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The Streak

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With a huge game looming in Norman, Bill Self's Jayhawks put their lengthy conference title streak on the line against a worthy opponent in Oklahoma and one hell of a player in Buddy Hield.

John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

There's a scene in the 2003 comedy "Old School" where Will Ferrell, as the immortal Frank "the Tank" Ricard, breaks his promise to his wife and gets drunk at a college party before grabbing the microphone and declaring "We're going streaking!"

He then proceeds to strip naked and run off into the night with no one else at the party compelled to join him, and slightly horrified at the prospect and sight.

This must be how the rest of the Big 12 feels when, in each of the past 11 seasons, Bill Self's Jayhawks have moved themselves into position to make a run at another conference title.

Beat two top 10 teams in a week, which Kansas can do if they win in Norman, Oklahoma this Saturday, and Kansas could once again be grabbing the mic to declare, "We're going streaking!" - while the rest of the conference tries to pretend like they can't see it.

This 2015-16 season marks the twentieth for basketball in the Big 12. During the previous 19 seasons, Kansas has won the conference title 15 times. Expand the focus to look all the way back to the 1986 Big 8 basketball season and Kansas has won or shared 21 of 29 conference regular season titles.

Those quick to offer criticisms - as short and inadequate as they are - like to point out that, "Some of those titles are shared," and they're correct. A whole five of them are shared. Five. Out of 21. If you're not a Jayhawk fan, those numbers aren't just sick, they're obscene, especially when the culmination of those 21 titles has been Bill Self racking up more than half all by his, ahem, self over the last 11 straight seasons. No wonder every conference opposing student section is eager to rush the court after a win against them.

Kansas has a lot of work ahead of them to keep on streaking toward a twelfth title in a row. With Oklahoma getting a sweet shot at revenge against the 'Hawks this Saturday, the Sooners could deliver a serious blow to the streak's extension if not kill it altogether. Whatever the outcome, this Saturday it will be Kansas vs nine other fan bases hoping for this to finally be the year Kansas is kept off the top line so they don't have to stare at the Jayhawk's blue feathered backside as they run away with the conference.

After 11 conference games, Kansas sits tied for first with Oklahoma and West Virginia with an 8-3 record. Here's a look back at the 11 straight conference title seasons and what the 'Hawks looked like at the same point in each of those seasons.

2004-05 Season: Crown I in the Streak

Record after First 11 conference games: 10-1

Record Over Their Last Five Conference Games (Old Big 12 = 16 game season): 2-3

The Clincher: March 2, 2005 - Kansas 72, Kansas State 65 @ Allen Fieldhouse (second to last game of the regular season)

2005-06 Season: Crown II in the Streak

Record after First 11 conference games: 9-2

Record Over Their Last Five Conference Games: 4-1

The Clincher: March 4, 2006 - Kansas 66, Kansas State 52 @ Bramlage Coliseum (last game of the regular season)

2006-07 Season: Crown III in the Streak

Record after First 11 Conference Games: 9-2

Record Over Their Last Five Conference Games: 5-0

The Clincher: February 28, 2007 - Texas 98, Texas A&M 96 in double overtime @ Frank Erwin Center (second to last game of the regular season)

Kansas had already secured conference win number 13 two days before this game. So when Kevin Durant and his Texas Longhorns emerged victorious from this battle of old Big 12 South division heavyweights, they assured Kansas no worse than a share of the title. Three days later Kansas would thank Texas for this by beating Durant and the Longhorns in the Fieldhouse, preventing a three-way Kansas/Texas/Texas A&M tie for the '07 title

2007-08 Season: Crown IV in the Streak

Record after First 11 Conference Games: 9-2

Record Over Their Last Five Conference Games: 4-1

The Clincher: March 8, 2008 - Kansas 72, Texas A&M 55 @ Reed Arena (last game of the regular season)

2008-09 Season: Crown V in the Streak

Record after First 11 conference games: 10-1

Record Over Their Last Five Conference Games: 4-1

The Clincher: March 4, 2009 - Missouri 73, Oklahoma 64 @ Mizzou Arena (second to last game of the season)

On a day when Kansas fell to Texas Tech on the road for just its second conference loss of the season, the Sooners failed to seize the opportunity to move in front of them in the standings when Oklahoma lost to Mizzou that same afternoon. It guaranteed the 'Hawks no worse than a share of the title, but three days later a win over Texas in the Fieldhouse made it so the Jayhawks didn't share jack with the Sooners.

