REAL STANDINGS: THE BIG 12 ER EDITION

                                    REAL STANDINGS:  THE BIG 12 ER EDITION

            Texas Tech held onto its half game lead over KU on Saturday as both defeated Tier Two teams on the Road: Tech winning in Austin for the first time since their days in the Southwest Conference (1996); and KU winning in Waco as usual.

            One fact that no one else has touched on: Every time KU has won in Waco during the past 14 years, they have gone on to win or share the Big 12 title. You heard it here first.  

            In other action, OU protected its Home Court against the Frog invasion from the south but lost a half game in the process to Tech and KU. You gain nothing in the REAL Standings with Home W’s. You are supposed to win at Home. If you can’t Win at Home, you quickly  find yourself behind the Magic 8-Ball. (“It Is Certain.”).

            Which brings us to Iowa State. A mere 15 seconds stood between the Cyclones and a Home court victory vs. K-State. Leading 57-56, Lindell Wiggington surprisingly missed the front end of what Curt Gowdy used to refer to as a one-on-one. Dean Wade grabbed the rebound. Eleven seconds later, Barry Brown made his way into the lane and laid the ball into the basket to send the Cyclones (which is a spiraling phenomenon) into a potential death spiral with a Home Loss.

            The good news for ISU is that one Home Loss does not necessarily end your chances of raising the Big 12 championship flag. Recall KU’s Home Loss to Tech last year—although it did mean the Jayhawks had to turn around and take down Tech in Lubbock a few weeks later. ISU will now need to win a game it “shouldn’t.” (“It Is Almost Certain.”)

            As for K-State, its second last minute victory of the week atones for its Home Loss to Texas. With Dean Wade back in the fold, they are a candidate for Tier One status. A 2 point miraculous victory at Home against the conference’s worst team (West Virginia)  is not enough to justify an upgrade at this time for a team that has a Home Loss vs. Texas and which was on the verge of dropping to Tier 3 when it trailed WVU by 21.

            Speaking of upgrading, Okie St has shown that it merits a promotion to Tier 2 with victories this week vs. Texas at Home and at West Virginia.  No, that is not the most impressive duo of feats, but it is better than what you would normally expect of a team in the lowest of Tiers.

            And West Virginia? Should its pathetic collapse in Manhattan and even pahtheticker Loss in Morgantown to Okie St result in a demotion to Level 3?

            Not quite yet. Not while Sagaba Konate is rumored to on the verge of returning. Even that, though, will not make WVU a factor in the Big 11 race, other than deciding who might be the ultimate champion by taking down a contender or two along the way.

                                                CURRENT TIERS

                                                            Tier 1

TEXAS TECH:

Tech 68, Texas 62 (Austin)

Tech is the REAL Deal. But don’t get ahead of yourself. They have accomplished nothing at this point. They have won two Road games against two Tier Two teams (WVU and UT), The West Virginia W has lost some of its luster with the passage of time, and Texas has recently begun resembling a team coached by Scott Drew South. Let’s see how the Gun-zuppers do in Lawrence, Ames, and Norman before drawing any conclusions about them.

IOWA STATE

ISU 57, K-State 58 (Ames)

The Cyclones are now -1 for the season with its Home Loss to K-State. Ouch! That hurts

KU

KU 73, Baylor 68 (Waco)

The Notorious LGV returned to his 3 point shooting form, going 6 for 8 on his birthday. And the Jayhawks needed every one of them (well, at least 5 of them) to hold off Baylor minus Tristan Clark. After leading 64-41 with 6 minutes remaining, and 72-60 at the 1:03 mark, it was a four-point game 39 seconds later (72-68). On the positive side, this scare will give KU something to work on. Tech and OU (not to mention TCU and K-State among others) will not be so accommodating as to make a run calculated to wind up short in the end.

OU

OU 76, TCU 74 (Norman)

The Sooners took control of this game at the 0:05 mark when Kristian Doolittle prescribed a jumper in the lane to euthanize the Frogs. And they never let up,

                                                TIER 2

TEXAS

            For the first time in recorded history, UT’s Dylan Osetkowski was referred to as “Ostertag.”  Not surprising considering the physical resemblance. It is like the two were separated at birth.

            In all fairness, the announcer (Lowell Galindo, I think) corrected himself immediately, Still, get help immediately if you call Shaka Smart “Phog.”

