REAL STANDINGS: THE POST SEASON AWARDS EDITION

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.

Honorable Mention:

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

DEDRICK LAWSON

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:

Tie:

Cam McGriff

Dean Wade

--Mark

REAL STANDINGS: THE "DAY THAT WILL LIVE IN HISTORY" EDITION

If you have been paying attention, you are aware that this was a week that will live in Big 12 basketball history. All because if something happened that had not occurred in 15 years. That’s since 2004 if you want to do the math. What were you doing in 2004?

One thing you were not doing is contemplating how long it would be until what happened this week would happen again.

I mean, what are the odds that the two worst teams in the Big 12 would both Win on the same night playing two first division teams, one on the Road and the other vs. an opponent ranked in KenPom.com’s Top 20 and both in his Top 40? Yet that is exactly what happened: West Virginia defeated Iowa State at Home and, immediately thereafter, Oklahoma State took down Baylor on the Road.

In REALity, this might have happened at some point in the last 15 tears. Who has time to check out the standings and the results of every game involving the two worst teams in the league each year for 270 biweekly slates of basketball games? Nobody with a life is who.

If truth be told, the 15 year guess was probably influenced by the news. Check out the couple in Wichita who have eaten at the Texas Roadhouse 6 days a week for the past 15 years, including a free shrimp appetizer every night: https://www.kansas.com/entertainment/restaurants/dining-with-denise-neil/article226933934.html.

It is also possible that, prior to Wednesday night, this particular event had never happened in the Big 12 since the league’s inception in 1997.

In other “news,” your 2019 Big 12 Champion will be either K-State or Texas Tech or both. Which is only appropriate in this wild and woolly conference where no team has repeated as Champion since 2018.

CURRENT TIERS

TIER 1

K-STATE

Defeated TCU as Projected ON THE Road 64-52

TEXAS TECH

Defeated UT as Projected at Home 70-51

TIER 2

KU

Lost to OU in a Projected W game on the Road 68-81

BAYLOR

Lost to Okie St in a Projected Win game at Home 64-67

IOWA STATE

Lost to WVU in a Projected W game on the Road 75-90

TEXAS

Lost to Tech as Projected on the Road 51-70

TIER 3

TCU

Lost to Texas Tech as Projected at Home 69-86

OKLAHOMA

Defeated KU in a Projected Loss game at Home 81-68

TIER 4

OKIE ST

Defeated Baylor in a Projected Loss game on the Road 67-64

WEST VIRGINIA

Defeated ISU in a Projected Loss game 90-75

CURRENT REAL STANDINGS

1. 14-4

K-State (13-4)

Saturday: Projected W vs. OU

2. 13.5-4.5

Texas Tech (13-4)

Saturday: Up for Grabs game at Iowa St

3. 12-6

KU (11-6)

Saturday: Projected W vs. Baylor

4. 10-8

BU (10-7)

Saturday: Projected L at KU

5. 10.5-7.5

ISU (9-8)

Saturday: Up fpr Grabs game vs. Texas Tech

6. 9-9

UT (8-9)

Saturday: Projected W vs. TCU

7. 7-11

OU (7-10):

Saturday: Projected L at K-State

8. 6-12

TCU (6-11)

Saturday: Projected L at UT

9. 5-13

Okie St (4-13):

Saturday: Projected W vs. WVU

10. 4-14

West Virginia (4-13)

Saturday: Projected L at Okie St

AS SEEN ON TV (All times CST)

Saturday

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

If TCU prevails, will 7-11in conference play be enough for an invite to the big Dance? If so, there is something wrong with the selection committee. (Well, even more than usual.) If TCU loses and still qualifies at 6-12, it will be the biggest farce since VCU making the tournament in 2011.

