For the first time this season, we have a clear-cut frontrunner. Without revealing who it is, consider the blind schedules of two teams, tied atop the newspaper standings with five games remaining. We will refer to these teams as Team M and Team K to protect their identities,
Both teams have a game remaining with woeful Texas Tech (one at Home, one away--but venue shouldn’t matter against the Red Raiders), and a game at A&M. No advantage, therefore, for either team in these games. As for the other three games:
Team M’s schedule: Tier 2 team at Home Tier 2 team at Home At Team K
Team K’s schedule: Tier 3 team on the Road Tier 2 team at Home Team M at Home
I’ll let you draw your own conclusions.
However, as the REAL Standings projections go, Team K is projected to win all three games. Team M’s projection, on the other hand, is 2-1.
Team K, therefore, after picking up ½ game Monday night on the Road vs. a Tier 2 team, has a safety net of a full game. It can lose a game it should not, yet still be assured of at least a co-championship as long as it beats Team M at Home, as projected.
Team M, in the meantime, is reduced to hoping that Team K picks up an un-projected Loss along the way, or that it can turn a projected L into a W on its rival’s Home court.
Does this mean that Team K is assured of its 8the consecutive Big 12 title?
Of course not. That’s why they play the games. As is explained every year, projections are not predictions. They are, instead, an indication of what will happen IF a team wins the games a championship team would be expected to win. A championship team would, in fact, be expected to beat every opponent at Home and Tier 3 teams on the Road.
In short, while nothing is assured, the Big 12 title is now Team K’s to lose. Despite Wednesday’s feeble effort, many thanks to Team OS for previously taking out Team M at Home.
In games not involving Teams K or M, Texas picked up ½ game with a Road victory over Oklahoma; A&M picked up ½ game by holding Tech to 38 points in Lubbock, while scoring at will itself, to prevail by nine; and Baylor, as projected, disposed of Iowa St in Waco.
Tier 1: Baylor, KU, Mizzou
Tier 2: Iowa St, K-State, Texas
Tier 3: Oklahoma, Okie St, Texas A&M
Tier 4: Texas Tech
REAL BIG 12 STANDINGS
KU (11-2) Projected L’s: N/A At Risk games: N/A
Mizzou (11-2) Projected L’s: at KU At Risk games: N/A
Baylor (9-4) Projected L’s: N/A At Risk games: at UT, at ISU
Iowa St (8-5) Projected L’s: at K-State, at Mizzou At Risk games: vs. Baylor
Texas (7-6) Projected L’s: at KU At Risk games: at Okie St, vs. Baylor
K-State (6-7) Projected L’s: at Baylor, at Mizzou At Risk games: at A&M
Okie St (5-8) Projected L’s: at OU, vs. KU, at K-State At Risk games: vs. Texas
Oklahoma (3-10) Projected L’s: at ISU, at Baylor, at Texas At Risk games: N/A
Texas A&M (4-9) Projected L’s: vs. Mizzou, vs. KU, at Okie St, at OU At Risk games: vs. K-State
Texas Tech (1-12) Projected L’s: at KU, At ISU, vs. Texas, at Baylor, vs. Mizzou
At Risk games: N/A
ON THE TUBE
K-State at Baylor **** (12:30p.m.—Big 12 Network) (Projected W: BU)
K-State is in dangerous territory as far as the NCAA tournament is concerned. They may rue the days they lost to Oklahoma. Being the first team not named KU or Mizzou to beat Baylor would keep the bubble at Bay.
OU at Iowa State** (12:30p.m.—Big 12 Network) (Projected W:ISU)
Were it not for K-State, the Sooners would even now be tied with Tech for last place in the newspaper standings at 1-12.
Mizzou at Texas A&M*** (1:00p.m.—ESPN) (Projected W: Mizzou)
The Aggies get Mizzou Saturday, followed by KU four days later, both in College Station. Can the 11th place team in the REAL Standings play spoiler?
Texas at Okie St***1/2 (3:00p.m.—Big 12 Network) (At-risk game)
Texas does not have a signature victory, nor will beating Okie St fill that void. Still, a fifth victory in a row and an 8-6 record in the newspaper standings (10.5-7.5 REALly) would all but wrap up an NCAA bid.
Texas Tech at KU * (7:00p.m.—Big 12 Network) (Projected W: KU)
Could KU’s much derided bench beat the Red Raiders?