By extending its winning streak in Manhattan to 22 Wednesday night, the Jayhawks moved half a step closer to the Big 12 regular season championship. All second place Okie St could do is sit and watch helplessly, knowing that its victory over its arch-rival, OU, did nothing but keep it from slipping back more than a half game. The only other serious contender, Tech, also did nothing more than fall back half a game with its projected victory over hapless Baylor. OU, by losing to OSU as projected, also backed up half a game.
Meanwhile, Texas played itself out of even theoretical contention with a loss at Boulder. The Longhorns now look destined to play Thursday in K.C. The one bright spot for UT during its current ordeal is that Brad Buckman has been forced to step forward. He has suddenly assumed a Collison-esque competitive air, going 20/15 and 27/21 in points and rebounds in UT's two most recent losses. If Aldridge and Tucker return next season, they will be the pre-season conference favorite.
This season, however, the Longhorns are toast in the conference race. There is no reason to keep listing them in the REAL Standings, any more than there would be to follow A&M, ISU, or Colorado.
The REAL Big 12 Standings as of 2/11/05:
KU: Projected losses: at OU, Tech At risk games Game: at Mizzou Key past games: (W at ISU, W at NU, W at k-state)
OSU: Projected loss at KU At risk games: at NU, A&M Key past games (W at Tech, L at UT, L at OU)
Texas Tech: Projected losses: None At risk games: at ISU, A&M Key past games: (L vs. OSU, L at UT, L at OSU, W at k-state, W at MU)
OU: Projected losses: at UT, Tech At risk games: at MU, k-state Key past games (W at A&M, L at ISU, L vs. Tech, L at OSU)
This weekend's games, rated on a 5 star scale (all times CST):
***1/2 OU at Mizzou (12:30p.m.): Yes, Mizzou is more of a contender to finish below Baylor than to even attain a first round light uniform designation on Thursday in K.C. They are worth watching, however, to see a team either disintegrate before your very eyes or to watch a team with some talent decide to play basketball, coach be damned. This is listed as an at-risk game for OU, but only if Mizzou does an unexpected 180. However, stranger things have happened. If you don't think so, check out the Ripley's Believe it or Not Second Season DVD with Jack Palance. I'm sure there is something on it that would qualify.
***k-state at Texas (12:30p.m.): Another chance to watch a decent team wallow in the mire. UT loses another game at home, or k-state drops it's fourth straight since stomping Mizzou in Manhattan. At the time, the Cats thought they had accomplished something.
***Colorado at KU (2:30): CU has picked its game up a couple of notches since they last played KU--and they almost knocked the Hawks off in that game. Of course, you saw what happened to NU the second time around. Still, with the Hawks coming off two straight high intensity games, this could be a trap game for KU. If they don't come ready to play 40 minutes, their undefeated conference and home records are in jeopardy.
***1/2 Tech at ISU (3:30p.m.): An at-risk game for the Red Raiders. An opportunity to match KU's victory Wednesday night in Manhattan. Both teams are on a roll. Tech may be looking ahead to its Valentine's Day encounter with KU in Lubbock. ISU is in perfect position to take down its second Texas team in a week.
****1/2 Okie ST at A&M (7:p.m.): Game of the weekend. A&M tries to make its case for an NCAA berth with a second win over a highly ranked team. (UT was at full strength when the Aggies took them down.) This will be a mission game for the Aggies. If OSU walks out of this game victorious, they will be ready to take on KU in AFH with the Big 12 championship the likely prize,
*1/2 Nebraska at Baylor (7p.m.): What a stinker. Why the 1/2 star? Because the pride of the Big 12 North is at stake. If Baylor takes this game, they will have two victories, both against North teams (the other being CU). Plus, if OU takes care of business, a Baylor victory will drop the Tigers into a tie for 12th place, setting up a battle royal next Wednesday for sole possession of that coveted position.