for 21 from three point land on one of “those” nights.

IOWA STATE

DNP

“Help us, Obi-Wan Cyclonie. You’re our only hope.”

TCU

Lost to KU at Home 77-82 (Overtime)

Just when the Frogs were in position to make a run at K-State (after taking down ISU in Ames), they are sent directly to jail without passing GO and without collecting 200 dollars courtesy of the Jayhawks’ JV team.

BAYLOR

Defeated OU at Home 59-53.

Probably too late for the Bears to get back in the race following their loss to K-State at Home. But once they are back to full strength with Mason and McClure healthy (if that happens), they could decide who wins or ties for the title.

TEXAS

Lost to K-State at Home 64-71

UT has no games remaining with with KU and K-State, so they are not even in position to play spoiler, with the possible exception of Tech on the Road. They can start thinking about the Big 12 Post-season tourney. Shaka is better in tourneys than the regular season anyway.

                                                            TIER 2

OKLAHOMA

Lost to Baylor on the Road 53-59

OU is Booming neither Sooner nor Later.

OKIE ST

Lost to Texas Tech at Home 50-78

Excluding Bedlam, OU and Okie St are winless in their last 13 Big 12 Games (OSU 0-6, OU 0-7).

                                                            TIER 4

WEST VIRGINIA

DNP

The saying, “The other team gives scholarships, too” is being sorely tested by Bob Huggins.

                                                CURRENT REAL STANDINGS

1. 14-4

K-State (9-2): Projected L’s: (at KU, at TCU)

Up for Grabs: N.A.

2.  12-6

KU (8-4): Projected L’s: (TT)

Up for Grabs: (at OSU, at OU)

Texas Tech (8-4): Projected L’s: (at TCU, at ISU)
Up for Grabs: (at OSU)

4.  11-7

ISU (7-4): Projected L’s: (at KSU, at TCU, at UT)

Up for Grabs: N.A.

5.  10-5-7.5

TCU (5-6): Projected L’s: (at UT)

Up for Grabs: (at OSU)

6.  10-8

BU (7-4): Projected L’s (at TT, at ISU, at KU, at KSU)
Up for Grabs: (N.A.)

7. 9.5-8.5

UT (6-6): Projected L’s (at BU, at TT)
Up for Grabs (at OU)

8. 5-13

OU (3-9): Projected L’s: (at TCU, at ISU, at KSU)
Up for Grabs: (UT, KU)

9.  4-14

Okie St (2-9): Projected L’s (at UT, at KSU, at TT, at BU)
Up for Grabs: (TCU, KU)

10.  2-16

West Virginia (2-9): Projected L’s (at KU, KSU, at BU, TCU, at OU, ISU, at OSU)
Up for Grabs N.A.


                                                AS SEEN ON TV (All times CST)
Saturday

1,         11:00a.m. Oklahoma at TCU (ESPN2) **1/2 (Projected W: TCU)

            Something to watch on a Saturday morning in February. Or you could do your taxes.

2.          Noon. Oklahoma St at Texas (CBS) ** (Projected W: BU)

Something to watch on a Saturday afternoon in February. After you file your taxes on-line.  

3.         1:00p.m. Baylor at Texas Tech (ESPN) ***** (Projected W: Tech)

            Makoi Mason vs. Tech’s D in Lubbock with a lot on the line for the Red Raiders. Forget the taxes and enjoy this game.

4.         3:00p.m.  West Virginia at KU (ESPN) * (Projected W: KU)

            Unfortunately, nothing KU can do in this game will make up for blowing the game at West      Virginia. This game, however, and a bye during the next set of Mid-week games, could help a short-handed roster, including Marcus Garrett, get ready for the stretch run.

5.         3:00p.m. Iowa St at K-State (ESPN2) ******(Projected W (KSU)

            The Game of the Year in the Big 12. If Iowa State avenges its Loss to K-State in        Manhattan, there could be more GOYs to come: such as KU at Tech, K-State at Tech, K- State at KU, and Tech at ISU.

