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Big 12 Basketball Conference Saturday

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Those of you who were readers of BON last basketball season may remember the Tier system that we used to predict individual games and the overall conference race. The Tier system puts the result of an individual game into one of three categories: Projected Win, Toss-Up, or Projected Loss. It allows us to look at the Big 12 conference race with more accuracy.

Looking at just current standings skews the view of the conference race. For one, not all teams have played the same number of conference games. And secondly, the strength of schedule that each team has played thus far varies greatly. For example, Texas Tech has started with Baylor and Texas—two teams expected to be in the Big 12 race, while Baylor began its conference season with Texas Tech and OU—two teams that will not be there in March. Thus the 0-2 mark for Tech and the 2-0 mark for Baylor are less predictive of team quality than they may appear.

Let’s take a look at the Tiers:

Tier I
Projected Wins: All home games, and road games against Tier III teams.
Toss-Ups: Road games against Tier II teams.
Projected Losses: Road games against Tier I teams.

Tier II
Projected Wins: Home games against Tier II and Tier III teams.
Toss-Ups: Home games against Tier I teams & road games against Tier III teams.
Projected Losses: Road games against Tier I and Tier II teams.

Tier III
Projected Wins: Home games against Tier III teams.
Toss-Ups: Home games against Tier II teams.
Projected Losses: All road games & home games against Tier I teams.

The next question is which teams fall into which categories. At this point in the season, this is tough to project. Teams have played very different non-conference schedules and only a game or two in the Big 12. I think we’ll have a firmer grasp on where the teams fall after today.

If I had to place the teams in Tiers this morning, I’d go with –

Tier I: Kansas, Missouri, Texas, Baylor
Tier II: Texas A&M, Oklahoma State, Colorado, Kansas State
Tier III: Nebraska, Iowa State, Texas Tech, and Oklahoma.

Using these as our Tier rankings, projections for today’s games are:

Missouri at Texas A&M 12 noon ESPN2. Projection: Toss-up

Texas Tech at Kansas State 12:30 pm Big 12 Network Projection: Kansas State win

Oklahoma State at Colorado 12:30 pm Big 12 Network Projection: Colorado win

Nebraska at Kansas 1 pm ESPNU Projection: Kansas win

Oklahoma at Texas 3 pm Big 12 Network Projection: Texas win

Baylor at Iowa State 5 pm Projection: Baylor win

Happy basketball watching.