As noted in the previous REAL Standings post, Okie St was a “Dangerous, dangerous game for K-State.” They were to Okie St what UT was Monday night to K-State. They ran into a good, but not great, team that played with unmatched intensely for 40 minutes and paid the price.
But that’s the name of the game when you ascend to top of the media’s hype machine. Every opponent will match or exceed your effort—especially when you are coming down from a victory being hailed by your fans and the media as historic. (Although correctly characterized in the REAL Standings as a BfD win at Home.)
What this game showed—if there was any doubt—is that there is still a considerable talent differential between UT, KU and the rest of the conference. And talent will out in games like Saturday’s in Manhattan. The two big guns in the conference win that game at Home. Might have been close, but they win it.
The bottom line, though, is that K-State committed the cardinal REAL Standings sin: they lost at Home. Will they be able to recover? Probably not. If they were loaded with first round NBA talent, maybe they could win out, including at AFH-Lawrence. But, again, they do not possess the level of talent necessary to make that run.
But that is a subjective judgment. Objectively, talent assessment aside, can they overcome the Home Loss and, using the REAL Standings formula, yet be a factor in the race for the title?
Again, probably not. They are now 1.5 REAL Standings games behind both UT and KU. Not only is 1.5 games difficult to make up in the REAL world, it is exponentially more difficult to make up against two teams. Even winning out, including at AFH-L, leaves K-State trailing the winner of the February 8 game in Austin by 1/2 game. Meaning they would still be in need of outside help.
In other words, a long shot.
In the other major REAL Standings development of the weekend, the Jayhawks picked up a W in an at-risk game at Ames, which never seemed to be at risk at all. As a result, KU is now tied with UT atop the REAL Standings, 1.5 games clear of K-State.
In other action, Tech, A&M and Mizzou all picked up Home wins, as projected, vs. OU, CU, and NU. Nothing of REAL import there.
1. Contenders: KU, K-State, and UT.
2. Competitors: Everyone else.
3. Bottom-feeders: None.
The January 24, 2010 REAL Big 12 Standings:
The only subjective part of the REAL Standings is the placement of teams into their proper categories. While it appears there are no teams deserving of the pejorative term “bottom-feeders,” it does look like there are two tiers of competitive teams. If I were to recategorize the teams at this point, I would place K-State, Mizzou, Baylor, A&M, Okie St, and OU in Tier 2(a), and Tech, Iowa St, Colorado, and NU in Tier 2(b). And that might happen at some point—like the midway point of the conference season. Doing so would remove K-State from KU’s Projected Loss column and drop Colorado as a Losable game; for UT, the only effect would be dropping Tech from the Losable game column. Were these adjustments made now, KU would have a Projected Record of 13-3, ½ game in front of UT.
At this point, however, Colorado and Tech on the Road still look like at-risk games to me.
KU (4-0) Projected L’s: at K-State, at UT Losable games: at CU, at A&M, at Okie St, at Mizzou
UT (3-1) Projected L’s: None Losable games: at OSU, at OU, at Mizzou, at Tech, at A&M, at BU
K-State (3-2) Projected L’s: at KU Losable games: at BU, at NU, at ISU, at OU, at Tech
Mizzou (3-1) Projected L’s: at KU, at CU, at BU, at NU, at K-State, at ISU Losable games: vs. UT, vs. KU
Okie St (3-2) Projected L’s: at Mizzou, at Tech, at Iowa St, at UT, at A&M Losable games: vs. UT, vs. KU
Baylor (2-2) Projected L’s: at UT, at A&M, at NU, at OSU, at OU, at Tech Losable games: vs. KU, vs. UT
Oklahoma (2-3) Projected L’s: at NU, at OSU, at CU, at KU, at UT Losable games: vs. UT, vs. K-State
Texas A&M (3-2) Projected L’s: at Okie St, at Mizzou, at Tech, at ISU, at BU, at OU Losable games: vs. KU, vs. UT
Colorado (1-4) Projected L’s: at ISU, at K-State, at KU, at Mizzou, at NU Losable games: vs. KU
Iowa St (1-3) Projected L’s: at OU, at BU, at Mizzou, at KU, at CU, at K-State Losable games: vs. K-State
Texas Tech (2-3) Projected L’s: at UT, at A&M, at OU, at BU, at NU, at CU Losable games: vs. UT, vs. K-State
Nebraska (0-4) Projected L’s: at CU, at KU, at UT, at K-State, at ISU, at OSU Losable games: vs. K-State
WHAT TO WATCH
1. Mizzou at KU (8:00p.m.)**** (Projected W: KU)
Don’t look now, but Mizzou is perfectly positioned to not only stake its claim as a contender, but to even take the inside track to the Big 12 title. If they somehow win in AFH Monday night, they would move into the Contender category and have no Projected losses, because they get both KU and UT at Home later in the year. Their five remaining Road games would all be Losable, not projected L’s, for a Projected Record of 12.5-3.5, a full 1.5 games ahead of KU and ½ game in front of UT. Meaning the Hawks would go from Projected co-champions to being on life support in 40 minutes. So forget February 8 for now. This is the game.
2. K-State at Baylor (7:00p.m.)***1/2 (At risk game for both teams)
K-State would have been better off switching the dates of this game and the one vs. Okie St. A loss on the Road at least gets a Road game off the schedule. Then, they could have recharged and been a bit more ready for the Cowboys at Home.
This game will come down to three point shooting, rebounding, and the Home Court. Baylor appears to have the advantage in all three areas. K-State can do nothing about one of them. They will need to win the other two, one of them convincingly, to walk out of Waco upright.
3. Texas A&M at Okie St (6:30p.m.)***1/2 (Projected W: Okie St)
Tag. You’re it, Cowboys.
4. Texas Tech at Texas (8:00p.m.)**1/2 (Projected W: UT)
Fuhgeddaboutit! Given a choice between betting on Mike Leach coaching in Lubbock again or Tech winning this game, I will go with Leach. The only thing mildly interesting about this contest will be the point spread. I would take no fewer than 15 points. Might even pass on that. . .
5. Iowa St at Oklahoma (8:00p.m.)** (Projected W: OU)
Who has been more sensational this week: Lacedarius Dunn, James Anderson, or Tommy Mason-Griffin? I would watch this game just to see if M-G can duplicate his effort against Tech with Willie Warren back in the lineup. If so, OU may yet be a force to be reckoned with. . .
6. Nebraska at Colorado (8:00p.m.)** (Projected W: Colorado)
Not quite a “bottom-feeder” game, but as close as you will find in the Big 12 this year.