It's supposed to be a feel-good night - Senior Night is. The seniors are supposed to have grins on their faces as they give their speech after beating some Big 12 foe. They're supposed to be able to crack jokes and get laughs, even if the jokes aren't that funny.
The smiles were there Wednesday, just like they're supposed to be. And it seems they are a little bit wider when the Jayhawks clinch their seventh consecutive Big 12 title on the same night. It's a streak unmatched since UCLA's untouchable run of 13 consecutive Pac-10 championships, which ended in 1979.
"It is amazing," Self said. "I don't think anybody's won seven in a row. And of course, they had 13, and we aren't getting 13."
Thirteen may be out of reach by Self's count, but there's plenty of pride to be had in seven, which no team has accomplished since the advent of the three-point line in college basketball.
And talk about impressive: With this title, Self now has as many losses at Allen Fieldhouse as he does consecutive conference championships. That stat speaks to Self's unerring consistency and a primary reason why the Jayhawks are so difficult to top in conference play.
When the Jayhawks don't lose at home, that's eight conference wins. Go at least .500 on the road - the worst conference record in the streak was 12-4 - and it's tough for anyone else to claim the crown.
"This is the best place to play in the world, believe it or not," senior guard Brady Morningstar said. "I don't think there's another place in the country, a better venue to play in, so we're spoiled with that."
The Jayhawks can say they are the best team in the conference again, and Morningstar, hesitantly, did just that.
"I mean," he said, pausing. "Yeah."
He didn't want to say yes, it seems, because the title isn't theirs alone just yet, so the Jayhawks aren't happy. Though the Big 12 Championship trophy was in the building, and the championship t-shirts were given out to players in the locker room, there was little congratulations offered and even less pomp and circumstance.
A loss at Missouri and a Texas win at Baylor this Saturday would mean a split title with the Longhorns, the only Big 12 team the Jayhawks haven't beat this season.
"It's a pretty good accomplishment," senior guard Brady Morningstar said. "But we've still got business to take care of Saturday. We don't like sharing our titles."
— Edited by Erin Wilbert