What a stunner. Clearly the upset of the year in the Big 12. I doubt that anyone saw this coming. Certainly, the head coach envisioned it--or tried to. But to actually believe it might happen? That realm of fantasy is the province of Pixar animators, not down to earth basketball coaches immersed in REALity.
But, unbelievable as it was, it did happen. And Scott Drew is going to have to deal with it. Farewell, First Round Big 12 bye. Hello, NCAA Bubble.
Honestly, Texas Tech at Home? The worst team south of Ames--unless you consider OU south of Ames? Which it is. But the second worst team south of Ames? To quote the Monday Night Football preview guys: "C'mon, man!"
On the bright side of this equation, who cares about Baylor anyway? Scott Drew is reputedly the most disliked coach in the conference by his peers. It is unlikely any of them shed a tear for his predicament.
Not to mention that KU needs a second UT loss to have a chance at a share of it's seventh consecutive Big 12 title. UT visits Baylor on the final day of the season, and Baylor is now, officially, a desperate team, a team scouring the countryside in search of a Big W every bit as fervently as Spencer Tracy, Milton Berle, Sid Caesar, Jim Backus, Mickey Rooney, Phil Silvers, Ethel Merman, and Buddy Hackett.
In other words, there could be a major silver lining for KU in Baylor's loss to Tech if the Jayhawks take care of their own business from here on.
Oh, almost forgot in the excitement of assessing the significance of Baylor's incredible loss: UT's quest to join the 2002 Jayhawks as teams of underrated legend was derailed in its final visit to Lincoln in conference play--perhaps ever. That result, while of utmost importance to KU's '02 and '11 teams, did not carry the same surprise factor as did Baylor's. The Bears, after all, lost at Home to a truly pathetic team it defeated handily on the Road earlier in the season.
UT's loss, being on the Road, to a respectable team, as desperate as K-State was last Monday, was easier to visualize beforehand. For instance, in the Midweek REAL Standings commentary, I noted that this would be "Perhaps UTs best remaining chance for a loss in conference play."
Going even further, my bff Dave T stated flatly, for all to see, "Texas will lose to Nebraska on Saturday." http://rockchalk.com/forum/read.php3?num=2&id=221540&loc=0&thread=221540.
In other Saturday activity, Mizzou eked out its first conference Road victory in an at risk game against the ever tough, but almost always winless, Cyclones of Iowa State. But even Tech managed that. Nevertheless, the first Road win is always the toughest, and winning on the Road anywhere makes a team tougher everywhere, on the Road, at Home, and on neutral courts.
A&M also picked up yet another Road victory in it's latest in a string of Houdini caliber escapes, taking out an Okie St team that is beginning to approach ISU and OU in futility.
In Saturday's other two games, KU and K-State both managed to avoid any of the weekend's drama with fairly easy wins, as projected, over Colorado and Oklahoma, respectively.
REAL STANDINGS: 2-20-11
Tier One (Contenders): KU, UT Tier Two (Competitors): Baylor, Mizzou, Texas A&M Tier Three (Also rans): Colorado, Iowa St, K-State, Nebraska, Okie St, Oklahoma, Tech
UT (11-1) Projected Ls: None Losable games: at Baylor
KU (10-2) Projected Ls: None Losable games: at Mizzou
A&M (8-4) Projected Ls: at Baylor, at KU Losable games: None
Mizzou (7-5) Projected Ls: None Losable games: at K-State, at NU, vs. KU
Baylor (6-6) Projected Ls: at Mizzou Losable games: at Okie St, vs. UT
K-State (6-6) Projected Ls: at Nebraska, at UT Losable games: vs. Mizzou
Nebraska (6-6) Projected Ls: at ISU, at CU Losable games: vs. Mizzou
Colorado (5-7) Projected Ls: at Tech, vs. UT, at ISU Losable games: None
Texas Tech (4-8) Projected Ls: at OSU, at A&M Losable games: None
Okie St (4-8) Projected Ls: at KU, at OU Losable games: vs. Baylor
Oklahoma (4-8) Projected Ls: at A&M, vs. KU, at Tech Losable games: None
Iowa St (1-11) Projected Ls: at UT, at K-State Losable games: None
WHAT TO WATCH (or not)
1. Okie St at KU (8:00)**(Projected W: KU) Big Monday? Half true: It is Monday.
2. Iowa St at UT (7:00)* (Projected W: UT) The sins of the Huskers are visited on the Clones. Oh, the humanity.
3. Colorado at Texas Tech (6:30) **1/2 (Projected W: Tech) A golden opportunity for Colorado to take a stranglehold on 8th place.
4. Oklahoma at Texas A&M (6:30)**(Projected W: A&M) A&M struggled with Iowa State at Home lady week. This game might not be as easy as you would normally expect from a 3rd place team hosting the 11th.
5. Baylor at Mizzou (8:00)**** (Projected W: MU) This must be what Baylor was looking ahead to on Saturday. Mizzou's unbeaten record at Home is in jeopardy if the Bears' front line decides to show up.
6. K-State at Nebraska (8:00)**** (Projected W: NU) Which team gets it's feet back on the ground first? The winner takes a big step closer to March Madness.