Bill Self and John Calipari helm two of the most storied men's college basketball institutions, Kansas and Kentucky. In fact, the two programs are at the top of the wins rankings all-time for men's basketball programs. Kentucky recently overtook Kansas after the Jayhawks had to vacate 15 wins. But the two titans will do battle once again with pride and early-season rankings on the line.
Kansas basketball comes into this matchup ranked No. 1 overall in the country, with Kentucky basketball at No. 16. And Bill Self comes in having just received a lifetime contract to keep him in Kansas for as long as he'd like. Calipari signed a similar deal last year. Here's how the two legends compare ahead of their incoming matchup on Tuesday in Chicago.
Bill Self vs. John Calipari all-time records
Before Kansas had to vacate 15 wins from 2017-18, Bill Self and John Calipari sat just three games apart at 14th and 15th on the all-time coaching wins list. Although now Calipari sits above Self, Self is fully capable of passing Calipari in the coming seasons given Kansas' raised expectations relative to Kentucky. At their current institutions, Self's longetivity means he enjoys a 582-132 record at Kansas, while Calipari's Kentucky record sits at 389-113.
Bill Self vs. John Calipari head-to-head
While John Calipari holds a slim 6-5 lead in all-time meetings against Bill Self, Kansas moved one step closer to evening the score last year with a 77-68 as part of the SEC-BIG 12 challenge. In fact, the Jayhawks actually used that win as a springboard back to the top of the Big 12 while earning number one seed for the NCAA Tournament after dropping three straight before beating the Wildcats.
Additionally, Self leads Calipari where it matters most: 2-1 in national titles, including a 2008 matchup won by Kansas in the NCAA championship game when Calipari was coaching at Memphis. Both have certainly had their fair share of opportunities to win titles, but Self is the one who's converted them the most despite Calipari making it to the Final Four six times.
Bill Self vs. John Calipari contracts
On the back of his new deal, Self also has Calipari beat when it comes to contracts. Self's new contract is worth $53 million across five years, for about $10.6 million per year. Calipari's extension was for six years and $44 million, for approximately $8.5 million per year.
Both Kansas and Kentucky will almost certainly want to keep their coaches around for the long-term, and if they do, these are two guys who could feasibly challenge Mike Krzyzewski's record of 1,202 wins in DI college men's basketball. Self and Calipari are entering their 31st and 32nd years of coaching, and find themselves just about two-thirds of their way through Krzyzewski's 47 years of coaching as well as 1202 wins.
If they keep up their pace, and they stay at these high profile institutions for the decade and a half to come, fans may be treated to dueling races for the record. And their contracts will certainly only continue to increase and rival each other. But could Self and Calipari ever leave their respective schools?
Self is almost certainly safe barring serious NCAA violations. Calipari's success has him in similar regard, the only caveat being that the Wildcats have fallen behind their pace of success from the early-mid 2010s in the past five or so years. In all likelihood, these two greats aren't going anywhere, college basketball is better for it. Two of the best minds in the game make for excellent architects for two of its biggest programs, not to mention incredible villains for fans of everyone else.
We might as well continue to enjoy it, beginning with Tuesday's marquee matchup at United Center.