Nothing new mid-week. OSU beat k-state in Stillwater as projected. OU downed A&M in Norman as projected. Tech would have been projected to beat CU in Lubbock had anyone had any reason to care about that game. Same with Iowa State over Baylor in Ames. Now had ISU played Baylor in Waco, that would have been an interesting game. On second thought, no it wouldn't. At the approximate midway point for the season, the Big 12's four top teams are all undefeated at home, as they should be. The factor distinguishing the top two teams, KU and OSU, from UT and OU is that the Hawks and Cowboys are unbeaten on the road against the league's middle and lower tier teams--whereas UT has lost to A&M in College Station and OU could not overcome Hilton's Magic in Ames. All four teams have one road victory at the "competitive but not contender" venues.
The REAL Standings as of 2/3/05:
KU: Projected losses: at OU At risk games Games: at NU, Mizzou, Tech, k-state Key past games: (W at ISU)
OSU: Projected losses at KU, OU At risk games: at NU, A&M Key past games (W at Tech, L at Texas)
OU: Projected losses: at OSU, UT At risk games: at MU, Tech, k-state Key past games (W at A&M, L at ISU)
Texas: Projected losses: at KU, OSU At risk games: at Tech Key past games (L at A&M, L at OU, W at NU)
This Saturday's games, rated on a 5 star scale (all times CST):
****1/2 KU at NU (11a.m.): NU will be confident. They waxed KU in Lincoln last year. Earlier this season, they had a shot at the buzzer to knock the Hawks off their lofty perch in Lawrence. Will the home court again put NU over the top? Or will KU be out to right last year's wrong and, learning a lesson from this year's game in Lawrence, come to play for 40 minutes rather than 10-15?
**1/2 Colorado at k-state (12:30p.m.): No doubt about it, k-state is an improved team. Of course, they almost have to be, don't they? They are tough at home and have an outside shot at making the NCAA tourney. CU is a bottom-feeder, but appears to be getting better as the season progresses. If k-state is looking ahead at next Wednesday's chance at redemption vs. KU, the Buffs could sneak out of Manhattan with a victory and virtually kill k-state's dream of hearing its name called on CBS on Selection Sunday.
**Iowa State at UT (3p.m.): Iowa St on the road? Against a contender? As Curtis Stinson would say in his home town, the Bronx, "Fuhgeddaboutit."
**Mizzou at A&M (6p.m.): Mizzou is like a train wreck. You just can't keep from looking at it. You think the Aggies aren't ready to show their former coach, now Quin's assistant (how ridiculous is that--someone being Quin's assistant?) that they can win a Big 12 game? This will be their 4th, which equates to--approximately--let's see if I can get this calculator to work--four more than they won under Melvin Watkins' tutelage last year.
*****Tech at OU (8p.m.): Why isn't Tech considered a contender in the REAL Standings, you might ask yourself? They have been playing pretty good ball. Yes, they have. They don't have the manpower to prevail over a 16 game schedule, however. More importantly, they have a home loss. That's a no-no for a team that wants to win a conference championship. They could redeem themselves, however, with a win at Norman, and either join or replace OU as at least a nominal contender. A game well worth watching. Besides, Tech still owes OU for the clock fiasco two years ago; otherwise known as their Freeman Johns, III game.
*1/2 Okie St at Baylor (8p.m.): Why is this a 1 and 1/2 star game, rather than a single star? That is a good question. The best I can come up with is that it's not in Stillwater. Does Baylor have any chance of winning? No. Do they have a chance of keeping you awake through half-time? Maybe. Ergo, the 1/2 star. I would not, however, keep it in PIP with the Tech/OU game. Rather, I recommend hitting the back button on the remote during commercials until the game gets out of hand.