REAL STANDINGS: THE "AND THEN THERE WERE THREE" EDITION

REAL STANDINGS: THE AND THEN THERE WERE THREE EDITION

The Kansas City Star’s headline following KU’s loss to Texas Tech in Lubbock read: “Separation Saturday: Texas Tech races to 25-point halftime lead, hands Kansas big loss.”

The accompanying story began as follows:

Kansas has not officially been eliminated from contention for a 15th straight Big 12 Conference title. The Jayhawks’ fleeting championship hopes took a severe hit on Saturday, however.”

Wrong and wrong.

First, Tech did not hand Kansas a “big loss.” For anyone paying attention, this Loss had been projected in the REAL Standings since Day 1 of the 2019 Big 12 season. This one, in Game 14, was not responsible for KU’s fleeting championship hopes suffering a “severe hit.”

The “severe hit” came in KU’s first game of the season in Morgantown, West Virginia. You can lose to your primary rivals on their court and move on. You can’t lose to a team that none of your rivals would lose to in a hundred tries and do anything but flail away like a non-swimmer who has fallen off a boat without wearing a flotation device.

In the REAL world, KU did not lose anything Saturday night. Their REAL position with respect to K-State and Texas Tech remains the same as it was Saturday morning, with all three performing as Projected: K-State and Tech winning at Home, while KU lost on the Road to a peer team. KU and Tech continue to trail K-State by a full game.

What did happen Saturday was that KU missed an opportunity to make up for West Virginia and remain in control of their own fate. At this point, only K-State does not have to rely on help from anyone else.

In other action, Iowa St and Texas both demonstrated (along with their other work this season), that they are a cut below the Top three teams. Baylor’s record is the same as KU’s but its escape from West Virginia on its Home Court, did nothing to raise its status—even though, at full strength, they might be as good as anyone in the league. They will have their chance to make their case in Manhattan next Saturday.

CURRENT TIERS

TIER 1

K-STATE

Defeated Okie St as Projected at Home 85-46

K-State has nothing REAL to lose in its Big Monday game against KU, being a Projected Loss. It does have an opportunity to put the Jayhawks out of their misery.

TEXAS TECH

Defeated KU as Projected at Home

It is rare that the REAL Standings Report comments on the particulars of specific games, because all that matters is (a) did you win or lose and (b) where was the game played?

That said, based on Saturday night, forget the Big 12 race: Texas Tech is your 2019 National Champion.

All the Red Raiders have to do is make 16 of 26 three-pointers every game. Hard to beat 48 points on 26 shots, which is equivalent to making 24 of 26 two-point shots (92%). Other than Villanova last April, who is going to beat that? (On second thought, Villanova was only 18-40.)

KU

Lost to Tech as Projected on the Road

The Jayhawks are taking big time hits for its performance in Lubbock. The bottom line, however, is

that KU is 1-1 this season with the Red Raiders, having beaten them easily in Lawrence. Had the dates of the games been reversed, would that make a difference in the standings, REAL or otherwise?

In a Word: No.

TIER 2

IOWA STATE

Lost to TCU on the Road 72-75

The darling of the media pundits most of the season has fallen on hard times. They were the team that was expected to go 16-26 from 3-point land in a big game. Not Tech. Their game on the final day of the conference season poses the biggest threat to Tech’s hopes should K-State stumble along the way.

TEXAS

Lost to Oklahoma on the Road 67-69

The Longhorns again hung around to the end but failed to close the deal as a potential game wining shot was blocked at the buzzer. What this means is that Tech is not Home free when the two teams play in Lubbock.

BAYLOR

Squeezed by West Virginia at Home 82-75

The Bears remain mathematically alive. All they need do is win in Manhattan and Lawrence and hold off Texas in Waco, and pray—which they do a lot of in Waco.

TIER 3

TCU

Defeated Iowa St at Home 75-72

If KU protects its Home Court vs. K-State, the Jayhawks will have an inordinate amount of interest in TCU’s Home games vs. Tech and K-State.

OKLAHOMA

Defeated Texas at Home 69-67

The Sooners could still spoil KU’s season at Home (Up for Grabs) or K-State’s on the Road (Projected Loss).

In other words, even though TCU and OU have a combined total of zero wins over a Tier 1 opponent this season, both have games remaining with those trams where they can play with reckless abandon with nothing to lose. It could get REAL interesting.

TIER 4

OKIE ST

Lost to K-State on the Road 46-85

Okie St vs. West Virginia on the final day of the season. What Nostradamus set that up?

TIER 5

WEST VIRGINIA

Lost to Baylor on the Road 75-82

Bob Huggins has his team playing hard and better. To the extent that means anything.

CURRENT REAL STANDINGS

1. 14-4

K-State (11-3): Projected L’s: (at KU)

Up for Grabs: N.A.

Other games: vs. Baylor, vs. OU

2. 13.5-4.5

Texas Tech (10-4): Projected L’s: N.A.

Up for Grabs: (at Iowa St)

Other games: vs. OSU, at TCU, vs. UT

3. 13-5

KU (9-5): Projected L’s: N.A.

Up for Grabs: N.A.

Other games: vs. KSU, at OSU, at OU, vs. BU

4. 11-7

BU (9-5): Projected L’s (at KSU, at KU)

Up for Grabs: N.A.

Other games: vs. UT, vs. OSU

5. 10.5-7.5

ISU (8-6): Projected L’s: (at UT)

Up for Grabs: (Tech)

6. 9-9

UT (7-7): Projected L’s (at BU, at TT)

Up for Grabs N.A.

7. 7-11

TCU (6-8): Projected L’s: (at Tech, at KSU, at UT)

Up for Grabs: N.A.

8. 6-12

OU (5-9): Projected L’s: (at ISU, KU, at KSU)

Up for Grabs: N.A.

9. 4-14

Okie St (3-11): Projected L’s (at TT, KU, at BU)

Up for Grabs: N.A.

10. 2-16

West Virginia (2-12): Projected L’s (TCU, at OU, ISU, at OSU)

Up for Grabs N.A.

AS SEEN ON TV (All times CST)

Monday

1, 7:00p.m. Oklahoma at Iowa St (ESPN2) **1/2 (Projected W: Iowa St)

The Cyclones have Lost at Home to K-State, TCU, and Baylor. Can they sink to the level of Losing in Ames to the Sooners?

2. 8p.m. K-State at KU (ESPN) ***** (Projected W: KU)

The term “Must Win” is often overused. Not this time. At least from KU’s perspective. A Loss and it is over. Not in the sense of losing by 39 points in Lubbock. In the sense of IT’S OVER!

Tuesday

3. 6:00p.m. TCU at West Virginia (ESPNU) *1/2 (Projected W: TCU)

West Virginia has showed some gumption recently. TCU can’t afford to fall asleep at the wheel.

Wednesday

4. 6:00p.m. Oklahoma St at Texas Tech (ESPNU) * (Projected W: Tech)

Okie St will play Tech closer in Lubbock than KU just did. FWIW.

5. 8:00p.m. Texas at Baylor (ESPN 2) **** (Projected W: Baylor)

Believe it or not, the Bears could still claim a share of the Big 12 title if they Win out. And the Moon is in the Seventh House. And Jupiter aligns with Mars. And peace guides the planets. And love steers the stars.

--Mark

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