--Mark

REAL STANDINGS: TCU'S 15 MINUTES OF FAME EDITION

            REAL STANDINGS:  THE TCU’S 15 MINUTES OF FAME EDITION

            We now know that West Virginia is the team to beat n the Big 12. In the two most important games of the first half of the conference season, KU didn’t, and K-State did.

            KU’s Loss at WVU was inexcusable, inexplicable, and, to this point, irreversible. It’s like they gave every other team with championship dreams a 10-yard head start in a 20-yard dash.

            K-State almost didn’t take advantage. They fall behind the Mountaineers by 21 points at Home. A Loss to the league’s worst team on your Home Court would be every bit as bad as a Loss to them on the Road. Maybe worse, because being swept by them is more likely with the return game in Morgantown than at Home.

            K-State had never before come from 21 points down to Win. They were dead in the Big 12 water three games into the conference season.

            The Wildcats Won that game and have won every conference game since.  

            So now, 10 games into K-State’s schedule, we know who the team to beat is in the Big 12 REALly is. Although the pundits are grudgingly acknowledging that K-State is in first place in the newspaper standings, they have stood atop the REAL Standings since they were 4-2.

            Going into Saturday, Iowa State had clawed their way into a tie with K-State in the REAL Standings with a Projected record of 12-6.

            Then something strange happened. K-State jumped to 13-5 with a REAL Road Win at Baylor, while Iowa St dropped to 11-7 with a surprising Home Loss to TCU. As the Kansas City Star article about the K-State game noted, “It was like the Wildcats won twice on Saturday.”

            That is precisely what it was like with Iowa State’s Loss coming on its Home Court. (As opposed to a Loss at TCU, which would have been barely a ripple in the Big 12 waters.)

            Bottom line: K-State has suddenly put space between themselves and the rest of the field, holding a 1.5 game lead over the two second place teams, now TCU and Tech.

                                                CURRENT TIERS

                                                            TIER 1

K-STATE

Defeated Baylor on the Road 70-63

K-State has now defeated Oklahoma, Iowa St, and Baylor on the Road. That is why they are looking down on everyone else notwithstanding their loss at home to Texas. Yes, the Wildcats were fortunate to play KU without Marcus Garrett and Baylor minus Makai Mason (perhaps the league’s best point guard) and King McClure, but you can’t count that against them. They got no credit for playing without Wade. Instead, they engineered the biggest comeback in school history and used that victory to springboard themselves to the catbird’s seat in the conference race.

TEXAS TECH

Defeated Oklahoma on the Road 66-54

Tech would be the yoyo team in the Big 12 if there were not so many others sharing that accolade. Up and Down. Down and up.

Right now, they are Up. As in tied for second place with TCU.

TCU

Defeated Iowa St on the Road 92-83

The Horned Frogs have been flying way under the radar virtually the entire season. There were even those who questioned whether they belonged in Tier 1 when they were 3-5 in the newspaper standings following losses by 19 points at Tech and 26 points at Baylor. A 2 point victory at Home over Okie St did noting for their image either.

But the REAL Standings are not about image. They are about results. They maintained their Tier 1 status because they were one of only two teams in the conference that had followed the REAL Standings’ prime directive: Win All Your Freaking Home Games. (The other being KU.)

When you are unblemished at Home, one big Road Win can catapult you into the stratosphere of Big 12 Contenders. Or, in this case, a tie for second place.

IOWA STATE

Lost to TCU a Home 83-92

It might not be a coincidence that the Cyclones incurred this devastating Loss just after the pundits started universally anointing them as the team most likely to knock KU off its 14-year perch atop the Big 12. If the Jayhawks fall short, its successor might well be notthe team with the most skills but the one that handles the pressure of the moment best. If Saturday is any indication, that team is not Iowa St.

