RCW: Sport Spotlight 4.18 (Men's Basketball)
“It showed us just how good we can be when we play together, tough.” – Devonte’ Graham on his team’s resilience and chipping away at the 16-point deficit at the half #KUbball pic.twitter.com/IJwSm2SBHp
— Kansas Basketball (@KUHoops) January 16, 2018
A post shared by Kansas Basketball (@kuhoops) on Jan 15, 2018 at 5:39pm PST
Kansas has shown its dominance throughout its conference history and having fast starts and great coaching has played a huge role in KU’s NCAA-leading 60 all-time league regular-season titles.
Historically, Kansas’ 5-1 Big 12 record in 2017-18 indicates a trend that the Jayhawks are putting themselves in a great position to win the league regular-season race. In head coach Bill Self’s 15 seasons at Kansas, the Jayhawks have posted a 4-2 or better record every year through their first six conference games. Everyone knows that the last 13 of those 14 seasons, Kansas won or tied for the conference regular-season title, a streak that ties an NCAA record with UCLA from 1967-79. And that first season in 2004, Kansas finished second in the Big 12 race.
To show more of the dominance, the Jayhawks have won or tied for 17 of the Big 12’s 21 conference regular-season titles since the league began in 1996-97. In those seasons, Kansas has been 6-0 in conference play on nine occasions and no worse than 4-2, which occurred only twice (2006 and 2016) in its title runs.
“The names change but expectations don’t” has been a main theme for Self and his staff during their years in Lawrence. And the success of the KU coaches throughout the Big 12 era has played a major role in their teams living up to that mantra. In KU’s 71-66 win at West Virginia on Jan. 15, 2018, Self became the first coach in Big 12 history to reach 200 victories in conference regular-season play. Including Self, there have been a total of 49 men’s basketball head coaches in the 21-year history of the conference. Roy Williams, who coached Kansas in the Big 12 from 1997-2003, sits sixth on the victory list with a 94-18 record. Williams guided KU to four of its 17 Big 12 titles. Former Texas coach Rick Barnes is second at 186-94. Among active coaches listed, Baylor’s Scott Drew is behind Self at 107-133.
Though not even halfway through the 2017-18 Big 12 race, should the fast start trend continue, Kansas will be eying an outright NCAA record come March.