Three-game losing streaks very rare for Kansas basketball under Bill Self
In Bill Self's 15 seasons at Kansas, the Jayhawks have lost three games in a row just twice.
Three other times the Jayhawks thwarted potential three-game losing streaks by stopping the slide at two games with convincing victories the next time out.
But while those numbers sound somewhat astonishing, it's worth pointing out that, in both of the instances when the two-game skid turned to three, Game No. 3 was on the road, which will be the case Saturday night, when the Jayhawks travel north to Lincoln, Nebraska, for a 7 p.m. showdown with the Cornhuskers.
The last time Kansas faced Nebraska on the heels of back-to-back losses was during the 2005-06 season, Self's third at KU. That game followed a home loss to Kansas State and an overtime road loss to Missouri. And the Jayhawks took out their frustrations from those two setbacks by drubbing the Huskers, 96-54 at Allen Fieldhouse.
While none of those past performances have any real bearing on this team or its current skid, the two road losses that turned losing streaks from two games to three are worth noting given the location of KU's next game.
Sure, the two Oklahoma teams that handed Kansas a third consecutive loss — both in Norman, one in 2005 and another in 2013 — were better than the current Nebraska team. But the one major difference that makes this week's game such a challenge is the fact that Saturday will mark KU's first true road game of the 2017-18 season. By the time those past KU teams faced and lost to OU, they had played plenty of road games.
For what it's worth, KU endured eight two-game losing streaks in the 15-year Roy Williams era that preceded Self, and two of those also turned into three-game skids, with the 1993-94 team dropping three in a row to Oklahoma State, Missouri and Nebraska, and the 1988-89 team (Williams' first at Kansas) losing eight in a row from Jan. 28 through Feb. 24 of 1989.
With that in mind, here's a quick look back at the five previous two-game losing streaks under Self.
• 2013-14 •
Two true road games and a team full of freshmen — even if Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid were two of them — makes this the least surprising of the two-game losing streaks. But don't let that New Mexico score fool you. That was a tougher game than the final score indicates.
L — 75-72 loss at Colorado on Dec. 7, 2013
L — 67-61 loss at Florida on Dec. 10, 2013
W — 80-63 win over New Mexico on Dec. 14, 2013 at Sprint Center
• 2012-13 •
This stretch featured the Marcus Smart back flip at Allen Fieldhouse and Self dropping the now famous Topeka YMCA line after a miserable performance in Fort Worth, Texas. KU snapped the skid with a 21-point home whipping of Bruce Weber's K-State Wildcats, two days after falling in Norman, Oklahoma.
L — 85-80 loss vs. Oklahoma State on Feb. 2, 2013
L — 62-55 loss at TCU on Feb. 6, 2013
L — 72-66 loss at Oklahoma on Feb. 9, 2013
• 2005-06 •
Another freshman-heavy Kansas squad — which featured a bunch of future national champions — struggled in two games in three nights against its top two rivals but stopped the skid at two games with a thrashing of Big Red. The KSU loss snapped a 31-game KU winning streak over the Wildcats and the Mizzou game was the one where Christian Moody missed two free throws with four-tenths of a second to play in a tie game. That's how close KU is to having just five two-game skids in Self's 15 seasons.
L — 59-55 loss vs. Kansas State on Jan. 14, 2006
L — 89-86 overtime loss at Missouri on Jan. 16, 2006
W — 96-54 win over Nebraska on Jan. 21, 2006
• 2004-05 •
Game winners in the final seconds by Tech's Darryl Dora and ISU's Curtis Stinson delivered two emotionally draining losses and KU responded by scoring just 22 first-half points in a loss in Norman. The Jayhawks dropped four of their final six Big 12 games during this season yet still won a share of the Big 12 title. KU barely avoided dropping a fourth straight game with a two-point home win over Oklahoma State, six nights after the OU loss.
L — 80-79 double-overtime loss at Texas Tech on Feb. 14, 2005
L — 63-61 overtime loss vs. Iowa State on Feb. 19 2005
L — 71-63 loss at Oklahoma on Feb. 21, 2005
• 2003-04 •
This mini-streak started with Self's 12th-ranked squad falling to No. 10 OSU in his first trip to Oklahoma State as the leader of the Jayhawks and ended with a KU win in the first game in which Kansas wore red uniforms at Allen Fieldhouse.
L — 80-60 loss at Oklahoma State on Feb. 9, 2004
L — 74-55 loss at Nebraska on Feb. 15, 2004
W — 74-54 win over Baylor on Feb. 18, 2004