In a year where the a conference as a whole was slightly down, the Jayhawks had one of the most impressive conference runs in recent history while up against one of the more competitive Big 12 foes of recent memory in Baylor.
Baylor will still be a one seed in next week’s NCAA Tournament, yet Kansas won the league by two games by coming up big on the road and taking care of business at home (after that early loss to Baylor where Devon Dotson injured his hip—worth noting the Jayhawks have still not lost while at full strength for 40 minutes).
KU accomplished this while posting the most efficient offense and defense in the league during conference play. Its offensive efficiency (107.2) was four points better than second place Texas Tech, and the Jayhawks only finished in the bottom half of the league in free-throw percentage (sixth) and tempo (seventh).
The defense tells a similar story. Kansas’ weakness is not turning teams over, but the defense is so solid that teams still can’t score even when getting more looks down the court. Opponents’ effective field goal percentage in Big 12 play was 43.1%, three points better than Baylor and Texas Tech at 46.1%.
This Kansas team also did something 10 years in the making. The last time a Big 12 team finished conference play with just one loss was 2010, when the Jayhawks went 15-1. This was also the first time it’s happened since the conference moved to an 18-game schedule. And unlike the 2010 team, these Jayhawks did it without losing on the road.
Click through the Kenpom records and you’re quickly reminded of how dominant many of these Kansas teams have been under Self. Along with his two one-loss conference seasons, KU under Self also has five two-loss seasons (2007, 2009, 2011, 2012, and 2017) in the past decade and a half.
It’s difficult to compare teams of different seasons and decades, and the bar is high, but this team deserves to be in the conversion of the most impressive of Self’s Big 12-title-winning teams.