Let’s play the game of knowledge and skill that is sweeping the nation: Spot the Faux Pas.
This week’s entry comes to us from Oklahoma. In her column about the Sooners’ last second victory over West Virginia on Saturday in Norman, Jenni Carlson of the Daily Oklahoman wrote:
On an afternoon OU avoided the same fate as top-ranked Kansas earlier this week and staked its claim on the No. 1 ranking in all the land, Lattin’s putback that skidded along the back of the iron before falling through the rim set off a wild celebration at Lloyd Noble Center.
Okay, that was too easy. Who doesn’t know that losing to West Virginia at Home is a different and much worse fate from losing to West Virginia in Morgantown? One is a bump in the Road. The other a devastating setback that puts your season on the brink.
One more rime: Road Wins are the currency of championships. Home losses are a recipe for also-ran status.
The corollary being: Home Wins are pars on short par 5’s. As are Road losses to contenders.
More accurately, Ms. Carlson should have said, “On an afternoon OU held serve at Home, the same as Kansas had done against the Sooners in Lawrence . . .”
I have read Ms. Carlson from time to time and think she does a good job, so I don’t want to sound like I am picking on her, but let’s look to the same column for our next Faux Pas:
“It takes a tough team to battle West Virginia on the boards,” Sooner coach Lon Kruger said. “We’re not the most physical group.”
Maybe not, but this team is tough.
How else to explain battling back against Iowa State, then going three overtimes at Kansas, then beating back Kansas State, then hanging on at Oklahoma State, then overcoming West Virginia.
Here is how else:
· Iowa State: Home game
· Kansas: Granted. Played tough at the most difficult Road venue in the conference, perhaps the country. But lost.
· Kansas State: You mean Tier 2 (for the time being), 1-4 K-State?
· Okie St: Losing a 16 point lead to the league’s last place team, then being reduced to watching helplessly as the Cowboys’ game winning three bounces off the rim instead of through the hoop does not say “tough” to me.
· West Virginia: Home game.
Ms. Carlson notes that OU is so tough they are three points from being undefeated. The other side of that coin is that, despite playing four games they were projected to win, they could just as easily be 1-4.
Now, I am not saying OU is not tough. Just that it is too early to tell. Let’s see them win a Road game against a Tier 1—or even Tier 2—team before drawing conclusions.
You also can’t tell how good at basketball the Sooners are from these games. Maybe they are not quite as good as advertised, and their “toughness” has allowed them to barely squeak by in games that should not have come down to one play.
Time will tell when OU plays more Road games against teams in Tiers 1 and 2. Especially if they win.
Speaking of winning on the Road against Tier 1 and 2 teams, Baylor has been there, done that. Which is why the Bears sit atop the REAL Big 12 standings.
In fact, Baylor, with its victory in Ames, is the only Big 12 team to win a game it was projected to lose.
That’s right. The ONLY one.
Having lost at KU, Baylor is 1-1 in Projected Loss Games.
Every other contender is 0-1 in PLG’s. Iowa St lost at Oklahoma. Oklahoma lost at Kansas. Kansas lost at West Virginia. West Virginia lost at Oklahoma.
For good measure, Baylor padded its resume Saturday with a buzzer victory in an at risk game in Lubbock.
With this half game pickup, the Bears now lead KU and West Virginia by a full game in the RS and OU by a game and a half.
Iowa St, likewise, picked up a half game in an at risk contest in Manhattan. In doing so, they pretty much avoided being relegated to the role of spoiler for the next 13 games.
In games of no REAL consequence (a la OU vs. WVU), KU won at Home as projected vs. TCU; and Texas won as projected at Home vs. Okie St.
3. Okie St
Projected L’s (at WVU, at OU)
At risk games (at K-State, at UT)
Projected L’s (at ISU, at OU, at BU)
At risk games (at K-State, at UT)
Projected L’s (at ISU, at KU, at BU)
At risk games (at Tech, at UT)
Projected L’s (at ISU, at BU, at WVU)
At risk games (at K-State, at Tech, at UT)
Projected L’s (at BU, at WVU, at KU)
At risk games (at Tech)
Projected L’s (at WVU, at KU, at BU, at OU, at ISU at K-State,)
At risk games (vs. WVU, Vs. BU, vs. OU, vs. KU, at Okie St)
Texas Tech (1-3):
Projected L’s (at OU, at UT, at BU, at KU, at WVU)
At risk games (at TCU, vs. WVU, vs. ISU, vs, OU, at Okie St)
Projected L’s (at BU, at WVU, at KU, at ISU, at Tech)
At risk games (vs, OU, vs. BU, at Okie St, at TCU, vs. KU)
Projected L’s (vs. ISU, at UT, at OU, vs. KU, at WVU, at ISU, at Tech, vs. BU, at K-State, vs. OU)
At risk games: (vs. Tech, vs. K-State)
Okie State (1-4):
Projected L’s (at UT, vs. KU, at K-State, vs. BU, at Tech, vs. ISU, at TCU, at KU, at OU, vs. WVU, at ISU)
At risk games (at K-State, vs Tech, vs. UT)
AS SEEN ON TV
6:00p.m.: Texas Tech at TCU (ESPNU) * (At risk game)
Who ya got? Smith or Johnson? The losing coach reveals his REAL last name.
8:00p.m.: Oklahoma at Iowa St (ESPN) **** (Projected W: ISU)
The Sooners are the Notre Dame of basketball. Their claim to fame is a close loss to a good team. Will a W in Ames validate their perception as a top team in the Big 12 and nationally? As for Iowa St, they cannot lose another Home game and maintain a REAListic hope of winning the Big 12 championship.
6:00p.m.: KU at Okie St (ESPN) *** (Projected W: KU)
Okie St has been playing above its paygrade recently, but with nothing to show for it. After trailing by 16, they were one bounce away from beating OU in Stillwater. After trailing by 23 in Austin, they closed within three before UT held on at the free throw line. In other words, if KU is fortunate enough to take a workable lead in this game, here are two words of advice from someone Who is knowledgeable about such things: Don’t Blink.
6:00p.m.: Texas at West Virginia (ESPNU) ***1/2 (Projected W: WVU)
UT has looked good in winning two straight at Home vs. Iowa St and Okie St. They think they have turned it around without Cameron Ridley. A Road W in Morgantown, and somebody else might believe them.
7:15p.m.: K-State at Baylor (ESPN3) ***1/2 (Projected W: BU)
I know you are waiting for the other shoe to drop on Baylor. It will be a surprise, however, if this is that game.