After being thoroughly worked-over by Baylor, I contemplated how exactly to handle the loss. Like all KU fans, I was pissed that we squandered an opportunity to win the Big 12 outright, and more than likely cost ourselves a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament. We’re forced to share the Big 12 title, although we probably helped the Kansas economy considering the number of t-shirts K-State will manufacture and sell.
But amidst all my negativism, I also couldn’t help but think back to the season that was, and how wildly entertaining and successful it has been up and to this point for a team that was without question one of the least talented teams Coach Self has had at KU. In a year where we struggled at times, we still found a way to win difficult games down the stretch in Stillwater and Ames to extend our Big 12 title streak to nine years.
The gloomy weather today also got me thinking. You know the old adage that’s thrown around when describing the Kansas climate… “Oh you don’t like the weather? Well, just hang around for a few hours and it’s bound to change.” I mean, it’s pretty damn accurate. It wasn’t but a couple weeks ago we hit 60 degrees on Sunday, and followed that with a foot of snow on Thursday. Today, 36 degrees and rain after pushing mid 60 yesterday. I guess what I’m saying is the variation in weather you experience living in this state is quite remarkable.
Kansas basketball, on the other hand, is quite different from the weather. In fact, almost completely opposite. Variation in Kansas basketball doesn’t really exist… at least not in the last nine years. As a fault to KU fans, we don’t know any different. Streaks like this don’t exist at other schools from power conferences. Teams aren’t supposed to continuously perform at an incredibly high level without experiencing the ebbs and flows of college basketball. ‘One and done’ players happen, missed recruits here and there happen, and suddenly a “Blue Blood” program happens to lose a few more games than anticipated.
Except this hasn’t happened at KU. We’re spoiled rotten, and when we experience a three game losing streak that threatens our quest for a ninth straight Big 12 title, or blow an opportunity to win that title outright, we throw a fit. I’ll put myself to the top of this list.
It’s statements like mine above that probably add fuel to the claim that KU fans are arrogant, and I’m fine with that. I have no problem recognizing this season as a “shared” title as by the law of the Big 12, K-State did fulfill their requirements to also stake claim as Big 12 champs. But shared or not, nine in a row is a unbelievable streak, and doesn’t happen in any other conference. Anyone who argues otherwise will claim it’s a “senseless” opinion in their efforts to diminish the accomplishments of the program. That’s fine and all, but KU’s streak is abnormal, and that’s a fact. There’s examples all over the country, from Lexington to Chapel Hill, that justify this. They have down years, and it’s normal… Just not normal in Lawrence, KS.
The point is, failing to knock out Baylor last night may have fallen short of the expectations we put on KU, but those expectations from year to year are also absolutely absurd, and so incredibly awesome at the same time. So to not be forgotten in the shuffle of a disappointing Saturday, I think it’s important to remember just how good we have it as KU fans, and be thankful for that. There’s still a tremendous amount to accomplish the next month, and the ultimate success of our season will be determined by how we perform in March.
I’m just saying let’s not forget how much has been accomplished from November through February.
Until next time, Rock Chalk.