We all know that KU has now put together 11 straight first-place finishes in their conference. The Jayhawks have tied Gonzaga's 11-season conference run (2001-2011) and sit only two behind record holder UCLA (1967-1979). It's been well-documented that the only year Bill Self did not finish in at least a tie for first place at KU was in his first year in Lawrence, the 2003-04 season. A friend of mine brought up an interesting stat the other day that made me look at "The Streak" and KU Basketball in general a little bit differently.
Pop Quiz: Only six teams have received a Top-4 seed in each of the past three NCAA Tournaments (2014, 2013, 2012). Name them.
One of those teams, hopefully obviously, is Kansas. In fact, the Jayhawks have the longest (active) such streak of any team in the country at 14 years running (about to be 15 years).
Let that sink in for a second. Kansas has earned a Top-4 seed for the last 14 years in a row.
Now I have no idea where KU's current streak ranks in terms of history, but I'm guessing if it's not tops, it's pretty high on the list. Bill Self has never been seeded lower than 4 while at Kansas (I mean, what?), and the current seeding streak began with the three final years of the Roy Williams era at KU.
Also consider this - Kansas currently holds the longest active streak of consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances regardless of seed with 25 in a row (1990-2014). Of course, that number is about to become 26. North Carolina holds the record with 27 (1975-2001), something KU can tie next year and break in 2017. This streak also began in the Roy Williams era, as the first 14 tournament berths of this streak are credited to him. Bill Self "continued the tradition" (see what I did there?) and has 11 of his own (about to be 12).
Kansas is on a run that, should it continue very much longer, will become unprecedented.
Now, recall the article posted yesterday discussing Big 12 teams and their success relative to seed over the past 12 years. Doesn't having a high seed every year make Kansas more prone to "upsets" than any other team over the past 14 years? Because Kansas has literally had a high seed for the past 14 years. Not only that, during the entire streak of consecutive tournament appearances (25 since 1990), KU has only been seeded lower than 4 twice - 1999 (6) and 2000 (8). That makes 23 out of 25 seasons that Kansas has been a Top-4 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
KU has three amazing, current, active streaks going:
- 11 straight Big 12 regular season titles
- 14 straight Top-4 seeds in the NCAA Tournament (15 after this week)
- 25 straight NCAA Tournament appearances (26 after this week)
When I think about these three amazing streaks, all three active and concurrent, I'm nothing but amazed.
For the answer to your pop quiz, scroll just a bit farther.
Pop Quiz answers: Kansas, Duke, Syracuse, Louisville, Michigan State, Michigan.
The next longest active streak of Top-4 seeds is Duke with 7. Syracuse's current streak of 6 will end this year.