Not that they cannot grow into that role. But they need to do it fast.

KU

Defeated OSU at Home 84-72

On this day, anyway, the Notorious LGV was not missed by the Jayhawks. If their Saturday attitude  carries over to the Road this time, beginning at TCU Monday night, KU could be in this race to the bitter end. But, like Iowa State, they can’t keep saying, “Maybe later.”

BAYLOR

Lost to K-State at Home 63-70

At the start of the week, Baylor was the hottest team in the league and arguably playing the best basketball. Then Makai Mason went down in Austin and King McClure shortly thereafter, and  the Bears have, in the words of a barbecue eatery just north of Waco, gone “Up in Smoke.”

TEXAS

Defeated Baylor 84-72 in Austin.

One Big Road W (WVU wasn’t it), and UT can pull a TCU and require serious attention.

                                                            TIER 2

OKLAHOMA

Lost to Tech at Home 54-66

The Sooners played well enough earlier on the year that they are still in the mix for the NCAA tournament.

Recently, though, they have been slip-sliding away. Definitely not your father’s Lonnie Kruger team.

Of course, you father’s Lonnie Kruger team was K-State. Maybe even your grandfather’s.

OKIE ST

Lost to KU on the Road 72-84

Still Playing hard. Still losing. Still dangerous if you don’t match their effort.

                                                            TIER 3

WEST VIRGINIA

Lost to Texas at Home

They say if you don’t have something to nice to say, don’t say anything.

You might have noticed that the REAL Standings Report does not always follow that maxim. But at least in this instance, it will refrain from kicking a team when it’s down.

                                                CURRENT REAL STANDINGS

1. 13-5

K-State (8-2): Projected L’s: (at UT, at KU, at TCU)

Up for Grabs: N.A.

2.  11.5-6.5

TCU (5-5): Projected L’s: (at UT)

Up for Grabs: (at OSU)

Texas Tech (7-4): Projected L’s: (at TCU, at ISU)
Up for Grabs: (at OSU)

4.  11-7

KU (7-4): Projected L’s: (at TCU, at TT)

Up for Grabs: (at OSU, at OU)

ISU (7-4): Projected L’s: (at KSU, at TCU, at UT)

Up for Grabs: N.A.

6. 10.5-7.5

UT (6-5): Projected L’s (at BU, at TT)
Up for Grabs (at OU)

7.  10-8

BU (6-4): Projected L’s (at TT, at ISU, at KU, at KSU)
Up for Grabs: (N.A.)

8. 5-13

OU (3-8): Projected L’s: (at BU, at TCU, at ISU, at KSU)
Up for Grabs: (UT, KU)

9.  4.5-13.5

Okie St (2-8): Projected L’s (at UT, at KSU, at TT, at BU)
Up for Grabs: (TT, TCU, KU)

10.  2-16

West Virginia (2-9): Projected L’s (at KU, KSU, at BU, TCU, at OU, ISU, at OSU)
Up for Grabs N.A


                                                AS SEEN ON TV (All times CST)
Monday

1,         8:00a.m. KU at TCU (ESPN) *****(Projected W: TCU)

            A Loss by the Jayhawks would drop their best possible record to 13-5, which is K--State’s Projected Record. The Hawks have a steep hill to climb already. They must figure out some way to Win this Projected Loss game or their task will be downright Sisyphean.

2.          8:00p.m. Oklahoma at Baylor (ESPN2) *** (Projected W: BU)

Baylor is watching its dreams of grandeur fade away. And this time, it’s not Scott Drew’s fault.

Tuesday

3.         8:00p.m. K-State at Texas (ESPN2) ***** (Projected W: UT)

            A Win by K-State, and their Projected Record improves to 14-4, which would be good            enough for at least a share of the Big 12 title. Guaranteed!

            Everyone else who has hopes of cutting down the conference nets is a Texas fan for one      night. Even the other Texas teams in Lubbock, Fort Worth, and Waco, who REALly REALly          hate the Longhorns.

