Everyone is aware by now that K-State and KU are tied for the conference lead heading into the final day of the season. Except they are not.
KU maintains the same advantage it held before downing Texas Tech on Senior Night, before K-State did the same to TCU.
KU’s advantage is that it has played Okie St in Stillwater, and K-State hasn’t.
That edge is offset somewhat by the fact that K-State has already played in Waco, and KU hasn’t. Overall, these two factors are reflected in the REAL Standings as a ½ game KU lead.
I mean, REALly, who would you rather play on the Road with a championship on the line, Okie St or Baylor? A team that has won 10 of its last 12 games or one that has lost 5 of 6, including two Home games (OU and K-State) and a fairly non-competitive game against Texas on the Road--whose only win during this time has been at West Virginia? And that’s without even mentioning their “coach.”
As calculated in the last REAL Standings report, KU has (approximately) a 44% chance of standing alone with the Big 12 Championship trophy at the end of the evening Saturday. K-State: 11%. There is also a 44% likelihood that the two teams will share the crown, basking both in glory: KU’s ninth straight Big 12 title, and K-State’s second co-championship of the year in the two sports that matter. (But who, REALly, wants to see the latter?)
For those who do not want to look it up (even though you could), here are the possibilities:
• KU wins the title outright: 44%. KU beats Baylor in Waco (66%) and K-State loses to Okie St in Stillwater (66%) • K-State wins the title outright: 11%. Baylor beats KU (33%) and K-State beats Okie St (33%) • KU and K-State tie at 14-4: 22%. KU wins (66%) and K-State wins (33%) • KU and K-State tie at 13-5: 22% KU loses (33%), K-State loses at Stillwater (66%)
Of course, an 88% chance of being outright or co-champions is not the same as 100%. Despite being “coached” by Scott Drew, Baylor is still a dangerous team on the right night. They have talent and athleticism that would rank at the top of the conference in a Superstars or skills competition. They have taken KU down twice in recent years in the Big 12 tourney when they simply wanted and needed the game more than the Jayhawks.
That shouldn’t be the case Saturday night. Baylor might be fighting for its NCAA Tournament life, but the Hawks will be playing for a championship.
Because of the coaching differential, KU will likely be home free if they take an early lead and require Baylor to find some motivation and composure in playing from behind.
One thing I will discount is the possibility of another TCU-like effort by KU. The Jayhawks have done that, which is why they won’t do it again.
As for K-State, they are playing a more talented team on the Road. Always a tough combination. And throw in a team coming off a loss. And it’s Senior Night.
Yes, KU has the advantage. It has the lead heading into the final game of the season. No matter what the newspaper standings say.
What KU doesn’t have is that last 11-12%. They still have to show up for a game against some talented players.
But, then, that is Self’s forte.
In mid-week action, only Texas picked up ground in the REAL World, at Baylor’s expense, UT won that at-risk game in Austin.
In other games, the projected winners all prevailed at Home: KU over Tech, K-State over TCU, Oklahoma over West Virginia, and Iowa St over Okie St (labeled a “stunner” on ESPN’s crawl and as an “upset” elsewhere—are these “experts” not aware that ISU is kinda good at Home?)
THE CURRENT 2013 SEASON REAL TIERS (Subject to change)
1. Tier One: ISU/KU/KSU/OU/OSU
2. Tier Two: Baylor
3. Tier Three: Texas/West Virginia
4. Tier Four: Texas Tech
5. Tier 5: TCU
THE CURRENT 2013 REAL STANDINGS:
KU (14-3) Projected L’s: None At-risk games: at BU
K-State (14-3) Projected L’s: at OSU At-risk games: None
Okie St (12-5) Projected L’s: None At-risk games: None
Oklahoma (11-6) Projected L’s: None At-risk games: None
Iowa St (10-7) Projected L’s: None At-risk games: None
Baylor (8-9) Projected L’s: None At-risk games: KU
Texas (6-11) Projected L’s: None At-risk games: at Tech
W. Virginia (6-11) Projected L’s: ISU At-risk games: None
Texas Tech (3-14) Projected L’s: None At-risk games: UT
TCU (1-16) Projected L’s: OU At-risk games: None
What to Watch on Judgment Day
1. K-State at Okie St**** (12:30p.m.) (Projected W: Okie St)
K-State plays for its first conference championship in basketball in 36 years, as well as distinction of being the first co-champions in both sports that matter in the same academic year. (Yes, OU and UT have claimed championships in both sports before in the same academic year, but not as co-champions.)
2. Iowa St at West Virginia** (12:30p.m.) (Projected W: ISU)
The Mountaineers have nothing to play for other than to end a five game losing streak. Still, Iowa St’s 3 point frenzy isn’t as magical on the Road as it is in Hilton Coliseum. Hell, they lost at Tech. If they can blow it there, they can blow it anywhere.
3. Texas at Texas Tech**1/2 (3:00p.m.) (At-risk game)
UT is looking good at Home with Kabongo at the helm. Here is a legit chance to grab a W on the Road.
4. Oklahoma at TCU* (4:00p.m.). (Projected W: OU)
And they call the last player taken in the NFL Draft irrelevant. . .
5. KU at Baylor**** (5:00p.m.)*(At-risk game)
Pretty important game if you hadn’t heard.