REAL Standings: Special EMAW Edition

MONDAY-TUESDAY RECAP

It feels good to be right. In the most recent version of the REAL Standings, I wrote, about the K-State/Mizzou game:

"Mizzou tunes up for the biggest game in its program’s history. K-State might, however, throw a monkey wrench into Mizzou’s distributor cap if the refs call (or refrain from calling) ‘em both ways."

It did appear that the officials had read the foul breakdown by Mizzou’s new beat writer, or taken a look at Steve Moore’s patented photo-shopped flops (REALly, there is a patent pending, subject to a heavily disputed contest by Shane Battier), and took that information to heart. The looks of bewilderment on the Tigers’ faces (especially Moore’s) when they got called for things they have gotten away with all year (presumably because the refs felt sorry for such little folks) was an ironic sight to behold.

Not to mention that I had the following tweeting exchange with Tom Penders:

Penders: Right now my #1 seeds in CBK are KY, Syracuse, MSU and Mizzou. That’s my eye test w/o computer help.

RS (If you think this means Rolling Stone, that’s ok): If Mizzou meets your eye test after 3 fluke conference wins (UT, KU, OU), your eyes need a test.

Penders: Look, I’m no Mizzou fan, but they have been on an amazing run. They always play hard and feed the hot guy, too.

RS: MU’s good. Just not Top 4 good. I agree with Billy Kennedy: they make shots, hit FT’s and get calls.

Against K-State, they did not excel in any of these areas. Most importantly, though, they did not get a favorable distribution of questionable calls.

The effect of this game on the REAL Standings? Not much unless KU takes care of business in College Station Wednesday night. If they do, they will be playing Saturday for a coronation.

In short, Mizzou dropped a full game in the REAL Standings with its first Home loss of the season. There is now but one team unbeaten at Home in Big 12 play. It is not a coincidence that the same team now leads the pack by two RS games.

In other play, Baylor picked up ½ game with its win in Austin over Tier Two Texas.

THE TIERS

A question was raised after Baylor’s loss to K-State on Saturday concerning why the Bears were still afforded the status of being a Tier One team. Well, they’re not, looking at their season as a whole. They are, looking at their sheer talent and final 20 minutes of fairly solid basketball against UT.

The bottom line? They are below clearly KU and Mizzou (as in 0-4), and above UT, K-State, and Iowa St (4-1). Let’s call them Tier 1A. Because they are finished with KU and Mizzou, they will be treated as a Tier 1 team for Projection purposes, but not accorded full Tier One respect.

Tier 1: KU, Mizzou

Tier 1A: Baylor

Tier 2: Iowa St, K-State, Texas

Tier 3: Oklahoma, Okie St, Texas A&M

Tier 4: Texas Tech

REAL BIG 12 STANDINGS

2-21-12

1. 16-2

KU (12-2) Projected L’s: N/A At Risk games: N/A

2. 14-4

Mizzou (12-3) Projected L’s: at KU At Risk games: N/A

3. 12.5-5.5

Baylor (10-5) Projected L’s: N/A At Risk games: at ISU

4. 10.5-7.5

Iowa St (9-5) Projected L’s: at K-State, at Mizzou At Risk games: vs. Baylor

5. 10.5-7.5

K-State (8-7) Projected L’s: N/A At Risk games: at A&M

6. 9-9

Texas (7-8) Projected L’s: at KU At Risk games: N/A

7. 7-11

Okie St (6-8) Projected L’s: at OU, vs. KU, at K-State At Risk games: N/A

8. 5-13

Oklahoma (3-11) Projected L’s: at Baylor, at Texas At Risk games: N/A

9. 4.5-13.5

Texas A&M (4-10) Projected L’s: vs. KU, at Okie St, at OU At Risk games: vs. K-State

10 1-17

Texas Tech (1-13) Projected L’s: at ISU, vs. Texas, at Baylor, vs. Mizzou

At Risk games: N/A

ON THE TUBE

WEDNESDAY

Okie St at Oklahoma** (7:00p.m.—Big 12 Network) (Projected W: OU)

If a basketball game is played and no one is there to watch it, can it be called “bedlam”?

KU at A&M***1/2 (8:00p.m.—ESPN2) (Projected W: KU)

The Jayhawks tune up for the annual challenge to their Big 12 dominance. They better not get caught looking ahead, because the Aggies hang around at Home against just about everyone—and what if they get a more favorable whistle than they did Saturday, now that Mizzou has joined the ranks of JATFOP (i.e., just another team for officiating purposes)?

Texas Tech at Iowa St * (8:00p.m.—ESPNU) (Projected W: ISU)

If Iowa St were to loan Tech Royce White for this game, this would be a pick ‘em.

--Mark

REAL Standings: Border War Edition--Part I

MID-WEEK RECAP

When the story of this season is written, if KU fails to extend its string of conference championships to eight, we just might look back at Monday night as the reason. No, KU didn’t play on Monday. Nevertheless, the Jayhawks lost ground to Mizzou, courtesy of Missouri’s own version of Freeman Johns, III.

Tom Penders tweeted, after Myck Kabongo’s hand was grabbed by Matt Pressey while attempting a fairly easy game winning shot: “Texas gets fouled but no call on last play as Mizzou player grabs left arm on baseline shot by UT! Ref swallowed whistle is a cop in MO.” He later identified this individual as Gerry Pollard, while again mentioning his home state. And yet a third time: “Rick Barnes was livid at the end of the game when ex Mizzou Cop, Gerry Pollard swallowed (sic) his whistle.”