2009-10 Season: Crown VI in the Streak

Record after First 11 Conference Games: 11-0

Record over Their Last Five Conference Games: 4-1

The Clincher: February 22, 2010 - Kansas 81, Oklahoma 68 @ Allen Fieldhouse (fourth to last game of the season)

2010-11 Season: Crown VII in the Streak

Record after First 11 Conference Games: 9-2

Record over Their Last Five Conference Games: 5-0

The Clincher: March 2, 2011 - Kansas 64, Texas A&M 51 @ Allen Fieldhouse (second to last game of the season)

2011-12 Season: Crown VIII in the Streak

Record after First 11 Conference Games: 9-2

Record over Their Last Seven Conference Games (New Big 12 = 18 game season): 7-0

The Most Epic Clincher of All: February 25, 2012 - Kansas 87, Missouri 86 in overtime @ Allen Fieldhouse (third to last game of the regular season)

2012-13 Season: Crown IX in the Streak

Record after First 11 Conference Games: 8-3

Record over Their Last Seven Conference Games: 6-1

The Clincher: March 9, 2013 - Oklahoma State 76, Kansas State 70 @ Gallagher-Iba Arena (last game of the regular season)

By the time Kansas took the court in Waco, Texas to face the Baylor Bears, K-State's loss to the Cowboys had already given Kansas a share of the conference title. Kansas then proceeded to blow their chance to win it outright. This is the season that the notion of a "shared" title seemed its most ridiculous. In 2013 Kansas beat K-State twice in the regular season and then again in the Big 12 Tournament Championship game.

2013-14 Season: Crown X in the Streak

Record after First 11 Conference Games: 9-2

Record over Their Last Seven Conference Games: 5-2

The Clincher: February 22, 2014 - Kansas 85, Texas 54 @ Allen Fieldhouse (fifth to last game of the regular season)

2014-15 Season: Crown XI in the Streak

Record after First 11 Conference Games: 9-2

Record over Their Last Seven Conference Games: 4-3

The Clincher: March 3, 2015 - Kansas 76, West Virginia 69 in overtime (second to last game of the season)

2015-16 Season: ???

An easy to spot consistency throughout this look back is that Self's teams don't come out of the conference gates flat. The 2013 team is the only one to post a first 11 game record that mirrors this 2016 Jayhawk squad at 8-3. Which, if you're looking for a past Self coached Kansas team to compare with this year's, the '13 'Hawks are probably most apt. Not in look and feel, of course. There is no rim protector like Jeff Withey on this '16 'Hawks team, nor is there a dynamic scorer like Ben McLemore. But that team, like this one, was prone to bouts of stagnant offense and dishing out turnovers at the worst possible times. Still, when that team was on, as with this team this season, they were hard to beat. They managed to shake off their mistakes to wrap up a one seed in the NCAA Tournament and looked to be on their way to the Elite Eight before their flaws sunk them late against Michigan.

With a strong finish to the conference season this year's Jayhawk team could be set up in a similar position heading into the NCAA Tournament.

Win lose or draw, when it comes to the conference crown this season, Kansas fans should enjoy the ride and be at peace with the end of the streak if it comes. These last seven games of the Big 12 should be a lot of fun. With Huggins in West Virginia, Lon Kruger at Oklahoma and Shaka Smart down at Texas now, it's nice to see the league no longer passing off parity for quality for the first time since 2012. This consistent push in competition may finally kill the streak, but may ultimately make Kansas a better team in March where a four to six game streak is the only streak that truly matters.