REAL Standings: Topsy-Turvy Edition

WEEKEND WRAP-UP

Prior to Saturday's games, I wrote that KU would remain half a game in front of A&M in the REAL Standings regardless of the outcome of their game against the Aggies. A&M trailed the Jayhawks by 2.5 games heading into the weekend and would make up two full games with a head to head victory in a game in which KU was projected to pick up the W, while the Aggies were projected to go home with an L.

But that was before the Aggies' nemesis got their Horns sawed off in Austin by KU's arch-enemy.

Why would this affect A&M and KU you ask?

As frequently noted, the only subjective element of the REAL Standings is categorizing the teams as Contenders (Tier 1), Pretenders (Tier 2), and Also-Rans (Tier 3). After that, it is merely a matter of applying the REAL Standings formula.

And Saturday's games raise questions about the proper categorization of certain teams: viz., should k-state be considered a Contender? Should UT or Okie St be downgraded to Pretenders? Should Colorado be upgraded from its position as the conference's only Tier 3 team?

You can draw your own conclusions and apply the REAL Standings formula accordingly.

Personally, I say "yes" to k-state. Contender classification does not necessarily mean that I expect a team to make a serious run for the conference championship. It is more a matter of being reasonable to believe that they could win all their Home games and half their Road games.

As for k-state, their Home Loss to Tech weighs against Tier 1 status--but that game was negated Saturday by their W in Austin. And they are 3-1 overall on the Road. Granted, two of those W's were at Iowa St and Mizzou, but they also came within a wildcat's whisker of taking A&M down at College Station.

On balance, k-state has earned mention in the same stratosphere as UT and Okie St.

But should one or both of the latter two be "demoted" to Tier 2 status? As for UT, they now have a loss at Home, and they did everything but lose at Home last week to Baylor. But they have played quality basketball on the Road. They may, in fact, be the rarest of commodities: a team that is more comfortable on the Road than at Home. Why? Who knows? It might have something to do with starting four freshmen, who play with a nothing to lose attitude on the Road, while tightening up at Home in front of their own fans. No matter. They have taken out Tech in Lubbock ( a feat the two front-runners could not accomplish), and were impressive even in defeat in Stillwater (you remember that game).

Anyway, when you have Kevin Durant, D.J. Augustin, ..AJ. Abrams, and Damion James, you are a Tier 1 team until you do something REALly awful, like, say, losing to Colorado.

Speaking of losing to Colorado: Okie St has won their four Home games and lost their three Road games, including Saturday's game in Boulder. They have done nothing to distinguish themselves. And they have Road games remaining at OU, Tech, UT, Baylor, and Nebraska. Is there any reason to believe they can win four of those games? If so, they are named Boggan and Curry. Because the Cowboys are one of two teams in the conference still undefeated at Home, I will continue to consider them a Tier 1 team for the moment. But, Okie St, you are on notice. Double secret probation so to speak.

And CU? The jury is still out on the Buffs. But at least their case is now before the jury.

As a result of k-state's move up in the world, KU loses half a game in the REAL Standings, as their at-risk game in Manhattan changes to a projected L--meaning the Jayhawks and Aggies sit together atop of the REAL Standings with projected records of 12-4.

In other games, OU and Iowa St, s projected, were victorious at Home vs. Tech and Baylor respectively. And Mizzou laid a pterodactyl-sized egg at home, dropping a projected W to the same Nebraska team that was drawn and quartered by KU Monday night in Lincoln.

"THE" REAL STANDINGS AS OF FEBRUARY 4, 2007

1. 12-4

Texas A&M (7-1)

(projected L's at Okie St, at UT; at risk games at NU, at OU)

Kansas (6-2)

(projected L at k-state; at risk games at Mizzou, at OU)

3. 11.5-4.5

k-state (6-2)

(projected L's at KU, at NU, at Okie St; at risk games vs. KU, at CU)

4. 11-5

Texas (6-2)

(projected L's at A&M, at KU; at risk games at Baylor, at OU)

5. 10-6

Oklahoma St (4-3)

(projected L at UT; at risk games at OU, at Tech, at Baylor, at NU)

6. 7.5-8.5

Texas Tech (4-4)

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

7. 7-9

Iowa St (3-5)

(projected L's at UT, at k-state, at KU, at NU)

8. 6.5-9.5

Nebraska (2-5)

(projected L's at Tech, at KU, at Baylor; at risk games vs. A&M, at CU, vs. Okie St)

9. 6-10

Oklahoma (4-4)

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

10. 5.5-10.5

Mizzou (2-6)

(projected L's at ISU, at Okie St, at NU, at A&M; at risk games vs. KU)

11. 5-11

Baylor (2-7)

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

12. 2.5-13.5

Colorado (2-7)

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

UPCOMING GAMES

The Weekday Big XII Games, with IQ (Interest Quotient) are:

MONDAY

1. UT at A&M (8:00p.m.)**** Projected W: A&M

Will A&M have a letdown after celebrating the school's first win ever over KU? Will UT, seeking redemption for its loss to k-state, again take its best game with it on the Road? A&M should win. UT's freshmen have not seen the type of D the Aggies will throw at them, and the Horns' own D is suspect. But, it's a rivalry game-and UT has a ringer. Could be a dud. Could be UT/OSU redux.

TUESDAY

2. Mizzou at Iowa St** (7:00p.m.) Projected W: Iowa St

Mizzou could not get revenge in Manhattan for a loss visited on them in Columbia. Can they do better seeking revenge in Ames?

3. Nebraska at Texas Tech ** (7:00p.m.) Projected W: Tech

It seems like a long time ago that Tech was taken seriously after Home victories over the co-leaders in the conference race. They have since lost three straight and are looking at dropping out of the NCAA picture if they fall at home to the Cornhuskers.

WEDNESDAY

4. k-state at KU**** (8:00p.m.) Projected W: KU

Just like in football: k-state unexpectedly takes out media darling UT and then heads to Lawrence to play KU on the same field of battle where KU failed to close out a near-certain victory over A&M as a result of questionable coaching decisions. Can the Jayhawk basketball team complete the symmetry with a 19 point victory over k-state's first year coach?

5. Okie St at OU**** (8:00p.m.) At-risk game: No projection

Texas at Texas A&M. kansas state at Kansas. Oklahoma State at Oklahoma. Big rivalries. Veritable bloodbaths. What more could you want out of life?

Forget that game of no consequence in the ACC.

--Mark

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