REAL STANDINGS: “THAT’LL BE THE DAY” EDITION

            Yes, Saturday’ll be the day. If KU wins. If that happen, the Jayhawks will clinch at least a share of their 14th straight conference title. 

            And if KU doesn’t win? Then Saturday won’t be the day. That’ll be the beginning of a wild week that could result in any one of four teams winning the Big 12 title outright or sharing it with one, two, or all three of the others. 

                                                                                CURRENT TIERS

Tier 1:

·         KU- (Home W vs. OU)—Well, that was easy. KU led for 39 minutes, 11 seconds,  

·         Texas Tech (Road L at Okie St)—Tech can take comfort in the knowledge that KU still has to go to Stillwater. 

·         West Virginia (Road W at BU)—The Mountaineers need a lot of help, but they did what they could do in Waco. You can only do what you can do.

Tier 2

·         K-State (Home W vs. UT)—K-State is now 9-0 vs. everyone whose mascots are not Jayhawks, Mountaineers, and Red Raiders. Don’t laugh: 12-0 against those teams could result in a conference championship.

·         TCU (Road W at ISU)— The good news is that the Horned Frogs are in good shape to go .500 in league play. The bad news is they can forget about defending their NIT Title.

·         Baylor (Home L vs, WVU)—Why do I suspect that if Bill Self and Scott Drew had switched players this year, KU would still be on the verge of a conference championship, and Baylor would still be mired in Tier 2?

·         Oklahoma (Road L at KU)—How low can the Sooners go? And how much grief will Lon Kruger and Trae take for it?

·       Texas (Road L at K-State)— Why do I suspect that if Bill Self and Shaka Smart had switched players this year, KU would still be on the verge of a conference championship, and UT would still be mired in Tier 2? 

·         Okie St (Home W vs. Tech)—For you psych majors: Is Okie St schizophrenic or bipolar?  

·        Iowa State (Home L vs. TCU)—Maybe, just maybe, ISU is just bad.

 

                                                                CURRENT PROJECTIONS

1.         12.5-5.5

              KU (11-4):              Projected L’s (at Tech)

                                At risk games (at OSU)

2.         12-6

            Texas Tech (10-5):     Projected L’s: (at WVU)                                At risk games: N.A. 

 

3.        11.5-6.5

            WVU (9-6):          Projected L’s: N.A.

                                At risk games (at UT)

4.        10-8

 K-State (9-6): Projected L’s (at OU, at TCU)

At risk games: N.A.

5.         9-9

TCU (7-8):            Projected L’s: (at Tech)

                                At risk games: N.A

6.         8-10

Baylor (7-8): Projected L’s (at TCU, at K-State)

                                At risk games: N.A.

OU (6-9):              Projected L’s: (at BU)

                                At risk games: N.A.

8.            7.5-10.5

             UT (6-9): Projected L’s (at KU)

                At risk games (vs. WVU)

9.           6.5-11.5

Okie St (6-9):  Projected L’s (at UT at ISU,)

                At risk games (vs. KU)

 10.       5-13

            ISU (4-11): Projected L’s (at WVU, at OU)

                At risk games: N.A,

                                                                AS SEEN ON TV

SATURDAY:

11:00a.m.: Baylor at TCU (ESPN2)**** (Projected W: TCU)

            Desperation time for Baylor after having its 5-game winning streak snapped by WVU in Waco. 

1:00p.m.: Okie St at Texas (LHN)*** (Projected W: UT)

            Talk about desperate. UT cannot afford another loss at Home; and, Wednesday aside, Okie State plays its best ball on the Road.

3:15p.m.: KU at Texas Tech (ESPN)********** (Projected W: Tech)

            Not long ago, KU was stinking up the place against Tech and Okie St in Lawrence, Baylor in Waco, and Oklahoma in Norman. Suddenly, they are playing in the Game of the Year. You could call them a Cinderella story--if Cinderella had crushed her step-sisters 13 Royal Balls in a row. 