Wednesday

4.         8:00p.m.  Texas Tech at Okie St (ESPN2) **1/2 (UFG)

            After playing TCU and KU tough on the Road,             Okie St cannot be considered a Gimme at             Home. In a woulda coulda shoulda world, they had TCU beat.

--Mark

REAL STANDINGS: STATE OF THE STATES (K AND I) EDITION

The REAL Standings strike again. Although they are not intended to be predictors, the vast majority of games with a Projected Winner wind up with the Projected Winner winning. When that happens, it seems almost boring: because those victories have already been credited to the victors, and there is no change in either team’s record.

In this week’s Midweek games, we had 4 Projected Winners, and guess what: they all Won. We had Texas Tech beating West Virginia at Home; K-State beating KU at Home; Texas beating Baylor at Home; and TCU beating Okie St at Home.

The only game that involved any change in the REAL Standings was Iowa St winning am Up for Grabs Game at OU by the slimmest margin possible, 75-74. The result was a half game pickup for the Cyclones, allowing them to catch K-State atop the REAL Standings with a Projected Record pf 12-6/.

                                                CURRENT TIERS

                                                            TIER 1

K-STATE

Defeated KU 74-67

K-State stays the course with another Projected W at Home.

IOWA STATE

Defeated OU 75-74 in Norman

A one-point Win. But that’s all it takes. It is the difference between the Cyclones being tied for first place in the REAL Standings and being a full game back of K-State.

BAYLOR

Lost to Texas in Austin 72-84

Scott Drew has actually done a respectable coaching this team. He had no answers Wednesday night, however, when UT’s game plan was to take Makoi Mason out of the game.

KU

Lost to K-State 67-74

The Jayhawks lost no ground in the REAL Standings with their Projected Loss in Manhattan.  What they did lose was an opportunity to take the inside track to their 15th straight Big 12 Title.  but two games With that opportunity having fallen by the wayside, the Jayhawks have but two remaining chances to make up for their loss at West Virginia. To have a REAListic chance for No. 15, they need to win out at Home, win an UFG Game at OU, and turn a Projected Loss into a W at TCU, Texas Tech, or both.

TEXAS TECH

Defeated WVU 81-50 in Lubbock.

Ho-freakin’-hum.

TCU

Defeated Okie St 70-68 in Fort Worth

The only subjective part of the REAL Standings is the Tier Placement. Having lost to Tech on the Road by 19, Baylor on the Road by 26, and then outlasting Okie St by 2 points at Home with a buzzer-beater, the Horned Frogs do not resemble a Tier 1 team in any respect—except for being undefeated at Home. That is enough to maintain the status quo for the time being.

TEXAS

Defeated Baylor 84-72 in Austin.

The Longhorns will beat you at Home. They could still sneak into the trophy room if they mature enough to take their game on the Road. Of course, that could be said of a number of teams, including KU. They are, in essence, the Jayhawks but with a Loss at home to Tech and without a Loss at WVU.

                                                            TIER 2

OKLAHOMA

Lost at ISU 74-75 in Norman

OU can turn its attention squarely to trying to somehow grab a spot in the NCAA Tournament.

OKIE ST

Lost to TCU in Fort Worth 68-70

If there were a trophy for effort and tenacity, the Cowboys would be atop Tier 1.

                                                            TIER 3

WEST VIRGINIA

Lost to Texas Tech 50-81 in Lubbock

Just OK is not OK. And nit even OK is not even OK.

                                                CURRENT REAL STANDINGS

1. 12-6

K-State (7-2): Projected L’s: (at BU, at UT, at KU, at TCU)

Up for Grabs: N.A.

ISU (7-3): Projected L’s: (at KSU, at TCU, at UT)

Up for Grabs: N.A.

