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BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Kentucky and Duke-A Travel Study

If you missed yesterday’s episode of BTI Blogging Genius, you missed me somewhat debunking the myth that the NCAA tries and give UK tougher draws.  Kentucky, like most teams (sans Duke) sometimes gets tougher than expected draws and sometimes gets easier than expected draws.  It’s the way of the world.  But, a couple readers did point out that they felt Kentucky was forced to TRAVEL further on a yearly basis than other teams, especially Duke.  And since it is a lot easier to show this, I decided to compare travel distance in both the 1st/2nd round games and regional games. 

Now, maybe you disagree, but in much of the same way that any team seeded 5 or worse didn’t EARN the right to a favorable draw, I would agree only teams seeded 4 and better DESERVE to play close to home.  So, below you will see the seasons that both Kentucky and Duke were seeded 4 or better.  You will see total miles needed to travel from campus to the 2 sites needed to reach the Final Four. 

(* represents potential route but did not make it that far in tournament)

2010
Kentucky (1 seed, New Orleans and Syracuse): 1,412 miles

Duke (1 seed, Jacksonville and Houston): 1,655 miles 
___________________________
2005
Kentucky (2 seed, Indianapolis and Austin): 1,258 miles

Duke (1 seed, Charlotte and Austin): 1,478 miles
_________________________________
2004
Kentucky (1 seed, Columbus and St. Louis*): 536 miles

Duke (1 seed, Raleigh and Atlanta): 411 miles
__________________________________
2003
Kentucky (1 seed, Nashville and Minneapolis): 990 miles

Duke (3 seed, Salt Lake City and Anaheim): 4,633 miles
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2002
Kentucky (4 seed, St.Louis and Syracuse): 1,005 miles

Duke (1 seed, Greenville and Lexington): 711 miles
__________________________________
2001
Kentucky (2 seed, Unionville and Philadelphia): 1,343 miles

Duke (1 seed, Greensboro and Philadelphia): 447 miles
___________________________________
1999
Kentucky (3 seed, New Orleans and St. Louis): 1,083 miles

Duke (1 seed, Charlotte and East Rutherford): 626 miles
___________________________________
1998
Kentucky (2 seed, Atlanta and St. Petersburg): 1,237 miles

Duke (1 seed, Lexington and St. Petersburg): 1,168 miles
___________________________________
1997
Kentucky (1 seed, Salt Lake City and San Jose): 4,080 miles

Duke (2 seed, Charlotte and Birmingham*): 671 miles
____________________________________
1994
Kentucky (3 seed, St. Petersburg and Knoxville*): 1,027 miles

Duke (2 seed, St. Petersburg and Knoxville): 1,034 miles
____________________________________
1993
Kentucky (1 seed, Nashville and Charlotte): 612 miles

Duke (3 seed, Rosemont and St. Louis*): 1,598 miles
____________________________________
1992
Kentucky (2 seed, Worcester and Philadelphia): 1,365 miles

Duke (1 seed, Greensboro and Philadelphia): 447 miles
____________________________________

That is a total of 12 tournaments in which Kentucky and Duke were both seeded 4 or better.  7 times Duke was forced to travel less and 5 times Kentucky was forced to travel less.  In those 12 tournament though, Duke was given a site in North Carolina a total of 6 times.  And while that seems very biased towards Duke, you have to consider the fact that their are 3 cities (Greensboro, Charlotte, and Raleigh) that have NCAA Tournament venues, while the state of Kentucky only has Rupp Arena, until the Yum Center becomes eligible.  Freedom Hall last hosted an NCAA Tournament game in 1991.  So, Kentucky was already at a disadvantage there. 

But, here is another interesting note: Only 3 times in the 12 years above did the team seeded WORSE actually have to travel less for their first 4 rounds.  Those years were 1994, 1997, and 2005.  In 2 of those 3 years, it was actually Kentucky who traveled less despite having the worse seed.  So while there have been some years were Duke has not been forced to travel very far, an overall theme says that Kentucky and Duke have had similar luck/bias in their draws.

