REAL Standings: Home Stretch Edition

MIDWEEK RECAP

Nothing out of the ordinary in the Midweek games. Every Home team won, including those in the two at risk games: i.e., Okie St over K-State and Baylor over Iowa St. As an aside, had these two teams not sucked so badly earlier in the conference season and had retained their original Tier One status, both games would have been projected as W’s instead of at-risk contests.

In other games, Oklahoma remained in sole possession of second place with its projected W over West Virginia; UT backed into sole possession of third place by winning, as projected, vs. TCU; and KU remained 2.5 games clear of the field with its projected win over Texas Tech.

Which brings me to a pet peeve: People who get paid good money to talk about college basketball who do not understand the dynamics of the Home Court.

Case in point:

It seems that all of the media types, including Matt Norlander on Twitter, are turning themselves inside out going gaga over Okie St’s four game winning streak since the end of Marcus Smart’s suspension. Uh, guys, those four games consist of beating TCU and winning three Home games. Wake me when they do something impressive, like winning in Ames this Saturday.

Case in point 2:

Mark Packer on Sirius/XM has, likewise, gone overboard about Baylor’s recent success, pulling to within a game of .500 after starting 2-8. They have, indeed, won 6 of 7, but four of those victories have been in Waco (including Okie St during Smart’s suspension) and TCU on the Road. Their best victory in this stretch has been at West Virginia. The only relatively good team they have played away from Home resulted in a loss at Texas. Let me know when they do something impressive, like winning in Manhattan this Saturday.

Case in Point 3:

Prior to the SMU/Louisville game Wednesday night on SBS Sports, Jon Rothstein declared, “SMU has shown that they belong in the tournament. A win over Louisville at Home will show they can win some games when they get there.”

Well, no, it wouldn’t (had it happened). It would have shown that they could beat a good team at Home (had it happened). NCAA games are not played at Home. SMU will not be playing any games in Moody Coliseum with a packed house screaming “SMU SMU SMU” over and over and over at the top of their lungs.

Here is a suggestion: Place no weight on any Home victory. Here is what should be taken into account in assessing a team’s overall strength and its tournament potential, in descending order of importance:

• W’s on the Road/Losses at Home • W’s/L’s on neutral courts • W’s/L’s on pseudo neutral courts (such as the Sprint Center for KU)

Forget Home wins. Any Home wins. Forget KU over Okie St in Lawrence, Okie St over KU in Stillwater, UNC over Duke in Chapel Hill, Cal over Arizona in Berkeley, Arkansas over Kentucky in Fayetteville, and the like.

Pay close attention to Syracuse losing to BC and Georgia Tech in the Carrier Dome, KU over Iowa State in Ames and Oklahoma in Norman, Oklahoma over Texas in Austin, Florida over Kentucky in Lexington, Arkansas over Kentucky in Lexington, Michigan over Ohio St in Columbus, Iowa over Ohio St in Columbus, Ohio St losing to Penn St in Columbus, etc.

Not saying that Home Wins and Road Losses have no value, but it is minimal. And not saying that commentators who place importance on them are stupid or don’t understand basketball. Those mentioned here seem to know their stuff for the most part.

It is, however, lazy analysis. And pretty much worthless.

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:

1. 14.5-3.5

KU (14-3) Projected L’s: N/A At-risk games: at WVU

2. 12-6

Oklahoma (11-6) Projected L’s: N/A At-risk games: N/A

3. 11.5-6.5

Texas (11-6) Projected L’s: N/A At-risk games: at Tech

4. 11-7

Iowa St (10-7) Projected L’s: N/A At Risk Games: N/A

K-State (10-7) Projected L’s: N/A At-risk games: N/A

6. 8.5-9.5

W. Virginia (8-9) Projected L’s: N/A At-risk games: KU

7. 8-10

Baylor (8- 9) Projected L’s: at KSU At-risk games: N/A

Okie St (8-9) Projected L’s: at ISU At-risk games: N/A

9. 5.5-12.5

Texas Tech (5-12) Projected L’s: N/A At-risk games: UT

10. 0-18

TCU (0-17) Projected L’s: OU At-risk games: N/A

Upcoming Games

All times CST

Saturday:

1. KU at West Virginia (11:00a.m.) ***1/2 (At-risk game)

The Mountaineers gave KU a respectable game in Lawrence. Even a momentary scare. In Morgantown, with Embiid out of the line-up, and WVU thinking—correctly or not—that they still have a chance for an NCAA bid, this promises to be a wild, tough game for the Jayhawks. Its importance? Any chance of a 1 seed will likely disappear with a snowman in the L column. If you care about things like that.

2. Baylor at K-State (12:30p.m.) **** (Projected W: K-State)

If you have been marooned in outer space, set adrift from your spacecraft, struggling to find an abandoned Russian vehicle to commandeer for a return to this planet, and have not heard, no Big 12 team has ever received an at-large bid to the NCAA tourney with a sub-.500 record. If Baylor loses this game, as projected, it could be the first exception.

3. Okie St at Iowa St (1:00p.m.) **** (Projected W: ISU)

If you have been marooned in outer space, set adrift from your spacecraft, struggling to find an abandoned Russian vehicle to commandeer for a return to this planet, and have not heard, no Big 12 team has ever received an at-large bid to the NCAA tourney with a sub-.500 record. If Okie St loses this game, as projected, it could be the first exception. Of course, its chances at 8-10 are better than Baylor’s with the same record, because the selection committee will cut OSU some slack for Smart’s suspension, during which time the Okie Aggies went 0-3.

Here’s a hint, selection committee: Don’t cut Okie St any slack. They would have almost certainly lost two of those games anyway (at Texas and at Baylor), and the other (vs. OU in Stillwater) was iffy. They had, after all, lost four straight and five of six prior to Smart’s suspension.

4. Oklahoma at TCU (3:00p.m.) * (Projected W: OU)

If all goes as projected, OU wraps up at least a share of second place and the 2 seed in the Big 12 tournament, while TCU wraps up a perfect season of futility.

5. Texas at Texas Tech (3:00p.m.) ***1/2 (At risk game)

The final piece of the Big 12 puzzle. As a number of teams, including KU have discovered, Tech is a tough out in Lubbock. Heck, they were a tough out in Austin.

--Mark

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