With seven conference games remaining, Kansas holds a slight lead over Baylor at the top of the Big 12 standings. Securing a 13th straight conference title won’t be an easy task, but here are some scenarios that would seal the conference for KU.
The basic formula that has produced 12 straight titles for the Jayhawks has been fairly simple: win every conference game at Allen Fieldhouse and let attrition take care of the rest of the conference. Obviously, that won’t be the case this season after Iowa State made a ridiculous 18 three-point field goals last Saturday in an overtime victory in Lawrence.
Moving forward, Kansas only has three remaining home games on their conference schedule (West Virginia, TCU, Oklahoma). By sweeping their remaining home games, this would guarantee Kansas 12 conference victories. 12-6 is not usually going to win you the Big 12, so the Jayhawks would likely need to steal at least two on the road against either Texas Tech, Baylor, Texas, or Oklahoma State. By winning the remainder of their home games and going .500 on the road, Kansas would finish conference play at 14-4. Baylor, currently with three conference losses, would then need to win out to unseat Kansas at the top of the conference.
A win at Baylor on February 18th would more than likely secure the Big 12 for the Jayhawks, barring unforeseen disaster throughout the rest of their schedule. As depicted in the prior scenario, Baylor would need to win out if KU were to win out at home and split their remaining road games. If one of the road games Kansas steals is at Baylor, it would be a near lock that the Jayhawks will win the Big 12 for the 13th consecutive season.
Looming two games behind KU in the loss column is West Virginia. The Mountaineers defeated KU earlier this season, but must travel to Lawrence for a Big Monday matchup on February 13th. WVU has paired crushing home victories of both Baylor and Kansas with equally head-scratching home losses to both Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. Those home losses have withdrawn WVU from the conference title conversation to this point, but visits to both Baylor and KU in the final month of the regular season will give them a chance to get right back in it.
The race to the regular season conference title will no doubt be interesting, as Baylor plays four of their final seven games at home. More than likely, a win at Baylor would provide the separation needed for Kansas to match UCLA’s record streak of 13 straight major conference regular season titles. A loss in Waco would obviously decrease KU’s margin of error throughout the rest of their slate.
The Big 12 does chaos as well as any other major conference, so expect nothing less in the final three weeks of the regular season.