Article written by Bryan the Intern

50 Comments for BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Kentucky and Duke-A Travel Study



  1. Rick
    9:05 am March 9, 2011 Permalink

    Freedom Hall hosted the NCAA Tournament the year Pitino coached Providence to the Final-4, and also in the early 1990s – Harold Miner’s team played there that year.



  2. JP Wilson
    9:06 am March 9, 2011 Permalink

    Can’t wait until we get to play in the Yum Center for some first round games! Hopefully, next year.



  3. Bryan the Intern
    9:10 am March 9, 2011 Permalink

    1) 1969 was the last FInal Four hosted there. I fixed it.



  4. IdontLikePumpkins
    9:11 am March 9, 2011 Permalink

    You are correct about “inside” the state, but Gaylord in Nashville, Cincy, Indy, Columbus, Dayton, etc – are close easy drives and comparable to the 3 cities in NC.



  5. deer boss
    9:13 am March 9, 2011 Permalink

    It will help when YUM gets on the rotation. What we need is the YUM and Nashville to be in DIFFERENT years….not the same as is the case next year. After all…we know how we travel to Nashville.

    Also, we need Knoxville to get in…they have the arena, not sure about the hotel rooms and “travel destination’.



  6. Badgercat
    9:14 am March 9, 2011 Permalink

    As always, great analysis. Keep up the fine work.



  7. jimmy dykes
    9:15 am March 9, 2011 Permalink

    We need nails halfway between all the sites from UK.



  8. keepinitreal
    9:19 am March 9, 2011 Permalink

    Duke Sux



  9. UK_Football_Fan
    9:21 am March 9, 2011 Permalink

    You’re on a roll.



  10. Blahblahblah
    9:25 am March 9, 2011 Permalink

    Well when I see Cal doing credit card (recruiting) commercials during tourney time instead of K I might believe you! Lived in Carolina for a while, Greensboro, Char, Ral, WinsSalem, all easy drives from each other.



  11. UK2K
    9:26 am March 9, 2011 Permalink

    who cares about travel distances DUKE usually gets the better opponent draw…but who cares just go out and win your games its simple as that…GO UK!



  12. UKChillFan
    9:26 am March 9, 2011 Permalink

    BTI keep this up and all the myths will be debunked.



  13. PatPattersonISWalkingThruThatDoor
    9:29 am March 9, 2011 Permalink

    #FreeSexnNursinHomes



  14. Coach Enes
    9:30 am March 9, 2011 Permalink

    In 2003, it wasn’t so much the fact that we had to go all the way to Minneapolis as the OVERALL #1 Seed, as it was that we had to play both Wisconsn and Marquette basically in their back yards. Still bitter.



  15. bush man
    9:31 am March 9, 2011 Permalink

    never questioned last 4 game area. always duke
    playing first 2 in raleigh, etc. never going to lose those. go big blue



  16. MIT
    9:35 am March 9, 2011 Permalink

    We like stats too, just not as much as you.



  17. Al's IndiCats
    9:39 am March 9, 2011 Permalink

    With the Darlings of the Big (L)east, it wouldn’t surprise me to see that Looserville would get a draw at New Albany if they had greasy chicken Buckets…..C’mon people it’s Bashing day! Hate on a Tard, a Hokey….and Orangeman…..Hate on something for all thats worthy to hate on.



  18. Bryan the Intern
    9:40 am March 9, 2011 Permalink

    16) The question is: Would you rather me give a lot of stats OR give a rant which is typically absurd.



  19. Roach K
    9:40 am March 9, 2011 Permalink

    You’re still overlooking the real point with this analysis. Duke gets cakewalk draws. Last year, despite being the weakest #1 (and being undeserving even of that), they were given an easy draw of fading and injured teams that would have delivered any one of 20 teams to the final four had they been given the same draw. It was unprecedented in it’s weakness.



  20. Bi-Winning
    9:49 am March 9, 2011 Permalink

    BTI I like your rants better because of the comment wars that typically follow.

