LAWRENCE — Brady Morningstar is a natural fit as the big brother of the Kansas Jayhawks. He is 24 years old, he'll be 25 by season's end, and more years equal more experiences.
Here's a big one that is only Morningstar's: In 2006-07, KU lost two games at Allen Fieldhouse. None of his current teammates know what that feels like, and, as the saying goes, what they don't know can't hurt them.
"I don't really wanna bring up any loss," Morningstar said.
Entering tonight's game against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, the Jayhawks will feel invincible, and why mess with that? With a win, they can break the school record for most consecutive victories at Allen, originally set during 1994-98, with their 63rd in a row.
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Maybe Morningstar is being overprotective, but he doesn't plan on warning his younger brothers about what happened on Feb. 3, 2007, when the Jayhawks lost to Texas A&M 69-66 in Lawrence.
"Those losses here are so bad," Morningstar said. "You're not supposed to lose in the fieldhouse. When you do, it's just pretty upsetting, especially letting your fans down."
KU players are acutely aware of their fans. At this point, they'd much rather disappoint their parents. Back in 2007, before KU coach Bill Self had brought home a national championship, he would comment that anytime the Jayhawks lost it felt like the "sky is falling." After that loss to the Aggies, Morningstar could feel the pressure changing, too.
"Gotta run into the locker room as fast as we can," Morningstar said.
Something about that feeling must have stuck with that group that started the streak, comprised with all the major contributors on the 2008 national championship team. Because, starting with the next game against Bob Huggins' Kansas State team, KU has protected its house.
Doubt hasn't crept in very often, and the moments it has have been the most memorable. Morningstar's favorite win came at the end of the 2006-07 season when the Jayhawks knocked off Texas 90-86, overcoming 25 first-half points from Kevin Durant and clinching a share of the Big 12 regular-season title.
"That was impressive," Morningstar said. "Watching him was impressive. Our comeback was pretty sweet. A lot of times our fans see blowouts. There's rarely a time that they see a game that's down to the last possession in the fieldhouse. Those ones are the most fun."
Self's favorite was the Texas game two years later in 2009, when the Longhorns again jumped out to a big lead but KU won 83-73 and took the Big 12 title.
"When Tyshawn and the twins were freshmen," Self said. "I thought that was a fabulous win."
For senior Tyrel Reed, last year's 71-66 victory over Cornell stuck out most. There just haven't been that many close ones from which to choose.
"There's just something about it," Reed said. "When we come into the fieldhouse, we don't feel like we could be beat."
Of course, Self knows better. He's 116-6 at Allen, with three of his six losses coming to non-major conference programs Richmond, Nevada and Oral Roberts. Self has enjoyed the recent feeling of security within these walls, but he knows the sky could fall again any time.
"You want your players confident," Self said, "and I'm confident. But certainly anybody can be had anytime. The best home courts are obviously the ones that have the best players playing on them, first and foremost. Then the other things, the amenities, the crowd, the noise level, the tradition, the intimidation, all those things become a factor. But they're not near as important if you don't have really good players."