Kansas has owned at least a share of the Big 12 regular-season title for 14 consecutive seasons, but extending that remarkable streak is looking more and more improbable with each painstaking loss away from historic Allen Fieldhouse.
The Jayhawks fell Tuesday night to Kansas State in Manhattan, Kansas, by a final score of 74-67. It's their fourth loss of the season, all away from their home floor, and third within conference play since it began in January. The loss drops them to 6-4 in the Big 12, two games out from Baylor and Kansas State, both of which sit atop the league with two losses.
For Kansas State, long-awaited validation in the form of a win over rival Kansas is sweet, sweet nectar. After an 0-2 start in league play, the Wildcats have won six straight -- including road wins at Iowa State, at Oklahoma and at Oklahoma State -- to become a potential favorite to win the conference. They're really an incredible story, and what a way to officially take hold of the league with a decisive win over the favorite to repeat.
Another stumble for Kansas, meanwhile, brings up familiar struggles: away from Lawrence, Kansas. If only Bill Self and Co. could close their eyes and tap their heels together three times to have all their games at home.
In true road games this season, the Jayhawks are 1-6 and 1-4 within conference play. Only once during their 14-season stretch of conference domination (2014-15) did they lose more than four true road conference games and also win the league.
So Kansas has shown it can still struggle on the road and win the league. But Tuesday against Kansas State it showed it still has a long way to go to show it can do anything but be a frontrunner in front of its rowdy crowd. That bodes well for its chances to win out in four remaining home games, but the four regular-season roadies left? None are guaranteed, not even on-the-slide Oklahoma or Oklahoma State.
And especially not in an NCAA Tournament format, where there are no home games.