    But good number crunching.

    I’d also like to point out that when Kentucky had a shorter traveling distance, the difference between their distance and Duke’s was much smaller than when Duke had the shorter traveling distance (except in 2003 when Duke had to travel 3,000 miles more). For example, in 2010 Kentucky had shorter travel distance, but was only about 150 miles less than Duke. In 2001 Duke had a shorter distance by 1,000 miles.

    So my conclusion is that when bias is shown towards Duke, it’s much more blatant than when it is shown to Kentucky.

    BTI, am I doing it right?



  21. JB is My Holmesboy
    9:50 am March 9, 2011 Permalink

    18.) OR C) Post less frequently/never



  22. hoofhearted
    9:56 am March 9, 2011 Permalink

    What’s your overall purpose in these types of posts BTI? Is it to educate the average UK fan that you believe never looks at anything without putting on the blue colored glasses? It usually appears that way.

    Once agian you skew your methodology to prove some sort of point… I’m not sure what that point is.

    Simply by looking at Duke’s geographic location on a U.S. map and you know they will normally end up traveling a greater distance than a team more centrally located. The law of averages will give you that result over time.

    But just look at the first and second round games. It’s not even close. Once you get to the regional, you’re usually playing in a football facility — so being close to home is not as important as it is in the first two rounds. It helps to be close to home in the regionals, but it’s not like playing in Jacksonville, Charlotte, Raleigh, Greenville, Greensboro, Charlotte, Charlotte, St. Pete and Greensboro in the first two rounds.

    The nearest UK sites that are remotely as close in the first and second rounds during those same years: Indy, Nashville and Columbus.



  23. StuckInCT
    9:57 am March 9, 2011 Permalink

    there their they’re

    Learn it. Love it. Live it.



  24. not a dog person
    9:57 am March 9, 2011 Permalink

    Here is an idea for tomorrow’s BTI post: If Enes Kanter had signed with Duke, would he have been allowed to play?

    Thanks and I look forward to your analysis.



  25. BPM
    10:03 am March 9, 2011 Permalink

    It would be interesting to see the final season rankings for the teams seeded 1-4 in Kentucky and Duke’s brackets in those years.



  26. CatsFanInKnoxville
    10:03 am March 9, 2011 Permalink

    If you sum the distances UK (15948), DUKE (14879), UK has traveled 1069 more miles total.



  27. MIT
    10:03 am March 9, 2011 Permalink

    21) I like his post, so don’t forget option D you stop posting



  28. BigRudy
    10:04 am March 9, 2011 Permalink

    Hey BTI, suck a polar bear’s funky ass



  29. Wesley Willis
    10:04 am March 9, 2011 Permalink

    Suck a sloth bear’s bootyhole



  30. El Dude
    10:17 am March 9, 2011 Permalink

    As a conservative, it makes no difference what the “numbers” say. I believe Duke never goes more than 100 miles to play in the NCAA, so that makes it so. Don’t give me your thinkin’ numbers.



  31. Dave Chapelle
    10:22 am March 9, 2011 Permalink

    Are you high? The distance is irrelevent its who Duke always ends up with in there region. its year end and year out one of the easier brackets last years Dukes road to the final four was a joke



  32. Cliver
    10:34 am March 9, 2011 Permalink

    Hey BTI, struggling for material?



  33. BTI
    10:43 am March 9, 2011 Permalink

    BTI can you please find a new job. I hate your posts more than I hate Duke. You take all the fun out of anything and you must be a real joy to hang around. I pity your friends having to put up with you presence all the time.



  34. encephalo
    10:47 am March 9, 2011 Permalink

    brian youre getting harder and harder to read. i like your creativity and effort and your attempts are better than anyone but today was painful. youre not taking each of these teams opponents into account. to be clear, i’d rather play in california if it meant playing the weakest competition (im all about a tough non conference but we’re talking about the big dance; i want to win it)

    location is a factor but lets not act like the pool of competition is not



  35. Bryan the Intern
    10:58 am March 9, 2011 Permalink

    34) that wasn’t the point of the post. The point was to debunk the myth that Duke ALWAYS gets to travel less than other teams. I can’t prove every point about everything all in 1 post.



