Kansas looks to extend its’ home winning streak to a sexy 69 in a few hours against Nebraska. Today’s matchup also marks the first game of the last season of true Big 12 conference play at Allen Fieldhouse. Colorado is leaving the Big 12 next season to join the PAC10, which will change its’ name to the PAC12 to reflect the actual number of schools participating in the league, while today’s opponent, Nebraska, will be deserting to join the eleven school Big Ten. That will leave the Big 12 with ten schools, while the Big 10 has twelve- only in college does that math make sense. For all intents and purposes, this is the last season of the Big 12 era.
The Big 12 was established in 1996, as the Big 8 added 4 teams from Texas, (Baylor, Texas, Texas A&M, and Texas Tech) from the dissolving Southwest Conference. Kansas has dominated the conference in basketball during the Big 12 era in a manner never before seen, and likely not ever to be repeated. With the exception of 3 out of the 14 years that the Big 12 has been in existence, Kansas has either tied or won the regular season championship outright, and/or won the end of season tournament.
Season Regular Season Champion
Kansas 1998 Kansas
Kansas 1999 Texas
Kansas 2000 Iowa State
Iowa State 2001 Iowa State
Oklahoma 2002 Kansas
Oklahoma 2003 Kansas
Oklahoma 2004 Oklahoma State
Oklahoma State 2005 Oklahoma
Oklahoma State 2006 Texas
Kansas 2007 Kansas
Kansas 2008 Texas
Kansas 2009 Kansas
Missouri 2010 Kansas
The last time that the Jayhawks did not win the league (2004) was also Bill Self’s first year at the helm. That team went 12-4 in the Big12, and 24-9 overall. That season also marked the last time that Nebraska beat the Jayhawks. That Kansas (Wayne Simien led) team played deep into the NCAA tournament, before finally falling to Georgia Tech in the Elite Eight game. Georgia Tech went on to the championship game, and lost to UConn by 9. Kansas is 15-0 against Nebraska since.
#3 Kansas remains unbeaten this season, only one of four undefeated teams in the country. #1 Duke fell from the ranks earlier this week, with a stunning loss to Florida State, and may fall as far as four spots in next week’s rankings. All three other teams with a perfect record will also see action today; #2 Ohio State hosts Penn State, #4 Syracuse welcomes Cincinnati, and #6 San Diego State travels to New Mexico.
Nebraska comes into Allen Fieldhouse with a good team this year. They are 13-3 overall, but are coming off a loss to Mizzou on Wednesday. Nebraska leads the NCAA in field goal percentage defense (34.5) and is second in scoring defense (55.0 ppg), but hasn’t won a game in Lawrence since 1999. Their stellar defense will face off against an offensive juggernaut in the Jayhawks, who rank first in the nation in field goal percentage(.521), second in assists(18.8), and eighth overall in points scored(84.3). The Cornhuskers are a dismal 7-50 all time in Allen Fieldhouse, and head Coach Doc Sadler has never won against Kansas.
With this sort of dominance, it is no wonder that lesser teams like Nebraska and Colorado would jump at the chance to flee the Big12.
- Conference-ocalypse Averted, Big 12 Is The New Big 10 (deadspin.com)
- Big 12 commissioner skips Nebraska game because of threats (sportingnews.com)