REAL Standings: The Championships Are Not Won at Home Edition

WEEKEND RECAP After KU’s win in Ames Monday night, Matt Norlander tweeted: “From last night, on that Kansas performance. KU is two wins in six days away from arguably ending the Big 12 race.”

Sorry to pick at you again, Matt, but that proposition was not even arguable when you wrote it; nor is it arguable after KU won the first of those two games against Okie St.

Matt alone in this misperception. After the Jayhawks’ victory over Okie St, KU’s locker room show hosts suggested the same thing; as did the call-in show’s host, asking ad nauseum, “Who’s going to catch them?”

This type of thinking might have made sense in the days of a 12 team Big 12, when KU played each South team once and only once. In those days, Okie St would have had no way to atone for a loss at Allen Fieldhouse; the Cowboys would have been reduced to hoping for someone else to do the dirty work for them.

The double round robin schedule has changed everything. Because KU has to visit Stillwater on March 1, the Jayhawks’ win Saturday did nothing more than assure the Jayhawks of no worse than a split of the season series with Okie St. Further, because the game was a projected W for KU, it had zero effect on the standings in the REAL world.

Had Saturday’s win come in Stillwater, the hype over this W might be justified. Being in Lawrence, however, the Hawks are in no better position to win one for the other thumb than they were prior to the game. Well, except for one thing: this game is now behind them, so that it is no longer a possible Okie St upset that would mean, in effect, allow the Cowboys to pick up two games in the REAL Standings.

Nor will KU’s second win in six days Monday night against Baylor—if it comes to pass—change the REAL Standings one whit. It will do nothing more than assure the Jayhawks of no worse than a split of the season series vs. the Bears and remove one more potential upset from its schedule.

In other words, KU does, indeed, have the inside track to Title Ten, but it is not because they defeated Okie St at Home: it is because they beat Oklahoma in Norman and Iowa State at Ames, putting the onus on Okie St to match those achievements.

Speaking of Baylor, the Pillow Fighting Drews were placed on double secret probation after its loss at Texas Tech. Their follow-up loss to Oklahoma in Waco means they lost two REAL games in one week, a rare feat for a Tier One team. Or should I say former Tier One team? At this point, the PFDs’ only REAListic hope of getting back into the conference race is to win in both Lawrence and Stillwater.

The next question is whether Iowa St should also be dropped to Tier 2. The Cyclones, like Baylor, lost twice this week, at Home to KU and on the Road at Texas. Considering that losing in Austin is not as bad as losing in Lubbock, and losing at Home to KU is not as bad as losing at Home to OU, ISU gets cut some slack. They remain in Tier One, but by the slimmest of threads. More like extra fine floss.

To sum up, Saturday’s big winners, REAL Standings-wise, are OU (picking up a full game by winning at Baylor); Texas (picking up half a game with its W over Iowa St in Austin); and Texas Tech (gaining a full game with its victory over TCU in Fort Worth).

The KU/Okie St game, for the reasons discussed above, resulted in no REAL change for either team; nor did K-State’s projected W over West Virginia in Manhattan.

It is noteworthy that KU’s and Okie St’s projected records both improved by half a game as a result of Baylor’s demotion to Tier Two status. Both teams’ games at Baylor have, accordingly, moved from projected losses to at-risk games. Still, KU maintains its 1.5 game edge on the Cowboys.

THE CURRENT REAL STANDINGS TIERS

1. Tier One: Iowa St, KU, Okie St

2. Tier Two: Baylor, K-State, Oklahoma, Texas, West Virginia

3. Tier Three: TCU, Texas Tech

THE CURRENT REAL STANDINGS:

1. 15-3

KU (4-0) Projected L’s: at OSU At-risk games: at UT, at Baylor, at KSU, at WVU

2. 13.5-4.5

Okie St (3-1) Projected L’s: at ISU At-risk games: at OU, at UT, at Baylor

3. 11.5-6.5

Iowa St (2-3) Projected L’s: at KU, at OSU At Risk Games: at WVU, at K-State, at Baylor

4. 10.5-7.5

Oklahoma (3-2) Projected L’s: at ISU, at WVU, at OSU, at KU At-risk games: at Tech, OSU, at TCU

5. 9.5-8.5

K-State (4-1) Projected L’s: at UT, at ISU, at WVU, at BU, at OU, at OSU At-risk games: KU, at Tech, ISU

6. 9-9

Texas (3-2) Projected L’s: at BU, at KSU, at ISU, at KU, at Tech At-risk games: KU, at TCU, OSU, at Tech

7. 8-10

W. Virginia (2-3) Projected L’s: at OSU, at BU, at KU, at UT, at ISU, at OU At-risk games: ISU, KU

8. 7-11

Baylor (2-2) Projected L’s: at KU, at OSU, at OU, at WVU, at UT, at KSU At-risk games: KU, at TCU, OSU, ISU

9. 4.5-13.5

Texas Tech (2-3) Projected L’s: at WVU, at KSU, at OSU, at OU, at ISU, KU, at OSU, at BU, at KU At-risk games: OU, KSU, UT

10. 1.5-16.5

TCU (0-5) Projected L’s: at OU, KU, at Tech, at ISU, BU, at KU, at KSU, ISU, OSU, at WVU, at UT At-risk games: UT, BU, OU

Upcoming Games

All times CST

Monday:

1. Baylor at KU (8:00p.m.)* **1/2 (Projected W: KU)

Baylor comes into Allen Fieldhouse a desperate team. Not only in terms of trying against all odds to climb back into the conference race, but even in terms of avoiding back to back trips to the NIT. They certainly have the talent to give the Jayhawks a game. Being in the Land of Oz makes one wonder what they could do If They Only Had a Coach.

“I’ll give you a coach, my pretty!”

Tuesday

2. K-State at Texas (6:00p.m.) **** (Projected W: UT)

K-State’s first REAL chance to pick up ground in the REAL Standings—unless you count their trip to Allen Fieldhouse, and who does?

Wednesday

3. Texas Tech at West Virginia (7:00p.m.)** (Projected W: WVU)

What little intrigue there is in this game stems from Tech’s two game winning streak. Does Tubby REALly have Tech playing at a respectable level? If they win this game, will it be mean Tech is better than previously believed or WVU worse?

4. TCU at Oklahoma (8:00p.m.) * (Projected W: OU)

Nothing to see here. Move along.

--Mark

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