If KU does not have a stranglehold on the Big 12 race, it has, at least, a choke hold. The Jayhawks’ victory in Manhattan on Tuesday gave it a REAL cushion over K-State of two games, and Iowa St’s loss at the Big 12’s second biggest doormat left it sucking wind big time. Not that these two teams are totally out of the picture. It is possible to drop a game you are projected to win and still hold the title in your hands at year’s end. During its 8 year domination of the conference, KU has won or tied for the championship while dropping Home games to Iowa St (2005), K-State (’06), Texas, A&M (’07) , and Texas (’11), or losing to a Truly Terrible Texas Tech team (’09) which wiped the floor of United Spirit Arena as if they were Jaymops.
It’s just that K-State and ISU can only make up for last week’s faux pas by defeating KU in Lawrence (which ISU can no longer do) or downing two other Tier One teams on the Road and relying on the kindness of others to take KU down at least twice.
There were no outcomes of note on Saturday, unless you count’s KU continued offensive funk, which, by this point, is no longer a surprise. Again they made too many unforced or careless turnovers and blew a plethora of easy scoring opportunities as if this game were KU/UCLA in San Jose redux. Still, they won without ever feeling challenged. Can they get away with these mistakes in Norman, Stillwater, Ames, and Waco? Jayhawk fans everywhere are hoping we don’t have to find out.
Still, the Hawks must be doing something right, what with a 17 game winning streak and a national ranking that belies any reason for concern. But then, go ask Louisville about the significance of a high national ranking; the cardinals can attest that the ranking and five dollars will get you a cup of coffee at Starbucks. (I assume they have Starbucks in Kentucky.)
KU’s Home victory over the Sooners had zero effect on the REAL Standings, the exact same as Okie St’s W over WVU in Stillwater, ISU’s win over K-State in Ames, UT’s in Austin vs. Tech, and Baylor garnering the conference’s only Road win at TCU—if you want to call playing at TCU a Road game.
THE CURRENT 2013 SEASON REAL TIERS (Subject to change)
1. Tier One: Baylor/Iowa St/KU/KSU/OU/OSU
2. Tier Two: Texas/West Virginia
3. Tier Three: Texas Tech
4. Tier Four: TCU
THE CURRENT 2013 REAL STANDINGS:
KU (6-0) Projected L’s: at OU, at OSU, at ISU, at BU At-risk games: at WVU
Oklahoma (4-2) Projected L’s: at BU, at ISU, at OSU At-risk games: at UT
Baylor (5-1) Projected L’s: at ISU, at OU, at K-State, at OSU At-risk games: at WVU, at UT
Okie St (3-3) Projected L’s: at KU, at ISU At-risk games: at UT, at WVU
K-State (4-2) Projected L’s: at OU, at KU, at BU, at OSU At-risk games: at UT
Iowa St (4-2) Projected L’s: at OSU, at K-State, at OU, at BU At-risk games: at UT, at WVU
W. Virginia (2-4) Projected L’s: at BU, at K-State, at KU, at OU At-risk games: KU, at Tech, OSU, BU, ISU
Texas (1-5) Projected L’s: at K-State, at WVU, at KU, at OSU At-risk games: OSU, ISU, K-State, OU, BU, at Tech
Texas Tech (2-5) Projected L’s: K-State, at BU, OSU, at WVU, OU, at ISU, at K-State, at KU At-risk games: WVU, UT
TCU (0-7) Projected L’s: UT, KU, WVU, at OU, at ISU, UT, at KU, OSU, at Tech, at K-State, OU At-risk games: N/A
What to Watch
1. Kansas at West Virginia (8:00p.m.)**1/2 (at-risk game)
Subjectively, this does not look like an at-risk game for KU. West Virginia lost to Purdue by 27 for god’s sake. To be fair, that game was in West Lafayette. At Home, unlike Mr. Pibb, they have not gone down easy. And this is KU’s first trip to Morgantown for a conference game—ever. As in most Big 12 venues, KU’s presence will result in a sellout, and the crowd will be as rabid as any the Hawks are likely to encounter all year. If they play the way they did at Texas and Texas Tech, this game could well be in doubt in the final five minutes, playing into my theory that any team can beat any other team for five minutes. OU, K-State, ISU, Okie St, and Baylor will be watching this game with interest.
2. Oklahoma at Baylor (6:00p.m.) ***1/2 (Projected W: Baylor)
Lon Kruger with decent talent, albeit much of it young, vs. Scott Drew with great talent, including a senior point guard. Sounds about even to me.
3. Texas at K-State (7:00p.m.)***1/2 (Projected W: K-State)
Now that Texas is off the schneid, will their momentum follow them to Manhattan? Unfortunately for UT, they’re going up against a team that is REAL desperate after losing two straight games since ascending to a No. 11 national ranking.
4. Iowa St at Okie St (7:00p.m.)* (Projected W: Okie St)
Iowa St’s opportunity to take the monkey that comes with losing a Projected W game off its own back and place it on Okie St’s. If that happens, it is hard to imagine a scenario in which the Cowboys get back in the race, having already lost in Manhattan, Norman and Baylor and having but two redemption games remaining (at Lawrence and Ames).