5:00p.m. K-State at OU (ESPN2) *** (Projected W: OU)

            The Oklahoma Sooners are so desperate for a victory—"How desperate are they?”---"They are so desperate for a victory, they are jealous of KU’s football team.”

5:00p.m.: Iowa State at West Virginia (ESPNU)*** (Projected W: WVU)

            The closest thing to a gimme in this league.

--Mark

REAL STANDINGS: THE GOMER PYLE EDITION

             “Surprise! Surprise! Surprise!” 

            Four games remaining in the Big 12 season, and Kansas is tied for first place. Who saw that coming? 

            And it is as even as a tie can be. Tied with Texas Tech in the REAL Standings. Tied in the newspaper Standings. Both teams have one Projected Loss remaining: KU at Tech, Tach at West Virginia. Both have a trip to Stillwater remaining to face a team that has recently won in Lawrence and Morgantown. Both have Home games they “should” win, but reek of danger (KU vs. OU and UT; Tech vs. TCU). 

If KU has an edge (aside from looking like they might have a legitimate center and are no longer merely a jump shooting team), it is that they only have one game remaining with a Tier 1 team (Tech), while Tech has two (KU and WVU).

If TCU has an edge, it is that its head to head game with KU is in Lubbock.

            Speaking of edges, KU has closed out championship seasons before. Tech hasn’t. There will be a lot of pressure on the Red Raiders in front of its Home crowd to “git ‘er dun” in the biggest basketball game in the school’s Big 12 history involving men. 

            Still, while the winner of the KU /Tech game will be in prime position to claim the title, the loser will still be in play. Regardless of how they mocked him Saturday night, KU fans are now Bob Huggins’ biggest fans not residing in bootleg country.

            But first things first. Let’s see what KU does at Home on Big Monday vs. OU and how Tech fares in Stillwater with the weight of the world suddenly on their shoulders. The Jayhawks cannot pick up any REAL ground with a Projected W at Home (though they could lose a full game with a Loss). Tech, however, will move into first place with a W in its at-risk game at Okie St no matter what the outcome is Monday night in Allen Fieldhouse

                                                                                CURRENT TIERS

Tier 1:

·         Texas Tech (Road L at Baylor)—Keenan Evans’ absence the entire second half certainly didn’t help the Red Raiders. On the other hand, they were outscored in the first half while he was on the court. But he is their best crunch-time player and might have made the difference in the final two minutes as Baylor was doing its best to avoid winning the game. Regardless, Tech fell short and finds itself in a flat-footed tie for the Big 12 lead with two weeks of competition remaining. They would have taken that in a heartbeat had it been offered 14 games ago.

·         KU (Home W vs. WVU)—It’s a Big Bear Hug for Huggy Bear for taking his foot off the pedal and trying to run the clock with a small lead and about 37 minutes remaining in the game. 

·         West Virginia (Road L at KU)—Another Late Loss to KU. Another 25 Grand down the drain for Huggins. And you felt sorry for Wile E. Coyote.

Tier 2

·         K-State (Home W vs. ISU)—K-State is now 8-0 vs. everyone whose Home games are not played in Lawrence, Lubbock, or Morgantown.

·         Baylor (Home W vs, Tech)—Baylor giveth and Baylor taketh away. The Bears gaveth Texas Tech the Big 12 lead last weekend by beating KU in Waco. It tooketh the lead away this Saturday despite missed clutch free throws, senseless turnovers, all the things you expect from a Scott Drew team in the final two minutes of a close game. It seemed for much of the second half that Baylor was trying to keep TCU ahead of the Jayhawks out of spite. But somehow they won. For one day, Drew is Bill Self’s BFF.

·         Oklahoma (Home L vs, UT)—It was noted here weeks ago, when OU was a contender, that they were Trae Young and a bunch of role players. Not a recipe for winning a championship. Trae suddenly doing his best imitation of a role player has led to the team being in free fall. Lucky for the Sooners they played KU at Home before Udunka learned to shoot free throws.

