Wednesday, March 5, 2005. Kansas beats Kansas State, 72-65 in Lawrence, clinching at least a share of the 2004-05 Big XII Regular Season Title and earning the right to call themselves Big XII Champions. Since that day, 4,020 days have passed…and Kansas has been able to call themselves Big XII Champs for every single one of them. Players have changed, assistant coaches have changed, teams within the conference have changed – but one thing remains the same. The Kansas Jayhawks keep winning.
In 2006, KU started their conference schedule 1-2, only to win 12 of the next 13 games and tie Texas (who lost to Texas A&M in their second-to-last conference game) for first place.
In 2013, the Jayhawks lost three conference games in a row, including one on the road to TCU, arguably the worst regular season loss in program history, but found a way to rally and come out on top.
The 2003-04 season was the last time Kansas did not win the conference. It was Bill Self’s first year at KU and he was leading a Kansas team that was up and down throughout the year as well as one poor overtime period away against Jarrett Jack and Georgia Tech from advancing to the Final Four. Obviously, it has been a while since that point. So, let’s take a trip down memory lane…what was 2004 (the 2003-04 season), the last full season Kansas couldn’t call themselves Big 12 Champs, like again?
Big 12 Coaches/Notable Players
Oklahoma State – Eddie Sutton, Tony Allen
Texas – Rick Barnes, Royal Ivey
Colorado – Ricardo Patton, David Harrison
Texas Tech – Bob Knight, Andre Emmett (First-team All-American), Darryl Dora (yes, KU fans, THAT Darryl Dora)
Missouri – Quin Snyder, Rickey Paulding (Preseason All-American), Arthur Johnson
Oklahoma – Kelvin Sampson, Drew Lavender
Iowa State – Wayne Morgan, Jake Sullivan, Jackson Vroman
Kansas State – Jim Wooldridge, Cartier Martin (FR)
Nebraska – Barry Collier
Baylor – Scott Drew (No Postseason)
Texas A&M – Melvin Watkins, Acie Law IV (FR)
Kansas – Bill Self, J.R. Giddens (FR), Keith Langford, Wayne Simien, David Padgett (FR), Aaron Miles
West Virginia (Big East at the time) – John Beilein
TCU (Conference USA at the time) – Neil Dougherty
Oklahoma State won the conference at 14-2, even after losing their first game on the road in Lubbock against Texas Tech. The Cowboys end up winning the Big 12 Tournament before advancing to the Final Four and losing to Georgia Tech.
Other College Basketball Notes
Jameer Nelson was named the Player of the Year by every major organization.
Luol Deng and Chris Paul won Freshman of the Year from the USBWA and Sporting News.
Bruce Weber was in his first year at Illinois.
Roy Williams was in his first year at North Carolina.
Jamie Dixon was in his first year at Pittsburgh.
Ben Howland was in his first year at UCLA.
Seth Greenburg was in his first year at Virginia Tech (and probably upset about being left out of the NCAA Tournament.)
Sean Miller was an assistant coach at Xavier.
Lon Kruger was an assistant coach for the New York Knicks.
John Calipari led Memphis to receiving a #7 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Mike Anderson led UAB at a #9 seed in the NCAA Tournament and upset the tournament favorite, Kentucky in the 2nd round.
Final Four — 2 Oklahoma State, 3 Georgia Tech, 1 Duke, 2 UCONN (UCONN defeated Georgia Tech in the National Championship)
First Team All-American
Emeka Okafor, Jameer Nelson, Lawrence Roberts, Andre Emmett, Ryan Gomes
Second Team All-American
Devin Harris, Julius Hodge, Luke Jackson, Josh Childress, Blake Stepp
Other Sports Notes
NFL (03-04 Season)
The Patriots defeated the Panthers 32-29 in Super Bowl XXXVIII.
Bill Parcells was the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys.
Peyton Manning and Steve McNair were co-MVP’s.
Dante Hall did this.
The Colts beat the Chiefs in the AFC Divisional Round “no punt” game.
Matt Hasselbeck, during the coin toss of the NFC Wild Card game, was quoted saying “we want the ball and we’re going to score.” He ended up throwing a pick-six to Al Harris.
NBA (03-04 Season)
The NBA was made up of four divisions, two in each conference.
Kevin Garnett was named MVP.
Peja Stojakovic was named to the second-team all-NBA team.
LeBron James was named Rookie of the Year.
Ron Artest (still his name, at that point) was named Defensive Player of the Year.
Karl Malone and Gary Payton joined the Los Angeles Lakers, prior to the start of the season.
The Detroit Pistons upset the Los Angeles Lakers in the Finals, 4-1.
Steph Curry was 16 years-old.
Andrew Wiggins was eight years-old.
MLB (2004 Season)
The Boston Red Sox came back from a 3-0 deficit against the New York Yankees to win the ALCS, and then win the World Series, breaking their 86-year “curse.”
The Houston Astros were in the National League.
Vladimir Guerrero and Barry Bonds were named MVP of their leagues.
The Washington Nationals were the Montreal Expos.
Ned Yost was the manager of the Milwaukee Brewers.
Bryce Harper was 12 years-old.
College Football (03-04 Season)
LSU defeated Oklahoma in The Sugar Bowl to win the BCS Championship, while the AP voters had USC as their #1 team.
Ben Roethlisberger led Miami (OH) to a 13-1 record.
TCU was in Conference USA.
Utah, coached by Urban Meyer, was in the Mountain West conference.
Alabama had a 4-9 record, coached by Mike Shula.
Notre Dame had a 5-7 record, coached by Tyrone Willingham.
Phil Mickelson won his first Major Tournament, the 2004 Masters.
Jordan Spieth was 11 years-old.
Lance Armstrong won his sixth consecutive Tour de France.
Smarty Jones finished second at the Belmont Stakes, failing to win the Triple Crown.
The NHL went into a lockout on September 15th.
Michael Phelps won eight medals (six gold, two bronze) at the Summer Olympics in Athens.
The Best Damn Sports Show Period put together their images of the year. (and, yes, the Best Damn Sports Show Period was still a show.)
Pop-Culture and World News
Facebook launched on February 4, 2004.
Google released Gmail on April 1, 2004.
Ronald Reagan and Ray Charles passed away.
The front page of ESPN.com looked like this.
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King won 11 Oscars at the 76th Academy Awards, hosted by Billy Crystal.
“Clocks” by Coldplay beat out “Hey Ya”, “Crazy In Love”, “Where Is the Love?”, and “Lose Yourself” for Record of the Year at the Grammy’s.
Speakerboxxx/The Love Below by Outkast won Album of the Year.
The day after Christmas in 2004, a 9.1 earthquake shakes in the Indian Ocean, causing tsunamis in Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, among others, killing between 230,000 and 280,000 people.
George W. Bush beat out John Kerry to win the Presidential Election.
Donald Trump was registered as a democrat.
Barack Obama was a member of the Illinois Senate.
Bernie Sanders was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Vermont’s at-large district.
Hillary Clinton was a United States Senator from New York.
Clearly, a lot has changed in the past twelve years. But, Kansas calling themselves Big 12 Champs has stayed the same.