Anyone still insisting that the Big 12 race is up for grabs? KU’s victory in their Projected Loss game in College Station did not end the race—it had been over for all REAL purposes for two weeks—but it did serve as an exclamation point on their sixth straight conference title. The question now, with five games remaining in the season, is what comes after an exclamation point?
The quest for the other three byes in the Big 12 post-season tournament (inaccurately dubbed the “Big 12 Championship,” omitting the more accurate descriptors “meaningless” and “tournament” in favor of the misleading term “Championship”) is the primary remaining matter of interest.
Mizzou took a big step toward landing the fourth day off by winning an at-risk game at Home vs. UT. Meanwhile, UT is on life support, currently residing in 5th place in the REAL Standings, despite the considerable Projection Advantage of being a Tier 1 team.
And, yes, with five losses, UT is a marginal Tier 1 team if based strictly on accomplishments—or lack thereof. They are still, however, a team that has the talent to win out, and Rick Barnes has started removing his thumb from a dark place by utilizing his most talented players most of the time, instead of throwing any stiff named Mason, Chapman, Hill, Lucas, or Wangmene on the court with the game on the line. On the other hand, don’t know what he can do about Dexter Pittman, who was able to accomplish precisely zero shot attempts in Columbia. Not zero points (he made two free throws): zero shot attempts.
In other games that affected the REAL Standings, Colorado took down OU in Boulder and Okie St overcame Hilton’s Magic, each picking up 1/2 REAL game int he process. Projected W’s by Baylor over Tech in Waco and K-State over Nebraska in Manhattan left all four teams treading water..
With 11 games down, 5 to go:
Tier 1: KU, K-State, Texas A&M, UT.
Tier 2: Baylor, Mizzou, Oklahoma, Okie St, Texas Tech
Tier 3: Colorado, Iowa St, Nebraska
February 18, 2010 REAL Big 12 Standings:
KU (11-0) Projected L’s: N/A Losable games: at Okie St, at Mizzou 2. 11-5
Texas A&M (7-4) Projected L’s: N/A Losable games: at BU, at OU
K-State (8-3) Projected L’s: at KU Losable games: at OU, at Tech
Mizzou (7-4) Projected L’s: at K-State, Losable games: at NU, at ISU vs. KU
UT (6-5) Projected L’s: at A&M Losable games: at Tech, at BU
Okie St (6-5) Projected L’s: at UT, at A&M Losable games: vs. KU
Baylor (7-4) Projected L’s: at OSU, at OU, at Tech Losable games: vs. A&M, vs. UT
Texas Tech (4-7) Projected L’s: N/A Losable games: vs. UT, vs. K-State, at NU, at CU
Oklahoma (4-7) Projected L’s: at KU, at UT Losable games: vs. K-State, vs. A&M
Colorado (3-8) Projected L’s: at KU, at Mizzou, at NU Losable games: vs. Tech
Iowa St (2-9) Projected L’s: vs. A&M, at CU, at K-State, Losable games: vs. Mizzou
Nebraska (1-10) Projected L’s: at ISU, at OSU Losable games: vs. Mizzou, vs. Tech
What to Watch
1. Baylor at Okie St (12:30p.m.)***1/2 (Projected W: Okie St)
In a strange twist, Baylor’s three remaining Projected Losses are all to lesser teams than their two at-risk games—due, of course, to where the games are played. Meaning the Bears could be the sleeper for that all important first round bye in the conference tourney.
2. Texas at Texas Tech (1:00p.m.)***1/2 (at-risk game for both teams)
Tech could have beaten UT in Austin had they been able to maintain their energy level for 40 minutes. With a wild, frenzied crowd in Lubbock, they have a REAL shot at taking down the despised Longhorns. . .
3. Colorado at KU (3:00p.m.) ** (Projected W: KU)
The Magic Number for a share of the title drops to 1. Zero if the Hawks can get a little help from their friends in Norman.
4. Texas A&M at Iowa St (3:00p.m.)**1/2 (Projected W: A&M)
Nice effort by A&M on Big Monday in almost spoiling KU’s dream of a perfect conference season. If they rest on their laurels (and, yes, there are sometimes laurels in a loss), they could be in for a long afternoon.
5. K-State at Oklahoma (5:00p.m.)*** (at-risk game for both teams)
The Sooners are a decimated team for various reasons. But, then, so was Tennessee when they knocked KU from the ranks of the unbeaten. At any rate, OU on the Road, even with a depleted roster, is at least as dangerous as Nebraska in the Octagon. . .
6. Mizzou at Nebraska (5:00p.m.)*** (at-risk game for both teams)
What are the chances NU can shoot 60+% from 3 point land again. Or 58% overall. And outrebound their opponent. And have 23 assists. And still lose? About the same as the chances of Mizzou winning a Road game. . .