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Jayhawks' Title Streak Cranks Up to Eleven

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With Bill Self as coach, the Kansas basketball program is collecting enough rings to put a friendly neighborhood Zales out of business.

Bill Self now owns more conference titles (11) than there are actual teams in the Big 12 (10).

I hope Kansas fans are enjoying this guy while they have him.

Kansas fans don't have to look at grainy photos of 1920's, pre-tournament, Helms championships. They don't have to think back to B.H. Born and Clyde Lovellette balling their way to a National Title in the Leave It to Beaver '50s. They don't have to look to black and white footage of Wilt Chamberlain throwing down against over-matched talent. They don't even have to look to Danny Manning in his shorty shorts and dual wristbands. Kansas fans need look no further than the Bill Self era, live and in color, most of it in HD, to realize they are living in the golden age of Kansas basketball's 110+ years of storied history.

How good has Bill Self been? Well, they can't rename the building after him, because it literally is the house that Phog Allen built, but the University of Kansas may as well go ahead and put the money down on a Coach Self statue to stand alongside Coach Allen out front. And that statue better have Bill's sly, grinning cat smile of his on its face.

It's the smile of a man who knows, to put it in the simplest and bluntest of terms, that he's just better than you.

I am of the opinion that conference coach of the year awards should go to the coach who wins the conference. All too often the award serves as nothing more than an "Atta boy! Your team wasn't the hot mess of mediocrity we'd predicted." (cough, cough - Rick Barnes in 2014 - cough, cough)

By my logic, the Big 12 may as well go ahead and change the name of the award to The Bill Self Coach of the Year Trophy. 11 straight years is a healthy enough sample size. There is no longer a debate. The man owns this conference.

Coaches are not supposed to do what Bill Self has done. Not in a major, division one, basketball conference, and certainly not in this modern era of early player departures. And yet, he just keeps reloading and winning.

Let the record show that I called this 11th title just 9 games into the 2015 conference season. As I said in that post, it's not like such a boastful claim is even going that far out on limb. It's just playing the odds at this point.

Bill Self and Kansas wrapped up their 11th straight conference title Monday night thanks to Iowa State's thrilling comeback against Oklahoma. Had Kansas not defeated West Virginia, the Big 12 conference, whose tag line is "One True Champion," would have faced the possibility of having three or possibly four shared champions.

Shared conference titles are like what I assume comes at the end of a Missouri wedding - you know, kissing your cousin. Nobody likes that. So the other teams in the championship hunt should thank Bill Self for saving them from that embarrassment.

To get a truer sense of just how staggering Bill Self and the Kansas Jayhawks' conference title streak has become, let's put it into perspective, like in the National Geographic when they have a graphic of a dinosaur standing next to a building. Let's provide a sense of scale for the Jayhawks' now more than a decade long run.

The last time Bill Self's Kansas Jayhawks were not champions of the Big 12 (March 2004) George Bush was still in his first term as President, and Barack Obama was still in the Illinois State Senate.

The current starting lineup of the Jayhawks weren't even old enough to get b.o. and never would have been allowed to stay up late enough to see the Cyclones beat the Sooners Monday night, because Perry Ellis and Jamari Traylor were in the 5th grade. Frank Mason III and Wayne Selden Jr. were in the 4th grade, and Kelly Oubre Jr. was still sporting baby teeth in the 3rd grade.

Since the Jayhawks' streak began, 7 consecutive graduating classes at the University of Kansas (2009-2015) will have earned their 4 year bachelor's degrees without ever knowing their Jayhawks as anything but conference champions.

And to more effectively drive home the astronomical length to which this streak is beginning to reach, perhaps the most definitive indication of just how much time has passed since the Jayhawks were not conference champs is the launch of NASA's "New Horizon" probe. Sent into space in 2006 as the agency's most ambitious and longest mission since Voyager, New Horizon was able to go all the way from its launch point in Cape Canaveral, Florida to its approach of Pluto just this last month.

Do you think NASA attached another one of those golden records to New Horizons as they did to Voyager? You know, the record that played earth sounds and gave mathematical information about the planet and our location in the solar system in case Voyager encountered intelligent life somewhere in the cosmos. If NASA did, maybe the New Horizon record told of cold hard facts about life on earth: Years last 365 rotations around the sun; 70% of the earth is covered by water; Bill Self's Kansas Jayhawks never lose the Big 12 Conference regular season title.

Then again, there's no need for boasting.

The Plutonians might end up using it as an excuse to rush the court and act like fools if they one day manage to get a win against the Jayhawks.