3.  11-7

KU (6-4): Projected L’s: (at TCU, at TT)

Up for Grabs: (at OSU, at OU)

Texas Tech (6-4): Projected L’s: (at TCU, at ISU)
Up for Grabs: (at OU, at OSU)

BU (6-3): Projected L’s (at TT,at ISU, at KU, at KSU)
Up for Grabs: (N.A.)

6. 10.5-7.5

TCU (4-5): Projected L’s: (at ISU, at UT)

Up for Grabs: (at OSU)

UT (5-5): Projected L’s (at BU, at TT)
Up for Grabs (at OU)

8. 5.5-12.5

OU (3-7): Projected L’s: (at BU, at TCU, at ISU, at KSU)
Up for Grabs: (TT, UT, KU)

9.  4.5-13.5

Okie St (2-7): Projected L’s (at KU, at UT, at KSU, at TT, at BU)
Up for Grabs: (TT, TCU, KU)

10.  2-16

West Virginia (2-8): Projected L’s (UT, at KU, KSU, at BU, TCU, at OU, ISU, at OSU)
Up for Grabs N.A.
                                                AS SEEN ON TV (All times CST)
Saturday

1,         11:00a.m. Okie St at KU (ESPN) **(Projected W: KU)

            Life after the Notorious LGV begins. Is this the beginning of the end, the end of the    beginning, or addition by subtraction?

2.          1:00p.m. TCU at Iowa St (ESPNU) ***1/2 (Projected W: ISU)

Okie St has some firepower. What it does not have, with but 7 scholarship players, is staying power. A W in Ames by the Cowboys would be the Big 12 Upset of the Year.      

3.         3:00p.m. Texas Tech at OU (ESPNU) **** (UFG)

            The Sooners try again to spoil someone else’s party after falling one point short Monday night.

4.         5:00p.m.  K-State at Baylor at Texas (ESPN2) *****(Projected W: BU)

            Baylor was the league’s hottest team before Wednesday night wth Makoi Mason its hottest    player. One game later, they face a must Win game to avoid falling three games behind K-State.

5.         7:00p.m.  Texas at West Virginia (ESPN2) **** (Projected W: UT)

            UT looking for its second set of back-to-back Wins in conference play. The last time it            happened, in the first two games of the season, the second victim was—you guessed it—West Virginia.

--Mark

REAL Standings: The Day the Music Died Edition

                                    REAL STANDINGS:  THE DAY THE MUSIC DIED EDITION 

            It has been 60 years since the plane crash that took the lives of Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper, and Ritchie Valens. So what would be a proper tribute for that sad day that has some connection to the REAL Big 12 Standings?

            Chantilly Lace? La Bamba? There is probably a connection that could be made to these songs by someone who is REAL clever and who has no life.

            But I will take the easy way out:

                        “Everyday it’s a getting’ closer

                        Goin’ faster than a Roller Coaster…”

            This is the Big 12 race in a nutshell: a Roller Coaster. It seems every week a team that formerly sucked suddenly looks like the conference’s best team. Think K-State and Baylor.

            Or vice versa: Think Texas Tech and Oklahoma.

            And what’s up with KU? The Jayhawks’ Roller Coaster between highs and lows in Home and Away games is enough to give you whiplash.

            As for the REAL Standings, K-State picked up a half game in the RS and  moved into the Top Spot by itself on Saturday with its Road Win in Stillwater. Iowa State, which had been tied with K-State, did not Lose any REAL ground with its Projected Home Win vs. Texas but dropped a half game behind K-State.

            In other games:

·         KU and Baylor both won at Home as Projected vs. Tech and TCU respectively, for no movement  by any of those teams in the REAL Standings; and

·         West Virginia moved up half a game with its Home Court victory over a higher-level team: i.e., Oklahoma, who dropped a half game.

                                                CURRENT TIERS

                                                            TIER 1

K-STATE

Defeated Okie St in Stillwater 75-57

It wasn’t that close. K-State keeps taking care of business.

