The Arabic numeral “10″ has many connotations and, mostly all positive. In its most common usage, the number 10 refers to the best, or even perfect in some contexts.
The Kansas Jayhawks celebrated the number 10 Monday night, courtesy of a surprisingly tightly contested home-court victory over a pessky Oklahoma team that refused to give anything to the guys in their home white uniforms. The 83-75 victory over the crimson-clad Sooners was Kansas’ 13th conference win of the season and 22nd victory overall.
The main headline of this game, though, and perhaps the season, is not that the Jayhawks put away their eighth Big 12 opponent without a loss at Allen Fieldhouse this season, but rather that the win assured for coach Bill Self & Co. no worse than a share of the Big 12 basketball championship, something that Kansas has now achieved for 10 consecutive seasons.
And if you are one of those glass-half-empty folks who believe that ties or sharing a league title is not the same as winning a championship outright and not having to share it with anybody, rest assured that there will be no such debate this season. One more Jayhawk victory, which it is hard to imagine they won’t do in one of their three remaining regular-season contests, and the championship belongs to Kansas - and only Kansas - lock, stock and barrel.
For the record, Kansas has shared the conference crown in basketball three times in its 10-year championship run (with Oklahoma in 2005, Texas in 2006 and Kansas State last season). In the 18 season since the Big 12 was formed, Kansas has won or shared a total of 14 championships. That is an incredible record that certainly puts the Jayhawks in the conversation with the great men’s college basketball programs of all-time.
Kansas is the fifth team in NCAA history to win 10 or more consecutive conference basketball championships. The others are UCLA (13, 1967-79), Gonzaga (11, 2001-11), Connecticut (10, 1951-60) and UNLV (10, 1983-92).
Here are a few more notable numbers that provide additional insight and perspective on the state of Big 12 men’s basketball as the conference teams make their final kick to the finish line:
3 – Iowa State is one of just three teams nationally with three players (Melvin Ejim, Georges Niang and DeAndre Kane) averaging 16 or more points per game.
4 – Number of teams (Kansas, Texas, Iowa State and Oklahoma) in the Big 12 that already have 20 wins this season. Three more teams (Kansas State, Oklahoma State and Baylor) have 18 wins and, win two wins in their final four regular season games, could also reach 20 wins, making it seven of the Big 12′s 10 teams with 20 or more wins in 2013-14.
5 – Oklahoma outscored Kansas 42-41 in the second half of Monday night’s game. That has happened only five times this entire season.
6 – Number of wins Kansas State has this season over teams ranked in the top-35 in RPI.
7 – Number of Big 12 teams that have been ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 this season
8 – Road games Baylor has won in its last 88 games against top-25 teams.
13 – Number of consecutive losses by Oklahoma at Kansas’ Allen Fieldhouse.
18.7 – Assists per game this season by Iowa State, No, 1 in the country.
20 – Kansas is 20-0 this season when leading at the half and when the Jayhawks have the lead with five minutes remaining in the game.
45 – The Kansas shooting percentage in its 83-75 win over Oklahoma. That is the third lowest shooting percentage for the Jayhawks in their 15 Big 12 games in 2013-14.
159 – Number of all-time wins by Texas over Baylor, the Longhorns’ opponent on Wednesday night. Texas leads the series 159-82, and is 28-7 against Baylor under head coach Rick Barnes. Baylor was UT’s very first basketball opponent back in 1906. Texas won that game by a score of 27-17.
738 – Career victories by West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins, the most of any Big 12 coach. Huggins’ 738 wins places him 16th all-time among NCAA Division I coaches.