REAL STANDINGS: THE GOMER PYLE EDITION

             “Surprise! Surprise! Surprise!” 

            Four games remaining in the Big 12 season, and Kansas is tied for first place. Who saw that coming? 

            And it is as even as a tie can be. Tied with Texas Tech in the REAL Standings. Tied in the newspaper Standings. Both teams have one Projected Loss remaining: KU at Tech, Tach at West Virginia. Both have a trip to Stillwater remaining to face a team that has recently won in Lawrence and Morgantown. Both have Home games they “should” win, but reek of danger (KU vs. OU and UT; Tech vs. TCU). 

If KU has an edge (aside from looking like they might have a legitimate center and are no longer merely a jump shooting team), it is that they only have one game remaining with a Tier 1 team (Tech), while Tech has two (KU and WVU).

If TCU has an edge, it is that its head to head game with KU is in Lubbock.

            Speaking of edges, KU has closed out championship seasons before. Tech hasn’t. There will be a lot of pressure on the Red Raiders in front of its Home crowd to “git ‘er dun” in the biggest basketball game in the school’s Big 12 history involving men. 

            Still, while the winner of the KU /Tech game will be in prime position to claim the title, the loser will still be in play. Regardless of how they mocked him Saturday night, KU fans are now Bob Huggins’ biggest fans not residing in bootleg country.

            But first things first. Let’s see what KU does at Home on Big Monday vs. OU and how Tech fares in Stillwater with the weight of the world suddenly on their shoulders. The Jayhawks cannot pick up any REAL ground with a Projected W at Home (though they could lose a full game with a Loss). Tech, however, will move into first place with a W in its at-risk game at Okie St no matter what the outcome is Monday night in Allen Fieldhouse

                                                                                CURRENT TIERS

Tier 1:

·         Texas Tech (Road L at Baylor)—Keenan Evans’ absence the entire second half certainly didn’t help the Red Raiders. On the other hand, they were outscored in the first half while he was on the court. But he is their best crunch-time player and might have made the difference in the final two minutes as Baylor was doing its best to avoid winning the game. Regardless, Tech fell short and finds itself in a flat-footed tie for the Big 12 lead with two weeks of competition remaining. They would have taken that in a heartbeat had it been offered 14 games ago.

·         KU (Home W vs. WVU)—It’s a Big Bear Hug for Huggy Bear for taking his foot off the pedal and trying to run the clock with a small lead and about 37 minutes remaining in the game. 

·         West Virginia (Road L at KU)—Another Late Loss to KU. Another 25 Grand down the drain for Huggins. And you felt sorry for Wile E. Coyote.

Tier 2

·         K-State (Home W vs. ISU)—K-State is now 8-0 vs. everyone whose Home games are not played in Lawrence, Lubbock, or Morgantown.

·         Baylor (Home W vs, Tech)—Baylor giveth and Baylor taketh away. The Bears gaveth Texas Tech the Big 12 lead last weekend by beating KU in Waco. It tooketh the lead away this Saturday despite missed clutch free throws, senseless turnovers, all the things you expect from a Scott Drew team in the final two minutes of a close game. It seemed for much of the second half that Baylor was trying to keep TCU ahead of the Jayhawks out of spite. But somehow they won. For one day, Drew is Bill Self’s BFF.

·         Oklahoma (Home L vs, UT)—It was noted here weeks ago, when OU was a contender, that they were Trae Young and a bunch of role players. Not a recipe for winning a championship. Trae suddenly doing his best imitation of a role player has led to the team being in free fall. Lucky for the Sooners they played KU at Home before Udunka learned to shoot free throws.

·         TCU (Home W vs. OSU)—Drug test time for the Horned Frogs. A twenty-point win (90-70)? For REAL?

·       Texas (Road W at OU)—UT clings to a probable spot in the NCAA Tourney. Although sweeping OU does not mean as much as it would have before the Sooners went into a 2-8 tailspin.

·         Okie St (Road L at TCU)—The state of O-K-L-A-H-O-M-A is suddenly not O-K in B-A-S-K-E-T-B-A-L-L. You might even say it S-U-C-K-S.

·        Iowa State (Road L at K-State)—Nothing to see here. The Cyclones on the Road are as formidable as an armadillo crossing I-40 outside Amarillo.

                                                                CURRENT PROJECTIONS

1.         12.5-5.5

            Texas Tech (10-4):     Projected L’s: (at WVU)

                                At risk games: (at OSU) 

              KU (10-4):              Projected L’s (at Tech)

                                At risk games (at OSU)

3.        11-7

            WVU (8-6):          Projected L’s: N.A.

                                At risk games (at BU, at UT)

4.        10-8

 K-State (8-6): Projected L’s (at OU, at TCU)

At risk games: N.A.

5.         8.5-9.5

Baylor (7-7): Projected L’s (at TCU, at K-State)

                                At risk games (vs. WVU)

6.          8-10

OU (6-8):              Projected L’s: (at KU, at BU)

                                At risk games: N.A.

TCU (6-8):            Projected L’s: (at ISU, at Tech)

                                At risk games: N.A

8.            7.5-10.5

             UT (6-8): Projected L’s (at K-State, at KU)

                At risk games (vs. WVU)

9.           6-12

Okie St (5-9):  Projected L’s (at UT at ISU,)

                At risk games (vs. Tech, vs. KU)

ISU (4-10): Projected L’s (at WVU, at OU)

                At risk games: N.A,

                                                                AS SEEN ON TV

MONDAY:

8:00p.m.: Oklahoma at KU (ESPN)**** (Projected W: KU)

            Trae’s only appearance in Allen Fieldhouse. And it’s a big one. Could have conference and National POY implications. Maybe even an NCAA Tourney bid. (You can’t lose forever and make the field.) 

            Oh, and No. 14 might be on the line as well.

TUESDAY

6:00p.m.: West Virginia at Baylor (ESPN2) *** (at-risk game)

            The Mountaineers still have a prayer if enough other games fall right. They still get Tech at Home. Far-fetched? Yes. But basically impossible if they don’t put Saturday behind them and end Baylor’s 5 game win streak in Waco. Oh, and Huggins, tell your guys to stop fouling so much.

WEDNESDAY 

6:00p.m.: Texas Tech at Okie St (ESPNU)**** (at-risk game)

            This game could provide a clue about how serious and how ready Tech is to compete for its first Big 12 championship in a sport that matters since it shared the football crown with Texas and Oklahoma in the 2008 version of “One of these things is not like the others.” Come to think of it, that was only the South Division crown. 

7:00p.m. TCU at Iowa St (Cyclones.tv—whatever that is) *** (Projected W: ISU) 

             If nothing else, this game will see a lot of points scored. You might consider taking the Over no matter what it is.

8:00p.m.: Texas at K-State (ESPNU)*** (Projected W: K-State)

            Did Texas turn the Road corner in Norman? Or is K-State REALly serious about a Top 3 finish?

--Mark

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