What if I told you that the KU women’s basketball team is off to their best start since 2005-06 heading into Big 12 play at 11-0 and that it means absolutely nothing? It means nothing because how the Jayhawks finish in Big 12 play is what (should) determine whether or not head coach Brandon Schneider keeps his job next season.
Here’s how the Jayhawks have finished in non-conference play under Schneider:
As you can see there was steady improvement from year one to year five but in all four previous years, the Jayhawks’ NCAA Tournament appearances equate to zero. Why is that? Because of their dismal performance in Big 12 play.
Here is a look at how the Jayhawks have finished in conference play under Schneider:
2015-16: 0-18 (Last place)
2016-17: 2-16 (Last place)
2017-18: 3-15 (Ninth place)
2018-19: 2-16 (Last place)
So as you can tell, non-conference records ultimately mean nothing when it comes to a team’s overall success. KU won 10 non-conference games last year and then won only two regular season conference games the rest of the season and missed out on the NCAA Tournament.
If Schneider wants to keep his job, he needs to show improvement in Big 12 play and get this team back to competing for a spot in the NCAA Tournament – something his predecessor, Bonnie Henrickson, did six times during her 11 years at the helm.
Miraculously, despite the little progress shown in conference play and no postseason appearances, previous KU Athletic Director Sheahon Zenger gave Schneider a two-year extension in the spring of 2018. His original contract would have expired at the end of this season but his contract now runs through March of 2022.
But it is now year five and the Big 12 is a much different animal than the Southland Conference where Schneider previously coached at Stephen F. Austin. It’s time that Schneider proves he belongs at KU and in the Big 12 and it starts this Saturday as the Jayhawks take on the 9-3 Oklahoma State Cowgirls in Stillwater.
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