KU's first-round NCAA Tournament win moves Jayhawks within 1 win of tying Kentucky in all-time wins race
Fort Worth, Texas — Kansas fans have been known to keep a close eye on the wins race at the top of the college basketball period between their Jayhawks and the Kentucky Wildcats.
But after 2nd-seeded Kentucky lost in overtime to No. 15 seed St. Peter’s on Thursday — a couple of hours before top-seeded KU polished off Texas Southern with ease — their tracking of the standings reached a fevered pitch.
Kansas, with 2,352 all-time wins, is now just one win shy of Kentucky at the top of the list.
North Carolina, which is also still alive in this year’s NCAA Tournament, — as a No. 8 seed that will play top-seeded Baylor in the early game in Fort Worth on Saturday — is third on the list with 2,319 all-time victories.
As the Dickies Arena video board showed the final seconds of UK's overtime loss on Thursday, hundreds of Kansas fans awaiting their team's tipoff inside the building let out a huge and approving roar to celebrate UK's loss.
Different conferences, different schedules, sometimes different planets even. Doesn't matter. KU fans always seem to know what's going on with Kentucky and Big Blue Nation always seems to have its eyes on the Rock Chalkers, as well.
Kansas has made up a closed the gap at the top by a whopping 18 games in the past three seasons.
The 29-6 Jayhawks will get an opportunity to tie the Wildcats at 1:40 p.m. Saturday in a second-round matchup with No. 9 seed Creighton at Dickies Arena.
A win there would give KU the opportunity to really rub some salt in the wound of taking over the top spot. Not only would another win in the Sweet 16 do it, but every win from there on would move KU further ahead of the Wildcats while also advancing the Jayhawks deeper in this year’s NCAA Tournament.
Fans of both blue blood programs have shown that they love tracking the wins race, another way the two rivals can measure up against one another. Kentucky’s athletic department boasts of their position on top on the front page of all of their men’s basketball game notes, pointing out both the total number of wins and that it’s the most all-time in big, bold letters and numbers.
Perhaps Kansas will do the same if it moves into the top spot. Maybe not.
The reality of this thing is that it figures to change hands a few times — back and forth, back and forth, back and forth — over the next several years. The margin is that close and these two programs are both that good year in and year out.
But as of today, it’s the Jayhawks who have a golden opportunity to take over the top spot. And if they do, they’ll hold onto it for the next several months, as the Wildcats’ season is over and they will not be able to add to their win total until November.
College basketball’s all-time wins race standings: (as of March 18, 2022)
1 – Kentucky – 2,353-720
2 – Kansas – 2,352-877
3 – North Carolina – 2,319-827
Here’s a quick look at the season-by-season breakdown of Kansas and Kentucky victories since Bill Self took the reins in Lawrence for the 2003-04 season.
2003-04: UK +3 (27-24)
2004-05: UK +5 (28-23)
2005-06: KU +4 (25-22)
2006-07: KU +11 (33-22)
2007-08: KU +19 (37-18)
2008-09: KU +5 (27-22)
2009-10: UK +2 (35-33)
2010-11: KU +6 (35-29)
2011-12: UK +6 (38-32)
2012-13: KU +10 (31-21)
2013-14: UK +4 (29-25)
2014-15: UK +11 (38-27)
2015-16: KU +6 (33-27)
2016-17: UK +1 (32-31)
2017-18: KU +5 (31-26)
2018-19: UK +4 (30-26)
2019-20: KU +3 (28-25)
2020-21: KU +12 (21-9)
2021-22: KU +3 (29-26)… so far