I like the way this looks
The Commonwealth is crackling with excitement; old men are having shoving matches, and UK students are disgruntled that classes will continue as planned, as the Cats march towards the Championship.
To explain just how likely that scenario is, my man Jimmy Smith, a writer at Bleed Blue Kentucky, passed some stats on to me, and I think you’re going to like what it says. Here’s the short version:
Since 1999, when a team has won its first four games of the NCAA tournament by an average of double-digits, and won its Elite Eight game by double-digits, and plays a lower-seeded team in the Final Four, they are undefeated (6-0). Those teams are ’09 North Carolina, ’07 Ohio State, ’06 Florida, ’01 Duke, ’00 Michigan State and ’00 Florida.
Kentucky can be added to that list with a win on Saturday, as the numbers are clearly in the Cats favor.
Furthermore, of the 92 teams that have played in the Final Four since 1989, 36 meet these qualifications. And only nine have failed to reach the Championship game – two of those teams were in 2009 when all four 1-seeds made the Final Four.
Not only do the numbers support the margin of victory stat for predicting March winners, but 22 years of data says Kentucky has roughly a 75% chance of beating Louisville, and that’s not even counting the drastic talent gap between the two teams.
This season’s Kentucky squad and VCU are the only two teams which have met these qualifications of double-digits wins over the last three years, and since 2006, the four years prior, we saw two National Champions and two runner-up’s with the teams meeting these qualifications.
Over the last 16 years, at least one team which met these qualifications was represented in the Championship game, except last year’s VCU. This year Kentucky is the only team that qualifies.
So even if this isn’t the title year, God forbid — the numbers are saying Kentucky still doesn’t lose on Saturday.