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BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: UK’s History as Preseason #1

We all know that the expectations for the Kentucky basketball team going into next season will be high.  So high, in fact, that UK will likely be the preseason #1 team in the country for just the 4th time in school history.  And with that ranking comes fans expectations that a national title is a realistic goal this team could have.  Anything less than a Final Four would likely be a disappointment.  But, what does that high ranking generally mean for season success?  Below are the major stats for each of those squads:

2013-14
Preseason Ranking: 1
NCAA Tournament Result: NATIONAL RUNNER-UP
NCAA Seed: 8
SEC Result: 12-6
SEC Tournament Result: Runner-Up
Final Record: 29-11

1995-96
Preseason Ranking: 1
NCAA Tournament Result: NATIONAL CHAMPS
NCAA Seed: 1
SEC Result: 16-0
SEC Tournament Result: Runner-Up
Final Record: 34-2

1980-81 
Preseason Ranking: 1
NCAA Tournament Result: 2nd Round (UAB)
NCAA Seed: 2
SEC Result: 15-3
SEC Tournament Result: Quarterfinals
Final Record: 22-6

So, what are the final stats for these 3 teams combined:
National Champions: 1 out of 3
Final Four: 2 out of 3
SEC Regular Season Champs: 2 out of 3
SEC Tournament Champs: 0 out of 3
#1 Seed in NCAA Tournament: 1 out of 3

I like the comparison of these 3 teams a lot.  Because it shows how different seasons can go despite having the same preseason ranking and expectations coming into each season.  I am sure fans were expecting Final Four or national championship in each of those seasons.  The 95-96 team was dominant throughout the year.  Obviously last year was a struggle for months, but then the team found it’s groove in March and lived up to the expectations.  And the 80-81 team played solid most of the year and then flamed out in the NCAA Tournament.  Point being, next season could go many ways.  There shouldn’t be too many surprises next season, as evidenced by those 3 teams above.  And the fact last year’s team lost 11 games.

We’ll have to wait and see (and enjoy) next season for whatever it gives us.  And hopefully that will be title #9.

Article written by Bryan the Intern

14 Comments for BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: UK’s History as Preseason #1



  1. Bluegrass
    9:13 am April 30, 2014 Permalink

    I cannot believe that it will only be the fourth time we’ve been the preseason #1. That’s crazy!

    Give it up to Cal! I mean, he’s setting records at this school left and right, and with our rich history that makes it even more crazy!

    He’s brought us the only 2 #1 NBA draft picks & 2 Preseason #1 rankings (among a slew of other records like consecutive #1 recruiting classes, etc)

    THAT’S NUTS! To put that in perspective – Rupp never had a single #1 pick or #1 preseason ranking – WOW!!



  2. Haha
    9:15 am April 30, 2014 Permalink

    What poll did you use? I’m assuming AP.



  3. FlySoup
    9:15 am April 30, 2014 Permalink

    what were we ranked in 2011-2012?



    • JHK
      9:33 am April 30, 2014 Permalink

      #2 behind UNC.



    • FlySoup
      9:34 am April 30, 2014 Permalink

      thank you



  4. jwmsix
    9:20 am April 30, 2014 Permalink

    BTI if you posted the makeup of those teams it explains the reason for there results.



  5. Jack Simmons
    9:22 am April 30, 2014 Permalink

    Next year’s squad might be the best on paper out of all those teams too: http://straighthoops.com/one_and_not_done.html



    • Grammar King
      9:37 am April 30, 2014 Permalink

      Your plugs for your website are getting old.



  6. BigBluejoe
    9:24 am April 30, 2014 Permalink

    This was one of the most ridiculous articles I have read. Once you found out we only have been preseason #1 three other times you should’ve stopped there and not tried to use it as data points. This article could/should have gone elsewhere. I wasted more time on BTI’s article once again. When will I learn

  7. I am sure that we were preseason #1 in the 77-78 year as well when we won it all. In fact, I believe we were tied with UNC for #1 (one reason I remember is because I had a couple friends who were UNC fans at school and we ribbed each other all year), but I don’t remember if that was one poll vs. another, both polls, or what.



  8. Chris Hopgood
    10:27 am April 30, 2014 Permalink

    I think LSU won the SEC regular season in 1981



  9. UKfan
    11:28 am April 30, 2014 Permalink

    Keep in mind that Kentucky basketball was great prior to preseason polling. Kentucky had already won 4 of its 8 National Championships (1948,1949,1951,1958) before college basketball preseason polls began(1961-1962)



  10. Tez Houston
    7:58 pm April 30, 2014 Permalink

    uab beat us in 2nd round in 81 and back in 2005?