REAL Standings: Home Sweet Home (and what else is new?)

Five mid-week games. Five Home team victories, including two by Colorado and Iowa St. And the second time in five days that a purported contender has lost on the Road to a Tier Two Team.

Unless KU gets bitten by the Road Bug, this could be easier than anticipated. A week ago, I had this as a three tier conference. Is it possible that there are only two: KU and everyone else?

It is still early according to the calendar. According to the REAL Standings, it is getting late for any team not called Kansas. In fact, the only reason there is still a question mark as to the identity of the ultimate conference champion is that UT and A&M avoid playing KU in Lawrence, getting the Jayhawks only on their Home courts—giving them a chance to pick up a game that KU cannot make them disgorge at a later date.

As for the conference’s putative bottom feeders--Colorado and Iowa St--both picked up victories on their Home courts (vs. Nebraska and Mizzou respectively) in games they were projected to have a REAListic chance of winning. If either were to pick up a Road game against someone not the other, it would be difficult to justify keeping them in the conference’s lowest tier of teams.

The gainers in the REAL Standings Projections in the mid-week games were, of course, ISU and CU in picking up Home victories against One Tier Higher Teams, and Tech, doing the same vs. A&M. All three picked up ½ game in the REAL Standings, while the three losers—well, they were losers, both on the court and in the REAL Standings to the tune of ½ game each.

KU and Baylor, as projected winners, and the teams from Oklahoma, as projected losers, maintained the status quo REAL Standings-wise.

REAL STANDINGS: 1/17/08

1. 12.5-3.5

KU (2-0) Projected L’s: at UT, at A&M Losable games: at MU, at ksu, at OSU

2. 11.5-4.5

A&M (1-1) Projected L: at UT Losable games: at ksu, at OSU, at MU, at OU, at BU

UT (0-1) Projected L: at A&M Losable games: at OSU, at OU, BU, ksu, TT

4. 8.5-7.5

k-state (1-0) Projected L’s: at MU, at TT, at NU, at BU, at KU Losable games: at A&M, at CU, KU, UT, at ISU

5. 8-8

Tech (1-1) Projected L’s: at OU, at UT, at BU, at NU, at A&M, at KU Losable games: at CU, UT

6. 7.5-8.5

Mizzou (1-1) Projected L’s: at TT, at KU, at NU, at ksu, at BU, at OU Losable games: KU, at CU, A&M

NU (0-2) Projected L’s: at KU, at MU, at ksu, at A&M, at OSU, at UT Losable games: at ISU

Baylor (2-0) Projected L’s: at NU, at A&M, at UT, at KU, at OSU, at OU, at TT Losable games: UT, at CU, A&M

9. 7-9

OSU (1-1) Projected L’s: at OU, at TT, at ksu, at A&M, at MU, at UT Losable games: at ISU, UT, KU, A&M

10. 6.5-9.5

OU (0-2) Projected L’s: at BU, at A&M, at TT, at UT, at NU, at OSU Losable games: UT, at CU, A&M

11. 4.5-11.5

CU (1-1) Projected L’s: at UT, at ISU, at KU, at OSU, KU, at MU, at ksu, at NU Losable games: ksu, MU, OU, TT, BU

12. 3.5-12.5

ISU (1-1) Projected L’s: at KU, at ksu, at NU, A&M, UT, at OU, at TT, KU, at CU, at MU Losable games: OSU, NU, ksu

FOR YOUR VIEWING PLEASURE

Big XII Weekend Games, with IQ (Interest Quotient):

SATURDAY

1. OSU at ISU (12:30p.m.)**

Both teams have looked better than I anticipated. Should be a watchable game, a close game, even if not an Instant Classic.

Projected W: None

2. A&M at ksu (3:00p.m.)****

This one could be an Instant Classic. A&M coming in off an embarrassingly futile effort in Lubbock. Mark Turgeon, who was there when the Jayhawks started their generational-long winning streak in Manhattan, returns to the scene of the crime. k-state with an opportunity to not only improve on its impressive start vs. the RSP by another ½ game, but to become a factor in the race for third—or even second--place.

Projected W: None

3. Tech at OU (3:00p.m.)***

Can Tech take its game on the Road? Against a winless team without its best player?

Projected W: OU

WEDNESDAY

4. Baylor at Nebraska (5:00p.m.)***

After losing in Boulder, the Huskers are another Home team desperate to get off the schneide. Baylor, on the other hand, gets its first taste of life away from Waco. Don’t think they haven’t been looking forward to it.

Projected W: NU

5. Colorado at UT (7:30p.m.)*

Is this game REALly necessary?

Projected W: UT

6. KU at Mizzou (7:00p.m.)****

If Mizzou were good, this game could eclipse the football game in Arrowhead. In that game, no one, including REAListic fans of both teams, thought that the best team in the country was on that field.

There are many who believe that KU is the best team in the country in basketball. The question is whether Mizzou has enough talent to give the Hawks a game at the Paige. They certainly will not lack incentive. Despite their relegation to the Cotton Bowl after being twice taken to the cleaners by OU in football, and despite being a non-factor in the basketball world, they have an opportunity to do something that is probably unique in the world of college athletics: i.e., give its arch-rival their only losses in the two sports that matter through a combined 30 games. At the moment, KU is 29-0 since Labor Day against every team in the world not named Missouri. Don’t think for a minute that Mizzou’s greatest goal in life—a rung or two above bringing about world peace—isn’t making the Jayhawks’ record against the team named Missouri 0-2.

The Jayhawks, however, appear to be a team that simply brings its game night after night, regardless of the opponent, regardless of artificial motivations. They simply have—with apologies to Jimmie Dykes, who has recently behaved as if he owns proprietary rights to the word—“it.”

My prediction is that KU will be respectful of Mizzou as an opponent, and methodically put them away.

Because this game involves a Tier Two team on its Home court vs. a Tier One Team, it is, for the objective purposes of the REAL Standings, an at-risk game for both teams.

Projected W: None.

--Mark

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