The Star's blog on college sports, featuring Kansas, Kansas State and Missouri
Rare territory: Looking back at KU's history of losing streaks
02/10/2013 12:47 PM
05/16/2014 9:06 PM
LAWRENCE — The last time Kansas suffered a three-game losing streak, freshman guard Ben McLemore was in the fourth grade, and KU coach Bill Self had yet to win a Big 12 title … or suffer an early NCAA tournament flame-out. It happened in February 2005, a three-game skid that included an 80-79 loss at Texas Tech, a 63-61 loss to Iowa State at home, and a 71-63 loss at Oklahoma. And that was the last time. Until Saturday. But that doesn’t fully explain how rare these sort of slides have been for KU over the last three decades. Dating back to the 1983-84 season — Larry Brown’s first year in Lawrence — the Jayhawks have suffered just five losing streaks of three games or longer. With a Big Monday matchup with first-place Kansas State just a day away, here are the four previous streaks — and how Kansas responded: Year: 1988 Losing streak: Four games (at Notre Dame, at Nebraska, K-State, Oklahoma) Conference record: 9-5 (3rd) Final record: 27-11 (NCAA Champions) How it went down: After suffering a 73-65 loss to Oklahoma at Allen Fieldhouse on Feb. 3, the Jayhawks dropped to 12-8 and appeared in danger of missing the NCAA tourney. You probably know the rest of the story. KU won seven of its last 10 to claim a sixth seed in the NCAA tournament. And then came the miracle run.
***Year: 1989 Losing streak: Eight games (K-State, Mizzou, at Nebraska, Oklahoma State, at Mizzou, Oklahoma, at Duke, at Iowa State) Conference finish: 6-8 (6th) Final record: 19-12 (No postseason) How it went down: Banned from the postseason for NCAA violations, the Jayhawks suffered through an eight-game slide in January and February. They responded by winning their final three before falling to K-State in the Big Eight tourney at Kemper Arena.
***Year: 1994 Losing streak: Three games (at Oklahoma State, Missouri, at Nebraska) Conference finish: 9-5 (3rd) Final record: 27-8 (Sweet 16; lost to Purdue) How it went down: After starting the season 21-3, KU dropped three straight games in mid February and fell out of the Big Eight race. The Jayhawks rallied to win their next three before losing to Glenn Robinson and Purdue in the Elite Eight.
***Year: 2005 Losing streak: Three games (at Texas Tech, Iowa State, at Oklahoma) Conference finish: 12-4 (t-1st) Final record: 23-7 How it went down: After a senior-laden team began the season 20-1, including non-conference wins against Georgia Tech and at Kentucky, the Jayhawks lost their mojo in mid February. The Jayhawks recovered enough to grab a piece of the Big 12 title, but the season ended with a first-round stunner to Bucknell in Oklahoma City.