A conference champion is likely to have an excellent home record, and Kansas’ winning ways on its home floor during its 11-year Big 12 title streak is ridiculous — only five losses in Allen Fieldhouse to league opponents.
The Jayhawks’ road record in the stretch is truly remarkable, too. From coach Bill Self’s first Big 12 title in 2005 until 2014, Kansas posted a winning road record in league play.
That streak ended last season when Kansas finished 4-5 in Big 12 road games. And the Jayhawks will have to rally to post a winning road mark this season, having dropped three of their first five.
It won’t be easy, as No. 6 Kansas travels to third-ranked Oklahoma on Saturday.
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Beyond that, the Jayhawks have games remaining at ranked Texas and Baylor, and against rival Kansas State.
“In order to win this league, you’re going to have to beat top-15 teams on the road, because there are so many of them,” Self said.
Kansas has lost games to ranked teams on the road, West Virginia and Iowa State, and also lost at Oklahoma State.
Still, the Jayhawks stand 8-3 in Big 12 play (20-4 overall) and are tied for first place with the Sooners and Mountaineers.
Many of the conference’s contenders have the type of victory this season that has eluded Kansas. Texas won at West Virginia, Baylor and West Virginia at Iowa State, Oklahoma at Baylor.
Kansas has won plenty of these games in previous years. The Jayhawks defeated at least one ranked Big 12 team on its floor each of the past seven years and is 11-5 in those games.
But as the Big 12’s collective power grows — the league is the No. 1 RPI conference for the third straight year — its buildings are becoming more inhospitable to visitors.
Kansas has lost three straight in Morgantown and Stillwater, and two straight in Ames and Manhattan.
The Jayhawks lost 75-73 at Norman last season on Buddy Hield’s tip-in with 0.2 seconds remaining. It was the regular-season finale, and Kansas had already clinched the Big 12 title.
Hield was the focus of the team’s meeting earlier this season, when Kansas outlasted the Sooners 109-106 in triple overtime in Lawrence despite Hield’s 46 points. And Self was satisfied with the defensive performance of the Jayhawks, especially Frank Mason.
“I’m serious about this: If Frank hadn’t been on our team, he (Hield) would have gotten 60,” Self said. “I’d say 50 percent of the time when he touched it he scored. But he didn’t touch it very often.”
But Self isn’t sure that Hield will be Mason’s defensive responsibility on Saturday.
“It totally gassed him,” Self said. “He was spent.
“We’ll do whatever we need to do to win the game in the last five, 10 minutes, but I certainly don’t want to spend 40 minutes playing that way.”
Kansas’ road victories over ranked Big 12 teams since 2009
Two earn student-athlete honors
Perry Ellis and Wayne Selden Jr. have been named to the Naismith Trophy Midseason 35, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced Thursday.
Ellis, a senior forward, is averaging 16.9 points and 6.5 rebounds. Selden, a junior guard, has scored 20 or more points in five games, including a career-high 33 points against Kentucky on Jan. 30.
The club will announce the semifinalists for the Naismith Trophy on March 2 and the list of finalists on March 20.