BIG 12 OUTLOOK: 02.02.09


Big Twelve Conference Standings

(updated 2.1.2009 at 3:16 AM CST)

Conf Overall
W L W L
Oklahoma Sooners 7 0 21 1
Kansas Jayhawks 6 0 17 4
Missouri Tigers 5 2 18 4
Texas Longhorns 4 2 15 5
Texas A&M Aggies 3 4 17 5
Baylor Bears 3 4 15 6
Kansas St. Wildcats 3 4 14 7
Nebraska Cornhuskers 3 4 13 7
Oklahoma St. Cowboys 2 4 13 7
Iowa St. Cyclones 1 5 12 9
Texas Tech Red Raiders 1 5 11 10
Colorado Buffaloes 1 5 9 11


Who? Dem Cats Do!

Kansas State, welcome to the muddied middle and the epic battle for 5th place in the Big 12. Only four teams have lost fewer than four games in league play, and they appear to have a leg up on the others for 1st round byes. Everything else is up for debate.

At any rate, hang on to your hats, Cat fans. According to Big 12 Outlook, we're about to go on one hell of a ride, and there just might be the possibility of a four-letter tournament at the end of it if things play out right...

Seed* Record* RPI Pomeroy Sagarin Best Win** Worst Loss** Coach
Oklahoma 1 16-0 3 12 5 Purdue Arkansas Jeff Capel
Kansas 2 12-4 23 19 22 Washington UMass Bill Self
Texas 3 11-5 26 26 24 UCLA Arkansas Rick Barnes
Missouri 4 11-5 30 13 20 USC Nebraska Mike Anderson
Kansas State 5 10-6 74 37 55 Missouri Oregon Frank Martin
Oklahoma State 6 9-7 27 40 41 Rhode Island Texas A&M Travis Ford
Baylor 7 9-7 38 36 31 Arizona State Texas A&M Scott Drew
Nebraska 8 7-9 83 64 74 Missouri UMBC Doc Sadler
Texas A&M 9 6-10 35 75 61 Baylor Tulsa Mark Turgeon
Iowa State 10 3-13 135 120 114 Houston Hawai'i Greg McDermott
Texas Tech 11 1-15 118 126 115 New Mexico Lamar Pat Knight
Colorado 12 1-15 215 165 191 Iowa State SMU Jeff Bzdelik

Note: As any of these numbers change, I will color-code them to indicate direction of change.
Team names that are colored indicate a change in seed.
(green = upward, red = downward)

*Predicted
**According to Pomeroy rating

 

Discussion

Amazing what a win over Texas will do for you, isn't it?

If things hold, and assuming the team continues to improve (and I see no reason to think they won't), we are entering the "easy" part of our schedule. Four of the next five games are at home, and the potential exists to put together a long winning streak if we can get by Texas A&M on Saturday.

Current projections have us winning that game and once again beating Kansas at home. In fact, Pomeroy doesn't have us losing again until Missouri and Oklahoma State, for a 7-2 finish. That would put us at 10-6 for the third straight season, award us the No. 5 seed, and put us squarely on the bubble. We would likely play Colorado in the 1st round in this scenario, and then a win on the second day might be enough to put us in for sure.

Based on this information, I now tentatively project that the Big 12 will get at least five teams in the Dance: Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Texas, and Kansas State. Baylor and Oklahoma State might be duking it out for a potential 6th spot. I know this all sounds premature when we still have a losing record in conference play, but look at how our schedule sets up. We will likely win anywhere from 8-10 of our last 12 games. By NCAA committee standards, that's red smokin' hot, kids.

It might be enough to overcome the crappy non-conference resume. It will certainly result in a big RPI boost; Saturday's win already accounted for a nearly 20-point jump. The Texas win was the missing piece in the scenario, and it was the piece I needed to see before I started to call us a bubble team. Barring an upset, I now think it is a realistic possibility we need to be thinking about.

Meanwhile, Baylor and Oklahoma State are a perfect example of why RPI isn't the only thing the committee looks at. Both have high RPIs, mainly remnants of their non-conference schedule, but the eyeball test clearly tells you that both teams are falling apart right now, as Baylor rides a 3-game losing streak since beating us and Oklahoma State has lost four of their last five. Nonetheless, they maintained their position in the projections. We just jumped them. That's how important the Texas win was.

Oklahoma is now projected to run the table. Frankly, I'm not sure that's as ludicrous as it once seemed. They appear to be running away from the pack. Kansas won't beat them in Norman. I'm not sure Texas is good enough to ever beat them. The last real hurdle is Columbia but OU may be unstoppable by then. We'll see.

The top four and the bottom four stayed roughly the same, with only some minor fluctuations in projected records. The main action, as usual, is in the middle, where the current 4-way tie looks to break in our favor. Note that Kansas State jumps Baylor and Oklahoma State here despite losing to both of them. That's what playing in the North can do for you.

Based on Saturday's results, Pomeroy now projects us to beat Kansas. There were no other changes in the Pomeroy projections.

There were no changes in the Sagarin projections.

 

Self-Evaluation

Big 12 Outlook went 4-2 on Saturday, and I'll trade my accuracy for a win over Texas any day of the week. As for Nebraska beating Texas Tech, I did mention that was a distinct possibility due to the toss-up nature of that game. Only the fact that it was in Lubbock even put it in question. Besides, computers can't account for the genetic insanity of the Knight family.

