Those who were afraid of playing Oklahoma straight up for the inside track in the conference race without a safety net got their wish. With an assist from UT and a well-timed concussion meted out by Dexter Pittman that did not even result in a foul, the Jayhawks grabbed a share of the conference lead in the newspaper—and, more importantly, in the REAL--Standings. If the three remaining meaningful games go as projected (i.e., OU over KU in Norman, Mizzou over OU in Columbia, and KU over Mizzou in Lawrence) the Hawks will claim a share of their fifth consecutive Big 12 title, as well as their umpteenth ANY conference championship.
And why shouldn’t those three games go as Projected? This Saturday, Projected Winners (KU, Mizzou and Okie St) were 3-0. Their record for the season improved to 46-7.
Might as well not even play the games. Right?
Well, maybe play it out for the entertainment value. Plus, who knows: Who is to say KU can’t hand OU to its second straight setback Monday night. And with Blake Griffin back in the lineup, I would give the Sooners a fighting chance in Columbia, projection or no.
In the weekend’s three at-risk games, the Home teams were 1-2 (the 1 courtesy of the aforementioned concussion) and are now 5-14 for the season.
Although I have long contended that the REAL Standings are not predictions, taking the money line all season on Projected Winners and visiting teams in at-risk games would have resulted in a 60-12 record.
REAL STANDINGS: 2/22/09
The Big 12 hierarchy again remains unchanged. Three teams have separated themselves from the six-pack in the middle at each end:
Contenders (Tier 1): KU, MU, OU.
Competitors (Tier 2): A&M, Baylor, k-state, Nebraska, Okie St, UT
Bottom-feeders (Tier 3): Colorado, Iowa St, Tech.
KU (11-1) Projected L’s: at OU Losable games: None
OU (11-1) Projected L’s: at Mizzou Losable games: None
MU (10-2) Projected L’s: at KU Losable games: at A&M
k-state (7-5) Projected L’s: at Mizzou, at Okie St Losable games: none
UT (7-5) Projected L’s: at Okie St, at KU Losable games: None
OSU (6-6) Projected L’s: at OU Losable games: at CU
NU (6-6) Projected L’s: at k-state, at Baylor Losable games: None
A&M (5-7) Projected L: at NU Losable games: at CU, vs. Mizzou
Baylor (4-8) Projected L’s: at UT Losable games: at Iowa St
ISU (2-10) Projected L’s: at A&M, at NU Losable games: vs. Baylor
Tech (2-10) Projected L’s: at UT, vs. OU, vs. KU, at Iowa St Losable games: None
CU (1-11) Projected L’s: at Baylor, at k-state Losable games: vs. Okie St, vs. A&M
FOR YOUR VIEWING PLEASURE
Midweek Games, with IQ (Interest Quotient):
1. KU at OU (8:30p.m.)****************************** (Projected W: OU)
Biggest game played by a Big 12 team since April 7, 2008. Brings back memories of ’88. Let’s hope these memories are as pleasant.
2. Baylor at Iowa St (8:00p.m.)** (Toss-up)
Iowa St’s chance to separate itself from Colorado and Tech. They won’t get a better chance, what with Baylor playing like the least of the mid-level teams.
3. A&M at Nebraska (8:30p.m.)*** (Projected W: NU)
Could actually be an entertaining game between two teams trying to impress the NIT.
WEDNESDAY 4. k-state at Mizzou (8:00p.m.)**** (Projected W: Mizzou)
K-state won by 16 in Manhattan. How many points is Paige Arena worth?
5. Okie St at Colorado (8:30 p.m.)** (Toss-up)
A Must-Win game for the Cowboys if they want to remain on the bubble.
Of course, it’s a must win for Colorado, if they want to ensure winning two conference games.
6. Tech at Texas (8:30p.m.)* (Projected W: UT)
A REAL Stat-Padder for UT.