REAL STANDINGS: THE TCU’S 15 MINUTES OF FAME EDITION
We now know that West Virginia is the team to beat n the Big 12. In the two most important games of the first half of the conference season, KU didn’t, and K-State did.
KU’s Loss at WVU was inexcusable, inexplicable, and, to this point, irreversible. It’s like they gave every other team with championship dreams a 10-yard head start in a 20-yard dash.
K-State almost didn’t take advantage. They fall behind the Mountaineers by 21 points at Home. A Loss to the league’s worst team on your Home Court would be every bit as bad as a Loss to them on the Road. Maybe worse, because being swept by them is more likely with the return game in Morgantown than at Home.
K-State had never before come from 21 points down to Win. They were dead in the Big 12 water three games into the conference season.
The Wildcats Won that game and have won every conference game since.
So now, 10 games into K-State’s schedule, we know who the team to beat is in the Big 12 REALly is. Although the pundits are grudgingly acknowledging that K-State is in first place in the newspaper standings, they have stood atop the REAL Standings since they were 4-2.
Going into Saturday, Iowa State had clawed their way into a tie with K-State in the REAL Standings with a Projected record of 12-6.
Then something strange happened. K-State jumped to 13-5 with a REAL Road Win at Baylor, while Iowa St dropped to 11-7 with a surprising Home Loss to TCU. As the Kansas City Star article about the K-State game noted, “It was like the Wildcats won twice on Saturday.”
That is precisely what it was like with Iowa State’s Loss coming on its Home Court. (As opposed to a Loss at TCU, which would have been barely a ripple in the Big 12 waters.)
Bottom line: K-State has suddenly put space between themselves and the rest of the field, holding a 1.5 game lead over the two second place teams, now TCU and Tech.
Defeated Baylor on the Road 70-63
K-State has now defeated Oklahoma, Iowa St, and Baylor on the Road. That is why they are looking down on everyone else notwithstanding their loss at home to Texas. Yes, the Wildcats were fortunate to play KU without Marcus Garrett and Baylor minus Makai Mason (perhaps the league’s best point guard) and King McClure, but you can’t count that against them. They got no credit for playing without Wade. Instead, they engineered the biggest comeback in school history and used that victory to springboard themselves to the catbird’s seat in the conference race.
Defeated Oklahoma on the Road 66-54
Tech would be the yoyo team in the Big 12 if there were not so many others sharing that accolade. Up and Down. Down and up.
Right now, they are Up. As in tied for second place with TCU.
Defeated Iowa St on the Road 92-83
The Horned Frogs have been flying way under the radar virtually the entire season. There were even those who questioned whether they belonged in Tier 1 when they were 3-5 in the newspaper standings following losses by 19 points at Tech and 26 points at Baylor. A 2 point victory at Home over Okie St did noting for their image either.
But the REAL Standings are not about image. They are about results. They maintained their Tier 1 status because they were one of only two teams in the conference that had followed the REAL Standings’ prime directive: Win All Your Freaking Home Games. (The other being KU.)
When you are unblemished at Home, one big Road Win can catapult you into the stratosphere of Big 12 Contenders. Or, in this case, a tie for second place.
Lost to TCU a Home 83-92
It might not be a coincidence that the Cyclones incurred this devastating Loss just after the pundits started universally anointing them as the team most likely to knock KU off its 14-year perch atop the Big 12. If the Jayhawks fall short, its successor might well be notthe team with the most skills but the one that handles the pressure of the moment best. If Saturday is any indication, that team is not Iowa St.
Not that they cannot grow into that role. But they need to do it fast.
Defeated OSU at Home 84-72
On this day, anyway, the Notorious LGV was not missed by the Jayhawks. If their Saturday attitude carries over to the Road this time, beginning at TCU Monday night, KU could be in this race to the bitter end. But, like Iowa State, they can’t keep saying, “Maybe later.”
Lost to K-State at Home 63-70
At the start of the week, Baylor was the hottest team in the league and arguably playing the best basketball. Then Makai Mason went down in Austin and King McClure shortly thereafter, and the Bears have, in the words of a barbecue eatery just north of Waco, gone “Up in Smoke.”
Defeated Baylor 84-72 in Austin.
One Big Road W (WVU wasn’t it), and UT can pull a TCU and require serious attention.
Lost to Tech at Home 54-66
The Sooners played well enough earlier on the year that they are still in the mix for the NCAA tournament.
Recently, though, they have been slip-sliding away. Definitely not your father’s Lonnie Kruger team.
Of course, you father’s Lonnie Kruger team was K-State. Maybe even your grandfather’s.
Lost to KU on the Road 72-84
Still Playing hard. Still losing. Still dangerous if you don’t match their effort.
Lost to Texas at Home
They say if you don’t have something to nice to say, don’t say anything.
You might have noticed that the REAL Standings Report does not always follow that maxim. But at least in this instance, it will refrain from kicking a team when it’s down.
CURRENT REAL STANDINGS
K-State (8-2): Projected L’s: (at UT, at KU, at TCU)
Up for Grabs: N.A.
TCU (5-5): Projected L’s: (at UT)
Up for Grabs: (at OSU)
Texas Tech (7-4): Projected L’s: (at TCU, at ISU)
Up for Grabs: (at OSU)
KU (7-4): Projected L’s: (at TCU, at TT)
Up for Grabs: (at OSU, at OU)
ISU (7-4): Projected L’s: (at KSU, at TCU, at UT)
Up for Grabs: N.A.
UT (6-5): Projected L’s (at BU, at TT)
Up for Grabs (at OU)
BU (6-4): Projected L’s (at TT, at ISU, at KU, at KSU)
Up for Grabs: (N.A.)
OU (3-8): Projected L’s: (at BU, at TCU, at ISU, at KSU)
Up for Grabs: (UT, KU)
Okie St (2-8): Projected L’s (at UT, at KSU, at TT, at BU)
Up for Grabs: (TT, TCU, KU)
West Virginia (2-9): Projected L’s (at KU, KSU, at BU, TCU, at OU, ISU, at OSU)
Up for Grabs N.A
AS SEEN ON TV (All times CST)
1, 8:00a.m. KU at TCU (ESPN) *****(Projected W: TCU)
A Loss by the Jayhawks would drop their best possible record to 13-5, which is K--State’s Projected Record. The Hawks have a steep hill to climb already. They must figure out some way to Win this Projected Loss game or their task will be downright Sisyphean.
2. 8:00p.m. Oklahoma at Baylor (ESPN2) *** (Projected W: BU)
Baylor is watching its dreams of grandeur fade away. And this time, it’s not Scott Drew’s fault.
3. 8:00p.m. K-State at Texas (ESPN2) ***** (Projected W: UT)
A Win by K-State, and their Projected Record improves to 14-4, which would be good enough for at least a share of the Big 12 title. Guaranteed!
Everyone else who has hopes of cutting down the conference nets is a Texas fan for one night. Even the other Texas teams in Lubbock, Fort Worth, and Waco, who REALly REALly hate the Longhorns.
4. 8:00p.m. Texas Tech at Okie St (ESPN2) **1/2 (UFG)
After playing TCU and KU tough on the Road, Okie St cannot be considered a Gimme at Home. In a woulda coulda shoulda world, they had TCU beat.