·         TCU (Home W vs. OSU)—Drug test time for the Horned Frogs. A twenty-point win (90-70)? For REAL?

·       Texas (Road W at OU)—UT clings to a probable spot in the NCAA Tourney. Although sweeping OU does not mean as much as it would have before the Sooners went into a 2-8 tailspin.

·         Okie St (Road L at TCU)—The state of O-K-L-A-H-O-M-A is suddenly not O-K in B-A-S-K-E-T-B-A-L-L. You might even say it S-U-C-K-S.

·        Iowa State (Road L at K-State)—Nothing to see here. The Cyclones on the Road are as formidable as an armadillo crossing I-40 outside Amarillo.

                                                                CURRENT PROJECTIONS

1.         12.5-5.5

            Texas Tech (10-4):     Projected L’s: (at WVU)

                                At risk games: (at OSU) 

              KU (10-4):              Projected L’s (at Tech)

                                At risk games (at OSU)

3.        11-7

            WVU (8-6):          Projected L’s: N.A.

                                At risk games (at BU, at UT)

4.        10-8

 K-State (8-6): Projected L’s (at OU, at TCU)

At risk games: N.A.

5.         8.5-9.5

Baylor (7-7): Projected L’s (at TCU, at K-State)

                                At risk games (vs. WVU)

6.          8-10

OU (6-8):              Projected L’s: (at KU, at BU)

                                At risk games: N.A.

TCU (6-8):            Projected L’s: (at ISU, at Tech)

                                At risk games: N.A

8.            7.5-10.5

             UT (6-8): Projected L’s (at K-State, at KU)

                At risk games (vs. WVU)

9.           6-12

Okie St (5-9):  Projected L’s (at UT at ISU,)

                At risk games (vs. Tech, vs. KU)

ISU (4-10): Projected L’s (at WVU, at OU)

                At risk games: N.A,

                                                                AS SEEN ON TV

MONDAY:

8:00p.m.: Oklahoma at KU (ESPN)**** (Projected W: KU)

            Trae’s only appearance in Allen Fieldhouse. And it’s a big one. Could have conference and National POY implications. Maybe even an NCAA Tourney bid. (You can’t lose forever and make the field.) 

            Oh, and No. 14 might be on the line as well.

TUESDAY

6:00p.m.: West Virginia at Baylor (ESPN2) *** (at-risk game)

            The Mountaineers still have a prayer if enough other games fall right. They still get Tech at Home. Far-fetched? Yes. But basically impossible if they don’t put Saturday behind them and end Baylor’s 5 game win streak in Waco. Oh, and Huggins, tell your guys to stop fouling so much.

WEDNESDAY 

6:00p.m.: Texas Tech at Okie St (ESPNU)**** (at-risk game)

            This game could provide a clue about how serious and how ready Tech is to compete for its first Big 12 championship in a sport that matters since it shared the football crown with Texas and Oklahoma in the 2008 version of “One of these things is not like the others.” Come to think of it, that was only the South Division crown. 

7:00p.m. TCU at Iowa St (Cyclones.tv—whatever that is) *** (Projected W: ISU) 

             If nothing else, this game will see a lot of points scored. You might consider taking the Over no matter what it is.

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

            Did Texas turn the Road corner in Norman? Or is K-State REALly serious about a Top 3 finish?

--Mark

 

 

 

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REAL STANDINGS: THE STAYIN’ ALIVE EDITION 

 Rarely has a Win over the worst team in the conference been as valued as KU's victory in Ames Tuesday night. Iowa State, as we all know, is a formidable foe on its Home court, having taken down Texas Tech, West Virginia, Oklahoma, and Baylor there. Not to mention that the Cyclones have recently been a thorn in KU's side, having won 5 of the previous 9 prior to Tuesday. Or that a Loss here and KU was all but dead in the water in the conference race. 

         By picking up a half game in the REAL Standings by virtue of its at-risk W, KU closed the gap between it and Tech in half.  