2. 1:00p.m. Baylor at KU (ESPN) ***** (Projected W: KU)

It’s all over but the shouting for these teams in the battle for 3rd place. But, in Allen Fieldhouse, that’s a lot of shouting

3. 1:00p.m. Texas Tech at Iowa St (ESPNN) ***** (Up for Grabs)

It is a special day when you can win a championship. And it is a sad day when the opportunity to do so is missed. Two hours of Tech fans having their guts wrenched. That is, if the Cyclones decide to show up instead of disappearing into the vast wasteland of mediocrity (or worse) that they inhabited in Morgantown Wednesday night.

4. 3:00p.m. West Virginia at Okie St (ESPNN) * (Projected W: OSU)

Speaking of mediocrity.

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

The Octagon of Mood will be somewhere between exhilaration and despair around 10:00p.m. Saturday night. Could be a wild ride into the wee hours in Aggieville as K-State fans celebrate their first taste of championship basketball nectar in 6 years or their first unshared conference title in 42.

Or don’t.

--Mark

REAL STANDINGS: THE “END IS NEAR” EDITION

The end of the season is definitely near. The big question is whether it is also the end of “The Streak.”

Maybe it will. Maybe it won’t. Regardless, no one can say the Jayhawks went down without a fight.

CURRENT TIERS

TIER 1

K-STATE

Defeated Baylor as Projected at Home 66-60

It was like pulling teeth, but Dean Wade, D.D.S., and his Dental Assistants downed the best team remaining on their schedule.

TEXAS TECH

Defeated TCU as Projected on the Road 81-66

It was like brushing teeth as the Red Raiders downed the worst team remaining on their schedule.

KU

Defeated Okie St as Projected on the Road 72-67

The Jayhawks were 2:45 from elimination in Stillwater versus the worst team remaining on their schedule.

Seven points later, they were, somehow, still alive to fight another day--and pray to the basketball gods that K-State and Tech still each have a Loss left in them

TIER 2

IOWA STATE

Lost to UT as Projected on the Road 69-86

To think there was a time not so long ago when Iowa State was the consensus pick among pundits as the team to replace KU as Big 12 Champion.

Well, the Cyclones are still alive for the Big 12 Tournament Championship. Maybe that’s what they meant. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

TEXAS

Defeated Iowa St as Projected at Home 86-69

UT made 60% of its three pointers. That’s the formula for avoiding late game collapses: Grab a 20 point lead and keep scoring.

BAYLOR

Lost to K-State as Projected on the Road 60-66

What might have been if Baylor had missed only Tristan Clark down the stretch and Makoi Mason and King McClure had remained healthy. Even without those two for a number of key games, the Bears were in the Title chase until 9:15p.m. Saturday night. They will be a tough out in both the Meaningless Big 12 Tournament and the REAL March Madness.

TIER 3

TCU

Lost to Texas Tech as Projected at Home 69-86

The Frogs played like they were tired of KU winning the Big 12.

It is unlikely that they took a dive, but it resembled one.

OKLAHOMA

Defeated WVU as Projected at Home 92-80

The Sooners and TCU could end up 6-12, 7-11, 0r 8-10 in conference play. A 6-12 record will not look good to the Selection Committee in two weeks. The official position of the REAL Standings Report is that any team that cannot stay within one Win of .500 in their conference should be bypassed to allow a team from a smaller chance to show what they can do: Any team that finishes 7-11 or worse in conference play has definitively shown its lack of worth.

TIER 4

OKIE ST

Lost to KU as Projected at Home 67-72

The Cowboys are undoubtedly the best shooting 3-13 team in the history of basketball in any league at any level. For What That’s Worth.

TIER 5

WEST VIRGINIA

Lost to OU as Projected on the Road 80-92

The Mountaineers are still in contention for a 9th place/Tier 4 finish. One more W should wrap that up.

CURRENT REAL STANDINGS

1. 14-4

K-State (12-4): Projected L’s: N.A.

Up for Grabs: N.A.

Other games: at TCU, vs. OU

2. 13.5-4.5

Texas Tech (12-4): Projected L’s: N.A.

