REAL Standings: The No Lead Is Safe Edition

                                    REAL STANDINGS:  THE NO LEAD IS SAFE EDITION

            The following happened in the span of a few minutes Tuesday night:

·         With a 19 point lead having been trimmed to 3 (71-68) corner Lindell Wigginton takes a game tying 3  from the corner with 5 seconds remaining in the game, The Bears’ King McClure fouls him during  the shot. Did Scott Drew not tell his team, “Don’t do that!”?  Did he not say, “Of all the things to do on defense, Do Not Foul a 3 Point Shooter 3 point shooter!”?

Now, this game is suddenly tied. At least it is unless Wigginton misses one of his 3 free throws--and what are the chances of that?

But wait! Wigginton only makes 2 free throws. He was only allowed two. His foot was on the 3 point line when he shot. Baylor dodges a bullet and has possession of the ball and the lead.

Baylor makes 2 FT’s, and it’s like déjà vu all over again. Scott Drew’s crew is again up 3 with 5 seconds to play.  ISU’s Nick Weiler-Babb takes the in-bounds pass and crosses the mid-court line. He puts up a deep shot to tie the game and—guess what—he gets fouled. Three free throws, and we are in Overtime. Did Drew not remind his team to not foul the 3 point shooter again? Apparently not.

But wait!  As much as the announcers call for a foul, the officials call nothing and leave the court.

Thus, the reason that Scott Drew is known as the Scott Drew of the Big 12.

As Chris Berman would day, “Come on, Man!”

·         One of the announcers wondered aloud at the fact that Iowa State had just defeated KU by 17 on Saturday yet was now losing to 0-2 Baylor. His more knowledgeable sidekick was not fooled. “That was a Home game,” he said. Therein lies the difference between someone who understands the REAL Standings and someone who doesn’t.

·         A few minutes later, Texas trails Okie St. 56-59, having cut a 19-point deficit to 3.  With 11 seconds remaining, UT’s Matt Coleman drives into the lane as the Cowboys refuse to guard him for fear of being called for a foul. 58-59.

Stan Van Gundy, a man with the expertise to coach at the highest level of basketball in the world, demonstrates that he is better at coaching in the NBA than announcing college games: “That’s something very few college teams do,” he says, “taking the easy two points in that situation. Most teams will pull up and shoot a 3.”

No, Stan. If you have watched even a few college games, you would notice that taking the quick two, knowing the defense is not going to contest your layup, is what virtually every team doe in that situations. Well, unless they are coached by Scott Drew, in which case, you take the contested 3; but do it REAL slowly, to give the Defense plenty of time to foul you while shooting, assuming their team will be as stupid as yours..

·         Moments later, with 9 seconds remaining and the score 58-61, Van Gundy declared  that OSU needed to foul the trailing team While acknowledging that he had recently seen a game where that strategy had backfired, he declared that the odds were strongly in your favor by fouling before the trailing team could get a shot off.

I have heard that theory, and it is a strategy (though a gutless one) that often does work—as does playing defense straight up. Either way, the team with a three point lead in the final seconds usually wins. The problem with Van Gundy was not that he advocated the foul the trailing team strategy, but that he was so certain of his position with nothing to support it. There have been studies on this strategy, with no definitive results result. If there were, every coach of a college basketball team would employ the favored strategy.

                                                CURRENT TIERS

                                                            Tier 1

TEXAS TECH:

Tech 66, OU 59 (Lubbock!

Every Home game is a Must Win if you want to compete for the Big 12 title,

Tech held serve.

Next!

IOWA STATE

ISU 70, Baylor 73 (Waco)

The Cyclones epitomize the essence of the REAL standings three days after taking advantage of the premise that life is tough on the Road. That’s where championships are won.

KU

KU 77, Iowa St 68 (Lawrence)

Have you ever heard an announcer root more openly than Fran Fraschills does for any KU opponent?

There was a time when a KU win at Home was a ho-hum proposition. No longer. With Udunka Azubuike out for the season and suspect outside shooting, the Jayhawks are vulnerable any time and any place vs. Big 12 opposition. Meaning Fran has a decent shot of seeing his dream of some other team—any other team—winning the Big 12 come true this year.

Then again, as Yogi Bear once said, “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over, Boo Boo.”

Or, as Bill Self said after KU lost by 17 to Iowa State in Ames last Saturday, “The sky isn’t falling.” The Jayhawks still have four high school All Americans and a strong bench—as long as you are not looking for Dominant inside players or sharpshooters.