BAYLOR

Sagaba Konate, Dean Wade, Udunka Azubuike, Jaylen Fisher— now Baylor’s Tristan Clark. This year’s Big 12 race might be decided as much by who is not on the court as who is: KU might have won Saturday even had Clark been available to Scott (you know, because Scott), but his absence could not have hurt the Jayhawks’ cause. Still, Baylor competed for a few minutes and will be a typically difficult Tier Two Road game once the Bears adjust to life without him

TCU

The Horned Frogs epitomize the phrase “flying under the radar.” They are assigned to Level 2, having an unimpressive media record of 1-2. But  two of their four Tier 1 Road games (at KU and OU) are behind them. And they took both games down to the wire. They could REAListically win at Iowa St. They could REAListically win at Tech. When Jaylen Fisher returns to the rotation, all bets are off. Do not sleep on this team.

K-STATE

K-State 71-West Virginia 69 (Manhattan)

The most oft-mentioned candidates for Big 12 Player of the Year thus far this season have been Dean Wade (K-State), Dedrick Lawson (KU), and Jarrett Culver (Tech). Maybe a little support for Lindell Wigginton.

However, if POY means the player who makes the biggest difference to his team in wins and losses, consider the following: Barry Brown and Sagaba Konate. Brown for being the key figure in turning two probable losses last week into wins . . .

WEST VIRGINIA

WVU 77, Okie St 85 (Morgantown)

… and Konate, whose absence has turned West Virginia from a reputed title contender into a team that has lost its first two Home games of the conference season. If he does not return to the lineup soon and ready to play well, the Mountaineers will assume the inside track for 10th Place in the Big 12. But it could be worse. Tenth place is still better than 12th.

OKIE STATE

Not sure whether Okie St’s W at West Virginia says more about them or WVU. Whatever, they are no longer to be considered an automatic win, especially in Stillwater.

                                                CURRENT REAL STANDINGS

1. 13—5

Texas Tech (4-0): Projected L’s: (at KU, at OU, at ISU)
At risk games: (at BU, at KSU, at OSU, at TCU)

2.  12.5-5.5

KU (3-1): Projected L’s (at TT, at OU)
At risk games (at WVU, at UT, at KSU, at TCU, at OSU)

3.   12-6

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

4.11-7

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

5.  7.5-10.5

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

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

7. 7-11

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

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

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

10.  5.5-12.5

WVU (0-4): Projected L’s (at TCU, at ISU, at TT, at KU, at OSU, at BU, at OU)
At risk games (KU, OU, ISU)


                                                AS SEEN ON TV (All times CST)


Monday  

1,         8:00p.m. Baylor at Okie St (ESPNU) **** (Projected W: (OSU)

            First time this season that Okie St has been a projected Winner.

2.          8:00p.m.: Texas at KU (ESPN) **** (Projected W: KU)

            UT lost to Oklahoma St last week in Stillwater and to Texas Tech at Home. Kirk Bohls of the Austin American-Statesman wrote that their losses were due to two things: lack of grit and    lack of high basketball I.Q. Teams often develop grit overnight when their “grit” is challenged.       It usually takes longer to gain wisdom and consistently make good decisions.

            “At least,” Bohls concluded after the Tech game, “they’re losing to better teams.”

            One caveat. KU better not get complacent playing this low grit, low IQ team for two reasons:

(1)   UT will be on a mission for redemption. They will come focused and ready to play for 40 minutes (or more); and

(2)   The Jayhawks have not shown themselves to be at the top of the basketball I.Q. ladder themselves. (Think Ames.)

            On the other hand, it’s Bill Self vs. Shaka Smart. At Allen Fieldhouse.

Tuesday

3.         West Virginia at TCU (ESPNU) **(Projected W: TCU)

            How in the world can West Virginia hope to even compete in this game on the Road vs. a                  Tier 1 candidate when the Mountaineers have been a disaster at Home?

            WVU might belong in Tier 3 Konate or no Konate, but the difference to anyone REAL             Standings-wise is so minimal that, at this point, I will give them the benefit of the doubt—            which is a lot of benefit.           

Wednesday

4.         6:00p.m.  K-State at Oklahoma (ESPN2) **** (Projected W: OU)

            Bruce Weber called K-State the Big 12’s Team of the Week after winning in Ames. If Bruce    wants a greater honor (i.e., promotion) to Tier 1, this is his chance.  Winning back to back       games in Ames and Norman just might do it.

5.         8:00p.m. Iowa St at Texas Tech 1/2: (ESPNU ****1/2) (Projected W: Tech)

            The Cyclones are looking down the barrel of their third straight loss. At least this one won’t    hurt them in the REAL Standings, being the only one of the three actually projected as a    loss.

--Mark

-->