  36. Hollywood Cat
    11:00 am March 9, 2011 Permalink

    Thank You for posting something useful and thought provoking. Excellent post.



  37. tluckton
    11:00 am March 9, 2011 Permalink

    A lot of 1’s in front of Duke. Where we should be.



  38. Silly BTI
    11:07 am March 9, 2011 Permalink

    Its all about hating Duke, especially on #bashWednesday (on this #AshWednesday) Consider the following:
    2010 – weakest 1 seed, still gets the arena closest to home AND a floundering 2-seed Villanova.
    2009 – Duke, a 2-seed, plays at Greensboro. UNC, a 1 seed, plays at Memphis.
    2006 – Duke, 1-seed, plays in Charlotte.

    I think I just hate that there is ALWAYS a round in Charlotte/Greeensboro…is there a year where it isnt possible to have Duke in their own backyard?



  39. Tim
    11:13 am March 9, 2011 Permalink

    Could you maybe write a positive Kentucky article, or am I on the wrong site. Can Matt Guest Write, I miss his comments.



  40. kittylitter
    11:19 am March 9, 2011 Permalink

    Well, when a #1 seeded UK gets to play in the Yum! Center (which the NCAA will never let happen), I’ll buy into your theory about Duke. Until then…….



  41. JB is My Holmesboy
    11:35 am March 9, 2011 Permalink

    27.) If I post stop posting is that going to make BTI’s post better? If so I am stopping right…..



  42. Kent
    11:39 am March 9, 2011 Permalink

    BTR (Bryan the retard) I would rather eat dog shit then read anything you write.



  43. KyTom
    11:58 am March 9, 2011 Permalink

    “consider the fact that their are 3 cities “…….There is a word, THERE, that works better in your sentence.



  44. tom5673
    12:01 pm March 9, 2011 Permalink

    excellent research. would love to see a kentucky team get to play in cincinnati like in ’88. usbank arena needs another facelift, but it’s not that bad. at least it has luxury boxes, and i think enough seats for first/second round games.
    duke does get to play within north carolina way too much.



  45. rupp's grunt
    12:14 pm March 9, 2011 Permalink

    Okay, that’s a little better than usual, BTI, although I hate to give you any props, especially on Bash Wednesday, so, in order to realign the cosmos, I offer this:

    You’re ugly and your mother dresses you funny.

    That said, while I agree with you that only a four seed or higher deserves to be rewarded with less travel, I wonder why you felt the need to compare stats only during years where BOTH teams were seeded in the top four.
    If I were trying to dispel a so called myth about bias toward Duke, or against UK, I would compare each of, say, the last twenty-five years. Where did the Blued Evil play in years where they DIDN’T deserve to be rewarded? Were they rewarded anyway? What about UK during similar years?

    I would do the research myself, but you obviously need article ideas. You can thank me later.

    BTW, I agree with kittylitter that, even if The Bucket becomes a tournament venue, UK will never get to play a tourney game there.



  46. KyTom
    12:24 pm March 9, 2011 Permalink

    “consider the fact that their are 3 cities ” There is a word, THERE, that you could use someplace in that sentence….



  47. Gato Salvaje
    2:19 pm March 9, 2011 Permalink

    BTI, I agree 100% with Roach K – I think the main gripe about Duke’s draws is not travel distance but who they get to play. Last year was not the first time that Duke barely got a 1 seed yet they end up with the weakest 2 seed in their bracket. I wonder if part of the problem is the NCAA’s recent policy of placing the 1-2 seeds close to home for the first two rounds, rather than ensuring that the top 1 seeds face the weaker 2 seeds. For example, I would bet the house that if Duke beats UNC in the ACC final, they will be one of the weaker 1 seeds and will play in the West regional, where their first two rounds are in Charlotte. What concerns me is that the #2 seed in that region plays their first two rounds in Denver.. which will likely be either SDSU or BYU. Most of the country would agree that SDSU/BYU are weaker teams than other likely 2 seeds such as Texas, Notre Dame, Purdue, etc. This is of course speculation. I actually think that UNC will beat Duke again, in which case Duke would likely be a #2 seed in the Southwest region (playing first two rounds in Charlotte) and would have #1 seed Kansas in their region – not an easy draw.