Up for Grabs: (at Iowa St)

Other games: vs. UT

3. 13-5

KU (11-5): Projected L’s: N.A.

Up for Grabs: N.A.

Other games: at OU, vs. BU

4. 11-7

BU (10-6): Projected L’s (at KU)

Up for Grabs: N.A.

Other games: vs. OSU

5. 10.5-7.5

ISU (9-7): Projected L’s: N.A.

Up for Grabs: (vs.Tech)

6. 9-9

UT (8-8): Projected L’s (at TT)

Up for Grabs N.A.

7. 6-12

TCU (6-10): Projected L’s: (vs. KSU, at UT)

Up for Grabs: N.A.

OU (6-10): Projected L’s: (KU, at KSU)

Up for Grabs: N.A.

9. 4-14

Okie St (3-13): Projected L’s (at BU)

Up for Grabs: N.A.

10. 3-15

West Virginia (3-13): Projected L’s (ISU, at OSU)

Up for Grabs N.A.

AS SEEN ON TV (All times CST)

Monday

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

Don’t laugh. Texas has comparable talent to Tech. This is not a gimme game for the Red Raiders. Unless they go 16-26 from 3-point land like they did against KU. But what of Texas goes 15-25 like they did vs. Iowa St?

We are all Texas fans tonight.

2. 8:00p.m. K-State at TCU (ESPN2) ***** (Projected W: UT)

This is K-State’s last REAListic chance of Losing.

That is if TCU cares more about going 8-10 than they want KU’s String of Rings to end.

We are all TCU fans tonight.

Tuesday

3. 8:00p.m. KU at OU (ESPNU) **** (Projected W: KU)

The Jayhawks are 3-5 on the Road in Conference play. They are in dire need of winning their second straight for Saturday to be meaningful.

Wednesday

4. 6:00p.m. Iowa St at West Virginia (ESPN2) * (Projected W: ISU)

The Big 12 Tourney is just around the corner. Meaningless though it be, a game between these teams next week would be more meaningful than this one Wednesday night.

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

Theoretically, Baylor is still alive in the league race. In the same way a zombie vampire is still alive in Norway on the summer solstice.

--Mark

REAL STANDINGS: THE “I’M STILL STANDING” EDITION

There was one midweek game this week that made a difference in the REAL Standings: West Virginia’s victory over TCU. That outcome, in a Projected Loss game for WVU, moved the Mountaineers up a full game in the Standings. They now have a Projected Record of 3-15 as opposed to the more pathetic 2-16.

Conversely, TCU dropped from 7-11 to 6-12.

All other games went as Projected, resulting in no REAL change for the other 8 teams. Hardly worth mentioning those games at all.

Well, maybe Texas Tech’s victory over Oklahoma State merits a word or two in passing. The Red Raiders had visions of their entire season going down the drain in the final moments of regulation and overtime. Which seemed to shock many pundits, who had anointed Tech as a Final Four contender based on their dismantling of KU four days earlier.

However, it was not surprising at all to those who pay attention to college basketball and who have done so since before last week. Tech reacted exactly like a team that rarely plays in big games does after playing as if they were on a crusade vs. KU for 40 solid minutes before a crowd on a feeding frenzy, and suddenly becoming the darlings of the media for three days before playing a 9th place team sporting a 3-11 conference record. No one can consistently play with the focus and intensity Tech had against KU, no matter how much they do their intensity drills at the end of practice. Not even Palmer High. The Red Raiders should thank the basketball gods that they were scheduled to play Okie St at Home as their follow up game. They might not have beaten anyone else anywhere.

CURRENT TIERS

TIER 1

K-STATE

Lost to KU on the Road as Projected 49-64

Remained on track for 14-4.

The conference championship remains K-State’s to lose. They do, however, have 3 games remaining in which to achieve that result.