IOWA STATE

Defeated UT at Home 65-60

The Cyclones could put together a blooper reel from this one. How many stand-alone lay-ups and lobs did they screw up? But if you are going to create a blooper reel, better from a Win than a Loss.

BAYLOR

Defeated TCU at Home 90-64

Makai Mason, the Bears’ Yale leader, scored 40 points, going 9-12 from downtown. (There actually is a downtown in Waco--of sorts.) The Fighting Scotties are the hottest team in the league. Maybe even the best team depending on how their coach (note that I did not put the word “coach” in quotation marks) handles being the Big 12’s and Fran Fraschilla’s best hope of dethroning KU.

KU

Defeated Texas Tech at Home 79-63

Three players down (De Sousa, Udunka, and Marcus Garrett), the Jayhawks kept their heads above water with its normal expected Home Win. No. 15 remains within reach if the Hawks can take the shooting prowess and cohesion demonstrated in this game on the Road.

TEXAS TECH

Lost at KU 63-79

Yes, they were soundly defeated Saturday in Lawrence (who isn’t aside from Last year’s Tech team), and they have lost 4 of their last 5 conference games, but the schedule is about to turn in their favor. Their next 3 games are vs. WVU in Buddy Holly’s Home town, at OU, and at Okie St, before getting Baylor, KU, and Okie St at Home. No, those games will not result in leaps and bounds in the REAL Standings but might well allow the Red Raiders to make minor gains while watching other challengers fall back.

TCU

Lost at Baylor 64-90

For the second straight week, no REAL harm done to the Horned Frogs other than to their pride. Last week, it was noted that everyone is entitled to one off night. Just don’t let it turn onto two. Or three. Or more. Well, TCU is on the verge.

TEXAS

Lost to ISU in Ames 60-65

Actually, a very representative effort by UT. They did everything but Win—mostly due to not taking advantage of ISU’s junior high caliber plays.

                                                            TIER 2

OKLAHOMA

Lost at WVU 71-79

Not sure how  you overcome a Loss at West Virginia. Win ‘em all at Home I guess. At least that’s KU’s theory. Too late for the Sooners to go that route.

OKIE ST

Lost to K-State at Home 57-75

Q: Is OSU REALly better than West Virginia?

A:  It Doesn’t Matter Anymore.

                                                            TIER 3

WEST VIRGINIA

Defeated OU at Home

The Mountaineers actually have a Heartbeat.

                                                CURRENT REAL STANDINGS

1. 12-6

K-State (6-2): Projected L’s: (at BU, at UT, at KU, at TCU)

Up for Grabs: N.A.

2. 11.5-6.5

ISU (6-3): Projected L’s: (at KSU, at TCU, at UT)

Up for Grabs: (at OU)

3.  11-7

KU (6-3): Projected L’s: (at KSU, at TCU, at TT)

Up for Grabs: (at OSU, at OU)

Texas Tech (5-4): Projected L’s: (at TCU, at ISU)
Up for Grabs: (at OU, at OSU)

BU (6-2): Projected L’s (at UT, at TT, at ISU, at KU, at KSU)
Up for Grabs: (N.A.)

6. 10.5-7.5

TCU (3-5): Projected L’s: (at ISU, at UT)

Up for Grabs: (at OSU)

UT (4-5): Projected L’s (at BU, at TT)
Up for Grabs (at OU)

8. 6-12

OU (3-6): Projected L’s: (at BU, at TCU, at ISU, at KSU)
Up for Grabs: (ISU, TT, UT, KU)

9.  5-13

Okie St (2-6): Projected L’s (at TCU, at KU, at UT, at KSU, at TT, at BU)
Up for Grabs: (TT, TCU, KU)

10.  2-16

West Virginia (2-6): Projected L’s (at ISU, at TT, UT, at KU, KSU, at BU, TCU, at OU, ISU, at OSU)
Up for Grabs N.A.


