Return of the REAL Standings UT, k-state Teams to Beat in 2010

Sorry for the inconvenience, but the REAL Standings have been on the blink due to technical difficulties. To set the table for those unfamiliar with the REAL Standings concept, here is the pre-season 2010 version:

For REAL Standings newbies, they not intended to be predictive in nature, although it sometimes works out that way. Last year, for example, when the national consensus was that KU would have trouble hanging with UT and OU, the pre-season REAL Standings projected KU and Oklahoma to finish in a flat-footed tie at 12.5-3.5, both ahead of UT by a full game. You remember, of course, how that turned out.

What the REAL Standings does is indicate which team or teams are in the most advantageous position to win the conference championship without regard to their current record as shown in the newspaper or on your web page. It assesses where teams truly stand in relation to each other, taking into account who they have played and where and who and where they have yet to play. This is especially helpful in an unbalanced schedule setup, as most conferences—including the Big 12--now have, as opposed to the days when every Big 8 or SWC team played an identical schedule consisting of home and away games with every other conference opponent.

The premise of the REAL Standings is that championships are won by:

1. Winning EVERY game that a champion should win: i.e., all Home games and all games against the league’s bottom-feeders; and

2. Winning the most losable games—i.e., Road games vs. other contenders and competitive teams—with Road wins vs. a contender being “Special.”

In the REAL Standings, each contender is projected to win all Home games and all games against the conference’s bottom-feeders; to lose all Road games versus other contenders; and to be at-risk (i.e., assigned .5 W and .5 L) for all Road games against those teams that are competitive enough to be dangerous, even for a contender, on their Home court.

Second tier teams (i.e., the competitors), are projected to win their Home games vs. their peers and third tier teams; to lose their Road games vs. contenders and their peers; and to be at risk at Home vs. contenders and on the Road vs. the bottom-feeders.

Third tier teams are projected to lose every game except Home games vs. second tier teams (which are counted as at-risk games) and other third tier teams (which are projected W’s).

The only subjective factor in the REAL standings is identifying the contenders, the competitors, and the bottom-feeders. I usually base this on my own observations, with some consideration given to polls and computer rankings, but remain open to changing a team’s status as the season progresses if actual results demonstrate that one of the contenders REALly isn't, or that one of the others teams should be taken more seriously. Last year, for instance, Baylor started the season as the projected third place team at 12-4, with Mizzou projected in their customary sixth place position (actually, tied for sixth) at 7.5-8.5. The status of both was adjusted (in opposite directions) as time revealed their true status.


My Pre-season assessment of the Big 12 teams is:

1. Contenders: KU, K-State, and UT. Of course. One non-conference loss between the three. Impressive wins by all three. Subjectively, my assessment is that k-state is a notch below the other two, but they have the advantage of getting both KU and UT at Home. Win those two, and they will take the race into March.

2. Competitors: Everyone else. I have not seen anyone who will be anything but tough as nails at Home. Colorado? Maybe. But they have played Gonzaga and Arizona tough on a neutral court. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt until they prove that they cannot hold their own with the other second tier teams at Home.

Oklahoma? Based on their performance thus far this year, another maybe. But they might have the best talent of all the Tier Two teams. They might be dedicated to playing uninspired, brain dead basketball in the conference play, but I have a hard time imagining that the second season will not give them a second life.

3. Bottom-feeders: None pending further notice.

Here, then, are the 2010 Big 12 REAL Standings two days from the tip-off of the Big 12 season. As can be seen, KU has the most difficult schedule of the Contenders, playing one of the other two at Home and both on the Road. The Jayhawks are burdened with the likelihood that a sixth straight conference championship (or co-) will require at least one victory in either Austin or Manhattan.

UT and K-State both have but one Road game vs. a contender.

The most difficult schedules belong to Iowa St and Mizzou, as both play all three Contenders on the Road and are saddled with two at-risk Home games vs. the two Sunflower State squads.

The pre-season 2010 REAL Standings:

1. 11.5-4.5

K-State (0-0) Projected L’s: at KU Losable games: at Mizzou, at CU, at BU, at NU, at ISU, at OU, at Tech,

UT (0-0) Projected L’s: at K-State Losable games: at ISU, at OSU, at OU, at Mizzou, at Tech, at A&M, at BU

3. 11-5

KU Projected L’s: at K-State, at UT Losable games: at NU, at ISU, at CU, at A&M, at Okie St, at Mizzou

4. 7-9

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

Colorado (0-0) Projected L’s: at UT, at OSU, at A&M, at ISU, at K-State, at KU, at Mizzou, at NU Losable games: vs. K-State, vs. KU

Nebraska (0-0) Projected L’s: at A&M, at Mizzou, at CU, at KU, at UT, at K-State, at ISU, at OSU Losable games: vs. KU, vs. K-State

Oklahoma (0-0) Projected L’s: at BU, at A&M, at Tech, at NU, at OSU, at CU, at KU, at UT Losable games: vs. UT, vs. K-State

Okie St (0-0) Projected L’s: at OU, at BU, at K-State, at Mizzou, at Tech, at Iowa St, at UT, at A&M Losable games: vs. UT, vs. KU

Texas A&M (0-0) Projected L’s: at K-State, at UT, at Okie St, at Mizzou, at Tech, at ISU, at BU, at OU Losable games: vs. KU, vs. UT

Texas Tech (0-0) Projected L’s: at OSU, at KU, at UT, at A&M, at OSU, at BU, at NU, at CU Losable games: vs. UT, vs. K-State

11. 6.5-9.5

Iowa St (0-0) Projected L’s: at NU, at Tech, at OU, at BU, at Mizzou, at KU, at CU, at K-State Losable games: vs. UT, vs. KU, vs. K-State

Mizzou (0-0) Projected L’s: at Tech, at OU, at KU, at CU, at BU, at NU, at K-State, at ISU Losable games: vs. K-State, vs. UT, vs. KU

Check back soon for the up-to-date REAL Standings.