TEXAS TECH

Defeated Okie State as Projected at Home 84-80 (OT)

Remained on track for 13.5-4.5

The REAL Standings Report eschews putting too much emphasis on a team’s performance in a single game. Still, going into OT vs. Okie State at Home is not an encouraging sign for a team with Road trips remaining to Fort Worth and Ames.

KU

Defeated K-State as Projected at Home 64-49

Remained on track for 13.5-4.5

Did you REALly think Bill Self was going to go down that easy? That he would be out of the race wit3 games to go in the season?

TIER 2

IOWA STATE

Defeated OU as Projected at Home 78-61

Your assignment, Cyclones, if you choose to accept it, is to go 16-26 from 3 point land in your season finale vs. Tech in Ames.

TEXAS

Lost to Baylor as Projected on the Road 83-84 (OT)

UT was playing without both Snoop Roach and Dylan Osetkowski. Still, they took a 19 point lead in the second half before somehow finding themselves in overtime. Even then, they had possession of the ball and a 1-point lead with 7.5 seconds remaining when Jaxson Hayes suddenly decided to show off his break-dancing moves while holding the ball. Following the ensuing traveling call, Baylor converted a questionable foul into two points at the free throw line.

The Longhorns have either never heard the expression “Coffee is for closers” or prefer hot tea.

BAYLOR

Defeated Texas as Projected at Home 84-83 (OT)

Miracle No. 1. Two more and a Texas Tech Loss and guess who claims a Big 12 title. His name rhymes with Not You.

TIER 3

TCU

Lost to West Virginia, not as Projected, on the Road 96-104 (3 OT)

Your assignment, Froggies, if you choose to accept it, is to protect your Home Court vs. Texas Tech and K-State

OKLAHOMA

Lost to ISU, as Projected, on the Road 61-78

Lonnie still gets a chance to determine his alma mater’s fate with a home game vs. KU and the season finale in Manhattan.

TIER 4

OKIE ST

Lost to Tech, as Projected; on the Road 80-84 (OT)

Lindy Waters showed Tech what REAL 3-point shooting is like. Four in the final minute of regulation? Two more in OT? All contested?

All that was missing was a shrug. And a W.

TIER 5

WEST VIRGINIA

Defeated TCU at Home 104-96 (3 OT)

Talk about a frenzied crowd. Years from now, dozens of people will have claimed to have been there to see it. If they remember it at all.

CURRENT REAL STANDINGS

1. 14-4

K-State (11-4): Projected L’s: N.A.

Up for Grabs: N.A.

Other games: vs. Baylor, at TCU, vs. OU

2. 13.5-4.5

Texas Tech (11-4): Projected L’s: N.A.

Up for Grabs: (at Iowa St)

Other games: at TCU, vs. UT

3. 13-5

KU (10-5): Projected L’s: N.A.

Up for Grabs: N.A.

Other games: at OSU, at OU, vs. BU

4. 11-7

BU (9-5): Projected L’s (at KSU, at KU)

Up for Grabs: N.A.

Other games: vs. UT, vs. OSU

5. 10.5-7.5

ISU (9-6): Projected L’s: (at UT)

Up for Grabs: (Tech)

6. 9-9

UT (7-7): Projected L’s (at BU, at TT)

Up for Grabs N.A.

7. 6-12

TCU (6-9): Projected L’s: (vs. Tech, vs. KSU, at UT)

Up for Grabs: N.A.

OU (5-10): Projected L’s: (KU, at KSU)

Up for Grabs: N.A.

9. 4-14

Okie St (3-12): Projected L’s (KU, at BU)

Up for Grabs: N.A.

10. 3-15

West Virginia (3-12): Projected L’s (at OU, ISU, at OSU)

Up for Grabs N.A.

AS SEEN ON TV (All times CST)

Saturday

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

The Cowboys should have KU’s full attention after playing Texas Tech 25 points closer in Lubbock than the Jayhawks managed to do. That and KU’s 2-5 Road record in conference play.

