The big picture
There are hits and there are misses. And then, there are misses.
Two weeks ago, in this very space, I posited that the loser of the Kansas State/Oklahoma game on February 2nd could essentially be eliminated from the conference race, even though they mathematically would remain alive for weeks. “The Jayhawks are favored to win in every game they have left,” I wrote, crediting the number-crunching skills of Ken Pomeroy. “With odds like that, it’s hard to believe that KU could drop three games down the stretch.”
Here we are, four games later, and I’ve been exposed as having the predictive skills of the Titanic’s engineers. The Jayhawks have lost three straight games for the first time in nearly eight years, and still have hostile road games left against Oklahoma State and Iowa State, plus a trip to face Baylor in Waco. And as for the loser of that Kansas State/Oklahoma game on February 2nd? The Sooners find themselves just a game behind KU and two games off the league lead, with the title race still wide open.
While it’s fun to laugh at how quickly my words were made to look foolish, it’s certainly worth noting just how shocking Kansas’ tailspin is. Not only were the Jayhawks favored by Pomeroy in each of those three games, but the cumulative probability of the team losing all three games was 0.196%. Not 19 percent, but 19 hundredths of a percent. If some Missouri fan had a bit too much to drink in Vegas and put down a few bucks on that moneyline parlay ten days ago, Allen Fieldhouse would probably have been turned into the world’s biggest Braum’s by now.
Even with the Jayhawks reeling, it’s tough to bet against Bill Self. Kansas has won or shared eight consecutive Big 12 titles, and the team still sits just a game out of first with a chance to knock off the league leaders tonight at Allen Fieldhouse. With four weeks to go, there’s certainly more than enough time for Kansas to get back on track and extend that conference-title streak to a ninth season. The road to the Big 12 title could still very well run through Lawrence, but now there are at least some viable contenders hoping to put in a detour.
TCU at Oklahoma; Monday, 6 P.M. CT (ESPNU)
Oklahoma State at Texas Tech; Wednesday, 6 P.M. CT (ESPNU)