I know it's football season, but I kind of wanted to do a little dreaming about the basketball team. So, here you go, straight from the glorious, glorious world of a future where you decide what happens. Hope you enjoy the break from the upcoming reality of football season.
On February 3rd, 2007, Kansas lost at home. Acie Law IV hit a clutch, step-back three with Brandon Rush's hand right in his face from the bottom right corner of your television sets which put the Aggies up for good with a minute-or-so remaining.
It was on ESPN's College Gameday; the primetime game of the night, meaning it had a large audience. It introduced the ampersands as a legitimate contender to the college basketball world (the casual fans, at least), and it raised a doubt-or-two on the Jayhawks. Kansas didn't lose again until an Elite Eight loss to UCLA, including three home victories (by an average margin of victory of 39 points, no less) and a narrow defeat of Kevin Durant and the Texas Longhorns, beginning a homecourt winning streak.
The next season, the 2008 one, was of course a magical one. There were hiccups, but none occured in the friendly confines of Allen Field House, as the Jayhawks picked up an additional 19 homecourt victories. The streak had now reached 23, which is around the time when people begin noticing.
So, Kansas entered 2009 after a mass exodus with the 11th least experienced team in the country and a 22-game homecourt win streak to defend. Things got a little dicey on the details when Kansas lost to Syracuse in the CBE Classic, played in downtown Kansas City in the Sprint Center, but it was a tournament. However, when Kansas lost to brutal UMass a couple of weeks later, a game that Kansas ticket holders received as part of their package, there were countless cries for the streak to be over. But, our homecourt isn't Kansas City -- hell, the game was played in Missouri! So, the streak lived on, and didn't stop the rest of last season, either. That added another 18 wins to the total, coming up with an end result of 41.
Forty-one consecutive victories in Allen Field House. Now, the record is a ridiculous one, and one that would take a long, long time to reach. Back in the 40's and 50's, from 1943 to 1955 to be exact, Kentucky never lost at home -- good enough for 129 victories. That was a different time, with different standards of competition, but still, that's the record.
This shouldn't be the year our streak should end, though. Obviously, weird stuff happens all of the time in college basketball -- upsets and unpredictable finishes are the reason why college basketball is the greatest sport around. But still, this we are like 2010's North Carolina of 2009, if that makes any sense. You all know how much talent we have, so I won't get into it too far. All I'm saying is -- we definitely have the potential to go unbeaten in Allen.
Including only regular season games, we play 18 games, yet again, at home. Eighteen. Win 'em all, and you have 59. Obviously, you have to worry about some opponents more than others. Here's how the home schedule breaks down:
Easy-Peasy Lemon-Squeezy Victories
Hofstra, Central Arkansas, Oakland, Tennessee Tech, Alcorn State, Radford, Cornell
I will go on record, right now, and guarantee victory in all of these games. No matter injuries. I know, I'm going out on quite the limb, there.
We Really, Really Should Win, But It Isn't Inconceivable
Belmont, Texas Tech, Nebraska, Iowa State, Colorado
That's twelve wins, right now, that we should have in the bank barring events entirely unforseen. So, yeah, not a bad start. The last six, though, should be awfully tough.
It Isn't a Toss-Up, But It's Like 60/40 Us
Michigan, California, Baylor, Missouri, Oklahoma, Kansas State
Now, all of those schools aren't on the same level. They are all good teams, too, but combining the fact that we will almost definitely have the most talent in the country with the expected homecourt advantage, and we probably come out on top in all of them. If I must rank them, here's how I would do it, with the lowest number being the best chance for us to lose at home.
Oklahoma won't be nearly as good this season as they were last, for obvious reasons, but Willie Warren is good enough to make it interesting. Baylor is probably my Big 12 sleeper of the year (or Oklahoma State, depending on where they are ranked), and they have a ridiculous amount of talent. Michigan doesn't stack up favorably in KenPom numbers, and they lose C.J. Lee, who wasn't bad, but if they get hot from three they can beat just about anybody. K-State is going to be really good, probably even better than 2007, but I don't see them beating us in Allen. They are definitely deeper than they were in 07; it just matters how good you think Michael Beasley was, I suppose.
Then there is #2 and #1. Missouri will be a better team than the Golden Bears this year, at least in my mind, but I should probably switch the two. Allen should be super-duper hyped for the game, as the loudest games in the country*, every year, are KU-MU whenever both schools are good. Allen is louder, but the Plaige gets pretty damn loud as well. So, it would probably be tougher for the Tigers to win in Allen than the Golden Bears, who waltz in on December 22nd, when the students are presumably on break, meaning a less-hostile atmosphere.
* With the possible exception of Duke-Carolina.
In any case, the streak should live for another year. There are enough legitimate possibilities to make me nervous, maybe even really nervous, but I remain confident.
So, bring on the record. Averaging our current pace of, let's say 18.5 home games a year, it'll take something like 4.8 seasons to pick up the record. It ain't happening, but it'll be a fun thing to document and, hopefully, chase as we get closer in another couple of seasons.
If my math is correct, and Kansas and Missouri continue to alternate which school hosts Big Monday and which one hosts the Saturday game in March on CBS, the Tigers will hold the honors to be on The Eye. But, they switched around the schedule for their last game at Hearnes. Think, if it came down to it, they could switch it around so that Kansas' potential 129th consecutive home court victory came against Missouri? I think so.
And if that were the case, I'd imagine the $15,000 being doled out for the courtside seats would be the asking price for one up in the rafters. Man, what an atmosphere that'd be.
Dreaming session is over, now.