Kansas basketball: 5 best seasons in Jayhawks history, ranked

Mario Chalmers #15 and Brandon Rush #25 of the Kansas Jayhawks (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Mario Chalmers #15 and Brandon Rush #25 of the Kansas Jayhawks (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /
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Kansas basketball all-time starting lineup
Kansas basketball (Photo by Getty Images) /

3. 1987-88 Kansas basketball season

Final Record: 27-11 | Season Result: National Champions (Def. Oklahoma)

Whenever Danny Manning was a sophomore for the Kansas Jayhawks, he played on a squad that many people might actually include on this very list of the best seasons in program history. In the 1985-86 season, head coach Larry Brown — then in his third season with the school — led the team to a 35-4 record overall. However, the team came up just short of a National Championship as they were ultimately upended by Duke in the Final Four. Things changed over the next two seasons.

The following year, the Jayhawks went 25-11 and finished only 9-5 in the Big Eight Conference. And in the next season, things didn’t improve all that much. The Jayhawks were 21-11 when they earned a berth in the NCAA Tournament, finishing only third in the Big Eight and weren’t expected to make too much noise in the Big Dance, even with the country’s best player in Manning on the roster.

Yet, Danny and the Miracles were born. Knocking off No. 18 Xavier and No. 20 Kansas State to do so, the Jayhawks went on an improbable run to make it to the Final Four. There, they outlasted Duke and then finally topped No. 4 Oklahoma to win the National Championship.

Undeniably, the 1987-88 Jayhawks have their flaws. After all, they have the most losses (11) by a national champion in college basketball history. Having said that, the fact that they cut down the nets and were able to go on one of the most incredible tournament runs ever makes them an easy choice for No. 3 on this list.