Kansas put up a real stinker in its final game of the regular season Saturday, falling 81-58 at Baylor. It would easily be the worst of KU's five losses this season, but let us never forget TCU's 62-55 win over Bill Self's team back in early February. That one still feels like fake life.
The loss to Baylor means Kansas' chances at a No. 1 seed could take a significant hit. Gonzaga, Duke, Louisville and Georgetown won Saturday. Michigan State and the winner of Indiana/Michigan Sunday will have a shot to stay in the race as well. The field of candidates for the top line is, finally, whittling.
Kansas isn't completely done, but it unquestionably must win the Big 12 tournament now. So that's the big takeaway. The footnote is another Big 12 title for Self's program. He's won it in the regular season every year except one -- his first one -- since he got there. This season, the loss back-doored a league crown that will be shared with Kansas State. And credit to Bruce Weber for doing this in his first year with the Wildcats. In fact, it's the first time in 36 years K-State's laid claim to a regular-season title.
That's older than me by five years. Weber probably hasn't earned as much talk for national coach of the year as he should.
Back to Kansas. Even in spite of the loss, if any of you Kansas fans wants to cue up some criticism of Self, check out these numbers first. All but maybe five programs in the country would trade their coach for yours because of a resume like this.
Updating Bill Self's resume of league finishes in his career. Tulsa 3 1 1. Illinois 1 1 2. KU 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1.— Blair Kerkhoff (@BlairKerkhoff) March 10, 2013
Is that a computer code or arguably the greatest run of coaching in the past decade and a half?
NCAA tournament success is no accident, but it can sometimes be a random devil of outcomes. The real barometer for how good a coach is lies in the long-term success and charts of his regular-season results. Never finishing worse than third -- and only doing that once, in addition to only finishing second twice -- along with more than a decade's worth of first-place finishes is just astonishing. You shouldn't be able to do this in college hoops, not with three teams at three different notches of programs.
Kudos, again, to Bill Self for making it look much easier than it actually is.
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