It is tempting to make a big deal out of KU’s first loss of the conference season: An undefeated team in conference play, already assured of at least a share of its sixth consecutive conference title, ranked No. 1 nationally for all but three weeks this season, gets blown out by the mediocrity that is Okie St of six conference losses and on-the-bubble fame.
Is this a harbinger of things to come? Is there a disturbance in The Force?
Well, as disturbances go, it is a minor one.
In the REAL world, this game—13-0 vs. 7-6 and all—was accurately pegged as an at-risk game, as Tier One at Tier Two games always are. It, along with the Jayhawks’ game at Mizzou this coming Saturday are why KU’s projected record was 15-1, not 16-0.
The question now that the Hawks’ PR is 14.5-1.5 is which of those figures is rounded up and which is rounded down in Columbia. (Not to mention that small matter of protecting the Home Court for the 59th straight time in between the two at-riskers.)
As for Saturday, no team is likely to win an at-risk game when the opponent shoots 60% from the field, and 53% from three point range, including circus shots riskier than performing a trapeze act with no safety net.
Indeed, my close personal friend Doug in Denver assures me that no KU team in the past ten years, including some of Roy Williams’ most defensively challenged, has been subjected to the shooting exhibition put on by the Cowboys on Saturday. I will trust Doug on that, because the only time I have known him to be wrong is when we had that argument about Ginger and Maryanne.
The bottom line is that KU lost ½ game in the REAL Standings this weekend: the first time (obviously) they have gone backwards this season in fourteen games.
Let’s see. What other things of note happened this weekend.
K-State over Mizzou? Nothing of import there. K-State won at Home as projected.
A&M over UT? Nope. The Aggies won at Home as projected.
Colorado over Iowa St? Not even. The Buffs won at Home as projected.
Nebraska taking down Tech? A ½ game pick-up by the Tier Four Team over its Tier Three opponent. Would be of interest if anyone cared.
Baylor over Oklahoma? A ½ game pick-up by the Tier Two Bears on the Road against a team that could be arrested for impersonating a Tier Four team. Although it is a damn fine impersonation. Even better than Tech’s having been swept by the Red Raiders recently. Did keep Baylor in line for a day of rest in the Big 12 tourney.
The Rules of Projection:
Projected W’s: Home games vs. Peer and lower level teams and Road games vs. teams two or more Tiers lower;
Projected L’s: Road games vs. Peer and higher level teams and Home games vs. teams two or more Tiers higher;
At-risk games: Home games vs. teams one tier higher and Road games vs. teams one tier lower.
With 13 games down, 3 to go:
Tier 1: KU, K-State
Tier 2: Baylor, Mizzou, Okie St, Texas A&M, UT
Tier 3: Oklahoma, Texas Tech
Tier 4: Colorado, Iowa St, Nebraska
February 18, 2010 REAL Big 12 Standings:
KU (13-1) Projected L’s: N/A Losable games: at Mizzou 2. 12-4
K-State (11-3) Projected L’s: at KU Losable games: N/A
Texas A&M (9-5) Projected L’s: N/A Losable games: at OU
Mizzou (9-5) Projected L’s: N/A Losable games: vs. KU
Baylor (9-5) Projected L’s: N/A Losable games: at Tech
UT (8-6) Projected L’s: at Baylor Losable games: N/A
Okie St (8-6) Projected L’s: at A&M Losable games: N/A
Texas Tech (4-10) Projected L’s: N/A Losable games: vs. Baylor, at CU
Oklahoma (4-10) Projected L’s: at UT Losable games: vs. A&M
Colorado (4-10) Projected L’s: at NU Losable games: vs. Tech
Iowa St (3-11) Projected L’s: vs. Mizzou, at K-State, Losable games: N/A
Nebraska (2-12) Projected L’s: at OSU Losable games: N/A
What to Watch
1. Oklahoma at Texas (8:00p.m.)*1/2 (Projected W: UT)
This is not what ESPN envisioned when the scheduled this game for Big Monday. Is it too late to substitute K-State at KU?
2. Colorado at Nebraska (7:00p.m.)* (Projected W: NU)
The Huskers try to extend their winning streak to two. . .
3. Baylor at Texas Tech (7:00p.m.)** (at-risk game)
The Red Raiders have to beat someone again sometime. Don’t they?
4. Mizzou at Iowa St (7:00p.m.)**1/2 (Projected W: Mizzou)
Mizzou still fighting for a first round bye. Iowa St is fighting for. . or are they?
5. K-State at KU (7:00p.m.)***** (Projected W: KU)
The most important game between KU and K-State in Allen Fieldhouse since 1974, when the two met for the right to be the Big 8’s only representative in the NCAA Tournament. A victory for K-State keeps alive its shot at a share of the conference championship—their first since ’77.
For the record, the Jayhawks won the ’74 contest 91-53 and went to the Final Four. K-State lost to Bradley in the first round of the Collegiate Commissioners Association Tournament, a short-lived event created to give second place teams post-season action in a tournament not called the NIT.
6. Oklahoma St at Texas A&M (8:00p.m.)**** (Projected W: A&M)
Hey, Okie St, whirl around the court like five Tasmanian Devils for 40 minutes and shoot 60% in every game the rest of the year, and you are our 2010 Big 12 Tournament and NCAA Champions.
You could also win the Mega-Millions Lottery twice between now and April 5. Same odds.
What is more likely is that the Cowboys drained their reservoir of hot shooting, good breaks, and frenetic energy Saturday night. A&M might win this one by just showing up.