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

Both teams fighting hard for seeding in both the Big 12’s meaningless post-season tourney and March Madness.

3. 1:00p.m. West Virginia at OU (ESPNU) * (Projected W: OU)

Huggy has his team competing game in and game out. They are now up to a 3-15 Projected record. Can they pick up their first Road W of the Big 12 season?

4. 3:00p.m. Texas Tech at TCU (ESPN2) ***** (Projected W: Tech)

Tech on the Road with the kind of pressure and scrutiny the program has never before been subjected to. This will be as much a psychological test as a basketball one.

5. 7:00p.m. Baylor at K-State (ESPN 2) ***** (Projected W: K-State)

Similar to Tech’s situation except (a) K-State is st Home, (b) they have had a co-championship in modern times, and (c) their coach has been to the Final Four. Still, they can’t let this opportunity slip away or there will be hell to pay. That is just the way fans and sports pundits are.

--Mark

REAL STANDINGS: THE "AND THEN THERE WERE THREE" EDITION

REAL STANDINGS: THE AND THEN THERE WERE THREE EDITION

The Kansas City Star’s headline following KU’s loss to Texas Tech in Lubbock read: “Separation Saturday: Texas Tech races to 25-point halftime lead, hands Kansas big loss.”

The accompanying story began as follows:

Kansas has not officially been eliminated from contention for a 15th straight Big 12 Conference title. The Jayhawks’ fleeting championship hopes took a severe hit on Saturday, however.”

Wrong and wrong.

First, Tech did not hand Kansas a “big loss.” For anyone paying attention, this Loss had been projected in the REAL Standings since Day 1 of the 2019 Big 12 season. This one, in Game 14, was not responsible for KU’s fleeting championship hopes suffering a “severe hit.”

The “severe hit” came in KU’s first game of the season in Morgantown, West Virginia. You can lose to your primary rivals on their court and move on. You can’t lose to a team that none of your rivals would lose to in a hundred tries and do anything but flail away like a non-swimmer who has fallen off a boat without wearing a flotation device.

In the REAL world, KU did not lose anything Saturday night. Their REAL position with respect to K-State and Texas Tech remains the same as it was Saturday morning, with all three performing as Projected: K-State and Tech winning at Home, while KU lost on the Road to a peer team. KU and Tech continue to trail K-State by a full game.

What did happen Saturday was that KU missed an opportunity to make up for West Virginia and remain in control of their own fate. At this point, only K-State does not have to rely on help from anyone else.

In other action, Iowa St and Texas both demonstrated (along with their other work this season), that they are a cut below the Top three teams. Baylor’s record is the same as KU’s but its escape from West Virginia on its Home Court, did nothing to raise its status—even though, at full strength, they might be as good as anyone in the league. They will have their chance to make their case in Manhattan next Saturday.

CURRENT TIERS

TIER 1

K-STATE

Defeated Okie St as Projected at Home 85-46

K-State has nothing REAL to lose in its Big Monday game against KU, being a Projected Loss. It does have an opportunity to put the Jayhawks out of their misery.

TEXAS TECH

Defeated KU as Projected at Home

It is rare that the REAL Standings Report comments on the particulars of specific games, because all that matters is (a) did you win or lose and (b) where was the game played?

That said, based on Saturday night, forget the Big 12 race: Texas Tech is your 2019 National Champion.

All the Red Raiders have to do is make 16 of 26 three-pointers every game. Hard to beat 48 points on 26 shots, which is equivalent to making 24 of 26 two-point shots (92%). Other than Villanova last April, who is going to beat that? (On second thought, Villanova was only 18-40.)

KU

Lost to Tech as Projected on the Road

The Jayhawks are taking big time hits for its performance in Lubbock. The bottom line, however, is

that KU is 1-1 this season with the Red Raiders, having beaten them easily in Lawrence. Had the dates of the games been reversed, would that make a difference in the standings, REAL or otherwise?

In a Word: No.

