KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Kansas has dominated Big 12 basketball like perhaps no other program has dominated a major conference in recent years.
The Jayhawks have won or shared eight straight regular-season championships. Kansas has actually won more Big 12 titles during that time than it has suffered home losses (seven).
The Jayhawks are once again the preseason favorite in the league with three starters back from a team that lost to Kentucky in the national championship game last season. Coach Bill Self said Wednesday that yes, there is pressure to keep all the success going.
"Our players don't want to be the team that doesn't,'' Self said during the league's preseason media day at the Sprint Center, where the league tournament will be held in March. "They put pressure on themselves not to be that.
"And I think that's good. I think it means an awful lot to them. I don't think there is a jubilation of winning the league maybe that you would anticipate with our guys because I think they take the approach this is our job. This is what we came here to do.''
That doesn't mean that it's old hat, though.
"The most important one we could ever win would be this year's,'' Self said. "And that's how I think our guys look at it. That is certainly how I look at it.''
Chris Walker isn't terribly concerned right now about job security. That's a good thing, considering that he really doesn't have any.
Walker was named Texas Tech's interim head coach less than two weeks ago, replacing Billy Gillespie, who resigned under the pressure of an investigation into alleged mistreatment of players and his own health issues. He's working under a six-month contract.
Now that's an interim job, although Walker doesn't see it as any different a situation than most coaches.
"I was remarking to somebody the other day, there are a lot of interim coaches out there,'' Walker said. "They just don't know it.''
Despite his relative inexperience, Walker might have more current knowledge of West Virginia than any head coach in the Big 12. Before joining Gillespie's staff in Lubbock last year, he spent two seasons at his Big East alma mater, Villanova.
Presumably Walker's chances for continued employment depend upon the performance of his Red Raiders this season. Tech has four of its top five scorers back, but that's from a team that finished 8-23, won just one of 18 Big 12 games and lost 18 of its last 19 a year ago. Since 2005, when the Red Raiders of Bob Knight lost to WVU in the NCAA regional semifinals in Albuquerque, Tech is 106-122.
But Walker isn't about to complain about what amounts to a six-month interview process with that group.
"People look at it as if I've been diagnosed with cancer and I have six months to live,'' Walker said. "I've flipped it and it's six months to give. I'm a head coach for the first time in the Big 12.''