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Kansas strengthens grip on 10th straight Big 12 title by dismantling Texas

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger

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Kansas celebrates its win over Texas (USATSI)

Only twice in Division I college basketball history has one program captured 10 or more consecutive league titles.

Kansas will soon become the third.

The Jayhawks strengthened their bid to win a remarkable 10th consecutive Big 12 title by dismantling Texas 85-54 on Saturday evening to extend their lead to three games over the Longhorns and fellow second-place teams Iowa State and Oklahoma. One more win will clinch at least a share of the league title for Kansas and move the Jayhawks a step closer to matching the 13-straight league titles won by UCLA during the John Wooden era and the 11-straight captured by Gonzaga under Mark Few.

It's a testament to Kansas' consistency that it has maintained a stranglehold on the Big 12 for a decade no matter how much talent rival schools accumulate.

The 2009 Oklahoma team starring Blake Griffin couldn't end Kansas' streak, nor could the 2012 Missouri team that won 30 games or the 2007 Texas A&M team that won 27. The two Texas teams that reached the Elite Eight could only tie the Jayhawks for first place and the Longhorns squad starring Kevin Durant finished a distant third.

Though Saturday's victory effectively drained all drama from the rest of the Big 12 regular season, Kansas coach Bill Self was not interested in discussing league title ramifications afterward. He was more proud that the Jayhawks avenged an earlier 81-69 loss to Texas in which the Longhorns harassed Andrew Wiggins into the worst game of his freshman season and out-muscled the Kansas frontcourt consistently in the paint.

In the first meeting, Texas blocked 12 shots, gobbled-up 19 offensive rebounds and held the Jayhawks to sub-.500 shooting. The Longhorns still hurt Kansas on the offensive glass on Saturday night, but this time they had no answer for Wiggins or the rest of Kansas' many weapons on offense.

Wiggins scored an easy 21 points, 15 of which came before the under-8-minute timeout of the first half as Kansas zoomed out to a 46-18 halftime lead. Five other Jayhawks scored eight or more points including point guard Frank Mason with 14 and center Joel Embiid with 13.

That was more than enough to power Kansas to an easy victory that gave the Jayhawks complete control of the league yet again.

With Kansas replacing all five starters from last year and Oklahoma State returning the core of an NCAA tournament team including lottery pick Marcus Smart, many gave the Cowboys a chance to dethrone the Jayhawks before the season.

We all should have known better. This is Kansas' league until further notice.

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