                                                AS SEEN ON TV (All times CST)
Monday

1,         8:00p.m. West Virginia at Texas Tech (ESPN) **(Projected W: Tech)

            WVU Wining in Lubbock?

            That’ll Be the Day.

2.          8:00p.m. Iowa St at Oklahoma (ESPN2) ***1/2 (UFG)

Dangerous game for the Cyclones. The Sooners have lost their last 2 games: at West Virginia and by 30 at Home to Baylor). Lonnie will have them ready to play.

Can ISU Win? Oh, Boy, that’s a tough question. All I can say is, “Maybe, Baby.”

Tuesday

3.         8:00p.m. KU at K-State (ESPN) **** (Projected W: K-State)

            This is a big time opportunity game for the Jayhawks.  A Win here, and No 15 comes clearly into view in spite of the loss at West Virginia. But if the fans make a difference in any Big 12         game this year, it will be Tuesday night in Manhattan.    No current K-State player has ever      beaten KU, and they do not want to end their careers 0-4 against the Jayhawks in         Manhattan. Especially a Kansas boy like Dean Wade.

            The K-State fans will Rave On for sure.

            KU fans will hope against hope that their team does Not Fade Away.  

Wednesday

4.         7:00p.m.  Baylor at Texas (LHN) **** (Projected W: UT)

            A Road Win in Austin, and Baylor just might be the team to beat.

5.         8:00p.m.  Okie St at TCU (ESPNU) **** (Projected W: TCU)

            It’s So Easy even a caveman could do it

--Mark

REAL STANDINGS: THE BOOK OF THE ELI EDITION

 

                REAL STANDINGS:  THE BOOK OF THE ELI EDITION

            As the clock expired Monday night in Norman, commentator Kevin Connors announced, “We will be right back with the front-runner for Big 12 Coach of the Year, Scott Drew.”

            In the upset of the year, I wasn’t laughing. Not after a 30-point Road win by Baylor (77-47) at Oklahoma.

            Baylor beating Okie St by 4 in Stillwater? No biggie. Beating Tech in Waco? Winning at Home is so easy, even a Mountaineer can do it (on occasion). Defeating West Virginia in Morgantown? Who can’t do that (other than KU)? Holding off Alabama by 5 at Home? Nice Win, but what does that have to do with the Big 12?

            But Winning a Big 12 game in Norman against a Lonnie Kruger coached team by 30 points? And dominating from start to finish? That is the Big 12’s Best Game of the Year.

            And, yes, they looked coached. They played as a team on offense, not just a team of individuals who all got hot from the field at the same time. They played solid D and cleaned the glass like Paddington Bear trying to earn enough money for a fold out book of London.

            As the REAL Standings Report has noted early and often this season, Baylor looks like the team to beat in the Big 12 this year. You could look it up. (Please don’t.)

            But do give credit where credit is due. And right now, Baylor’s credit rating is approaching 900.

                                                CURRENT TIERS

                                                            TIER 1

K-STATE

DNP

BAYLOR

Defeated OU 77-47.

Baylor’s Yale transfer at PG is like having a coach on the court.

Maybe better.

IOWA STATE

Defeated WVU 93-68

To paraphrase Mark Twain, there are byes, damn byes, and West Virginia at Home.

KU

Lost to Texas 73-63.

Losing this game as projected did not hurt the Jayhawks one iota in the REAL Standings.

What did hurt is the confirmation of a trend:  KU has now lost three Big 12 Road games (at Iowa St, West Virginia, and Texas) where they have looked like five guys who just met each other teaming up in a pick-up game on the local middle school’s playground where a hoop supporting a third of a net is attached to a cement pole. Unless the Jayhawks transform themselves into a REAL team fast—you know, like they have at Baylor--they will let the formula for winning the Big 12 (going undefeated at Home and stealing 3-4 games on the Road) slip away for good. Even if they regroup quickly, where those 3-4 Road Wins might come from is a mystery worthy of Inspector Clouseau.