         As someone once said, "It ain't over until the fat lady sings." With Tech's at-risk game at Baylor Saturday, we could either have a flat-footed tie between KU and Tech Sunday morning, or the return of Tech's one full game lead. 

          Provided KU wins. If they don't the Jayhawks will be staring up at two teams and grasping at any straw they can find.  

     

                                                                                CURRENT TIERS 

Tier 1: 

  • Texas Tech (Home W vs. OU)—Playing like they are the team to beat. 

  • KU (Road W at ISU)—If the Jayhawks win No. 14, you can look back on this game as the turning point. 

  • West Virginia (Home W vs. TCU)—WVU keeps it a three-team race. 

Tier 2 

  • Oklahoma (Road L at Tech)—Can’t justify keeping OU in Tier 1 after losing 7 of their last 9 and their last seven Road games. They play everyone tough, but you have to win away from Home game occasionally. 

  • K-State (Road W at Okie S)—K-State continues to beat teams not named Texas Tech, KU, and West Virginia. They are now 7-0 vs. the other six teams. 

  • TCU (Road L vs. WVU)—They are who you think they are. They don’t REALly stray from the script. They are supposed to lose in Morgantown: they lose in Morgantown. 

       Texas (Home L vs. BU)—Can the Show-Me State Bomba REALly miss out on the NCAA tournament? 

  • Okie St (Road W vs. K-State)—Sure, they can beat KU in Lawrence. They can take down West Virginia in Morgantown. But can theyprotect their Home Court in front of hundreds of fans against Baylor or K-State? That's a Big No.  

        Baylor (Road W at UT)—Baylor now has four straight wins. Following four straight losses. Consistency is not its forte. 

        Iowa State (Home L vs. KU)—There has to be some consolation in being the best last place team in all the land. 

   

                                                                CURRENT PROJECTIONS

1.         13-5  

Texas Tech (10-3):     Projected L’s: (at WVU) 

                                At risk games: (at BU, at OSU)  

2.       12.5-5.5 

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

                                At risk games (at OSU) 

3.        11-7 

WVU (8-5):          Projected L’s (at KU) 

                                At risk games (at BU, at UT) 

4.        10-8 

 K-State (7-6): Projected L’s (at OU, at TCU) 

At risk games: N.A.

5.          9-9 

OU (6-7):              Projected L’s: (at KU, at BU) 

                                At risk games: N.A. 

6.      8-10 

TCU (5-8):            Projected L’s: (at ISU, at Tech) 

                                At risk games: N.A 

 

Baylor (6-7): Projected L’s (at TCU, at K-State) 

                                At risk games (vs. Tech, vs. WVU) 

 

8.            6.5-11.5 

             UT (5-8): Projected L’s (at OU, at K-State, at KU) 

                At risk games (vs. WVU) 

 

9.           6-12 

Okie St (5-8):  Projected L’s (at TCU, at UT at ISU,) 

                At risk games (vs. Tech, vs. KU) 

ISU (4-9): Projected L’s (at K-State, at WVU, at OU) 

                At risk games: N.A, 

 

                                                                        AS SEEN ON TV 

  

SATURDAY: 

  

11:00a.m.: Texas at Oklahoma (ESPN)*** (Projected W: OU) 

 

The Red River Rivalry. That's gotta count for something. Right? 

 

Noon: Iowa St at K-State (ESPNU) *** (Projected W: KSU) 

 

Farmageddon and all that implies. 

 

5:00p.m.: West Virginia at KU (ESPN)***** (Projected W: KU) 

 

KU won the game in Morgantown. It should be easier at Home, right? Edge KU. On the other hand, WVU will be looking for revenge. Edge WVU. Should be wild. 

 

6:30p.m. Texas Tech at Baylor (ESPNU) **** (at-risk game) 

 

 The Bears are on the proverbial roll. If Tech rolls out of Waco with a W, they will be tough to catch, both because of their record and their will.  

 

7:00p.m.: Oklahoma St at TCU (ESPN2/U)*** (Projected W: TCU) 

 

It's a game. It's on TV. No reason to not catch the last half hour of it. 

