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Kansas will never lose another Big 12 championship under Bill Self

If the Kansas Jayhawks win the Big 12 regular season championship this year, don't expect them to ever fail to do so under Bill Self.

ANALYST
Editor's Pick 23 Feb 2018, 04:29 IST
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Iowa State v Kansas
Iowa State v Kansas

In the 2003-2004 NCAA basketball season, which was Bill Self's first season as the head coach of the Kansas Jayhawks men's basketball team, the team went 12-4 in the Big 12 conference and finished in a 2nd place tie in the conference's regular season standings with the Texas Longhorns behind only the Oklahoma State Cowboys.

Since then, Self's Jayhawks have never finished lower than a 1st place tie in the conference. They have won at least a share of the Big 12 conference title in each of the last 13 regular seasons, a total that is tied for the all-time record. They may never finish lower than 1st place under Self again.

This all-time consecutive regular season conference championship record is shared by Kansas and the UCLA Bruins, who won 13 straight Pacific-12 conference regular season championships.

The Bruins' streak started in the 1966-1967 season and lasted until the 1978-1979 season. The Bruins won all 13 of their titles outright while the Jayhawks have won nine outright Big 12 titles during their 13-year title run so far.

The Jayhawks shared the Big 12 conference regular season championship with the Oklahoma Sooners in the 2004-2005 season, the Texas Longhorns in the 2005-2006 and 2007-2008 seasons, and the Kansas State Wildcats in the 2012-2013 season.

At the beginning of this season, it looked as though this would be the year in which Kansas's streak finally came to an end. It appeared as though UCLA's run of 13 straight titles would not officially be knocked off the top spot in the NCAA men's basketball history books.

Kansas lost two home games early, including one at Allen Fieldhouse, their home court. They then lost another game at Allen Fieldhouse to their conference rivals, the Texas Tech Red Raiders.

At this point, Kansas, the team with arguably the biggest homecourt advantage in the country in recent seasons, had three home losses just 14 games into the season, with one coming to conference rival Texas Tech.

Also at this point, the Big 12 conference's West Virginia Mountaineers were streaking, as were the Oklahoma Sooners behind star point guard Trae Young. The TCU Horned Frogs were also playing at an uncharacteristically high level. Plus, the aforementioned Texas Tech Red Raiders had just won in arguably the nation's toughest environment.

The Big 12 was arguably the deepest conference in all of college basketball.

Yet the Kansas Jayhawks, the 13-time defending regular champions of the conference, were struggling mightily. In fact, they have since dropped yet another game at Allen Fieldhouse, doing so to the Oklahoma State Cowboys.

But with three games to go in the regular season, with all of those games being against Big 12 rivals, the Jayhawks sit alone in 1st place in arguably the nation's toughest conference.

Yes, you read that right.

With an 11-4 conference record, the Jayhawks sit one game ahead of the Red Raiders, who have a 10-5 conference record, in the Big 12.

This is the case despite the fact that only the Oklahoma State Cowboys, who have a 6-9 conference record, have more home losses than the Jayhawks do among the 10 teams in the Big 12 conference.

With the Jayhawks, who pride themselves on their homecourt advantage, still leading the Big 12 in a "down" year, will they ever not win the Big 12 regular season title? Of course, they haven't yet won this season's Big 12 conference regular season championship, but it is extremely likely that they will do so.

Even with a road loss against the Red Raiders, who have a 16-0 home record so far this season, on Saturday, the Jayhawks would still control their own destiny in terms of clinching a share of the Big 12 conference regular season title.

Conversely, a road win over the Red Raiders on Saturday would clinch the Jayhawks a share of the Big 12 regular season championship for the 14th consecutive season, which would break the all-time record.

Kansas's other remaining games this season are at home against the Texas Longhorns and on the road against the Oklahoma State Cowboys, while Texas Tech's other remaining games this season are on the road against the West Virginia Mountaineers and at home against the TCU Horned Frogs.

If the Jayhawks end up winning the Big 12 conference regular season championship this year after literally nothing was going their way and they were losing home games left and right, don't expect a Bill Self-coached Kansas team to ever fail to win the Big 12 championship.

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