- John Gasaway, ESPN Insider
Kansas has won or shared the Big 12 regular-season title in each of the past nine years. Think of that remarkable run this way. There are blue-chip programs that win national titles -- Kentucky, North Carolina, and Connecticut come to mind -- that haven't even been to the NCAA tournament in every season over that span, much less won their league annually. What Bill Self has accomplished has been exceptional, to say the very least.
True, it hasn't always been easy for the Jayhawks. In 2012-13, for example, their title was shared with Kansas State, and it's not like Kansas cruised with ease to that regular-season tie either. (Ask Iowa State fans about the game against Self's team in Ames last season. Heck, ask them about the game in Lawrence, too.) But at the end of the day, KU's incredible record speaks for itself. The last time Kansas didn't win at least a piece of the Big 12 title was 2003-04, Self's first season in Lawrence.
Can that streak continue in 2013-14? Ordinarily, I'm not in the habit of saying "Yes! The team that lost all five starters will most certainly win its major conference!" With good reason. Teams, even very talented ones, have a hard time winning league titles without at least some experience to call upon. But with Kansas, I see two extenuating circumstances that will get them to a 10th title.