 

--Mark 

 

REAL Standings: The Curtain is Falling Edition

  MDWEEK ACTION IN REVIEW

 

         

            Stop me if you’ve heard this before.  KU billed Monday’s game vs. Oklahoma as a Senior Night. It was lame.

 

          First, there were no benefits for Seniors. No discount on the tickets, no discount on popcorn, hot dogs, or soft drinks. Nothing. Nada. Zero.

 

          To top it off, they kept Seniors up well past their normal bedtimes by having three guys talking at mid-court for an hour after the game ended. And it’s not like you could get out during that time. No one was budging from their seat. Where were the people leaving early that ESPN went on and on about just a few days earlier.

 

          It made for a long day Tuesday. In short, nothing about Senior Night was Senior friendly.

 

          KU needs to get its act together or stop having Senior Night promotions.

 

          As for the game, the REAL Standings were unaffected with KU winning as projected. Same with Baylor over West Virginia in Waco, Iowa St over Okie St in Ames, and Texas Tech over Texas in Waco.

 

          The one game that made a REAL difference was K-State’s Win in a Projected Loss game at TCU. According to Joe Lunardi, the Fighting Webers remain alive for a spot in the NCAA tournament, while TCU is in deep doo-doo of a sort not found at the daily cattle drive in the Fort Worth Stockyards.

 

 

                                                            CURRENT TIERS

Tier 1:

KU, Baylor, Iowa St, West Virginia

 

Tier 2:

K-State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma St, Texas, TCU, Texas Tech,

 

CURRENT PROJECTIONS

  1. 15.5-2.5

 

KU (15-2)

Projected L’s: N.A.

At risk games (at OSU)

 

  1. 12-6

 

ISU (12-5)

Projected L’s (at WVU)

At risk games: N.A.

 

WVU (11-6) 

Projected L’s: N.A.

At risk games: N.A.        

 

  1. 11.5-6.5

 

Baylor (11-6)

Projected L’s: N.A.

At risk games (at UT)

 

                                 

  1. 9.5-8.5                                                                                

 

Okie State (9-8) 

Projected L’s: N.A.

At risk games (vs. KU)

 

  1. 8-10

K-State (7-10)

 

Projected L’s (at TCU)

At risk games: N.A

 

  1. 6-12

 

TCU (6-11)

Projected L’s (at OU)

At risk games: N.A. 

                                                                                                

Tech (6-11)

Projected L’s (at K-State)

At risk games: N.A.

  1. 5-13

 

OU (4-13)

     Projected L’s: N.A.

At risk games: N.A.

 

  1. 4.5-13.5

UT (4-12)

Projected L’s: N.A.

At risk games (vs. BU)

 

 

 

 

                                                AS SEEN ON TV

 

Friday

 

  1. Iowa St at West Virginia (6:00pm) (ESPN2) (Projected W: WVU) ****

 

          If Iowa St steals this game on the Road, they are your Big 12 Runners-up at 13-5. If the Cyclones lose and if Baylor downs Texas in Austin, we will have a three-way at 12-6.

 

 

 

  1. Texas Tech at K-State (Noon) (ESPN News) (Projected W: K-State) ***

 

          K-State had the look of a REAL basketball team Wednesday night at TCU: one that was not distracted by worries about the NCAA tournament or the future of their coach. They appeared to be concerned only about playing basketball game and winning the game they were playing. Keep this up, and they will be in the tourney, and they will make the tourney, and they will keep their coach.

 

Just one problem: They need to be Tech despite having the  Home Court Disadvantage. they are 3-5 in conference play in the Octagon of Gloom, including losses in their last four Home games.

 

          On the bright side, Tech is 0-8 in conference Road games.

 

          It’s like the resistible force against the moveable object.

 

          Something has to not give.

 

  1. TCU at Oklahoma (2:00p.m.) (ESPN News) (Projected W: OU) ***

 

          Anyone think TCU is dead? Think again.  A W in Norman, two wins in the conference tourney, and a dearth of upsets in conference tourneys across the nation, and. . .

