"THE" REAL Standings: High Tech Edition

MID-WEEK WRAP-UP The efficacy of the REAL Standings has never been more evident than in the last few days.

In fact, if I were an Ohio Stater, I would change the name of this little exercise to THE Standings.

What you see in the newspaper are not "standings." The word "standings" connotes an indication of where competitors "stand" in relation to each other. A mere recounting of teams' current records does little to further that objective.

For example, after KU's loss in Lubbock Saturday, Texas A&M fans were celebrating as they were on top of the world. They were, after all, undefeated at 4-0. They were, after all, atop the newspaper standings. They had the best "current record."

In REALity, A&M stood a full game behind the 3-1 Jayhawks. They did not "stand" closer to the conference championship than KU. They were further away. They had simply not yet played at Tech. Or KU. Or Okie ST. Or UT.

Likewise, after Wednesday night's games, the host of Tech's post-game radio show exulted in the fact that Tech was in first place at 4-1-along with KU, UT, and the Aggies.

Wrong. In the REAL world, Tech is in sixth place. They have yet to play in Stillwater, Austin, or College Station-not to mention Columbia or Ames, or UT or Okie St in Lubbock.

Humorously enough, Randy Riggs of the Austin American-Statesman began his story on the Tech/A&M game as follows: "If Kansas and Texas A&M are top-10 basketball teams, what does that make Texas Tech?" The implication being that perhaps Tech is a Top 10 team-or somewhere in the vicinity?

Randy, I am sure you are a nice young man, but here is a suggestion: Get a clue. You are being paid a salary to cover college basketball. What Tech is, is a team that has won back to back home games--after losing at Baylor. They are a team better than the likes of Colorado or Iowa St, both of which could not have pulled off this daily-double, even at home, but it does not elevate the Red Raiders to the level of Kansas and A&M.

Let's talk again after Tech plays A&M in College Station. They will be lucky to come within 10 of the Aggies on the road. And there is virtually no chance that they will win that game. Fortunately for Tech, they don't have to find out what would happen to them in Lawrence.

Not to say that Tech's feat was not impressive to an extent. But what is more impressive than Tech's home victories over KU and A&M is its win at k-state. That's right, I said k-state. No, Bob Huggins' team is not at the level of A&M (although they gave the Aggies a nice game in College Station) or KU, but that Tech victory was IN MANHATTAN. It was ON THE ROAD. That game was worth a full game in the REAL Standings. The home W's vs. KU and A&M were only worth ½ game each.

I noted some sentiment on the PhogBlog for promoting Tech to the Contender Level--which would improve their projected record to 10.5-5.5. Feel free to make that change in your own version of the REAL Standings if you believe that Tech is worthy of that characterization. Personally, I am not yet convinced that Tech has the personnel that can stand up to KU, A&M, Okie St, and UT over a 16 game schedule. But, as they say, the proof is in the pudding. I am keeping a close eye on Tech's game in Columbia Saturday, now that Mizzou has started to play 40 minutes a game. (And you can't bring 40 minutes of hell if you only come to play 20-25 minutes.)

Losing a projected swing game to Tech cost A&M ½ game in the REAL Standings-which stung the Aggies big time with KU and UT picking up ½ game each in at-risk games at Baylor and Nebraska respectively.

The Jayhawks, having won in Waco after losing in Lubbock, are back to their original 13-3 pace; while A&M, losing in Lubbock after having won in Waco, dropped back to an 11-5 pace--two full games behind KU. Of course, in the REAL Standings, a road victory over a fellow contender-an occurrence only slightly more likely than that A&M charades player shouting out "Hook'Em Horns"--counts for two games: so mark your calendar and set your clock for 8:00p.m. on February 3 for the presumptive Big 12 Game of the Year.

In other news, Okie St won as projected at home vs. OU, resulting in no movement for either team in THE Standings. And Mizzou picked up ½ game with its first victory of the Big 12 season in Boulder-but if you are interested in that, you are either a Mizzou fan or need a life. Or both.