TIER 2

IOWA STATE

Lost to TCU on the Road 72-75

The darling of the media pundits most of the season has fallen on hard times. They were the team that was expected to go 16-26 from 3-point land in a big game. Not Tech. Their game on the final day of the conference season poses the biggest threat to Tech’s hopes should K-State stumble along the way.

TEXAS

Lost to Oklahoma on the Road 67-69

The Longhorns again hung around to the end but failed to close the deal as a potential game wining shot was blocked at the buzzer. What this means is that Tech is not Home free when the two teams play in Lubbock.

BAYLOR

Squeezed by West Virginia at Home 82-75

The Bears remain mathematically alive. All they need do is win in Manhattan and Lawrence and hold off Texas in Waco, and pray—which they do a lot of in Waco.

TIER 3

TCU

Defeated Iowa St at Home 75-72

If KU protects its Home Court vs. K-State, the Jayhawks will have an inordinate amount of interest in TCU’s Home games vs. Tech and K-State.

OKLAHOMA

Defeated Texas at Home 69-67

The Sooners could still spoil KU’s season at Home (Up for Grabs) or K-State’s on the Road (Projected Loss).

In other words, even though TCU and OU have a combined total of zero wins over a Tier 1 opponent this season, both have games remaining with those trams where they can play with reckless abandon with nothing to lose. It could get REAL interesting.

TIER 4

OKIE ST

Lost to K-State on the Road 46-85

Okie St vs. West Virginia on the final day of the season. What Nostradamus set that up?

TIER 5

WEST VIRGINIA

Lost to Baylor on the Road 75-82

Bob Huggins has his team playing hard and better. To the extent that means anything.

CURRENT REAL STANDINGS

1. 14-4

K-State (11-3): Projected L’s: (at KU)

Up for Grabs: N.A.

Other games: vs. Baylor, vs. OU

2. 13.5-4.5

Texas Tech (10-4): Projected L’s: N.A.

Up for Grabs: (at Iowa St)

Other games: vs. OSU, at TCU, vs. UT

3. 13-5

KU (9-5): Projected L’s: N.A.

Up for Grabs: N.A.

Other games: vs. KSU, at OSU, at OU, vs. BU

4. 11-7

BU (9-5): Projected L’s (at KSU, at KU)

Up for Grabs: N.A.

Other games: vs. UT, vs. OSU

5. 10.5-7.5

ISU (8-6): Projected L’s: (at UT)

Up for Grabs: (Tech)

6. 9-9

UT (7-7): Projected L’s (at BU, at TT)

Up for Grabs N.A.

7. 7-11

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

Up for Grabs: N.A.

8. 6-12

OU (5-9): Projected L’s: (at ISU, KU, at KSU)

Up for Grabs: N.A.

9. 4-14

Okie St (3-11): Projected L’s (at TT, KU, at BU)

Up for Grabs: N.A.

10. 2-16

West Virginia (2-12): Projected L’s (TCU, at OU, ISU, at OSU)

Up for Grabs N.A.

AS SEEN ON TV (All times CST)

Monday

1, 7:00p.m. Oklahoma at Iowa St (ESPN2) **1/2 (Projected W: Iowa St)

The Cyclones have Lost at Home to K-State, TCU, and Baylor. Can they sink to the level of Losing in Ames to the Sooners?

2. 8p.m. K-State at KU (ESPN) ***** (Projected W: KU)

The term “Must Win” is often overused. Not this time. At least from KU’s perspective. A Loss and it is over. Not in the sense of losing by 39 points in Lubbock. In the sense of IT’S OVER!

Tuesday

3. 6:00p.m. TCU at West Virginia (ESPNU) *1/2 (Projected W: TCU)

West Virginia has showed some gumption recently. TCU can’t afford to fall asleep at the wheel.

Wednesday

4. 6:00p.m. Oklahoma St at Texas Tech (ESPNU) * (Projected W: Tech)

Okie St will play Tech closer in Lubbock than KU just did. FWIW.