 

          Nah. They are dead in the water. And rightfully so. A 7-11 team should not be anywhere near the Big Dance. (Come to think of it, nor should an 8-10 team, but someone has to fill those 68 slots.)

 

  1. Baylor at Texas (3:00p.m.) (ESPN) (At-risk) ***1/2

 

          Shaka vs. Scott.  What more need be said?

 

 

  1. KU at Okie St (5:00p.m.) (ESPN) (At-risk game) ****

 

          The conference’s two best teams go at it as the Jayhawks attempt to accomplish the only thing left to accomplish in the regular season: avenging last year’s fiasco in Stillwater. Win this one, and they are ready to tango in the Big Dance.

 

 

--Mark

REAL STANDINGS: We're number 2, 3 or 4 so we try harder edition

                                                WEEKEND ACTION IN REVIEW

 

          It is a good thing Bill Walton visited Austin on Saturday, visiting the statues of Willie Nelson and Stevie Ray Vaughan and donning a “Keep Austin Weird” tie-dyed tee shirt on camera, or there would not be much to talk about from this weekend. I mean, KU grabbed the final half-game it needed to clinch the Big 12 outright in its at-risk game Walton was covering at UT, but what else is new?

 

          Other than that, the only happening of note was West Virginia’s half-game pickup in its own at-risk game at TCU, thrusting the Mountaineers into a tie for the all-important second place position with Iowa St, and moving a half-game ahead of Baylor. The race for runner-up honors is setting up to be a REAL “barn-burner” as they say in places like Ames and Manhattan,  as WVU both visits Baylor and hosts Iowa St in the final two games of regular season action.

 

          Iowa St and Baylor settled nothing in Ames. By winning at Home, as it was projected to do, Iowa State maintained the status quo in the REAL Standings, as did BU.

 

          In other games of no consequence, Okie St stomped Texas Tech in Stillwater as projected (the W, not the stomp), and Oklahoma cremated K-State in Norman, also as projected (the W, not the cremation). As a result, Bruce Weber might be staring another funeral in the face (but not a cremation of his own creation this time). Not that he can’t still make the NCAA tourney and save his job, but that’s not the way to bet. Weber’s team looked like it had quit on him Saturday, which is never a good sign. Either that or they are totally psyched out with the pressure of the world (i.e., saving Weber’s job) on their shoulders.

           

                                                            CURRENT TIERS

Tier 1:

KU, Baylor, Iowa St, West Virginia

 

Tier 2:

K-State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma St, Texas, TCU, Texas Tech,

 

CURRENT PROJECTIONS

  1. 15.5-2.5

 

KU (14-2)

Projected L’s: N.A.

At risk games (at OSU)

 

  1. 12-6

 

ISU (11-5)

Projected L’s (at WVU)

At risk games: N.A.

 

WVU (11-5) 

Projected L’s (at BU)

At risk games: N.A.        

 

  1. 11.5-6.5

 

Baylor (10-6)

Projected L’s: N.A.

At risk games (at UT)

 

                                 

  1. 9.5-8.5                                                                                

 

Okie State (9-7) 

Projected L’s (at ISU)

At risk games (vs. KU)

 

  1. 7-11

 

TCU (6-10)

Projected L’s (at OU)

At risk games: N.A.

 

K-State (6-10)

 

Projected L’s (at TCU)

At risk games: N.A

                                                                                                  

  1. 6-12

Tech (5-11)

Projected L’s (at K-State)

At risk games: N.A.

  1. 5-13

 

OU (4-12)

     Projected L’s (at KU) 

At risk games: N.A.

 

  1. 4.5-13.5

UT (4-11)

Projected L’s (at Tech)

At risk games (vs. BU)

 

 

 

 

                                                AS SEEN ON TV

 

Monday

 

  1. West Virginia at Baylor (6:00pm) (ESPNU) (Projected W: Baylor) ****

 

Baylor was once ranked No. 1 in the nation. Apparently, the voters forgot who their coach is. They are being reminded now.

