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Even as the #2 Baylor Bears led the #3 Kansas Jayhawks by a score of 34-28 at halftime, 56-55 with under seven minutes to go in the game, and were tied at 64-64 with under two and a half minutes to play, was there ever any reason to believe that Kansas would lose their first home game at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kansas, a fieldhouse named after legendary Kansas basketball player and head coach Forrest Clare “Phog” Allen, in over three years?
Since losing their last home game back on Sunday, January 5th, 2014, against the #21 San Diego State Aztecs by a score of 61-57, Kansas has played in a number of tight home games that have come down to the wire. Most notably, it took them overtime to defeat the #20 West Virginia Mountaineers at home two seasons ago by a score of 76-69; it took them three overtimes to defeat the #2 Oklahoma Sooners at home last season by a score of 109-106; and it took them overtime to defeat the #20 Kentucky Wildcats at home last season by a score of 90-84. However, despite all of these close home games, the Jayhawks still have not lost at home in over three years, a span totaling 51 games at Allen Fieldhouse.
So again, was there ever any reason to doubt that they would beat Baylor for their 51st victory in a row at Allen Fieldhouse?
Kansas head coach Bill Self is no stranger to his teams being victorious at home. In fact, he now has a 217-9 record as the Jayhawks’ head coach in home games, a record that includes winning streaks of 69 games, 33 games, and now an active winning streak of 51 games at Allen Fieldhouse. Also of note, Self came into last night’s game against Baylor with a 216-9 record at Allen Fieldhouse as the Jayhawks’ head coach, while Baylor head coach Scott Drew came into the game with 216 fewer wins than Self and as many losses as Self at Allen Fieldhouse.
Yes, Scott Drew’s Baylor Bears had as many losses at Allen Fieldhouse as Bill Self’s Jayhawks, and the Bears play there just once a season, whereas Self’s Jayhawks were playing their 226th game at Allen Fieldhouse in his 14 seasons of coaching there. Self’s Jayhawks came into the game with a 216-9 record at Allen Fieldhouse, and Drew’s Bears came into the game with an 0-9 record at Allen Fieldhouse. Now, Drew’s Bears have lost more games at Allen Fieldhouse than Self’s Jayhawks, and they have done it despite playing in 216 fewer games there (10 games compared to Self’s Jayhawks’ 226 games).
Once more, was there any reason to even slightly believe that Baylor had a chance to defeat Kansas last night?
The Jayhawks currently have a 12-season streak of being the regular season Big 12 Conference champions or co-champions, which is an extremely impressive achievement. In fact, it is the second longest streak of its kind, only to be outdone by the 13-season streak of winning the Pacific 12 Conference done by the California-Los Angeles (UCLA) Bruins that spanned from the 1966-1967 season to the 1978-1979 season.
With Baylor and Kansas coming into last night’s game tied atop the Big 12 Conference with conference records of 7-1, a loss for Kansas could have ended their bid for a 13th straight Big 12 Conference championship due to the fact that they still have to play Baylor at their home court in Waco, Texas, on Saturday, February 18th, 2017, and Baylor would have a one-game advantage over them in the standings coming into that game, assuming both teams win all of their Big 12 Conference games up until that game, which, judging by their respective schedules, should not be too big of an obstacle even as of right now. Now, because of their win last night, Kansas will likely come into that next game against Baylor one game ahead of them in the Big 12 Conference standings, and even a loss would keep the Jayhawks tied for first place in the Big 12 Conference and on pace to tie UCLA’s all-time record with their 13th straight regular season conference championship or co-championship.
Now I will ask this question one more time. Was there ever any doubt that Kansas was going to come out on top last night against Baylor?