Bill Self will attempt to win his 500th career game Monday night in Ames, Iowa, against Fred Hoiberg's Cyclones. The odds certainly say that Kansas' head coach will accomplish the feat against Iowa State -- since his record at Kansas is 292-57 and he's 135-27 in Big 12 contests (yes, I know Iowa State is undefeated at Hilton Coliseum this season).
Self turned 50 this past December, but he's a young 50.
He's averaged 33 wins per season over the past six years, more than anyone else in the nation. If he can go 15 more years and average 33 victories, that would put him in the 1,000-victory range. Duke's Mike Krzyzewski has 951 wins and just celebrated his 66th birthday earlier this month. He could go another five years and put his record out of reach in the 1,100 range. Jim Boeheim is 68 years old and recently surpassed the 900-win plateau, but could also wind up with more than 1,000 when he ultimately decides to call it a career.
Everyone wants to know who could challenge Coach K as the men's all-time winningest coach? A familiar name that surfaces is Butler's 36-year-old Wonder Boy, Brad Stevens. However, Stevens is still nearly 800 victories behind Krzyzewski. That's a lot of wins, folks.
Self is almost halfway to the 1,000 mark. It's still not exactly within spitting distance, but as long as Self remains at Kansas he'll have a chance to win 30 games just about every year -- and then it becomes a matter of longevity. His head coaching career began with a 55-54 mark in four seasons at Oral Roberts, but it was at Tulsa when he began to rack up wins. He won 74 games in three seasons with the Golden Hurricanes before leaving for Illinois, where he won 78 in three years.
Self has gone to the NCAA tournament in each of his last 14 seasons -- and has a national championship on his resume. He is a proven recruiter -- and also displayed he was more than just that when he took the Jayhawks to the national title game. I'm not sure how long Self will continue to coach. My guess is he doesn't have any idea, either. Some close to him feel there's no chance he'll still be roaming the sidelines when he is eligible to collect social security; others wouldn't be surprised if he goes well into his 60s.
However, he's in Year 10 in Lawrence, and continues to rack up the victories at an alarming pace. It's taken him 661 games to reach 500, which ranks as the ninth quickest in NCAA history (Adolph Rupp was first in 583 contests). However, while the focus will be on Self and 500 Monday night at Hilton Coliseum, the Jayhawks coach will be more concerned with another number: Nine.
Kansas is tied with rival Kansas State atop the Big 12 and the Jayhawks are hoping to extend their Big 12 regular-season dominance to nine consecutive seasons. A win against the Cyclones would put KU (23-4, 11-3) in control with home contests against West Virginia and Texas Tech -- and the regular-season finale at a Baylor team that has underachieved this season. The Wildcats still have to go to Baylor and Oklahoma State.