It finally happened.
The incredible 14-year streak of Big 12 conference titles came to end on Tuesday night in an ugly loss against the Oklahoma Sooners. The loss brings the total to six in conference play – the most conference losses for a KU team since 1989.
The streak started back in 2004-05 with a team that featured one of KU’s strongest senior classes in the last 20 years: Wayne Simien, Michael Lee, Keith Langford, and Aaron Miles. That team finished 12-4 in conference play and went on to lose in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
During the 14-year streak, KU finished with an average of 14-3 in conference play. Considering all the turnover year-to-year with players leaving for the NBA, transfers, graduation, they still dominated the league and finished with an average of 14 wins per season. That in itself is nothing short of remarkable.
To get everyone’s best shot, every game, for 14 years because of the name on the front of the jersey, and still find a way to win the league, is extraordinary.
According to kenpom.com, the average strength of the Big 12 over the last 15 years is 2.47. Kansas finished first in often the toughest or second toughest league throughout 14 years.
Since Bill Self started this streak, Mike Krzyzewski has had one sixth place finish, two fifth place finishes and two thirds in the ACC. And in Self's "down" year, KU might end up third. Unreal run of consistency.
— CJ Moore (@CJMooreHoops) March 6, 2019
And just think of what had to happen for the streak to finally end.
Udoka Azubuike, who led Division I in field goal percentage last year, went down for the year with an injury before Big 12 play. Silvio De Sousa – a key contributor to last year’s Final Four run – was ruled ineligible for the remainder of the year. Lagerald Vick, your lone senior, took a leave of absence from the team with several Big 12 games remaining. The teams best defender Marcus Garrett, missed several games due to injury.
And yet, Kansas is still likely to finish third in the Big 12 and receive no lower than a 4 seed in the NCAA tournament. That’s pretty astonishing.
The streak was bound to end sometime – all good things do. Take solace in the fact that you as a Kansas fan got to participate in and witness one of the greatest feats in sports history. Rock Chalk.
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