5. 8:00p.m. Texas at Baylor (ESPN 2) **** (Projected W: Baylor)

Believe it or not, the Bears could still claim a share of the Big 12 title if they Win out. And the Moon is in the Seventh House. And Jupiter aligns with Mars. And peace guides the planets. And love steers the stars.

--Mark

REAL STANDINGS: THE ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST EDITION

REAL STANDINGS: THE ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST EDITION

It was an abbreviated midweek session of Big 12 basketball games courtesy of ESPN. The World Wide Leader of all things Duke (and many things Carolina for the sake of the hype) made sure there were no Big 12 games to divert viewers from its game between its two kept teams, to the extent you want to call it a game after Zion Williamson blew out his Nike shoe. After that, it was like the UNC Globetrotters vs. the Durham Generals. You could have put the two teams in Baylor and Iowa State uniforms and not have noticed the difference.

Speaking of Baylor and Iowa State, they played the only meaningful game in the Big 12 this week, and that only because Iowa St lost (again) at Home, all but killing its hopes of its first league championship in 18 years. The “all but” being the result of the Cyclones being the most unpredictable contender this league has seen in many years, having Lost 3 Projected Wins at Home (to Baylor, Texas Tech, and K-State) and Winning 2 Projected Loss games on the Road (at K-State and Tech). Must be something mighty peculiar in the water in Ames.

CURRENT TIERS

TIER 1

K-STATE

Defeated West Virginia as Projected on the Road 66-51

TEXAS TECH

DNP

KU

DNP

IOWA STATE

Lost to Baylor at Home 69-73

TEXAS

DNP

TIER 2

BAYLOR

Defeated Iowa St on the Road 73-69

TCU

Lost to OSU on the Road 61-68

OKLAHOMA

DNP

TIER 3

OKIE ST

Defeated TCU at Home 68-61

TIER 4

WEST VIRGINIA

Lost to KSU at Home 51-65

CURRENT REAL STANDINGS

1. 13.5-4.5

K-State (10-3): 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)

4. 11.5-6,5

ISU (8-5): Projected L’s: (at UT)

Up for Grabs: (at TCU)

5. 10.5-7.5

BU (8-5): Projected L’s (at KSU, at KU)

Up for Grabs: (UT)

6. 10-8

UT (7-6): Projected L’s (at TT)

Up for Grabs (at OU, at BU)

7. 8-10

TCU (5-8): 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. 4-14

Okie St (3-10): Projected L’s (at KSU, at TT, KU, at BU)

Up for Grabs: N.A.

10. 2-16

West Virginia (2-11): Projected L’s (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. UT at OU (ESPNU) ** (Up for Grabs)

Is this game REALly Up for Grabs with Snoop Roach suspended by the Longhorns? IS UT even arguably a Tier 1 team without its only senior starter and its leading scorer?

Other teams in the conference have adapted to the loss of key players, so let’s see what happens before drawing any conclusions. Who knows who else might step up now that they must?

2. 1:00p.m. West Virginia at Baylor (ESPNU) * (Projected W: Baylor)

Baylor won’t even need Makoi for this one.

3. 1:00p.m.Iowa St at TCU (ESPN2) *** (Up for Grabs)

If you know nothing else, know this: The Cyclones cannot afford another loss to anyone anywhere. As for TCU, they have to start playing decently again at some point. Don’t they?

4. 5:00p.m. Okie St at K-State (ESPN 2) *** (Projected W: K-State)

K-State might be looking ahead to its third game of the year Monday night in Lawrence. Doesn’t matter. They will win this game.

5. 7:00p.m. KU at Texas Tech (ESPN) ***** (Projected W: Tech)

A loss here will not cause KU to lose ground in the REAL Standings. However, if K-State wins (as they will) the Jayhawks will lose control of their own destiny and put them at the mercy of TCU and Baylor.

--Mark

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