Kansas clinched the outright Big 12 championship with a victory at Texas on Monday, giving the Jayhawks 12 consecutive conference titles.
Twelve consecutive crowns in one of college basketball's toughest conferences is surely no accident, and each season has had its own set of unique -- and sometimes improbable -- circumstances.
In his second season at Kansas, coach Bill Self called the win over No. 4 Oklahoma State "one of the great ones to ever be played in this building," which is high praise considering Allen Fieldhouse's storied history. The Jayhawks looked destined to win Self's first conference title in Lawrence outright, but a loss at rival Missouri in the final regular-season game forced them to share the crown with Oklahoma.
Kansas was upset by Bucknell in the first round of the NCAA tournament, but the 2004-2005 season was a season to remember for senior Wayne Simien. He was named the Big 12 Player of the Year after averaging 20 points. His No. 23 now hangs in the rafters.
The 2005-2006 Jayhawks began the season 3-4 and lost to Kansas State for the first time in 31 tries. Soon, though, they would begin to rely heavily on freshmen guards Mario Chalmers and Brandon Rush, who helped engineer a 16-point, come-from-behind win over Oklahoma.
After avenging the loss to Kansas State, KU shared the Big 12 title again, this time with Texas.
Self's first outright Big 12 championship in Lawrence came on the heels of an eight-game win streak to close the regular season. The run included another 16-point comeback, this time to top Kevin Durant and the Texas Longhorns at Allen Fieldhouse.
The Jayhawks would go on to win the Big 12 tournament, too before falling to UCLA in the NCAA tournament's West Regional final.
Kansas' 2008 season will be remembered more for the way it ended -- on Chalmers' clutch 3-pointer that helped beat Memphis in the national championship game -- than for the Big 12 regular-season title, but the early part of the Jayhawks' season was nonetheless remarkable.
They won their first 20 games but lost at Kansas State for the first time in 24 years. Three conference losses forced another shared title with Texas, but Self's first and only national title would follow.
Rush, Chalmers, Darrell Arthur, Darnell Jackson and Sasha Kaun all were drafted in the 2008 NBA draft, and, as such, 2008-2009 was supposed to be a rebuilding season. But nobody told the Jayhawks.
Junior guard Sherron Collins and sophomore center Cole Aldrich were still there, and the pair led KU in scoring. After beating No. 3 Oklahoma (without Blake Griffin) on the road and No. 11 Missouri at home, the Jayhawks won another outright Big 12 title, their fifth in a row.
"I'm falling in love with this team," Self said.
Kansas reached the Sweet 16 but fell to national runner-up Michigan State.
Kansas sent Collins out with another Big 12 trophy, and this race wasn't close. The Jayhawks lost only once in conference play and finished four games ahead of the pack.
The clincher came at the Phog in a win over Oklahoma, but Self wasn't satisfied.
"Clinching ain't good enough," he said. "We've got to take care of business."
KU won the Big 12 tournament and secured the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA tournament. The Jayhawks beat Lehigh before falling to Ali Farokhmanesh and Northern Iowa in the second round, one of the tournament's most memorable upsets.
Twin brothers Marcus and Markieff Morris began to shine as sophomores as they helped the Jayhawks to a 14-2 record in the Big 12 and another outright crown. To make it sweeter, the defining win came at rival Missouri and ruined the Tigers' perfect record at Mizzou Arena.
KU won a second consecutive Big 12 tournament championship and was awarded with a No. 1 seed. The Morris twins' last game in crimson and blue was a loss to VCU in the Southwest Regional final.
The Morris twins were drafted along with guard Josh Selby, and another "rebuilding year" ended with another conference title. Again, Missouri found its way into Kansas' path, and the game at Allen Fieldhouse took on added meaning with Mizzou's impending move to the SEC.
It took overtime for junior Thomas Robinson and senior Tyshawn Taylor to make a pair of plays that finally sealed the outright title.
"That couldn't have been scripted a lot better for us," Self said. "I'm not the most emotional guy, but that's about as good as it gets."
The 2012 Jayhawks made it all the way to the national championship game, where they fell to Kentucky.
A three-game losing streak during conference play had the 2013 segment of the streak looking very much in doubt. After a loss to TCU -- a team that would go on to finish 11-21 -- Self called the Jayhawks, "the worst team that Kansas ever put on the floor, since Dr. Naismith was there."
Kansas was routed at Baylor in its final regular-season game but still shared the Big 12 title with in-state rival Kansas State. The season -- that ended with a Sweet 16 loss to Michigan -- might be best remembered for Naadir Tharpe's runner to beat Oklahoma State in double overtime.
Freshman Andrew Wiggins was the No. 1 overall recruit, but Kansas really secured its 10th straight Big 12 crown thanks to the emergence of freshman center Joel Embiid.
Embiid and the Jayhawks won the championship outright after a loss at Oklahoma State, thanks to losses elsewhere in the league, and Self told his team to table the celebration until a more positive result came.
It did, one game later in a home win over Texas Tech, but Embiid was lost for the season to a back injury, and KU was bounced from the NCAA tournament by Stanford in the round-of-32.
Kansas was expected to reload with star freshmen Kelly Oubre Jr. and Cliff Alexander, but the Jayhawks' 11th straight title was won with upperclassmen Perry Ellis and Frank Mason III shouldering the load.
Facing West Virginia in the final home game of the season, KU erased a 14-point halftime deficit to secure an overtime win and make it official.
"We haven't had a better win here for higher stakes than what that was," Self said.
Ellis, Mason and Wayne Selden Jr. returned this season to lead Kansas to yet another Big 12 title. Losses to West Virginia and Oklahoma State, over a three-game span, had some worried, but the Jayhawks have now ticked off nine straight conference victories.