When challenged by a Mizzou fan, Penders responded: “Refs were fair most of the game but there is no excuse 4 Gerry Pollard to swallow his whistle on the last play.”

Photographic evidence shows that, at least on this occasion, Penders was correct.

Not sure if $ signs were somehow involved. Still, it would be humorous for UT to be the victim of its own F.J. III moment but for the fact that KU was the REAL victim. Texas is on the Road to Nowhere this season, anyway. The Jayhawks, on the other hand, now must make up this game elsewhere—as in Manhattan or Stillwater, venues where Mizzou was not bailed out by Mr. Johns—err, Pollard.

Not that it would make a difference in most years when the Hawks are head and shoulders above their primary competitors. Although they might well be the best team in the conference again this year, their margin for error is such that a little kindness from strangers would be greatly appreciated.

The Jayhawks’ best opportunity to take their fate into their own hands starts Saturday at Mizzou. Win in Columbia and complete the sweep in Lawrence, and Mizzou can go its merry way into the oblivion of the Southeast Conference without ever having won a Big 12 championship in any worthwhile activity.

As for Baylor, no help there either. A&M did everything but beat the Bears. Incredibly, however, while looking like the better-coached team for all but a few of the game’s 2,400 seconds, they threw up a wild, desperation shot with ten seconds remaining--plenty of time to find the type of high percentage shot that had brought it to within one shot of victory--thus ending any hope of making the Bears sic.

In sum, Mizzou picked up big half a game over both KU and Baylor with its W in Austin. Baylor treaded water with its projected victory in College Station, as did KU over Oklahoma in Lawrence, Iowa St over K-State in Ames (in another game decided in large part by questionable Big 12 officiating), and Okie St in its win in Lubbock.

THE TIERS

Tier 1: Baylor, KU, Mizzou

Tier 2: Iowa St, K-State, Texas

Tier 3: Oklahoma, Okie St, Texas A&M

Tier 4: Texas Tech

REAL BIG 12 STANDINGS

2-2-12

1. 15-3

Mizzou (7-2) Projected L’s: at KU At Risk games: N/A

2. 14.5-3.5

KU (8-1) Projected L’s: at Mizzou, at Baylor At Risk games: at K-State

3. 14-4

Baylor (7-2) Projected L’s: at Mizzou At Risk games: at UT, at ISU

4. 10.5-7.5

Iowa St (6-3) Projected L’s: at Baylor, at K-State, at Mizzou

At Risk games: at OU, at Okie St, vs. Baylor

5. 9-9

Texas (3-6) Projected L’s: at KU At Risk games: at A&M, at OU, at Okie St, vs. Baylor

6. 9-9

K-State (4-5) Projected L’s: at Texas, at Baylor, at Mizzou At Risk games: vs. KU, at A&M

7. 6.5-11.5

Oklahoma (3-6) Projected L’s: vs. Mizzou, at ISU, at Baylor, at Texas

At Risk games: vs. ISU, at Tech, vs. Texas

8. 6-12

Okie St (4-5) Projected L’s: vs. Baylor, at KU, at Mizzou, at OU, vs. KU, at K-State

At Risk games: vs. ISU, vs. Texas

9. 4.5-13.5

Texas A&M (3-6) Projected L’s: at K-State, at ISU, vs. Mizzou, vs. KU, at Okie St, at OU

At Risk games: vs. UT, at Tech, vs. K-State

10 1-17

Texas Tech (0-9) Projected L’s: at Texas, at K-State, at KU, At ISU, vs. Texas, at Baylor, vs. Mizzou

At Risk games: vs. OU, vs. A&M

ON THE TUBE

SATURDAY

Baylor at Okie St***1/2: (12:30p.m.—Big 12 Network) (Projected W: Baylor)

Can Okie St take out its second contender at Home? It certainly isn’t doing anything productive on the Road in any town not called Lubbock.

Texas A&M at K-State ***1/2: (3:00p.m.—Big 12 Network) (Projected W: K-State)

A must win game for K-State. And not one that is automatic the way A&M has been playing recently.

Iowa St at Oklahoma***1/2: (5:00p.m.—ESPN2) (At-risk game)

How important is Hilton Coliseum to ISU? As important, for example, as Royce White? We might well know by the end of this game.

Texas Tech at Texas*: (6:00p.m.—LHN) (Projected W: Texas)

Good news for Texas. This game will not be decided on the game’s final possession.

KU at Mizzou *****: (8:00p.m.—ESPN) (Projected W: MU)

Bill Self has a history of success against gimmick teams like Mizzou. This game, however, presents two unique challenges: First, it is in Columbia, where lesser Mizzou teams have found ways to upset better KU teams than this one. This Mizzou team is, in fact, comfortably unbeaten at Home.

Second, Mizzou is not just a gimmick team this year. Whether attributable to Frank Haith, experience, or a convergence of the fates, Mizzou has a smart, good shooting team that plays better as a unit than their talent would suggest—better by far than any Mizzou team in recent memory (as in those coached by Mike Anderson and Quin Snyder.)

Still, Mizzou is not overpowering. They are the epitome of a finesse team. if both teams stay out of foul trouble, the Hawks will prevail if they dominate inside on both ends of the floor, taking a minimum of three pointers and forcing Mizzou to take a maximum. Mizzou has a plethora of good shooters, but not good enough to carry it for 40 minutes against a team that is more physical, better coached, and has heard of defense. Especially at crunch time.

Then again, there is always the Home Court thing, which is kinda important in the REAL world. . .

--Mark

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