For those of you that didn’t see, Kansas lost to Baylor today in the Big 12 Conference Tournament. Baylor was the 9 seed in the tournament and needless to say it was quite a surprise and upset that they took down the number 1 seeded Jayhawks. I live in Lawrence, Kansas – home of the Jayhawks – but wouldn’t say I consider myself a fan of the Crimson and Blue. For one reason it’s because I know what it means to be a “true fan” of a team; my sister and parents are true KU fans and I think it would be an insult to their fanhood to count myself among them, as though I follow the team throughout the season, know when their next game is and look forward to it from the moment the previous game ends. As someone who has lived in Lawrence since before they were three years old, I grew up surrounded by the KU fanbase, so I know that Kansas Basketball has a devoted following.
The actual point of this post is not to tell you why I don’t consider myself a KU fan, but to bring to light just how big of a deal it is that the Jayhawks lost their first game in the Big 12 Tournament. I just felt the need to give a little background so that the following statement makes sense. I wouldn’t have felt the need to write a post about this but had requests from family members to look up a variety of different things about KU’s history in the Big 12 Tournament. I figured if I’m going to be looking up this information and putting in the effort to do the research, I might as well turn it into a post.
It’s rare for Kansas to lose their first game of the conference tournament. It’s such a rare occurrence in fact that it had never happened before. There have been twelve Big 12 Tournaments (thirteen including the one currently in progress) and of those twelve Kansas has won six of them. Kansas has been a 1 seed in the conference tournament six times including this year, a 2 seed four times, a 3 seed two times, and has only not had a first round bye once, which was when they were a 5 seed in 2000. The only time Kansas has ever even lost a Big 12 Tournament game in an upset (what I’m deeming to be a loss to a team at least seeded two spots below them) is in 2003 when they lost by five in the semifinals to the fifth seeded Mizzou, who went on to lose the Championship Game to Oklahoma by just two points.
The Big 12 Tournament in 2000 was also the only time the KU lost in the second round of the conference tournament, until today that is. This is only the second time that Kansas hasn’t at least made it to the semifinals, the first time being that same tournament in 2000. As you can see this is the first time a lot of things have happened since 2000, so I decided to look back to see how the Jayhawks did in the NCAA Tournament that year.
That year Kansas lost their second round matchup against the 4 seed, Oklahoma State in the conference tournament by 19 points. After that embarrassing loss Kansas was an 8 seed in the NCAA Tournament that year, and lost in the second round to Duke by 5 after beating the 9 seeded DePaul in the first round by the same margin. Now I don’t think any of us expect Kansas to be dropped to an 8 seed in the NCAA Tourney, nor will they end up playing Duke in the second round but it was something interesting to look at.
Let me know how you think the Jayhawks will do in the NCAA Tournament this year.