Kansas did not technically clinch the Big 12 on Saturday. The Jayhawks still have four games left. So anything could happen, I guess.
But, yeah, that’s a wrap.
Seems clear now.
Kansas is going to win a 13th straight regular-season Big 12 title.
There’s no way to conclude anything other than that after the Jayhawks completed a regular-season sweep of Baylor via a 67-65 victory inside the Ferrell Center. Because Kansas is now 24-3 overall, 12-2 in the Big 12. And that’s good enough for a three-game lead with, again, just four games left on the schedule, two of which will be played in Allen Fieldhouse. At this point, the only way the Jayhawks wouldn’t win a 13th straight league title would be if they closed on a four-game losing streak while Baylor closed on a four-game winning streak. The latter is unlikely. The former is unimaginable. So congratulations, Bill Self, you’re about to add another trophy.
No school has ever won more league titles consecutively.
That’s in the history of college basketball.
Yes, UCLA once also won 13 straight -- from 1967 to 1979. But John Wooden only won nine of those whereas all 13 of KU’s belong to Self. Which is why it’ll be surprising, not to mention ridiculous, if he isn’t elected into the Naismith Hall of Fame this year.
His résumé features a national championship, two Final Fours and eight Elite Eights at three different schools -- first at Tulsa, then at Illinois and Kansas. He’s about to coach in the NCAA Tournament for the 19th consecutive year. And not one active Hall of Famer has even sniffed Self’s string of conference championships.
Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski and Kentucky’s John Calipari have never won more than five straight. North Carolina’s Roy Williams and Michigan State’s Tom Izzo have never won more than four straight. Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim and Louisville’s Rick Pitino have never won more than two straight. And before you try to tell me none of this is too impressive because the Big 12 isn’t all that impressive, please note that the Big 12 is the nation’s top-rated conference, according to KenPom, and that this is the fourth straight season it has been rated first at KenPom.
During this 13-year stretch, the Big 12 has been KenPom’s top-rated league five times, a top-two league eight times and a top-three league 10 times. If that makes the Big 12 weak, as one bro tried to suggest Saturday on Twitter, I would hate to see strong. And yet every season, for what will soon be 13 straight seasons, the Jayhawks finish atop the Big 12 standings -- and usually alone.
It really is an amazing accomplishment.
Consider it in this context: The SEC actually is weak, relative to the Big 12, and Calipari has been great at Kentucky. But he’s only won four of the past seven SEC titles. Self has won 12 of the past 12 Big 12 titles. And he’s just one more win (or Baylor loss) from making it 13 of the past 13.
So, sure, feel free to discount it if you’re comfortable sounding stupid. But also understand this: What Bill Self has done and is doing is literally unprecedented in college basketball history. And whenever his streak is finally snapped, I believe, we’ll never see another coach anywhere do something like this again.