Those greedy Jayhawks did it again Monday night, beating Oklahoma 83-75 at Allen Fieldhouse to clinch at least a tie for their 10th consecutive Big 12 title. That’s no small achievement in this age of conference expansions and contractions.
Consider this: UCLA is the only school in a power conference to win more consecutive league men’s basketball titles. Starting with John Wooden, and going just beyond, the Bruins racked up 13 conference crowns from 1967 through 1979.
Gonzaga is no doubt screaming for inclusion. The Zags applied the polish to 11 straight WAC championship trophies from 2001 through 2011.
Kentucky? As dominant as it has been in SEC basketball, UK’s longest run of regular-season championships is eight, from 1945 through 1952. Its second-longest streak is six, from 1968 through 1973. This might be hard to believe: The Cats have not captured back-to-back regular season conference titles since 1995 and 1996.
Naadir Tharpe led Kansas with 19 points Monday night. Andrew Wiggins contributed 15. Joel Embiid collected 13 rebounds to go with his 12 points as Kansas improved to 22-6 overall and 13-2 in the league. Kansas can wrap up the title outright on Saturday when it visits Oklahoma State. If Bill Self’s team misses out on that opportunity, Tubby Smith and Texas Tech visit Lawrence next week.
Jayhawks fans were in a celebratory mood Monday night. As columnist Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star reports, the parking lot attendants outside the place Phog Allen built greeted patrons by saying, “Enjoy the clinch.”
Photo by Travis Heying/McClatchy