The NCAA tournament is one thing to look forward to this March. This month marks the twenty-ninth straight NCAA tournament appearance for yours truly, the Kansas Jayhawks! If you’re like me, you read that and shrugged your shoulders. Who cares? Apparently a lot of people do!
It is in fact the longest NCAA streak, and by about six whole years as Duke is sitting at twenty three. Regardless of other teams, we are going to take a look of the dominance that has been Jayhawk basketball over this twenty nine year span!
TWO COACHES, ONE GOAL
Roy Williams who started this long stretch of success back in 1990, led Kansas to 14 straight tournament appearances before another legend stepped in to take over the reigns. Williams accomplished nine Regular Season Championships, four Big 12 championships, and a handful of coaching awards in his tenure at Kansas. He then moved on to coach at North Carolina.
Modern day Kansas Jayhawk basketball is headed by the beast himself, Bill (Freaking) Self. He has put together an excellent resume, including but not limited to: One National Championship, fourteen Big 12 Regular Season Championships, seven Big 12 Tournament Championships, and multiple Coaching awards of his career here at KU.
What do the two have in common? Wins. Both coaches have helped coach Kansas to the ultimate goal, which is of course to lead KU to the “Big Dance”. Both coaches have helped KU formulate this massive streak, and Bill Self looks to continue to elongate it!
THE 2008 NCAA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
The most proud day in recent KU basketball memory came ten years ago. Let’s set the scene: it is the Final Four. San Antonio, Texas. Kansas Jayhawks versus North Carolina Tar Heels. Bill Self versus Roy Williams. The old man versus the young warrior. This battle on the hardwood was hyped up more than Kim’s first, second, and even third baby. It was hyped, just for Kansas to steamroll UNC 84-66, and to clinch a spot in the National Title game against Memphis.
43,000 fans packed into San Antonio’s arena on the night of April 7th, 2008. The matchup that we have all been waiting for was here. Kansas was in the National Championship. This game was filled with NBA talent such as Derek Rose and our very own Mario Chalmers (who had his fair share of clutch shots in this game). This game went down to the wire. Actually past the wire. This game needed extra wire! (See what I did there?) Overtime! Thanks to a clutch shot from Mario Chalmers with two seconds to force extra time! The overtime period was owned by KU, leading to 75-68 CHAMPIONSHIP WIN for the Jayhawks!
WHAT COULD WE SEE IN 2018?
Let’s face it, statistically it hasn’t been the best year for the Jayhawks on the court. This sounds funny to admit, because they’re still Big 12 Regular Season Champions, and more than likely going to be a one seed in the NCAA tournament (I am assuming a one seed is good). Yet, Kansas has been critiqued for home losses this year, and especially for the inability to play with Oklahoma State.
Yet, with that said Kansas has powerful weapons come tournament time. They have terrific individual players such as the beloved Devonte Graham, Udoka Azubuike, Lagerald Vick, and so much more. They have the coaching staff that is plenty capable to coach the players out of any pinch they may find themselves in, on the court. Finally, Jayhawks have the heart. The players and coaches are fully aware of the hunger the city of Lawrence has. This is enough to help the men on the court to give it all that they have.
This year, Kansas have been lucky enough to have such a solid athletic team. The Jayhawks are sure to make some noise in the tournament this year, and maybe bring KU some extra hardware?