For the first time in 2019, the Newspaper Standings have emulated a stopped clock--except that a stopped clock is right twice a day, while the Newspaper Standings are only right once a year.
With the Big 12 Season now in the History Books, it is time for the REAL Standings post-season awards.
The first award, for best analysis of the Big 12 Standings, goes to—wait for it—the REAL Standings. This might appear to be a biased decision, but it REALly isn’t. What other source concerning Big 12 Basketball suggested—or even hinted—on January 19, six games into the season, that K-State was the team to beat?
Here was the REAL Standings’ assessment at the time:
REAL STANDINGS: THE ROAD GOES THROUGH MANHATTAN(?) EDITION
The Fake Media Standings show a four-way tie atop the Big 12 Standings with Texas Tech, K-State, KU and Iowa State all sporting 4-2 records.
The REAL Standings tell a different story. K-State is in first place with a Projected Record of 12-6, a full game ahead of 2nd place TCU and Iowa State (11-5), and 1.5 games ahead of Tech, Texas, and K.U, all tied for fourth place at 10.5-7.5.
With two of the five best players in the league playing like it, both seniors, the cry goes out, “Break up the Fighting Bruces.” The 12 games remaining, including 6 on the Road, might prove to be a pitfall. Or they might be an opportunity to run away from the field, what with three of them being at Okie St, Baylor, and West Virginia. Where do their Losses come from?
They do have 3 Projected L’s, but win their Home games and the 3 “soft” Road games, and they finish 14-4. Probably any K-Stater would take that right now and wait in the clubhouse.
(Note: K-State did finish 14-4, although that was not a prediction—it was simply a calculation of what their record would be IF they took care of business.)
You did not read this analysis in your local newspaper (even if it was slanted toward K-State). You did not hear it from any pundit: not Fran Fraschilla or any of the ESPN commentators covering the Big 12, nor that network’s national analysts like Jayson Williams, Jay Bilas, Rece Davis, or the like; and not from any computer ranking services like KenPom.com or Sagarin.
Nor did you hear of it on Yahoo Sports, Bleacher Report, or the Athletic, all fine sources for sports coverage.
All of these experts were apparently overly influenced by K-State’s uncompetitive loss to Texas at Home (47-67) to start conference play, their 0-2, and their incompetence in falling behind West Virginia by 21 at Home before turning that game around to avoid an 0-3 start. And then there was their ugly loss at Tulsa (46-47), their 71-83 loss at Marquette, and their narrow escapes vs. Southern Miss (55-51) and George Mason (59-58).
But the REAL Standings matrix, which is based on “Who are you now?” had the Wildcats in the pole after 6 games because of who they had played and where and who they had yet to play and where.
The same authorities mentioned above also failed to clue you in on how KU’s straits were as a result of its loss at West Virginia. It was treated casually as just one Road Loss in a league where everyone was going to take Road Losses. Wrong. The REAL Standings explained that this was more than your run of the mill Road Loss:
The Jayhawks, in fact, if not on life support with 12 games remaining, are in the Emergency Room as a result of their Loss to Bottom Feeder West Virginia (aka BFWV).
The Jayhawks not only suffered a devastating Loss in Morgantown but no longer have the game at West Virginia in front of them to relish. Every other team that might win the championship does, with the exception of Texas Tech which has already banked that W.
The question, which the Fake Media Standings don’t ask or even try to answer, is, “Where is KU going to make that game up?”
Yes, they are still undefeated at Home. If they remain that way, that could eventually negate the loss in Morgantown. But even if they run the table at Home, they will need some number of Road Wins somewhere. If not at West Virginia, where? And if they turn the ball over 20 times—which is their average in their two Road Losses—how do they win anywhere?
Bottom line: Fran Fraschilla’s wildest dream is within reach despite the 4-way Fake Media tie at the top.
Yet not even Fran considered KU’s Loss to the Mountaineers a big deal. He was still picking the Jayhawks to Win or share the title late in the season.
As for Texas Tech, they were 1.5 REAL games behind K-State on January 19. They just upped their game and caught K-State in the final 12 games. In fact, they trailed K-State by a ½ game going into Ames on the final day of the season due to their Up for Grab Game vs. the Cyclones. And Up for Grabs it was at 65-65 with 4:04 remaining and 74-71 at :30. But Tech made their Free Throws down the stretch to put the game and a share of the big 12 title on ice.
Congratulations to Co-Champions K-State and Tech, both of whom will now hang legitimate Big 12 Championship banners from their respective rafters. (As opposed to Iowa State’s favorite: banners celebrating Meaningless Big 12 Tournament titles.)
ALL CONFERENCE TEAM
The REAL Standings All-Conference Team is different from most. It is not simply a compilation of the League’s five best players. Instead, as in football, it is actually a team, as if putting together a squad to play the all-conference teams from the other top conferences (i.e., the ACC, Big East, SEC, B1G, and Pac-12). You cannot hope to do well vs. the teams those conferences could put together with 5 centers or 5 guards.
With a player at every position, the 2019 REAL Standings All Big 12 Team is:
DEDRICK LAWSON (KU): Led the conference in scoring and rebounding. ‘Nuf said.
DEAN WADE (K-State): It is not a coincidence that K-State started 0-2 (almost 0-3) with the Pre-Season POY injured. Had he been healthy for 18 games, Texas Tech would still be looking for its first Big 12 basketball championship. Tech might have even been swept by the Wildcats.
JARRETT CULVER (Texas Tech): The league’s third leading scorer and second-best rebounder. Also, the best player on one of the co-champions.
BARRY BROWN (K-State): The league’s consensus best defender and the leader of the other co-champion, who has an uncanny knack of making plays on both sides of the ball when needed.
ALEX ROBINSON: Led the league easily in assists (7 per game—next best was 4) and averaged 13 points. Makoi Mason might have taken this spot as a coach on the floor who makes the game easier for his teammates had he not missed so much time de to injury in the latter part of the season and been off his game when he did play.
MARIAL SHAYOK (Iowa State): A solid candidate for first team and probably on every teamone that names the 5 best players regardless of position. Second leading scorer in the conference. But of the five position players listed above, who are you going to remove to make place for him?
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
I have heard the arguments for Jarrett Culver, and he is a great player. As are Dean Wade, and Barry Brown.
The argument for Culver is that he is the best player on the best team. (Actually, one of the two best teams. They are the No. 2 seed in the Meaningless Big 12 Tournament. And the other team has two best players, so who would you choose?)
To me, leading the conference in both scoring and rebounding trumps being the best player on one of the two best teams. REALly, what does it take? Leading the conference in assists, too? And where would KU have been without the Duo-League Leader? Fighting with Okie St, West Virginia, OU, and TCU for a first-round bye?
COACH OF THE YEAR
BRUCE WEBER (K-State)
Chris Beard is certainly a reasonable choice for this award as well for leading Texas Tech to a share of its first ever Big 12 title.
However, I favor the guy who won a share of the league title in spite of spotting the rest of the league 2 games due to an injury to the Pre-Season POY (who also played injured for a number of games with limited productivity when he returned). Not to mention losing their No. 1 player off the bench (Cartier Diarra) for the last 8 games.
All Instant Offense team:
Who do you want to bring off the bench if you need 5 three pointers in the final 2:30 in a 10-12 point game? You want guys who are not only good shooters, but who can get Hot! Hot! Hot! with the game on the line. How about:
Lindy Waters (Okie St): Who essentially did that at Tech.
Jace Febres (Texas)
Desmond Bane (TCU)
Thomas Dziagwa (Okie St)
Gerald Vick (KU)
All Posture Team: