PRELUDE Condolences to Thomas Robinson. No one should ever lose a child. Or, if a child, as we all are, a parent before the parent is 40.
Come to think of it, there is no good time.
Unfortunately, REAL Life is not always as fun as the REAL Standings. And much less certain.
Here's to you, Ms. Robinson.
Two weeks ago, I wrote here that:
"Jason (King) tweeted after the KU/Michigan game that KU is not the best team in the Big 12 right now: He says UT is, but KU will catch and pass them as the year progresses. I agree on both counts, IF KU can find someone with a handle to run the offense. . ."
It was not likely that the Hawks would find a white knight at the point in a mere thirteen days, but after the Baylor game, there was reason to at least hope that their point guard by committee might be good enough if they could dominate inside and hit enough perimeter shots to keep the lane unclogged for the big guys. Moments after the Baylor game, before leaving the arena. Growl Towel for my golf bag in hand (not hanging on a clip outside the bag where it could be seen, but kept in the full length pocket for REALly filthy situations, such as when the ball lands in deer droppings), I allowed that, for the first time, I was encouraged about the Jayhawks' chances vs. UT.
But it was not to be. Subjectively, and unfortunately, I still view UT as the best team in the conference. Can KU catch them?
Maybe. But I don't see that as likely as I did before Saturday. UT has three perimeter players who can consistently either make and hit their own shots or create easy chances for their teammates. Right now, KU has none of the former and not what they need of the latter. Don't know if there is a solution. If there is, it will likely involve one Josh Selby taking his talents from first semester basketball freshman IQ and ball handling skills to second semester sophomore levels ASAP.
The likelihood of that happening? I don't pretend to know the answer. However, with Bill Self on the bench, it is at least conceivable.
but that is all subjective. As for the objectivity that is the REAL Standings, the winner of Saturday's game in Allen Fieldhouse, as foretold in the most recent edition of the RS, is your 2011 Big 12 Champion. At the very least, the title is now UT's to lose.
And they will have to figure out a way to lose it. With its victory, UT took a stranglehold on the Big 12 race. Not only did it vault over KU with a two game swing in the REAL Standings, the Longhorns have an easier remaining schedule. Their most difficult remaining game is at A&M, whereas KU has two Projected Losses, both vs. its arch-rivals: at K-State and at Mizzou.
In fact, what was previously KU's scheduling advantage--playing UT in Lawrence with no return trip to Austin--now works against it: Even though the Hawks would be a decided underdog in Austin, they would at least be in control of their own destiny. They would at least have an opportunity to place a 1 in UT's L column themselves, instead of, as mentioned last time, having to rely on the kindness of strangers.
Instead, guess who Hawk fans will be reduced to cheering for when K-State and Mizzou make their treks to the Erwin Center.
Of course, Texas A&M is also alive, and in a better position than KU. Although the Aggies' projected record is the same as the Jayhawks', the team of the 12th Man (which would make for an awfully crowded court were it REALity), has but one Projected Loss left on its schedule (at KU) and has the opportunity to pin an L on UT itself in College Station. Win out, and the Aggies are guaranteed to be no worse than co-champions.
It should be noted that beating UT in College Station does nothing for A&M but maintain the status quo in the REAL Standings. If they accomplish that feat, they will then be required to match UT's W in Lawrence to catch up in the RS.
Two other amusing, but not earth-shattering, developments Saturday were the woefulness of Texas Tech and Oklahoma both claiming victories at Home vs. Nebraska and Colorado, respectively. Both pick up 1/2 game in the REAL Standings, thus eliminating the possibility of both going 1-15 for the season. Drat!
The other three Saturday games all went as projected, meaning they had no effect on the REAL Standings: A&M over K-State in College Station; Baylor over Okie St in Waco; and Mizzou over Iowa St in Columbia.
REAL STANDINGS: 1-20-11
Tier One (Contenders): KU, K-State, Mizzou, Texas A&M, UT. Tier Two (Competitors): Baylor, Colorado, Iowa St, Okie St, Nebraska. Tier Three (Bottom-feeders): Oklahoma, Texas Tech.
1. 13-3 UT (4-0) Projected L’s: at A&M Losable games: at OSU, at NU, at CU, at BU
2. 12-4 KU (3-1) Projected L’s: at K-State, at Mizzou Losable games: at CU, at NU
A&M (4-1) Projected L’s: at KU Losable games: at NU, at CU, at OSU, at BU
4. 9.5-6.5 Mizzou (3-2) Projected L’s: at UT, at KU, at K-State Losable games: at OSU, at ISU, at NU
5. 8.5-7.5 K-State (1-4) Projected L’s: at KU, at UT Losable games: at ISU, at CU, at NU
6. 7.5-8.5 Colorado (3-2) Projected L’s: at BU, at Mizzou, at KU, at ISU Losable games: vs. KU, vs. A&M, vs. K-State, at Tech, vs. UT
Baylor (3-2) Projected L’s: at K-State, at A&M, at UT, at Mizzou, at OSU Losable games: at OU, vs. A&M, vs. UT
Okie St (2-3) Projected L’s: at NU, at UT, at KU Losable games: vs. UT, at Tech, vs. Mizzou, vs. A&M, at OU
9. 6-10 Nebraska(2-3) Projected L’s: at K-State, at BU, at ISU, at CU Losable games: vs. A&M, vs. KU, at OU, vs. UT, vs. K-State, vs. Mizzou
Iowa St (1-4) Projected L’s: at CU, at KU, at A&M, at UT, at K-State Losable games: vs. K-State, vs. Mizzou
11. 3.5-12.5 Oklahoma (2-3) Projected L’s: at ISU, at OSU, vs. UT, at Mizzou, at K-State, at A&M, vs. KU, at Tech Losable games: vs. BU, vs. NU, vs. OSU
12. 3-13 Texas Tech (1-4) Projected L’s: at ISU, vs KU, vs. A&M, at UT, at Mizzou, at Baylor, at OSU, at A&M Losable games: vs. OSU, vs. CU
WHAT TO WATCH
1. Baylor at K-State (8:00)***(Projected W: K-State) Big Monday, Down-sized edition.
2. KU at Colorado (6:00)***1/2 (At risk game) The Jayhawks look to add to their seven game Home Court winning streak at Allen Fieldhouse Far West.
3. UT at Okie State (6:30)***1/2(At risk game) First at risk game of the year for UT.
4. Texas Tech at Iowa State (8:00)**(Projected W: Iowa St) If Iowa St uses any of Hilton's magic in this one, it will be a waste of good supernatural energy that would be better kept in reserve for a later date. For when Mizzou visits, perhaps.