REAL Standings: It's the Home Court, Stupid!

First, a Non-Big 12 note: I don't want to hear anything more about how incredible UNC is. Yes, they have blown out a number of teams--even good teams--on their home court. Know this: No win at home should ever be given any weight. (And, yes, that includes KU's wins in AFH.) UNC goes on the road and loses by double digits. At this point, they are no more than a team that has proven it can beat Iowa and Indiana away from home. No, I am not so naive as to believe that UNC is not a strong team. But the premise of the REAL Standings is that you prove yourself away from home. You have fun at home. You survive at home. You win championships on the road (in the conference) and on neutral courts (in March and April). Wait until UNC accomplishes something significant on the road before anointing them a great team.

As for the Big 12: Texas, which lost on the road to a non-contender Wednesday night, righted its ship and picked up a half game in the REAL Standings Saturday, taking out Nebraska with a nice road win in Lincoln. Meanwhile, the team that handled Texas handily at home on Wednesday was given a rude awakening to life on the road in Lubbock, getting taken out to the tune of 70-56 by the Knight Riders.

KU, OU, and OSU all managed to tread water, winning games they were projected to win: KU and OU in tough games on the road vs. the league's doormats (CU and Baylor), and OSU at home vs. a resilient ISU team that plays surprisingly tough on the road for a team with such a dismal record away from Hilton's Magic. The Cyclones have now lost 13 straight in Stillwater. On the brighter side, their No. 3 ranked wrestling team did take out UNI 25-16.

As for upcoming games, they don't get much bigger than OSU at UT Monday night. The beauty of the REAL Standings is that a Must Win situation is recognized early in the season as precisely that. None of this bull about plenty of time remaining in the season. While UT cannot make an upward move in the REAL Standings by winning a game it has been projected to win, it must not lose ground by surrendering a home game to OSU. If it does, the Longhorns can kiss its championship hopes goodbye, and OSU will take a major step toward defending its title--perhaps making its game in Lawrence on February 27 for ALL the marbles.

The REAL Standings as of 1/15/05:

1. 13.5-2.5

KU: Projected losses: at OU At risk games Games: at NU, Mizzou, Tech Key Past Games (W at ISU)

2. 12-4

OU: Projected losses: at OSU, UT At risk games: at ISU, MU, Tech, A&M

OSU: Projected losses at KU, Texas, OU At risk games: at NU, A&M Key Games (W at Tech)

4. 11.5-4.5

Texas: Projected losses: at KU, OSU, OU At risk games: at Tech Key Past Games (L at A&M, W at NU)

Big 12 games through Wednesday (all times CST):

Monday: OSU at Texas (8:00p.m.)

Tuesday: OU at A&M (8:00p.m.)

Wed.: CU at BU (7:00p.m.) NU at KU (7:00p.m.) Tech at MU (7:00p.m.)