RECAP After this week’s M-W games, I am on the verge of going subjective and declaring KU the best team in the Big 12. And you know what that means. It means that the rest of the conference season is for entertainment value only. And for March prep. But more about that later.
In the big news of the week, Mizzou became the first Road team to pick up a victory against a peer or higher level team, by outlasting Okie St 97-95 in a game that resembled a Three Stooges episode in the final five minutes. In the end, Mizzou played the role of Moe to Okie St’s Larry. As for Curly Joe: that would be the mindless moments of slapstick provided by the refs.
With Mizzou’s surprise victory, Projected Winners in the REAL Standings are now 15-1 for the season (94%).
Meanwhile, in the only midweek at-risk game, Baylor took care of k-state handily. In at-risk games, Road teams are now 2-3 in games in which Home teams have hosted teams one level higher in the REAL Standings hierarchy.
In other games, Home teams KU, Tech, and OU, Projected Winners all, took out A&M, CU, and Nebraska.
REAL STANDINGS: 1/22/09
Although Mizzou took a step toward moving up a level, they did everything but lose a game that appeared un-loseable with five minutes remaining. They will have to take out a team that plays REAL D—and play some themselves--before they move up the Big 12 ladder.
Not to mention k-state, which is getting perilously close to being dropped in status to the land of the Bottom Feeders. Although they have been either the Projected Loser or at-risk in their four conference games, they have lost all four—and in unimpressive fashion.
Still, not enough information to justify changing any team’s status yet:
Contenders (Tier 1): Baylor, KU, OU, UT.
Competitors (Tier 2): A&M, k-state, Mizzou, Nebraska, Okie St,
Bottom-feeders (Tier 3): Colorado, Iowa St, Tech
OU (4-0) Projected L’s: at Baylor, at UT Losable games: at Okie St, at Mizzou
KU (3-0) Projected L’s: at Baylor, at OU Losable games: at NU, at Mizzou, at k-state
Baylor (3-1) Projected L’s: at OU, at UT Losable games: at Mizzou, at Okie St
UT (2-1) Projected L’s: at Baylor, at KU Losable games: at NU, at A&M, at Okie St
Mizzou (3-1) Projected L’s: at k-state, at UT, at KU, at A&M Losable games: vs. Baylor, at ISU, vs. KU, at CU, vs. OU
NU (2-2) Projected L’s: at Mizzou, at KU, at k-state, at Baylor Losable games: vs. KU, at Tech, at CU, vs. UT
A&M (1-3) Projected L: at KU, at UT, at OU, at Baylor, at NU Losable games: vs. UT, at Tech, at CU
k-state (0-4) Projected L’s: at UT, at A&M, at Mizzou, at Okie St Losable games: CU, vs. KU, at ISU
OSU (1-2) Projected L’s: at NU, at A&M, at KU, at UT, at OU Losable games: vs. OU, at Tech, vs. Baylor, at CU, vs. UT
ISU (1-2) Projected L’s: vs. KU, at CU, vs. OU, at k-state, at Okie St, at KU, vs. Baylor, at A&M, at NU Losable games: vs. Mizzou, vs. k-state
CU (0-3) Projected L’s: at KU, at OU, at ISU, vs. UT, at NU, at Baylor, at k-state Losable games: vs. k-state, vs. NU, vs. Mizzou, vs. Okie St, vs. A&M
Tech (1-2) Projected L’s: at Mizzou, at A&M, at Okie St, vs. Baylor, at k-state, at OU, at UT, vs. OU, vs. KU, at ISU Losable games: vs. NU, vs. Okie St, vs. A&M
FOR YOUR VIEWING PLEASURE
Saturday’s Games, with IQ (Interest Quotient):
1. Texas Tech at Mizzou (12:30p.m.)** (Projected W: Mizzou)
Imagine Mizzou vs. Tech in football, only with lesser athletes and even less defense. Take the over. And Mizzou on the money line.
2. KU at Iowa St (1:00p.m.)*** (Projected W: KU)
The Jayhawks just might be the Big 12’s best team. If not now, before long. They have the best inside-outside combo. REALly. OU has Warren and Blake Griffin. UT has Abrams and James. Four damn good players. But what would you rather have: an inside-outside force consisting of a shooting guard and power forward, or one represented by a world class national champion point guard and true center. Advantage: KU.
And whereas OU and Texas had the early season edge in experience, that edge is fast disappearing as KU has added a third option (Mario Little) who may be the best on all three teams when he nears 100%, and the Hawks’ freshmen are learning and accepting their roles: i.e., their defense and decision-making are both improving noticeably with the passage of each game. The youngsters still have to demonstrate that they can take the game between their ears on the Road, but the early season schedule—including their first two Road games coming against Tier 3 teams—is giving them a chance to adjust slowly to conference life away from the friendly confines of AFH.
My vote for KU’s MVP goes to the Big 12 schedule-maker.
If and when this team beats a good team on the Road, they will be the most dangerous team in the league—i.e., the one most capable of doing some serious damage in March. In the meantime, because of their youth, they need to take every game seriously if they don’t want to be the biggest upset victim of the year.
3. Okie St at Nebraska (3:00p.m.)**1/2 (Projected W: Nebraska)
Did Nebraska give everything they had against OU, or are the Huskers REALly pretty good? Regardless, they should win this game unless Okie St turns its D up 5 or 6 notches over what it displayed Wednesday night in Stillwater vs. Mizzou.
4. Baylor at Oklahoma (3:00p.m.)**** (Projected W: OU)
Game of the weekend in the Big 12. Was OU looking ahead to this one while playing Nebraska? Can Baylor take its game on the Road against a truly good team?
5. k-state at Colorado (4:00p.m.)** (Toss-up)
For the fifth straight time, k-state is at risk or projected to lose. Still, as a Tier 2 team, they have to win one of these games. Or maybe they are not a Tier 2 team. . .
6. A&M at Texas (7:00p.m.)*** (Projected W: UT)
We’ll give this three stars because of the rivalry factor. If A&M shows something on the Road in this game, it will be a first in conference play.