Svi Myhailiuk scored 17 points and hit five threes as No. 2 Kansas knocked off Texas Tech, 67-58, on Saturday afternoon.
With the win, Bill Self is now the proud owner of a 12th consecutive Big 12 regular season title, which is the single-most incredible run in college basketball since Notre Dame ended UCLA’s 88-game winning streak 42 years ago.
To put that into context, Self’s first regular season title at Kansas came in 2005, his second season in Lawrence. That was the same year that YouTube was created, a year before the first tweet was ever tweeted and two years before the first iPhone was released.
And while Self has accomplished some impressive things during his time in Lawrence, this may be his best coaching job to date. This Kansas team does not have a first round draft pick playing a major role in their rotation — Myhailiuk until the last couple of weeks, Carlton Bragg and Cheick Diallo all play limited minutes off the bench — and, as of today, they are a full two games ahead of the field.
Should I mention that, according to KenPom.com’s ratings, this is the second-most difficult conference (behind the Big Ten in 2010-11) in the sport since the run began? I probably should mention that, right?
Here’s some other numbers that hopefully put into perspective just how dominant Kansas has been over the Big 12 in recent years:
- The worst record that Big 12 record that Kansas has logged during this run was last season’s 13-5 finish. Every other team that has played in the Big 12 during that span — including former members Missouri, Texas A&M, Colorado and Nebraska — has had at least one losing season during that span.
- Texas (2006 and 2008), Oklahoma (2005) and Kansas State (2013) are the only teams to even earn a share of the Big 12 crown in the last 12 years.
- The Jayhawks, as of today, are 165-35 in Big 12 regular season games during this run. They’re 95-5 in Phog Allen Fieldhouse during that stretch.
- The only current run that’s anywhere near comparable is Gonzaga winning 14 of the last 15 WCC regular season title. That included a stretch of 11 straight league titles from 2001-2011. But there’s a significant difference that needs to be mentioned here: The Zags did this as a top 10 program in a one bid conference.
- In the last 12 years, North Carolina, Duke, Kentucky, UCLA and Indiana have won a combined 17 regular season league titles.
- In addition to the 12 regular season titles, Kansas has also won six Big 12 tournament titles, giving them 18 league championships six 2005. UNC has won eight, Duke, Kentucky and UCLA have each won seven and Indiana has won just one.
- The record for most consecutive league titles is 13, which UCLA accomplished starting in the late-’60s and ending in 1979, a run that saw three different people coach the Bruins.
- Coach K has never won more than five straight league titles. Coach Cal has won five in a row as well. Roy Williams and Bobby Knight both won four in a row. Jim Calhoun once won three. Jim Boeheim once won two. Bill Self has won 12.
- Three times during this run has Kansas won the Big 12 in a year where they had to replace their entire starting five: in 2006-07, in 2008-09 and in 2013-14.
- He’s also won the league in three times when the best player in the country — Kevin Durant in 2007, Michael Beasley in 2008 and Blake Griffin in 2009 — were playing in the conference.
- Kansas has had three Big 12 Player of the Year award winners: Wayne Simien (2005), Marcus Morris (2011) and Thomas Robinson (2012).
There are a couple of things that critics will always note. Early on during this streak, before the Big 12 did away with divisions, Kansas played in the weaker North Division, meaning they got the chance to beat up on Nebraska and Colorado — who, remember, were members of the Big 12 at one point — twice a year. They’re also the only Big 12 team to reach the Final Four during this time frame, and the Jayhawks themselves have failed to get out of the first weekend of the NCAA tournament five times in the last 11 years.
But does that matter?
This streak is not a fluke. In the 23 years that Bill Self has been a head coach, he’s won 16 regular season titles. He finished second in his first season at Kansas, second in his last season at Illinois and third in his first season with Tulsa. He didn’t win a single regular season title in his four years at Oral Roberts because the Golden Eagles weren’t a member of any conference. And despite that fact, in a four-year span he took that program from six wins in his first year to 21 wins and a trip to the NIT in his last year.
There are kids currently in seventh grade that have never been alive in a year where Kansas did not win at least a share of the Big 12 title.
If that fact is lost on you, then I don’t think you are capable of being impressed.
We’re never going to see a run like this again.