REAL STANDINGS: THE GUN ALSO RISES EDITION
When someone says “Zup,” is your response, “Nothing. Zup with you?”
If the latter, you ere pleased by the first night of the Big 12 basketball season.
Texas Tech draws first blood in Big 12 play, picking up a half game in the REAL Standings with a Road Victory at West Virginia. The Red Raiders did not look particularly good doing it, but any Road W is worth its weight in gold. As a different kind of Raider was wont to say, “Just Win, Baby.”
And Win they did, picking up a half game in the REAL Standings while, in the process, becoming the first team to grab the REAL Standings lead in 2019. Heck, ESPN employed (often) a graphic declaring that Tech has a 48% probability of ending KU’s title streak, while giving the Jayhawks a mere 41% chance of extending it.
As they say in Lubbock: “Gun Zup!”.
It is called “taking care of business.” Although a Road W vs. a Tier 3 opponent is not as weighty as Tech’s Tier 2 Road victory, it is still worth its weight in some kind of semi-precious stone. The Road is a dangerous place, even in low rent neighborhoods. In other words; No ground gained; but, more importantly, none lost.
If you must settle for a Home victory (as opposed to one on the Road), it might as well be against one of your prime competitors. Especially when you make only 4 of 21 shots (19%) from 3-point territory. That is 12 points on 21 shots. Which is equivalent to 29% on the same number of shots inside the arc, Those are not normally winning numbers. But it helps if your opponent goes 5 for 22.
If you must take a Road loss, where better than at the lair of the 14-time defending champion? No harm done and gets a projected Loss off your schedule.
Tied with Tech for the best W on Opening Night, notwithstanding the fact that K-State was down two starters (Dean Wade and Kamau Stokes) instead of just the one (Wade) that was expected the morning of the game. The normally shooting-challenged Longhorns made 14 of 27 3-point attempts. That’s 42 points on 27 shots. Which is equivalent to going 21 for 27 from inside the arc (78%). Overall, they made 48% of their shots. They have Tier 1 talent if they can shoot like this consistently.
Or are they just teasing their fans? And, yes, they do have basketball fans. As Mr. Ripley would say: “Believe it or Not!”
Did Not Participate.
“Suck” doesn’t even begin to describe K-State’s performance on its Home court. You would be hard pressed to find a K-State fan who would disagree with this assessment. But one game into the Big 12 season, the Wildcats are suddenly desperate. They needed this game to hang around until Dean Wade returns to the lineup. Instead, they start the conference season in the worst possible way: with a Big -1 on their RS record.
Their dream season took a nightmarish turn with the loss of Kamau Stokes in addition to Dean Wade. Wednesday night, they would not have beaten any Big 12 opponent anywhere. If they don’t return to full strength soon, the man dubbed “Confident Bruce” by one of the Midwest’s top sportswriters, because he finally had a team with talent, experience, success, and moxie, will lose confidence by the day. As a corollary to Jack Palance’s assertion that “Confidence is very sexy, don’t you think,” the lack thereof is not a pretty sight.
Had West Virginia played K-State Wednesday night on a neutral court, we might have had the worst Big 12 game of all time. Run that game through a computer simulation 1,000 times, and the likely outcome is 500 losses for K-State and 500 losses for WVU. No wins. Just a thousand losses.
The Cowboys are a notch or two above your typical Tier 2 squad. They will beat someone they shouldn’t at Home. Might even make a run at Movin’ on Up to Tier 2. But it will not be because they beat Iowa State in Stillwater. That ship has sailed.
Texas Tech (1-0): Projected L’s: (at KU, at OU, at ISU)
At risk games: (at WVU, at UT, at BU, at KSU, at TCU)
ISU (1-0): Projected L’s (at BU, at TT, at KU)
At risk games (at BU, at KSU, at TCU, at UT, at WVU)
KU (1-0): Projected L’s (at ISU, at TT, at OU)
At risk games (at BU, at WVU, at UT, at KSU, at TCU)
OU (0-1): Projected L’s: ( at TT, at ISU)
At risk games: (at KSU, at UT, at WVU, at BU, at TCU)
Texas (1-0): Projected L’s (at KU, at TCU, at ISU, at WVU, at OU, at BU, at TT)
At risk games (at OSU, TT, KU, OU, ISU)
Baylor (0-0): Projected L’s (at TCU, at WVU, at OU, at UT, at TT, at ISU, at KSU, at KU)
At risk games (ISU, KU, at OSU, TT) (0-1)
TCU (0-0): Projected L’s: (at BU, at OU, at KU, at WV, at Tech)
At risk games: (at UT, at K-State, at OSU, at ISU)
WVU (0-1): Projected L’s (at UT, at KSU, at TCU, at ISU, at TT, at KU, at BU, at OU)
At risk games (KU, OU, ISU, at OSU)
K-State (0-1): Projected L’s (at TT, at ISU, at OU, at BU, at UT, at WVU, at KU, at TCU)
At risk games (TT, at OSU, KU, ISU, OU)
Okie St (0-1): Projected L’s (ISU, at OU, at WVU, at ISU, OU, at TCU, at KU, TT, at UT, at KSU, at TT, KU, at BU)
At risk games (UT, BU, KSU, TCU, WVU
AS SEEN ON TV
Saturday (All times CST):
1, 1:00p.m.: K-State at Texas Tech (ESPNU) *** (Projected W: Tech)
Lubbock has one of the best heart hospitals in the world. It is called, strangely enough, the Lubbock Heart Hospital. Other than that, Buddy Holly’s Home town is not the place to go to resuscitate the heart of your basketball program.
2. 1:00p.m.: Okie St at Oklahoma*** (Projected W: OU)
It IS Bedlam, so anything can happen. It’s just that it would be more likely to happen in Stillwater.
3. 3:00p.m.: Baylor at TCU (ESPNU) *** (at risk game)
The inaugural game of the 2019 season for both teams, each motivated primarily by the desire to leave their Tier 2 status in the REAL Standings behind.
4. 4:00p.m. KU at Iowa St (ESPN2) ***** (Projected W: ISU)
Brightening up an otherwise dreary Basketball Saturday, the first game of the season between two teams expected to take the Big 12 race down to the wire. Although a KU Road W here puts everyone else in a world of hurt: As in, “You want some ideas as to where you can shove your 48% probability, Tech?”
5. 8:0p.m.: West Virginia at Texas** (Projected W. UT)
“Dana Holgorsen, you beat Texas in Austin with a 2 point conversion. What are you going to do next?”
“I’m going to move to Houston. How would you like to work on the same campus as Bob Huggins?”