Following K-State's loss to Colorado in Manhattan on Wednesday night, Jacob Pullen was report as saying, ""We've just got to grow up. That's the biggest thing. The Big 12 is 16 games. We lost our first two. Nothing says we can't win the rest."
Actually, Jacob, there is something that says you can't win the rest. It's called the REAL Standings.
Because of the Big 12's unbalanced schedule, K-State was behind the proverbial 8 ball before conference play even started. Playing all four of the other pre-season Tier One teams on the Road placed K-State at a two game disadvantage compared to KU, UT, and Texas A&M, each of whom play only two. Its chances of winning the conference title were, under these circumstances, remote, even if they were, indeed, the best team in the Big 12, as forecast by the league's coaches. They would have had to be head and shoulders above everyone else to erase this handicap.
After two games, you can change "remote" to "virtually impossible." Nor is it the 0-2 start that has been fatal to K-State's championship hopes. Had they started conference play with defeats at Lawrence and Austin, two of their projected losses, they would have given up no ground in the REAL Standings: their projected record would be where it was pre-season (10-6). Instead, by losing at Okie St and to Colorado at Home, they have gone .5-1.5 in games in which they had been projected to do the opposite.
As a result, K-State's projected record over the 16 game season has dropped from 10-6 to 8.5-1.5. REAListically, they are no longer a threat to win the Big 12, even with the impending return of Curtis Kelly.
As for Colorado, does their win in Manhattan merit a battlefield promotion to Tier One status? Just asking the question is a major step forward for the perennial Mediocrities of the Mountains. In addition to wins over two Tier One teams, they have two of the conference's best players. So it is a fair question. However, the win vs. Mizzou was at Home, and the win at Manhattan was against a K-State team that is no better than Tier Two quality itself in the absence of its No. 1 inside threat. So, we will keep a close eye on the Buffaloes; but it is premature to draw any long term conclusions based on their two games to this point. Ditto K-State's in its two losses without one of its two mainstays.
There were no other major story lines from the mid-week action. KU held on for an at-risk W in Ames. The other four contests went as projected, with wins by UT at Tech, Baylor vs. OU in Waco, A&M over Okie St in College Station, and Mizzou downing Nebraska in Columbia.
THE 1/13/11 REAL STANDINGS
1. Tier One (Contenders): KU, K-State, Mizzou, Texas A&M, UT.
2. Tier Two (Competitors): Baylor, Colorado, Iowa St, Okie St, Nebraska.
3. Tier Three (Bottom-feeders): Oklahoma, Texas Tech.
KU (1-0) Projected L’s: at K-State, at Mizzou Losable games: at BU, at CU, at NU
UT (1-0) Projected L’s: at KU, at A&M Losable games: at OSU, at NU, at CU, at BU
A&M (2-0) Projected L’s: at UT, at KU Losable games: at NU, at CU, at OSU, at BU
Mizzou (1-1) Projected L’s: at A&M, at UT, at KU, at K-State Losable games: at OSU, at ISU, at NU
K-State (0-2) Projected L’s: at Mizzou, at A&M, at KU, at UT Losable games: at ISU, at CU, at NU
Baylor (2-0) Projected L’s: at ISU, at K-State, at A&M, at UT, at Mizzou, at OSU Losable games: vs. KU, at OU, vs. A&M, vs. UT
Colorado (2-0) Projected L’s: at NU, at BU, at Mizzou, at KU, at ISU Losable games: at OU, vs. KU, vs. A&M, vs. K-State, at Tech, vs. UT
Okie St (1-1) Projected L’s: at CU, at Baylor, at NU, at UT, at KU Losable games: vs. UT, at Tech, vs. Mizzou, vs. A&M, at OU
Nebraska(1-1) Projected L’s: at KU, at K-State, at BU, at ISU, at CU Losable games: at Tech, vs. A&M, vs. KU, at OU, vs. UT, vs. K-State, vs. Mizzou
Iowa St (0-2) Projected L’s: at OSU, at Mizzou, at CU, at KU, at A&M, at UT, at K-State Losable games: vs. K-State, vs. Mizzou
Oklahoma (0-2) Projected L’s: at UT, at ISU, at OSU, vs. UT, at Mizzou, at K-State, at A&M, vs. KU, at Tech Losable games: vs. CU, vs. BU, vs. NU, vs. OSU
Texas Tech (0-2) Projected L’s: at K-State, at OU, at ISU, vs KU, vs. A&M, at UT, at Mizzou, at Baylor, at OSU, at A&M Losable games: vs. NU, vs. OSU, vs. CU
WHAT TO WATCH
1. Okie St at Colorado (11:30)***1/2 (Projected W: CU)
Okie St's stock fell dramatically in College Station. Not because they lost: that was projected. Because they were not competitive. They better come ready to compete in Boulder or risk being exposed in the cold, mile high air.
2. Mizzou at A&M (Noon)**** (Projected W: A&M)
Mizzou needs to win at least 3 of its four Road games against Tier One teams. A loss here, and the Tigers will need to sweep the games in Austin, Manhattan, and Lawrence.
3. Texas Tech at K-State* (12:30)*(Projected W: K-State)
K-State better win this one, or even the dreaded NIT might lose interest.
4. Nebraska at KU (1:00)** (Projected W: KU)
The way KU has played with fire this year--vs. UCLA and USC, at Cal, Michigan, and Iowa St--it would not be a shock to see NU hang around to the bitter end. Or not, if the Hawks decide to take care of the ball and reduce their infatuation with the three pointer.
5. Oklahoma at UT (3:00)* (Projected W: UT)
K-State would kill for UT's early schedule: at Tech and Home to OU.
6. Baylor at Iowa St (5:00)*** (Projected W: ISU)
What is the conference record for most three point shots attempted by two teams in one game?