Setting the Table: Big 12 Stretch Run

Another Big 12 regular season title this year would make this year's lone senior, Sherron Collins, the third consecutive four year class to have never not hoisted that trophy.

On Monday night, I proclaimed my own confidence in Kansas' sixth straight conference title being all but a done deal.  Now, of course anything can happen, but with a de facto three and a half game lead at present, (win over Kansas State being the half game, with one more to go against them, of course) it would take a fall from graces of monumental proportions for head coach Bill Self and his team to not perform a postgame celebration somewhere in a Big 12 arena come late February or early March.

As things presently stand, the Jayhawks are 9-0, with Texas A&M three games back and Kansas State three and a half back, (that's what we'll call it) each at 6-3, respectively.  So, in a sixteen game schedule, that means each team has seven games remaining.  Missouri hosts Iowa State on Wednesday night, so for argument's sake, we'll call that a win and put them at 6-3, as well. Also for argument's sake, we're going to say Texas is out of it at 5-4 and losing the lone tiebreaker* game to Kansas Monday night, so they are in essence five games back.

Big 12 Standings - Top 4

Team Big 12 W-L Overall W-L
Kansas 9-0 23-1
Kansas State 6-3 19-4
Texas A&M 6-3 17-6
Missouri 6-3** 17-6

So, now is as good of a time as any to do a couple things: 1. determine the likelihood that Kansas does or does not win the 2010 Big 12 regular season title, and 2. attempt to lay it all out in terms of situations and how things could play out, when and where the clinching game will take place.

* The Big 12 does not use tiebreakers in awarding Big 12 regular season titles, as they regularly have "co-champions."  The tiebreaker does, however, determine seeding in the Big 12 tournament.

** Including a projected win Wednesday night at home to Iowa State.

The rest of the Jayhawks schedule breaks down like this: They have one game each remaining against each of the three teams trying to catch them, so they can really get to the finish line all on their own.  Home to Iowa State on Saturday , then they travel to College Station to play the Aggies on Monday.  A win there (which will not come easily) knocks A&M out of the race.  Actually, a win against each of the three teams knocks each respective team out.  So, operating under the belief that they will take care of business against Iowa State on Saturday, Colorado next Saturday and Oklahoma at home that following Monday, that puts them at 12-0.  At that point, it would take exactly one win against either A&M, at Oklahoma State, home to Kansas State and at Missouri to secure a share of the title.  Two of the four would win it outright.

Fourteen wins is the magic number to reach to win it outright, given that the two losses come to two of those three teams AND one of those two teams wins out the remainder of their schedule.  That's what it would take to finish second behind Kansas by only one game. 

For one of them to earn a share, what would it take?  Kansas would have to (obviously) lose to any team trying to overtake them AND two more games along the way AND the team tracking them down would have to win out the remainder of their schedule. 

At that point, it would come down to tiebreakers, determined by the Big 12For one of them to win it outright, what would it take?  Beating Kansas, (obviously) AND Kansas dropping three more games along the way AND that team to win out the remainder of their schedule. 

If you're into throwing your money away for nothing, I'm sure there's a bookie in Vegas that will give you really good odds on the field winning the Big 12 regular season title.  Folks, it ain't happenin'.  I'll take the heat if it does, though since I'm on record now.

 

Big 12 Tournament

With seven games remaining to be played, and eight in some team's cases, and so many teams jumbled up within two games of each other, it is nearly impossible to project what the Big 12 tournament seeding will look like.  The only near obviouses are that Kansas will be the number one and Nebraska is gunning for twelfth.  For what it's worth, currently the Jayhawks would play the winner of the 8/9 game, which would be Oklahoma State and Texas Tech, respectively.

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