As you can see below, I like all the home teams to hold serve this week, except Colorado. Now, while there are no toss-up games this week, I have some caveats:

  • Baylor is on a 3-game losing streak and may be mentally fragile right now, so Kansas beating them in Waco would not be a huge shock. That said, Baylor has a lot of talent and a lot of pride, and Kansas is still a young team that showed some serious vulnerabilities last week despite winning twice. I like the Bears to win this one and deal the Jayhawks their first (and long overdue) conference loss. On their way back to Lawrence, Kansas will probably stop by Dallas so the Big 12 schedule-makers can kiss their feet one more time.
  • While we can never entirely rule out the possibility of a letdown, I think the Wildcats are past that. The expectations are different in the Frank Martin era, and the quick turnaround and home environment should prevent Iowa State from surprising us unduly.
  • Watch out for Colorado. In their last three games they have taken us to overtime (and it now appears that we are better than our record at the time indicated), beaten Iowa State and played Kansas to the wire in Allen Fieldhouse. They're a pretty young team that, while lacking much talent, might finally be turning the corner. When they upset Baylor in the Big 12 Tournament last year, I felt that it would be only a matter of time before Bzdelik made the Buffaloes more competitive in this conference. Now, that doesn't mean upper-division team, of course, but it does mean they won't be laying down for teams anymore.

Key

Obviously, R serves only as a tiebreaker, so it is only listed when there is a split between P and S.

Results are plugged into this wonderful tool to generate the predicted records and seed order.

 

Predicted Outcomes

01.10
61 Tech
73 Baylor
67 I-State
75 Texas
61 Oklahoma
53 K-State
51 Missouri
56 Nebraska
61 A&M
72 O-State
01.12-01.14
63 Texas
78 Oklahoma
71 K-State
87 Kansas
53 Nebraska
65 I-State
62 Colorado
107 Missouri
73 Baylor
84 A&M
01.17
92 O-State
98 Baylor (OT)
73 Kansas
56 Colorado
46 I-State
77 Missouri
51 K-State
73 Nebraska
69 Oklahoma
63 A&M
71 Texas
49 Tech
01.19-01.21
53 A&M
73 Kansas
55 Colorado
63 Tech
83 Baylor
65 K-State
97 Missouri
95 O-State
61 Nebraska
72 Oklahoma
01.24
77 K-State
75 Colorado (OT)
82 Kansas
67 I-State
86 Tech
97 Missouri
76 O-State
74 Nebraska (OT)
76 Baylor
95 Oklahoma
58 A&M
67 Texas
01.26-01.28
89 Oklahoma
81 O-State
78 Texas
72 Baylor
49 I-State
55 Colorado
72 Missouri
88 K-State
68 Kansas
62 Nebraska
70 Tech
79 A&M
01.31
78 Oklahoma
68 I-State
85 K-State
81 Texas (OT)
61 Colorado
66 Kansas
72 Baylor
89 Missouri
82 Nebraska
69 Tech
64 O-State
76 A&M
02.02-02.04
Kansas
@ Baylor (PS)
I-State
@ K-State (PS)
Nebraska (PS)
@ Colorado
Missouri
@ Texas (PS)
Tech
@ O-State (PS)
A&M
@ Oklahoma (PS)
02.07
Colorado
@ Oklahoma (PS)
Missouri (PS)
@ I-State
K-State (PR)
@ A&M (S)
O-State
@ Kansas (PS)
Texas (PS)
@ Nebraska
Baylor (PS)
@ Tech
02.09-02.11
Kansas
@ Missouri (PS)
O-State
@ Texas (PS)
Oklahoma (PS)
@ Baylor
Colorado
@ I-State (PS)
Tech
@ K-State (PS)
02.14
A&M
@ Baylor (PS)
Texas (PS)
@ Colorado
I-State
@ O-State (PS)
Kansas (S)
@ K-State (PR)
Nebraska
@ Missouri (PS)
Tech
@ Oklahoma (PS)
02.16-02.18
Texas (PS)
@ A&M
I-State
@ Kansas (PS)
Colorado
@ Nebraska (PS)
O-State (PS)
@ Tech
02.21
Missouri (PS)
@ Colorado
K-State (PS)
@ I-State
Nebraska
@ Kansas (PS)
Baylor
@ O-State (PS)
A&M (PS)
@ Tech
Oklahoma (RS)
@ Texas (P)
02.23-02.25
Kansas
@ Oklahoma (PS)
Baylor (PS)
@ I-State
A&M
@ Nebraska (PS)
O-State (PS)
@ Colorado
K-State
@ Missouri (PS)
Tech
@ Texas (PS)
02.28-03.01
Colorado
@ Baylor (PS)
I-State
@ A&M (PS)
Nebraska
@ K-State (PS)
Texas
@ O-State (PS)
Oklahoma (PS)
@ Tech
Missouri
@ Kansas (PS)
03.02-03.04
Baylor
@ Texas (PS)
K-State
@ O-State (PS)
A&M (PS)
@ Colorado
Kansas (PS)
@ Tech
Oklahoma (RS)
@ Missouri (P)
I-State
@ Nebraska (PS)
03.07
Tech
@ I-State (PS)
Colorado
@ K-State (PS)
Texas
@ Kansas (PS)
Missouri (PS)
@ A&M
Nebraska
@ Baylor (PS)
O-State
@ Oklahoma (PS)
X
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