As happens every year at this time, the newspaper standings and the REAL Standings are now one and the same. The unREAL thing about this weekend is that three things needed to occur for KU to lose the No. 1 seed in the Big 12 tourney: OU had to go on the road and beat a Texas Tech team that had handled the Sooners easily in Norman earlier this season; Okie St had to lose at home on its Senior Night to a Texas team that had just been pummeled on its home court by OU; and KU's seniors had to lose for the first time in their conference careers to Mizzou.
What are the odds?
They were long, but all three things somehow occurred, leaving OU and KU as co-champions of the conference, and giving OU a veritable walk in the park to Sunday's tournament championship game.
Okie St, notwithstanding the fact that they blew their chance to grab a share of the title on their Senior Night, has a right to gripe about the schedule. Unlike OU and KU, they had to play UT in Austin when the Horns were at full strength, they did not get a chance to deal KU a loss in Stillwater, and, unlike OU, they had to play the Jayhawks in Lawrence. They have an argument that they deserve at least a share of the conference crown.
On the other hand, they played 1.5 games worse than their projected record in the final week and a half--so their main gripe needs to be with themselves. It was there for the taking--as the outright championship was for KU.
One team stepped up and took it.
If we apply the REAL Standings with the information we have now, and consider the top 6 teams as teams that should be expected to win at home every time they take the court, and everyone else (other than Baylor and CU) as at-risk (.5) games for the top six, OU's wins at UT and Tech in the final week prove to be the decisive games of the conference season. Those two victories allowed OU to exceed their projected record by 1.5 games--which they needed, considering KU's schedule was a full game less demanding, and the Hawks exceeded their projected record by .5 games.
Here, then, are the final REAL Standings of 2005, with the key games that decided each team's fate:
OU: L vs. Tech (-1), L at MU (-.5), W at Tech (+1), W at UT (+1), W at A&M (+.5), W at k-state (+.5) Overall vs. projections:+1.5
KU: L vs. ISU (-1), L at MU (-.5) W at ISU (+1), at k-state (+.5), at NU (+.5) Overall: +.5
OSU: W at Tech (+1), at A&M (+.5) L at NU (-.5), vs. UT (-1) Overall: Even
Tech: L vs. OSU (-1), at A&M (-.5), vs. OU (-1) W at OU (+1), k-state (+.5), MU (+.5) Overall: (-.5)
Iowa State: L at MU (-.5), L at k-state (-.5), L vs, CU (-1), L at A&M (.5), L vs. NU (-1) W at UT (+1), at KU (+1), at NU (+.5) Overall: -1
UT: L at A&M (-.5), vs. ISU (-1), at CU (-1), vs. OU (-1) W at NU (+.5), at OSU (+1) Overall: (-2)
Enjoy the Madness of March.
Until January 2006