After win at Baylor, Kansas' 12th straight Big 12 title all but guaranteed

Kansas holds off Baylor for eighth straight win (1:06)

Kansas improves to 12-3 in the Big 12 with a 66-60 victory over Baylor. It's the eighth straight victory for the Jayhawks. (1:06)

It wasn't official Saturday, when Oklahoma rebounded from its 1-3 slump in Big 12 play with a 76-62 win at West Virginia, when Kansas won at Kansas State two hours later, and when those results combined to give the Jayhawks a cushion atop the Big 12 standings.

It wasn't official two Saturdays ago, either, when KU traveled to Norman, Oklahoma, for the most anticipated game of the season -- a rematch of a Jan. 4 triple-overtime Allen Fieldhouse classic -- and left with a 76-72 win and a sudden first-place tie.

It wasn't official when those same Jayhawks dropped three early league games on the road. It wasn't official on Jan. 19, when they were blown out 86-67 at Oklahoma State -- when Kansas coach Bill Self heard folks around town fretting over the falling sky.

It wasn't official in November. Or last January. Or in 1962, in Okulmegee, Oklahoma, when Self was born. It wasn't official at the dawn of the universe, when all matter exploded outward at infinite speed. It isn't official now.

Which is another way of saying it was always only a matter of time.

Tuesday night's 66-60 win at Baylor pushed Self's team to 12-3 in the conference table with three games to play. Their closest competition is West Virginia, at 10-5, and Oklahoma, at 9-5 and with a game in hand (versus Oklahoma State) Wednesday night. In other words, sure, it's mathematically possible the Jayhawks will yield their two-game stake atop the league standings. Three games left, two-game lead, carry the one -- the math isn't hard.

Picturing it is much harder, particularly after Tuesday night's performance.

Beyond the benefit of its home floor, Baylor entered the game having spent the last week playing some of the best, most inspired offensive basketball of its season. Last week, Baylor outlasted (or, really, outshot) Iowa State to win in overtime. On Saturday, the Bears scored a marquee road victory over a Texas team that had surged through its past two months of Big 12 play. Meanwhile, star forward Rico Gathers -- the most relentless offensive rebounder in college basketball four years running -- made his return from an illness that had sidelined him for much of his senior season. And, last but not least, there was the matter of a Jan. 2 102-74 no-show loss at Allen Fieldhouse. Baylor also had its pride.

Unfortunately for the Bears, Kansas happens to be an unfeeling basketball Goliath that disassembles its enemies in ruthless, methodical fashion. Self's team averaged 1.20 points per trip Tuesday in Waco, Texas. It generated good looks against man defense and picked apart Baylor's zone. Perry Ellis, the quietest All-American in the country, was key on that front; point guard Frank Mason III had his typically solid all-around game; and Devonte Graham continued his emergence as a crucial dual-point threat.

It was close throughout, sure, but never felt out of the Jayhawks' hands. As the possessions grew tighter and tighter down the stretch, Kansas' fundamental defensive solidity (smart help, good rotations, maintaining shape) and angular offense carried it to the finish.

Which was fitting, because -- save a few recent tweaks -- that's how Kansas always wins.

And it does always win. It's almost impossible to consider Kansas' reign in the modern college basketball context. That goes double for modern high-major leagues. When KU reached consecutive conference title No. 8 in 2012, and Gonzaga's streak was ended by St. Mary's in the West Coast Conference, Kansas' became the longest active streak in any conference in all Division I. Even then, it was a marvel. The WCC is one thing. But the Big 12? Over that large of a sample? How is that even possible?

That was four years -- and four titles -- ago. Yes, four.

Because here's the deal: Kansas -- now 24-4, unbeaten in the month of February, and playing the most well-rounded, comprehensive basketball of any team in its league -- would have to finish the regular-season 0-3 to lose its share of the 2015-16 Big 12.

Two of its last three games are at home. In the last 12 years, the Jayhawks have lost at home 10 times.

They've won 11 Big 12 championships.

So no, it's not official. Not yet. But let's just call it 12.