Kansas beat Oklahoma St. on Monday and secured the outright Big 12 Championship this season. That marks the 8th straight season in which KU Basketball has either tied or won the Big 12 outright. With Gonzaga’s run of 11 years in a row winning the West Coast Conference coming to an end, KU takes over as the nations longest active winning streak in conference titles. Per ESPN Stats & Information, the next-longest are, or were, Xavier’s five-year run in the A-10 (which is coming to an end this week) and Murray State and Belmont’s three-year runs in the OVC and A-Sun, respectively. The difference from KU’s streak compared to these other teams, is that Kansas plays in one of the Power Six conferences. The Big 12 in fact, has been rated the #1 or #2 conference in the NCAA when it comes to overall strength of conference.
This was the year that the incredible streak was suppose to come to an end with Bill Self losing 4 of his starters and majority of scoring from last season. KU lost the Morris twins to the draft and Morningstar and Reed graduated. The only returning starter was Tyshawn Taylor, whose nickname for most of his career has been “Turnover Taylor” due to his high turnover ratio. Thomas Robinson was the only other player returning from last year that had a significant role and he only averaged 14 minutes a game. This team was suppose to be mediocre coming into the season, then KU found out that their two top freshmen were ruled ineligible due to academics for the year. Bill Self was given no chance at winning the conference title again.
So what did he do? He turned Thomas Robinson into the leading candidate for Player of the Year and Tyshawn Taylor into one of the most reliable point guards in the country. He took Connor Teahan, a red shirt walk-on, and turned him into a lights out three point shooter coming off the bench. Jeff Withey wasn’t expected to do anything this year either, but he has turned into a game changer on defense with his heights and length blocking shots. Bill Self has shown this year that he isn’t just a coach at a big program that brings in top talent. He also takes average talent and coach’s them into top talent in the country.
The Big 12 Tournament starts next week in Kansas City where KU has seen recent success as well. Kansas has won 5 out of the last 6 Big 12 Tournaments, their only falter was in 2009 when Missouri won it. Out of the 10 times Kansas City has hosted the Big 12 Tournament, Kansas has won 6 of those. KU is also playing for a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. It will be the last tournament with both Kansas and Missouri since Mizzou is heading to the SEC next season.
To see any KU Basketball game at Allen Fieldhouse visit www.ticketsforless.com or call their friendly staff at 913-685-3322 for the best selection and prices to any Kansas Basketball game. Tickets For Less also has tickets to the Big 12 Tournament at the Sprint Center in Kansas City.