For Pete's Sake

Two Big 12 simulators show KU’s path to a 15th straight conference title

Will KU win a 15th consecutive Big 12 title? Self says K-State “is in the driver’s seat”

The Kansas Jayhawks have won 14 consecutive Big 12 regular season titles, but they stand 1 1/2 games back of rival Kansas State. Can they pull off a 15th title? Bill Self says on Feb. 14, 2019 that "K- State is in the driver's seat."
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The Kansas Jayhawks have won 14 consecutive Big 12 regular season titles, but they stand 1 1/2 games back of rival Kansas State. Can they pull off a 15th title? Bill Self says on Feb. 14, 2019 that "K- State is in the driver's seat."

It’s over, right?

Some fans are writing the obituary for the Kansas men’s basketball team’s astonishing streak of 14 straight Big 12 titles. With four games to play, the Jayhawks trail Kansas State by two games.

That gap may seem too large to bridge, but a pair of projection sites reveal it’s doable for the Jayhawks.

The site bball.notnothing.net, using data from MasseyRatings.com, shows KU winning its final four games, including Monday’s Sunflower Showdown against K-State on Monday night. It also has TCU upsetting the Wildcats on March 4 and Iowa State beating Texas Tech in the season finale.

If the season plays out in that fashion, KU, K-State and Texas Tech would tie for the Big 12 championship with a 13-5 record.* The Jayhawks would be the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament.

*Chaos theory!

KU and K-State would beat out Texas Tech based on their record against the No. 4 team (Baylor, which edges Iowa State on a tiebreaker), and the Jayhawks would get the No. 1 seed because of a better record against the No. 7 seed TCU.

One note: The way this simulator is set up likely overrates KU’s chances a bit of getting a tie, just because it automatically gives a win to the favored team. The Jayhawks, according to Ken Pomeroy’s numbers, have a 66-, 74-, 50- and 72-percent chance of winning each of their last four games, making a sweep of those games possible but unlikely.

Still, you can play around with the potential outcomes at that site to see how the season could play out.

Ditto for the simulator at mattxsmith.github.io/big12.html, which has KenPom odds for each remaining Big 12 game.

It currently projects KU to finish third with a 14 percent chance of winning a share of the Big 12 and a 2 percent shot of winning it outright.

However, change the Jayhawks’ games all to wins and they have a 60 percent chance of winning a 15th straight Big 12 title and a 10 percent shot of winning the title outright.

The key games in this simulator are the same as the first: K-State is a slight underdog at TCU and the same is true of Texas Tech at Iowa State.

Two truisms pop out from these simulations. First, Kansas really needs to win Monday night’s game at Allen Fieldhouse. If KU loses, its chances of winning the conference title in the second simulator drop to .005 percent.

Second, 20 games remain in the Big 12 season, and a lot can happen between now and March 9.

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From covering the World Series to the World Cup, Pete has done a little bit of everything since joining The Star in 1997. He writes about baseball and has a quirky blog that augments The Star’s coverage of area teams.


Jesse Newell — he’s won an EPPY for best sports blog and previously has been named top beat writer in his circulation by AP’s Sports Editors — has covered KU sports since 2008. His interest in sports analytics comes from his math teacher father, who handed out rulers to Trick-or-Treaters each year.


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