On Tuesday, the Jayhawks rallied from 18 points down to defeat the visiting West Virginia Mountaineers by a score of 76-69. If we’re merely looking at this showing as a single contest, it’s clear to see that there’s no quit on this Jayhawks team, and this win has to be considered one of the more impressive victories of coach Bill Self’s tenure at Kansas. However, this statement come-from-behind performance did more than just topple the Mountaineers — it also gave Kansas a least a share of the Big 12 Conference title for the 11th consecutive season. That put this program in some elite company.
It’s hard enough to win one conference championship, but it’s a whole different animal to do it on a consistent basis. The fact that Self has been able to lead the Jayhawks to 11 straight crowns goes to show how committed this team is to rising to the challenge year in and year out. Not many teams can say they’ve experienced this same level of success. And yet, it has happened before. With that, let’s take a look at the longest conference title streaks in men’s college basketball history.
4. Connecticut Huskies (1951-1960), UNLV Runnin’ Rebels (1983-1992)
- Straight titles: 10
The Connecticut Huskies started their streak of 10 straight regular-season conference championships during the 1950-1951 season as a member of the Yankee Conference. What’s interesting about this particular UConn team is that it won the league without being considered a “major school” at the time. But coach Hugh Greer and the Huskies would prove their dominance in the conference, where they would actually win 12 league crowns in 13 seasons.
The Runnin’ Rebels of UNLV (pictured), led by legendary coach Jerry Tarkanian, were an absolute force in the world of college basketball during the 1980s and early 1990s. In this 10-season span, the Rebels didn’t just own the Big West Conference (previously called the Pacific Coast Athletic Association): They were a powerhouse program throughout the world of college basketball.
Not only did they reach multiple Final Fours, but they won the national championship in 1990.
2. Gonzaga Bulldogs (2001-2011), Kansas Jayhawks (2005-present)
- Straight titles: 11
The Gonzaga Bulldogs were once a Cinderella story in men’s college basketball, but over the years they’ve become a serious program and a major contender. Their success can be chalked up to one main constant: head coach Mark Few. In his 16 seasons at the helm, the Zags have won an incredible 432 games and made it to the NCAA tournament 15 times.
Their regular-season conference winning streak started during the 2000-2001 season and continued all the way to the 2010-2011 season. During Few’s tenure, Gonzaga has won 13 regular-season West Coast Conference (WCC) titles and 11 tournament crowns. It’s safe to say that the Bulldogs have made the WCC their personal playground.
We cannot stress the level of success that the Kansas Jayhawks (pictured) have experienced under head coach Bill Self. Besides the 11 straight Big 12 Conference titles, the Jayhawks have a .823 winning percentage, have made it to two Final Fours, and won a national championship in 2008.
It doesn’t matter what obstacles are put in front of them — the Jayhawks continue to win ballgames. We’re not sure how many more years they’ll be able to control the Big 12, but we know that we’re not about to bet against the Rock Chalk.
1. UCLA Bruins (1967-1979)
- Straight titles: 13
John Wooden’s UCLA Bruins set the gold standard for college basketball. During this incredible period under the iconic coach, the Bruins would capture a remarkable 10 national championships, including seven in a row from the 1966-1967 season until the 1972-1973 season.
Considering how nationally impressive these teams were, it’s no wonder they were able to control their league for 13 straight regular seasons. Whether the conference was called the Athletic Association of Western Universities (AAWU), the Pac-8, or the Pac-10, it made no difference in the end; the outcome was still same. No one could keep up with the UCLA Bruins.