 

As for West Virginia, they are holding on for dear life in their fight for second place. If truth be told, these two teams might be the fourth and fifth best teams in the conference at this point.

 

  1. Oklahoma at KU (8:00p.m.) (ESPN) (Projected W: KU) ***

 

OU got its kicks on Route 66 vs. K-State Saturday. Good for them. I feel sorry for what is going to happen to them Monday night on Frank Mason’s and Landen Lucas’s last game in the Phog.

 

Not to mention Tyler Self getting to take apart the Sooners at the start of the game as opposed to the end.

 

Tuesday

 

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

 

Might be the best game of the week between the REAL second and third best teams in the league.

 

Wednesday

 

  1. Texas at Texas Tech (8:00p.m.) (ESPN2) (Projected W: Tech) **

 

Despite being the Home town of Buddy Holly, Tech apparently is not familiar with the concept of not fading away. But Texas, from Willie’s haunts, is On the Road Again, which is good news for the Red Raiders,

 

  1. K-State at TCU (5:00p.m.) (ESPNU) (Projected W: TCU) **

 

Pretty much an elimination game. The winner might get a date in Dayton if it can follow up with a W on Saturday and two more in Kansas City. And, in K-State’s case, maybe hang on to its coach for another year. If “hanging on” is the right term.

 

--Mark

Real standings lucky number 13 edition

 MIDWEEK ACTION IN REVIEW

            Now that Title No. 13 is in the books (for some reason, they don’t put the REAL Standings’ Projections in the “books”), It is time for the inevitable nay-saying articles, columns, commentary, and blog entries.

            You know the ones: “They only did it because they were in the Big 12.”

            “They couldn’t have done that in the ACC.”

            “They couldn’t have done that in the Big East.”

            “They couldn’t have done that in (the B1G or the Pac 12).”

            And you know what? They are probably right.

There is no way KU could have won or shared the last 13 ACC titles. Not with both Duke and UNC to contend with, both of whom have won two National Championships during that time.

Nor could the Jayhawks have done it in the REAL weak sister of college basketball, the SEC. Not with Florida’s back to back National Championship teams, Kentucky’s 2012 that defeated the Jayhawks in the National Championship game, and certainly not against UK’s team that took a 38-0 record to the Final Four.

It is also unlikely that KU could have accomplished this feat in the Big East or Pac 12. Or, dare I say, the MVC that included some dominant Wichita St teams or the West Coast Conference and Gonzaga.

Or even the Big 12, notwithstanding the fact that it REALly happened.

Conceding this, however, does not diminish the Jayhawks’ accomplishment one whit. This is because it answers the wrong question. In fact, it has the question backwards.

The REAL question is not, “Would (or could) KU have won any other conference 13 straight times?”  

The REAL question is “What other team would (or could) have won or tied for the Big 12 Title every year from 2005-17?”

You can’t name one, because there are not any:

·         Duke? They have won 2 conference titles from 2005-16 (’06 and ’10). They have also had 6 second place finishes. If you say they might have won the Big 12 in their second place years, what do you do with their 6th place finish and 8-8 conference record in 2007? (You know, when Texas was third place in the Big 12 with Kevin Durant, D.J. Augustin, and Damion James?) Or 5th place in the ACC in 2016 at 11-7?

 

·         UNC? They have an impressive seven conference championships from 2005-16. They also have a second, third, and fifth place finish. But what can you say about a 10th place finish at 5-11 in 2009-10?

 

·         Kentucky?  Four SEC East Division titles from 2005-16, accompanied by third and fourth place finishes at 9-7 in 2005-06 and 2006-07, as well as fourth place in ’08-’09 at 8-8. And, although Calipari has led them to one Division and two conference championships in his seven years at UK, he has also garnered one second place Division finish and has three times been runner-up since the Division forma was abandoned.

 

No other program even comes close being be in this conversation.

           But one team did it. REALly.

