REAL STANDINGS: THE “LET’S PLAY SOME POOL” EDITION

Minnesota Fats had been beaten like a drum all night. Eddie Felson had won all the money he had come to win. It was suggested that it was time to leave. It was, after all, over. Fats sat slumped In his chair across the room, looking the way only a very proud man who has long been acclaimed the best in the world at his craft looks when he knows he’s beaten.

“The pool game is not over until Minnesota Fats says it’s over,” Eddie says. “Is it over, Fats?”

Fats pauses, then gets a new bottle of whiskey. He washes his hands and face and spruces up his clothing as if headed for church.

He looks his opponent in the eye and says, “Fast Eddie, let’s play some pool.”

No spoilers. If you have not seen the movie, you will have to watch it yourself to find out what happens next.

In REAL life, Bill Self might as well have said to Fran Fraschilla on camera Saturday afternoon: “Bruce, Chris, Steve, let’s play some basketball.”

After Iowa State avenged its Home Loss to K-State with a Road W in Manhattan Saturday, four teams now have a solid shot of grabbing at least a share of the 2019 Big 12 Championship. Two control their own destiny (K-State and KU), while Tech and Iowa St are ready to pounce if someone—anyone—can beat K-State down the stretch.

Indeed, it is time to play some basketball.

CURRENT TIERS

TIER 1

K-STATE

Lost at Home to Iowa St 64-78

The Wildcats are, of course, in the best position to grab the Big 12 title. That is, if Dean Wade can overcome his latest foot injury in a timely manner.

If Wade cannot go, K-State could still grab a share of the championship but would probably need to win at TCU.

TEXAS TECH

Defeated Baylor at Home 86-51.

Baylor downed Tech 73-62 in Waco on January 14. That was 32 days and 350 miles ago. Not to mention two Baylor starters ago, one of whom was a POY candidate.

KU

Defeated WVU at Home 78-53.

Everything’s not Lawson. Everything is cool when you’re part of a team.

Five players in double figures bodes well for the Jayhawks down the stretch. Especially when one of them is Dedric’s long lost brother.

IOWA STATE

DNP

Defeated K-State on the Road 78-64

Remember Villanova last year in the Final Four? That was Iowa State Saturday afternoon. They will win any game they play the rest of the year if they can go 14-24 from 3-point range. Check that: Steph Curry range. Still, even if they win out, they have to rely on someone else giving K-State its fourth Loss.

TEXAS

Defeated Okie St at Home 69-57

UT is a longshot at best to claim even a share of the title They are, nevertheless, a Tier 1 caliber team, being a handful of points away, including having a potential game winning (and season sweeping) shot in the air at the buzzer in Allen Fieldhouse, of being solidly in the championship mix. Win or not, they might play a big role in who does claim the title with a Home game vs. Iowa State and a Road contest at Tech on March 2 and 4 respectively,

TIER 2

BAYLOR

Lost to Tech on the Road 61-86

It would have been interesting to see where Scott Drew could have taken this team had Makoi Mason and King McClure stayed healthy. At full strength, they looked as good as anyone in this league.

But as Robert DeNiro said in the Deer Hunter, “This is this!”

TCU

Lost to OU at Home 62-73

One week ago, TCU was sitting on top of the Big 12 world. Or at least within a half game of the REAL top.

Then came two consecutive Losses at Home, violating the most basic of REAL Standing tenets.

OKLAHOMA

Defeated TCU on the Road 73-62

The Sooners hang on to Their 2 status and their hopes for an NCAA tournament bid.

TIER 3

OKIE ST

Lost to Texas on the Road 57-69

Fran keeps saying they have a good recruiting class on its way. That and about $5.00 will get them a cup of coffee at Starbucks this year.

TIER 4

WEST VIRGINIA

Lost to KU on the Road 53-78

If the Big 12 teams were cuts of meat, and the top 4 teams were sirloin steaks, ribeyes, porterhouses, and KC Strips, and Okie St a pink slime, West Virginia would be Soylent Green--except no one would be trying to figure out their secret.

If you are interested, Texas would be a pork chop (being Longhorns and all); and Baylor and TCU chopped beef steaks without their difference makers, mushrooms and sauce. And OU? Let’s just call them a veggie burger (Which, face it, is still better than pink slime and Soylent Green.).

CURRENT REAL STANDINGS

1. 13.5-4.5

K-State (9-3): Projected L’s: (at KU)

Up for Grabs: (at TCU)

2. 12.5-5.5

KU (9-4): Projected L’s: (TT)

Up for Grabs: (at OU)

Texas Tech (9-4): Projected L’s: (at ISU)

Up for Grabs: (at TCU)

ISU (8-4): Projected L’s: (at UT)

Up for Grabs: (at TCU)

5. 10-8

UT (7-6): Projected L’s (at TT)

Up for Grabs (at OU, at BU)

6. 9.5-8.5

BU (7-5): Projected L’s (at ISU, at KSU, at KU)

Up for Grabs: (UT)

7. 8-10

TCU (5-7): Projected L’s: (at UT)

Up for Grabs: (at OSU, ISU, Tech, KSU)

8. 6-12

OU (4-9): Projected L’s: (at ISU, at KSU)

Up for Grabs: (UT, KU)

9. 3.5-14.5

Okie St (2-10): Projected L’s (at KSU, at TT, KU, at BU)

Up for Grabs: (TCU)

10. 2-16

West Virginia (2-10): Projected L’s (KSU, at BU, TCU, at OU, ISU, at OSU)

Up for Grabs N.A.

AS SEEN ON TV (All times CST)

Monday

1, 8:00p.m. K-State at West Virginia (ESPN) *1/2 (Projected W: K-State)

K-State has not swept anyone this season to date. They have beaten nine teams one time each. That bizarre stat ends here.

2. 8:00p.m. TCU at Oklahoma St (ESPNU) ** (Up for Grabs)

This game could have some effect on TCU’s chances of receiving an NCAA tournament invitation. It has no Big 12 overtones.

Tuesday

3. 8:00p.m. Baylor at Iowa St (ESPN2) ** (Projected W: ISU)

The third and last game in the lightest segment of Midweek games of the season. But not the least. This is a losable game for the Cyclones if Mason and McClure are able to play. If not, “This is this!”

--Mark

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