TEXAS TECH

Defeated TCU 84-66 at Home

A W for Tech as projected. No gain in the REAL Standings. Noteworthy, however, for the margin of victory. It Is the first time this season that TCU has been used like a wet mop in conference play. Whether that portends anything remains to be seen.

TCU

Lost at Tech 66-84

No REAL harm done to the Horned Frogs other than to their pride. Everyone is entitled to one off night. Just don’t let it turn onto two. Or three. Or more.

TEXAS

Defeated KU 73-63,

Had it not been for KU, Texas would have been the most disorganized team on the floor Tuesday night.

                                                            TIER 2

OK:AHOMA

Lost to Baylor 47-77

The Sooners had done nothing notable all season until Monday night. Losing by 30 at Home to a team coached by the front-runner for Coach of the Year is notable. Worthy of a Battlefield Demotion to Tier 2.

OKIE ST

DNP

                                                            TIER 3

WEST VIRGINIA

Lost to ISU 68-93.

The Mountaineers were not playing Kansas anymore.

                                                CURRENT REAL STANDINGS

1. 11.5-6.5

K-State (5-2): Projected L’s: (at BU, at UT, at KU, at TCU)

Up for Grabs: (at OSU)

ISU (5-3): Projected L’s: (at KSU, at TCU, at UT)

Up for Grabs: (at OU)

3.  11-7

KU (5-3): Projected L’s: (at KSU, at TCU, at TT)

Up for Grabs: (at OSU, at OU)

Texas Tech (5-3): Projected L’s: (at KU, at TCU, at ISU)
Up for Grabs: (at OU, at OSU)

BU (5-2): Projected L’s (at UT, at TT, at ISU, at KU, at KSU)
Up for Grabs: (N.A.)

6. 10,5-7,5

TCU (3-4): Projected L’s: (at BU, ISU, at UT)

Up for Grabs: (at OSU)

UT (4-4): Projected L’s (at ISU, at BU, at TT)
Up for Grabs (at OU)

8. 6.5-11.5

OU (3-5): Projected L’s: (at BU, at TCU, at ISU, at KSU)
Up for Grabs: (at WVU, ISU, TT, UT, KU)

9.  5-13

Okie St (2-5): Projected L’s (at TCU, at KU, at UT, at KSU, at TT, at BU)
Up for Grabs: (KSU, TT, TCU, KU)

10.  1.5-16.5

West Virginia (1-6): Projected L’s (at ISU, at TT, UT, at KU, KSU, at BU, TCU, at OU, ISU, at OSU)
Up for Grabs (OU)
                                                AS SEEN ON TV (All times CST)
Saturday

1,         11:00a.m.  Oklahoma at West Virginia (ESPN2) **1/2 (Up for Grabs)

            OU needs this game to salve the wounds inflicted on it in Norman by the Fighting Scotties.    That fiasco, however, makes you wonder if they are good enough to take it.

2.          1:00p.m. Texas at Iowa St (ESPN2) ****1/2 (Projected W: ISU)

Every Home game is a threat. Every Road game an opportunity. This is UT’s opportunity to move to the forefront of the conference race.

3.         3:00p.m. Texas Tech at KU (CBS) ***** (Projected W: KU)

            Tech looks to beat KU in Lawrence two straight years. Doing so will move the Red Raiders    into first Place in the REAL Standings.

4.         5:00p.m.  K-State at Oklahoma St (ESPNU) **1/2 (Up for Grabs)

            Only a half game at stake here, but a W for K-state assures it of no worse than a tie for the    REAL Standings lead heading into its confrontation with KU next Tuesday,

5.         7:00p.m.  TCU at Baylor (ESPNU) **** (Projected W: Baylor)

            Baylor’s chance to demonstrate that they are not your father’s Bears. Not that your father claimed the old Bears.

--Mark

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