Busting Brackets

Kansas Jayhawks Extend Staggering Streak


With their 76-69 overtime victory over West Virginia, the Kansas Jayhawks extended their streak of Big 12 titles to 11 in a row. We look back and put the streak into historical perspective.

The sign high in the rafters of Phog Allen Fieldhouse reads:

"“Pay heed all who enter: Beware of The Phog!”"

The Kansas Jayhawks (24-6, 13-4 Big 12) escaped an upset bid by a scrappy and undermanned West Virginia team with a 76-69 overtime win. The Jayhawks rallied from 18 down and overcame losing Perry Ellis to a knee injury behind powerful performances by Frank Mason and Jamari Traylor.

But the game itself is not the story. With the win, Bill Self and his Kansas club claimed their 11th straight Big 12 championship. It is time now to “pay heed” to The Streak.

The Jayhawks run of 11 straight conference titles is the most impressive feat in modern college basketball. The outright claim to this year’s crown ties the Jayhawks with Gonzaga’s streak of 11 straight West Coast Conference titles (2001-2011). The Jayhawks have made it to 11 in a row while playing major conference talent every night.

From 1967-79 the vintage UCLA teams claimed 13 consecutive Pac-8/Pac-10 titles. That is the only feat that trumps what the Jayhawks have accomplished. It could be argued that, in this era, what Kansas has done is more impressive than the Bruin streak.

Kansas is aided by one of the best home court advantages in all of sports. The Streak began in 2005 and since that time the Jayhawks have lost only FIVE conference home games while winning 86. Self has lost nine home games in his Kansas career. He has more consecutive Big 12 titles than home losses.

Kansas regularly sends players to the NBA, sometimes after only one season. This year’s version of the Jayhawks had to replace top-3 picks Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid. Such roster turnover has not interrupted The Streak. The Jayhawks have won the Big 12 on two occasions while returning zero starters.

Due to the early NBA departures, Self often must depend on freshmen to contribute immediately – case in point, Kelly Oubre and Cliff Alexander this year. Youthful rosters have not been able to interrupt The Streak. In 2005-06 the Jayhawks started three freshmen – Mario Chalmers, Julian Wright and Brandon Rush – and still captured the Big 12 title.

No other conference in America has seen such singular dominance during this 11-year span. While Kansas has been winning the Big 12, the Big Ten has seen seven different champions, the ACC and SEC have seen five different champions and the Pac-12 has seen four different winners.

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  • Like many other years, this was supposed to be the year The Streak was interrupted. Texas returned key pieces from a tournament team and added the nation’s #2 recruit in Myles Turner. Iowa State and Fred Hoiberg returned every key piece from a Sweet Sixteen team. Oklahoma returned a powerful backcourt of Buddy Hield and Isaiah Cousins. None of that mattered as The Streak rolled on.

    Conference titles are great for filling an overflowing trophy case, but they are not the ultimate goal in Lawrence. Jayhawk detractors will point to upset losses in the NCAA Tournament and Self’s single title during this 11-year reign. And there will be a time and place to evaluate this team’s postseason abilities, assess their weaknesses and grade their tournament performance.

    But for now, the Kansas Jayhawks are Big 12 champs…again. The Streak continues.

    Next: Coach's Clipboard: The Baylor Bears Zone Defense