REAL Standings: Knocked Up Edition. . .

What? Are these TV executives so stupid that they don’t even read the REAL Standings anymore? The Baylor/A&M game was listed in the Midweek preview of Big 12 games as the only 4 star contest on the menu. Yet it was the only one of the five Midweek games that was not televised anywhere?

As for the game in College Station, I mentioned prior to the game that I would be surprised if Baylor stayed within singled digits. This was not a comment on Baylor’s talent level. They showed last year and early this season, that they had a nice lineup. In fact, I was in agreement with the UDK columnist who noted in his Tuesday blog that “Baylor Basketball is this season's Kansas football.”

However, the Bears appeared to have two major obstacles facing them in this game: First, the Aggies would, I assumed, defend their Home turf with a vengeance—especially after going 0-2 on their recent Road trip to the Big 12’s garden spots of Lubbock and Manhattan. Second, Baylor had never won a game of this magnitude. They came close a couple of times last year (reminiscent of the ’06 football Jayhawks), but had always found a way to fall short. Until a team with good players actually wins a big game, I don’t expect them to do so.

It did help that the Aggies put on the worst free throw/3 point shooting exhibition since that of another team in a game we all recall in New Orleans half a decade ago. The key, however, is not that the Aggies refused to win. It is that Baylor took advantage of the opportunity and refused to go away. This is what good teams do. Now that they have their coming of age game behind them, they will be a load the rest of the year. In fact, it is not inconceivable that KU’s toughest remaining game could be Baylor in Lawrence—in spite of the REAL Standings’ normally strict Home game/Road game dichotomy.

One other thing: From KU’s standpoint, with regard to the Big 12 race, Darrell Arthur’s decision to attend KU might prove to be less important than his decision to NOT attend Baylor. There was a time when it was thought that D.A. and Kevin Rogers would attend the same school. If Baylor had both, they might even now be the prohibitive favorite to bask in Big 12 championship glory for the first time ever in a sport that matters.

Not to be relegated to the role of being simply an after-thought, k-state also made a statement Wednesday night. As a normal matter, I would not be impressed with a Road win at a Third Tier Team like Colorado. However, k-state won this game the way a good team should win a game against a non-competitor—by making the game non-competitive. k-state took command early in the first half, stayed in control the rest of the way, and never let the Buffaloes entertain any thoughts about making it a contest. They also played a little bit of defense.

With two Road wins each, and considering the manner in which they have gotten the job done, I am inclined to consider Baylor and k-state as “contenders” for the purposes of the REAL Standings. This does not mean that I subjectively believe that either can stand up to KU over a 16 game schedule and seriously threaten to wrest the championship from the Jayhawks. It does mean that they have elevated themselves above their former peer Tier Two Teams, and should be considered front-runners for a Thursday bye in the Big 12 Tournament and the virtually automatic NCAA bid that goes with that status. And an outside shot at the conference title.

And A&M? Suffice it to state that, with three losses and more to come, they are in no way, shape, or form a Tier One Team. In fact, the only thing they are in contention for is bubble status.

Aside from Baylor and k-state, the only other team that made progress in the REAL Standings in the Midweek games was UT, picking up ½ game in the RSP with its Road win at Okie St. KU and Tech both picked up projected Home W’s with no muss or fuss against ISU and Mizzou respectively.

REAL STANDINGS: 1/24/08

1. 13-3

KU (4-0) Projected L’s: at ksu, at UT

Losable games: at OSU, at A&M

2. 12.5-3.5

Baylor (4-0) Projected L’s: at UT, at KU

Losable games: at OSU, at OU, at TT

k-state (3-0) Projected L’s: at BU, at KU

Losable games: at MU, at TT, at NU

4. 11.5-4.5

UT (2-1) Projected L: at BU, at ksu

Losable games: at A&M, at OU, at TT

5. 7-9

Mizzou (1-3) Projected L’s: at KU, at NU, at ksu, at BU, at OU

Losable games: at CU, ksu

Tech (2-2) Projected L’s: at UT, at BU, at NU, at A&M, at KU

Losable games: ksu, at CU, UT, BU

7. 6.5-9.5

A&M (1-3) Projected L: at OSU, at MU, at UT, at OU, at BU

Losable games: UT, at ISU, KU

OU (1-2) Projected L’s: at BU, at A&M, at TT, at UT, at NU, at OSU

Losable games: UT, at CU, BU

9. 6-10

NU (0-3) Projected L’s: at KU, at MU, at ksu, at A&M, at OSU, at UT

Losable games: at ISU, ksu

OSU (1-3) Projected L’s: at OU, at TT, at ksu, at A&M, at MU, at UT

Losable games: Baylor, KU

11. 4-12

ISU (2-2) Projected L’s: at ksu, at NU, UT, at OU, at TT, KU, at CU, at MU, ksu

Losable games: A&M, NU

12. 3.5-12.5

CU (1-3) Projected L’s: at ISU, KU, at OSU, at KU, at MU, BU, at ksu, at NU

Losable games: MU, OU, TT

FOR YOUR VIEWING PLEASURE

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

SATURDAY

1. NU at KU (12:30p.m.)*1/2

The only angle of interest int heis game is whether KU will be caught looking ahead to next Wednesday and allow the Huskers to stay closer than they did in Lincoln.

Projected W: KU

2. A&M at Okie St (1:00p.m.)***

Two extremely desperate teams. Expect to see some desperate measures.

Projected W: Okie St

3. Mizzou at Colorado (2:00p.m.)**

Did I hear correctly that Mizzou is looking for its first Big 12 Road win since Quin? If they don’t get it Saturday, they might still be looking this time next year.

Projected W: None

4. OU at Baylor (3:00p.m.)**1/2

With Blake Griffith, OU’s front line would have a good shot at stealing this game. If they win without him, it will be grand larceny.

Projected W: Baylor

5. Iowa St at k-state (5:00p.m.)**

If k-state is truly a Tier One Team, this will be a ho-hum game.

Or will they be looking ahead to next Wednesday?

Projected W: k-state

6. Tech at UT (7:00p.m.)**1/2

UT has been playing at their opponents’ level lately. If they continue doing so, Bobby Knight might just bring them down a notch in the REAL Standings.

Projected W: UT

--Mark

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