In case I didn’t mention it, KU was Projected to defeat TCU at Home and did so. Ergo, no change in either team’s REAL record. But everyone else hoping to win the Big 12 Title outright, is now out of time. 

            One other Midweek game that made a REAL difference, standings-wise, came in Lubbock, where Iowa St became the only conference team not named KU to down Texas Tech at the only arena in the conference named after a grocery store. Coupled with the Cyclones being the only team to defeat KU in Lawrence, their battlefield promotion could not be denied. Their change in status also moves them ahead of Baylor and West Virginia in the race for second place.

            As for the other teams still clinging to the dream of at least sharing the 2017 title with the Jayhawks, West Virginia’s Home win over Texas, as projected, resulted in no change in their REAL Record. Nor did Baylor’s Projected win at Home over Oklahoma.

            Finally, Okie St picked up a REAL game with its victory in a Projected Loss game at K-State. If the conference season were beginning tomorrow, the Cowboys would be assigned a slot in Tier One. At this point, they might be, in REALity, the second-best team in the league regardless of record.

            K-State, on the other hand, dropped a full game in the REAL Standings, moving a game closer to the NIT and a possibe coaching search.

            

                                                            CURRENT TIERS

Tier 1:

KU, Baylor, Iowa St, West Virginia

Tier 2:

K-State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma St, Texas, TCU, Texas Tech,

 

CURRENT PROJECTIONS

1. 15-3

KU (13-2)

Projected L’s: N.A.

At risk games (at UT, at OSU)

 

2. 12-6

ISU (10-5)

Projected L’s (at WVU)

At risk games: N.A.

3. 11.5-6.5

Baylor (10-5)

Projected L’s: (at ISU)

At risk games (at UT)

 

WVU (10-5) 

Projected L’s (at BU)

At risk games (at TCU)           
                                  

5.  9.5-8.5                                                                                 

Okie State (8-7) 

Projected L’s (at K-State, at ISU)

At risk games (vs. KU) 

 

6.  7.5-10.5 

TCU (6-9)

Projected L’s (at OU)

At risk games: (vs. WVU)

 

 

7.  7-11

 

K-State (6-9)

 

Projected L’s (at OU, at TCU)

At risk games: N.A

                                                                                                   

 

8.  6-12

Tech (5-10)

Projected L’s (at OSU, at K-State)

At risk games: N.A.
 

9. 5-13

UT (4-11)

Projected L’s (at Tech)

At risk games (vs. KU, vs. BU

OU (3-12)

      Projected L’s (at KU) 

At risk games: N.A.

 

 

                                                AS SEEN ON TV

Saturday

1.  West Virginia at TCU (1:00pm) (ESPN) (At-risk game) ***1/2

TCU is much improved this season, but the grind of the double round robin schedule appears to be getting to them. They need to dig down deep and pick up this at-risk win to stay alive for an 8-10 record, which might well be the minimum record to qualify for the Big Dance. 

2.  Texas Tech at Okie St (1:00p.m.) (ESPNU) (Projected W: Okie St) ***

After its would-be game-winning shot vs. Iowa St was a half second late, dropping their Projected record to 6-12, Tech has to pick up that game somewhere plus another one to reach the critical 8-10 mark. Which means two straight Road wins here and at K-State for a team without a Road win on the season.

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

      Iowa St did everything but beat Baylor in Waco. Can they finish the job at Hilton? The Cyclones are better now. Baylor does not appear to be. (Your guess as to why is as good as mine. And probably the same)

4.   K-State at OU (5:00p.m.) (ESPNU) (Projected W: OU) ***

      When is a Projected Loss game on the Road a Must Win? For K-State, it is this Saturday in Norman.

5.   KU at Texas (5:00p.m.) (ESPN) (at-risk game) ***1/2

      Texas has played tough at Home this year. It should be a boisterous crowd (much of it Rocking and Chalking), and Shaka, if he’s Smart, will have his team fired up at the chance of taking down the back to back to back to back to back to back to back to back to back to back to back to back to back Big 12 champions.

--Mark

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