It was the proverbial calm before the proverbial storm. Oklahoma did pick up half a game in the REAL Standings with its not entirely unexpected win in Stillwater over a feisty but shorthanded Okie State squad. However, in doing so, and becoming KU’s closest pursuer, the Sooners remained 2.5 games behind the Jayhawks.
K-State, on the other hand, dropped a half game in the REAL Standings with its double O.T. loss to Baylor. As a result, the Wildcats now trail KU by 3.5 REAL games with only six games remaining; more importantly, none of those six are against the team they are trying to catch, leaving them totally dependent on the kindness of strangers. In other words, they’re history.
In Saturday’s other three games, all having zero effect in the REAL world, KU, Iowa St, and Texas won as projected at Home vs. TCU, Tech, and West Virginia.
That’s the Calm.
The Storm is on its way like Polar Vortex 3. The seven days from Tuesday, February 18 to the following Monday could either turn the final games of the year into a Jayhawk victory lap or create a boiling cauldron of primordial soup, out of which who knows what will evolve.
First up is Texas at Iowa St Tuesday night. The REAL Standings have not embraced UT thus far as a serious contender. In fact, we have more or less mocked every homer sportswriter who has suggested that they are a REAL contender. Their only Road wins are at TCU, Baylor, and West Virginia, hardly the Murderer’s Row of the Big 12. Their best win overall, because it was on the Road is their victory at WVU.
If Texas REALly is something more than just another middleweight, this is their chance to prove it. They have two projected losses staring them directly in the face over a five day period: in Ames and Lawrence.
The Flip Side of Projected Losses, however, is that they represent opportunity. If UT does win in Ames, it picks up a full game in the REAL Standings. If they win in Lawrence, they pick up two games vis a vis KU and sweep the season series. Win both games, and they are a REAL contender to the bitter end. Lose both, and it’s wait ‘til next year.
KU, meanwhile, plays at Tech on Tuesday, UT on Saturday, and Oklahoma Monday. A sweep, and it’s all over but the shouting. A loss to either UT or OU, and the Jayhawks still have work to do. A loss to both, while hard to imagine, and we have primordial soup.
THE CURRENT REAL STANDINGS TIERS
1. Tier One: Iowa St, K-State, KU, Oklahoma, Texas
2. Tier Two: Baylor, Okie St, Texas Tech, West Virginia
3. Tier Three: TCU
THE CURRENT REAL STANDINGS:
KU (10-2) Projected L’s: N/A At-risk games: at Tech, at OSU, at WVU
Oklahoma (8-5) Projected L’s: at KU At-risk games: N/A
Iowa St (7-5) Projected L’s: at K-State At Risk Games: at BU
Texas (9-3) Projected L’s: at ISU, at KU, at OU At-risk games: at Tech
K-State (7-5) Projected L’s: at OU At-risk games: at Tech, ISU
W. Virginia (7-6) Projected L’s: at ISU, at OU At-risk games: KU
Okie St (4-8) Projected L’s: at Baylor, at ISU At-risk games: at TCU, KU, KSU
Texas Tech (5-7) Projected L’s: at OSU, at BU, at KU At-risk games: KU, KSU, UT
Baylor (4- 8) Projected L’s: at WVU, at UT, at KSU At-risk games: ISU
TCU (0-12) Projected L’s: at KSU, ISU, at WVU, at UT, OU At-risk games: OSU
All times CST
1. Okie St at Baylor (8:00p.m.) **1/2 (Projected W: BU)
Is there some reason the schedule maker chose this game for Big Monday rather than Texas at Iowa St, a game of REAL magnitude? On second thought, this game has some importance; the loser will likely need to win out to avoid being NIT bound.
2. Texas at Iowa St (6:00p.m.) **** (Projected W: ISU) THE game of the midweek schedule.
3. KU at Texas Tech (7:00p.m.) **** (At risk game)
Something unexpected is going to have to happen to turn this into a REAL race. Tubby’s team might well have a say in that regard, with KU and UT both having dates in Lubbock.
4. TCU at K-State (8:00p.m.)* (Projected W: K-State)
KU got a freebie Saturday. K-State’s turn.