All right, is there anyone left who still believes that this is a race? Anyone other than Reid Gettys, that is.
I hate to pick on Reid after last year chastising him for a particular Reid-iculous remark, but he leaves me no choice. In Saturday’s KU-Nebraska game, he made two:
• that “this is where you start getting nervous if you’re a Kansas fan” with 44.4 seconds remaining in the game with KU up by nine and Sherron Collins at the line; and • that there is “no question” that someone can take the Big 12 title away from KU—that the Big 12 is too deep.
As for the first proclamation, NU threw in the towel 12 seconds later.
As for the second, do you REALly think, Reid, that KU will go 2-4 in their remaining games that do not involve Iowa St amd Colorado at Home, AND that UT, K-State, or A&M will go 7-0 (K-State or A&M) or 8-0 (UT or Mizzou)? Both must happen for the Jayhawks to be deprived of all or a share of their sixth straight Big 12 title.
Or, maybe you meant someone else might share the championship with the Jayhawks. Not quite as far-fetched (the difference between KU going 4-4 and 5-3), but still a long-shot.
I mean, I like Reid as much as the next guy—probably more than most next guys. He was an integral component on one of my favorite non-KU teams of all time—in my opinion, the best college basketball team ever to not win a national championship. And he is a smart fellow, being a lawyer and all. And we all make Reid-iculous statements from time to time. But, as they say in that ESPN Radio commercial, “Come ahhhhhhn.”
In fairness, Reid did acknowledge that the Jayhawks are the “prohibitive favorites.” But followed it up by saying, “does that mean they’re going to run away with it? Absolutely not!”
Yes, there is a scenario by which the Hawks could be deprived of the Big 12 title. Or forced to share it.
Is there a reasonable chance it will happen?
The No. 1 story of the weekend on the court is, of course, the game that pretty much ended any suspense in the quest for the Big 12 championship: Oklahoma downing UT in Norman.
K-State and Mizzou picked up Road victories over two of the Big 12’s lesser teams, Iowa St and Colorado (see below). Nothing extraordinary there, but, still, no Road win is chopped liver.
In other games, KU, A&M, and Tech all won at Home vs. NU, Baylor, and Okie St.
With every team having played half its conference schedule, it is time to make mid-season adjustments to reflect the teams’ REAL status as revealed by their performance to this point. As often noted, the Tier assignment of each team is the only subjective part of the REAL Standings. After that, it’s look at the schedule and objectively apply the formula.
KU, K-State, and UT remain a notch above the rest of the pack. I will continue to call all three “Contenders,” notwithstanding the fact that, for all practical purposes, the ultimate champion is pretty much set in cement.
Demoting Colorado, Iowa St, and Nebraska to Tier 3 status should not be open to debate.
Oklahoma and Texas Tech were candidates for demotion prior to Saturday’s games. Both did enough, however, to retain their Tier 2 standing.
The Sooners took out UT in an at-risk game in Norman, even with a hobbled Willie Warren, as Tommy Mason-Griffin, the conference’s best freshman, keeps playing like he is not one.
As for Tech, they are either the worst Tier 2 team or the best of the Tier 3 lot. Don’t know if they will ever beat anyone on the Road, but they are good enough in Lubbock to merit the benefit of the doubt.
At the mid-point (roughly) of the Big 12 season:
1. Contenders: KU, K-State, and UT.
2. Competitors: A&M, Baylor, Mizzou, Oklahoma, Okie St, Texas Tech
3. Bottom-feeders: Colorado, Iowa St, Nebraska
February 7, 2010 REAL Big 12 Standings:
KU (8-0) Projected L’s: at UT Losable games: at A&M, at Okie St, at Mizzou
UT (5-3) Projected L’s: None Losable games: at Mizzou, at Tech, at A&M, at BU
K-State (6-3) Projected L’s: at KU Losable games: at OU, at Tech
Mizzou (5-3) Projected L’s: at BU, at K-State, Losable games: vs. UT, at NU, at ISU vs. KU
Texas A&M (6-3) Projected L’s: at Tech, at BU, at OU Losable games: vs. KU, at ISU, vs. UT
Baylor (4-4) Projected L’s: at OSU, at OU, at Tech Losable games: at NU, vs. UT
Oklahoma (4-4) Projected L’s: at OSU, at KU, at UT Losable games: at CU, vs. K-State
Okie St (4-5) Projected L’s: at UT, at A&M Losable games: at Iowa St, vs. KU
Texas Tech (3-5) Projected L’s: at OU, at BU Losable games: vs. UT, vs. K-State, at NU, at CU
Iowa St (2-6) Projected L’s: at Mizzou, at KU, at CU, at K-State Losable games: vs. Okie St, vs. A&M, vs. Mizzou
Colorado (2-7) Projected L’s: at K-State, at KU, at Mizzou, at NU Losable games: vs. OU, vs. Tech
Nebraska (1-7) Projected L’s: at UT, at K-State, at ISU, at OSU Losable games: vs. Baylor, vs. Mizzou, vs. Tech,
What to Watch
1. KU at Texas (8:00p.m.)***** (Projected W: Texas)
Not the monster game it was once hyped to be. It is not undefeated No. 1 at undefeated No. 2 in the Game of the Century. With UT having lost 4 of its last six and in rankings free-fall, most of the luster has been lost nationally. What’s more, it is not even a particularly big game conference-wise: the Jayhawks can lose this game and still be in firm control of their destiny.
However, it is a game between the two most talented teams in the Big 12, and both teams will be psyched. Especially UT. As noted with K-State last week, redemption is a stronger motive than validation.
The Jayhawks are the better team, having the edge at the two most important positions, with Collins and Aldrich being more complete players than Balbay and Pittman. And Marcus Morris is doing a pretty fair imitation of Damien James. But Avery Bradley is as good as advertised, and Jordan Hamilton, when making shots, is what KU fans want Xavier to be, a wing who can make his own shot and is a threat to score from anywhere (although, when not making shots, he is a worm hole into which the basketball disappears, never to be seen again until bouncing off the rim).
But UT is at Home. The crowd will be wild, the atmosphere frenzied. If Pittman stays out of foul trouble, if Hamilton (or someone) can make a few shots from the perimeter, it will be a battle royal.
Must see TV.
A scary thought: It could come down to free throws.
2. Texas Tech at Oklahoma (7:00p.m.)**1/2 (Projected W: OU)
One of the more entertaining games of the year occurred when these teams played in Lubbock. Might be too much to expect Tech to bring their Lubbock game to Norman, but hope springs eternal.
3. Iowa St at Mizzou (6:30p.m.)*1/2 (Projected W: Mizzou)
What if ISU still had Staiger and Wesley Johnson to go along with Brackins and Gilstrap? What, as SNL once asked, if Spartacus had a Piper Cub?
4. Baylor at Nebraska (3:00p.m.)**1/2 (at-risk game for both teams)
Huge game for both teams. Baylor needs this one to stay in the running for a first round bye in the Big 12 tournament. NU just needs a win any time, anywhere, against anyone. And this might be their last REAL chance to grab one for a while, what with trips to Austin and Manhattan in their immediate future.