  48. Gato Salvaje
    2:25 pm March 9, 2011 Permalink

    BTI, I agree with Roach K – I think the main gripe about Duke’s draws is not travel distance but who they get to play, though you make a good point that N.Carolina has 3 venues. Last year was not the first time that Duke barely got a 1 seed yet they end up with the weakest 2 seed in their bracket. I wonder if part of the problem is the NCAA’s recent policy of placing the 1-2 seeds close to home for the first two rounds, rather than ensuring that the top 1 seeds face the weaker 2 seeds. For example, I would bet the house that if Duke beats UNC in the ACC final (doubtful, actually), they will be one of the weaker 1 seeds and will play in the West regional, where their first two rounds are in Charlotte. What concerns me is that the #2 seed in that region plays their first two rounds in Denver.. which will likely be either SDSU or BYU. Most of the country would agree that SDSU/BYU are weaker teams than other potential 2 seeds such as Texas, Notre Dame, Purdue, Wisconsin, someone else from the Big East, etc. This is of course speculation, but if Duke gets a 1 seed, I will bet that they get SDSU/BYU gift-wrapped.



  49. SeoulCat
    2:34 pm March 9, 2011 Permalink

    Good effort BTI, but in the end it’s flawed analysis.

    1. Rather than evaluating the years in which both UK & Duke garnered a four seed or better, why not just evalute EVERY year in which UK & Duke garnered a four seed or better (and then average out the distance)? I’m sure that the widespread feeling that Duke receives a favorable venue bid every year stems from years beyond just those in which both teams have a top four seed in their pockets.

    2. Also, another question might be “why does North Carolina have four NCAA Tourney cities, and is this excessive??”–and it is four, not three,,you forgot Winston-Salem, which hosted games twice in the last decade. Does, for example, Ohio receive as many venues (for the record, New York only has had only three venues in place since 2000, and one of those, Albany, has only hosted once..Florida, another state with a much larger popluation than North Carolina, has four venues. The state of Illinois only has ONE venue.)? It’s something to think about. While travel distance is important, I would argue that it’s twice as important to play within one’s own state or area in which a team’s fans reside in great numbers than travelling a relatively short distance into enemy territory. In this respect, Duke has an overwhelming advantage.

    3. You also need to take into consideration the other teams in each school’s bracket for those years (seasons in which UK and/or Duke was/were given a four seed or better). If UK only has to make the short hop to Indianapolis for an early round game, it’s not so bad…until you find out that you’re playing the Hoosiers. What were UK’s (vs. Duke’s) travelling distances to venues in relation to the same distances for other top teams in its bracket that season (each season)?

    Too many other factors to consider before drawing any conclusions from BTI’s (as always) flawed analysis.



  50. JackB
    3:23 pm March 9, 2011 Permalink

    As one poster mentioned, the 7-5 analysis is pretty dumb. Several of those 5 UK shorter distances were very small differences. In fact, it might make a difference if you lived in town or in the suburbs as to who had the shorter travel distance (see 1994 when UK had the shorter distance by 7 miles – really?? really?? UK had an “advantage” on that? Why isn’t that just a push?). Plus, the short in state games for Duke are always a gripe. Even if the NCAA refused to consider UL’s old arena (and why?), there is Cincinnati, Indy, Nashville, and other close places that they could have picked for UK. But when Duke had the shorter distance, it was often VERY much shorter.

    My point – BTI’s analysis on this subject was pretty lame and poorly executed. Calling a 7 mile difference an advantage is just dumb.