But if Wednesday night was any indication, Udunka’s injury might result in the team being forced to come together and requiring everyone who sees court time to contribute instead of deferring to someone else.

Time will tell. But if the Jayhawks can protect their Home Court and figure out a way to pull out 3-4 Road victories, Fran’s assessment that the ultimate Big 12 champion might only win 12-13 games could be good news for Bill Self..

                                                TIER 2

TEXAS

UT 58, Okie St 61 (Stillwater)

Texas was smoked by Okie St early, training 20-39 in the first half.

BAYLOR

The Bears are off the schneide, What tricks does Scott have up his sleeve  for KU?

TCU

If TCU can play consistently the way they did in Lawrence, they have the potential to earn a Battlefield Promotion to Tier 1.

K-STATE

K-State 71-West Virginia 69 (Manhattan)

The score was West Virginia 42, K-State 21 early in the second half. K-State was 18:40 from absorbing their second Home loss vs. a Tier 2 team and their third overall. Without Dean Wade, they looked slow, clumsy, and lethargic, as if  ready to accept their fate as being food for the rest of the Big 12. And maybe even being left out of the Big Dance.

Then Barry Brown started playing like Barry Brown, and the rest of his teammates followed. K-State lives to fight another day.

WEST VIRGINIA

What was amazing in this game was the calls West Virginia was receiving on the Road. Not simply that they were physically assaulting their opponent without getting punished, on the theory that the refs can’t call everything; but, speaking of a Big Dance, allowing Jermaine Hailey to change his pivot foot so often, he appeared to be auditioning for Dancing with the ‘Eers.

The good news for WVU is that a Road loss to a fellow Tier 2 opponent does them no REAL harm. They will beat K-State in Morgantown. (Probably)

                                                TIER 3

OKIE STATE

The Cowboys are not your father’s Tier 3 team. They are dangerous on more than A given night. They just need more talent to make the jump to Tier two, which s a tough commodity to find this time of year.

                                                PROJECTIONS

1. 13—5

Texas Tech (3-0): Projected L’s: (at KU, at OU, at ISU)
At risk games: (at WVU, at UT, at BU, at KSU, at TCU)

2.  12.5-5.5

KU (2-1): Projected L’s (at TT, at OU)
At risk games (at BU, at WVU, at UT, at KSU, at TCU)

OU (1-2): Projected L’s: (at ISU)
At risk games: (at KSU, at UT, at WVU, at BU, at TCU)

5.  8-10

Texas (2-1): Projected L’s (at KU, at TCU, at ISU, at WVU, at OU, at BU, at TT)
At risk games (TT, KU, OU, ISU)

Baylor (1-1): Projected L’s (at WVU, at OU, at UT, at TT, at ISU, at KSU, at KU)
At risk games (KU, at OSU, TT, OU)

7.7.5-10.5

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

8. 7-11

WVU (0-3): Projected L’s (at TCU, at ISU, at TT, at KU, at BU, at OU)
At risk games (KU, OU, ISU, at OSU)

WVU, at UT

9.  6.5-11.5

K-State (1-2): Projected L’s (at ISU, at OU, at BU, at UT, at WVU, at KU, at TCU)
At risk games (TT, at OSU, KU, ISU, OU)

10. 3-15

Okie St (1-2): Projected L’s (at WVU, at ISU, OU, at TCU, at KU, TT, at UT, at KSU, at TT, KU, at BU)
At risk games (BU, KSU, TCU, WVU)


                                                AS SEEN ON TV (All times C
Saturday

1,         11:00a.m. K-State at Iowa St (ESPN2) **** (Projected WL ISU)

            Can K-State take its newfound offensive prowess on the Road?

2.          11:00p.m.: Okie St at West Virginia (ESPNU) ** (UG)

            The odds may not ever be in Okie St’s favor. On the Road.

3.         1:00p.m.: Texas Tech at Texas (LHN) *****(Up for Gra

            How many teams will beat Tech, even at Home? A W for the Longhorns would put them in a new light.

4.         1:00p.m.  TCU at Oklahoma **** (Projected W: OU)

            TCU’s opportunity to crsh the Upper Crust’s party and bring the Sooners down a notch. Not a            far-fetched reversal of fortunes.

5.         3:00p.m. KU at Baylor :**** (ESPN) (Up for Grabs)

           This needs to be one of the 3-4 Road wins KU needs to win to have a legitimate shot at No.   15. The ultimate champion will likely claim W’s at both Baylor and Okie St.

--Mark

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