"THE" REAL STANDINGS AS OF JANUARY 18, 2007 .

1. 13-3

Kansas (4-1) (No projected L's; at risk games at NU, at Mizzou, at k-state, at OU)

2. 11.5-4.5

Texas (4-1) (projected L's at A&M, at KU; at risk games at Tech, at Baylor, at OU)

3. 11-5

Texas A&M (4-1) (projected L's at KU, at Okie St, at UT; at risk games at NU, at OU)

Oklahoma St (3-2) (projected L's at UT at risk games: at NU, at OU, at Tech, at Baylor)

5. 9-7

k-state (3-2) (projected L's at UT, at KU, at NU, at Okie St; at risk games vs. KU, at CU)

6. 8-8

Texas Tech (4-1)

(projected L's at Mizzou, at OU, at Okie St, at A&M, at UT, at ISU; at risk games vs. UT, vs. Okie St)

7. 7-9

Iowa St (2-3)

(projected L's at Okie St, at A&M, at UT, at k-state, at KU, at NU)

8. 6.5-9.5

Mizzou (1-4) (projected L's at k-state, at ISU, at Okie St, at NU, at A&M; at risk games vs. KU)

9. 6-10

Nebraska (1-3) (projected L's at k-state, at Mizzou, at Tech, at KU, at Baylor; at risk games vs. KU, vs. A&M, at CU, vs. Okie St)

Oklahoma (3-3)

(projected L's at A&M, at Baylor, at ISU, at Mizzou, at k-state; at risk games vs. Okie St, vs. A&M, vs. UT, vs. KU)

11. 5-11

Baylor (1-5)

(projected L's at UT, at ISU at Mizzou, at A&M, at Tech; at risk games vs. UT, vs. Okie St)

12. 2-14

Colorado (1-5)

(projected L's at KU, at Baylor, vs. Okie St, at k-state, vs. KU, at Tech, at ISU, at Mizzou; at risk games vs. k-state, vs. NU)

UPCOMING GAMES

This Saturday's Big XII Games, with IQ (Interest Quotient) are:

1. Colorado at KU* (12:30p.m.)-Projected W: KU

What is the Over/Under on combined minutes for Brady Morningstar, Jeremy Case, and Rod Stewart? The first cut will not be the deepest.

2. OU at A&M*** (1:00p.m.)-Projected W: A&M

OU beat Baylor by 40 at home and played Okie State tough on the road. By the end of the season, they might be a dark horse in the Big 12 tourney played 30 minutes up the road from Norman. Why can't KU get a break like that?

Unfortunately for the Sooners, A&M will not be in a charitable mood after its recent experience in Lubbock.

3. Tech at Mizzou***1/2 (3:00p.m.)-Projected W: Mizzou

The game of the weekend. If Tech can walk out of Mizzou with a second road victory, they will be worthy of most of the respect they are suddenly receiving. More importantly, they will negate that Waco loss and catch (and conceivably pass) k-state in the fight for the all-important fifth place slot in the Big 12. Which raises the musical question: Can the Big 12 grab six spots in March Madness?

4. Baylor at Texas*1/2 (5:00p.m.)-Projected W: UT

On the right night, if they are firing on all cylinders, Baylor can be tough at home-Wednesday night notwithstanding. The only thing Baylor can look forward to Saturday in Austin, against a superior team whose last three games were at Okie St (a loss), at Villanova (a loss), and at Nebraska (a survival thanks to a last second Husker misfire), is the short bus ride back to Waco.

5. Nebraska at k-state*** (5:00p.m.)-Projected W: k-state

Had Nebraska made its last shot Wednesday night, this might be the game of the weekend. Or at least tied for it. It will be interesting to see what the Huskers can do for an encore on the road against a team of similar quality.

6. Iowa St at Okie St** (7:00p.m.)-Projected W: Okie St

This is why the Cyclones needed to take advantage of playing Colorado on the road last week. There are no more Colorados on the road.

Happy viewing.

--Mark

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