Tully Corcoran of the Topeka Capitol Journal Tweeted it best Monday night: “This is an absolutely gutless performance by Texas.” Yes, indeed, it was. And although KU has been getting major props for winning so handily, and is clearly the better team, I read nothing into the Hawks’ methodical execution of the Longhorns other than that UT appeared to be afraid to compete. They looked like they were reluctant to be on the same court as KU and just wanted the whole thing to be over with as quickly as possible. Kind of like when I rode a mule to the bottom of the Grand Canyon—except that after the pain went away, I was glad to have done it.
In Tier 2 Developments, Tech’s win in Norman resulted in the Raiders and Sooners swapping places and Projected records. And Baylor picked up ½ game in the REAL world with its last second come from behind victory in Lincoln.
Mizzou over Iowa St changed nothing.
UT’s recent performance (losing 4 of their last 6 conference games) has raised the issue of whether they should be considered a “contender” in the REAL Standings categorizations. And the Answer, as always, is that:
1. Those who think UT is not deserving of that status can adjust them downward in their own "REAL Standings" and recalculate their projected W-L record based on that assessment; and
2. I am generally reluctant to change a team’s status as long as there is any reasonable argument for keeping them at their current level; otherwise, teams can yo-yo up and down in a most irritating manner depending on whether they are temporarily hot or cold.
Of course, UT is not a “contender.” But who is? KU has this thing wrapped up as surely as it did the UNC Final Four game in 2008 at 40-12. You know, the game that was a bigger catastrophe for a certain Tar Heel coach than the 2004 tsunami, being as how the Haiti earthquake had not yet happened at that time.
So no one is, technically, a contender. We have a winner and the best of the also-rans. Let’s simply refer to them as Tier 1 teams.
And a case can be made that it is still premature to remove UT from the Tier 1 list: they have as much raw talent as anyone in the league, including KU—at least athletic talent, if not suit and tie talent; and they are still in the Top 15 in the KenPom (13) and Sagarin (11) ratings.
So I will leave them in Tier 1 on my books for the time being.
However, were UT downgraded to Tier 2, their projected record would be 8-8, with Projected L’s at Mizzou, Tech, A&M, and Baylor.
As for suggestions that Mizzou or A&M should be upgraded to Tier 1, I need them to Show Me or Gig ‘em just a little more than they have to this point. Mizzou’s KenPom (14) and Sagarin (17) ratings are comparable to UT’s, but their best win is at Tech, where they need plenty of assistance from the Home team at the FT line to escape with the W. Not to mention that they were rolled in Lawrence.
A&M, meanwhile, is substantially lower in both KenPom (38) and Sagarin (26), despite having prevailed in Columbia—the Aggies’ best win—and was rolled in Manhattan.
In other words, to both teams, Do More.
If both team were promoted to Tier 1, with no other adjustments to any other team, their Projected Records would be 11.5-4.5, good for the inside track to what Tiger calls being the First Loser—or, put another way, they would be the Rachel Uchitel of the Big 12.
With 9 games down, 7 to go for everyone:
Tier 1: KU, K-State, and UT.
Tier 2: A&M, Baylor, Mizzou, Oklahoma, Okie St, Texas Tech
Tier 3: Colorado, Iowa St, Nebraska
February 11, 2010 REAL Big 12 Standings:
KU (9-0) Projected L’s: None Losable games: at A&M, at Okie St, at Mizzou
K-State (6-3) Projected L’s: at KU Losable games: at OU, at Tech
UT (5-4) Projected L’s: None Losable games: at Mizzou, at Tech, at A&M, at BU
Mizzou (6-3) Projected L’s: at BU, at K-State, Losable games: vs. UT, at NU, at ISU vs. KU
Baylor (5-4) Projected L’s: at OSU, at OU, at Tech Losable games: vs. UT
Texas A&M (6-3) Projected L’s: at Tech, at BU, at OU Losable games: vs. KU, at ISU, vs. UT
Okie St (4-5) Projected L’s: at UT, at A&M Losable games: at Iowa St, vs. KU
Texas Tech (4-5) Projected L’s: at BU Losable games: vs. UT, vs. K-State, at NU, at CU
Oklahoma (4-5) Projected L’s: at OSU, at KU, at UT Losable games: at CU, vs. K-State
Iowa St (2-7) Projected L’s: 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 (1-8) Projected L’s: at UT, at K-State, at ISU, at OSU Losable games: vs. Mizzou, vs. Tech,
What to Watch
1. Mizzou at Baylor (12:30p.m.)***** (Projected W: Baylor)
Mizzou’s chance to make a statement.
2. Oklahoma at Okie St (1:00p.m.)*** (Projected W: Okie St)
If Steven Pledger and Andrew Fitzgerald are reinstated by Saturday, the Sooners just might steal one on the Road.
3. Nebraska at Texas (3:00p.m.) *1/2 (Projected W: UT)
UT’s opportunity to get well. Or not, if the Huskers confuse the Erwin Center for Allen Fieldouse.
4. Texas A&M at Texas Tech (4:00p.m.)***1/2 (Projected W: Tech)
The most compelling game of the weekend. A&M cannot afford to be caught looking ahead to KU and Big Monday.
5. Colorado at K-State (5:00p.m.)**1/2 (Projected W: K-State)
Shouldn’t be much to watch. K-State should not be caught napping after a week off. But, as Chuck Berry once said, “You never can tell.” The Buffs are more than capable of putting an opponent to sleep.
6. Iowa St at KU (7:00p.m.)* (Projected W: KU)
The Magic Number will be 3 late Saturday night.