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ESPN: History shows Kentucky is the best fit to win it all


The national media seems to be sleeping on the Cats, but as ESPN pointed out late last night, if history is any indication, Kentucky is the smart pick to win it all. ESPN’s Stats and Information department used a variety of criteria from the last 15 years to figure out which team best fits the profile of a tournament champion, and only one team did: your Kentucky Wildcats. Here’s how they got there:

Rule No. 1: Pick a top-3 seed

Kentucky’s a two, so check

Rule No. 2: Pick a team with a future lottery pick

Got two of those, at least

Rule No. 3: Pick a team with strong efficiency numbers

UK is #4 in adjusted efficiency

Rule No. 4: Pick a team that played a strong schedule

UK’s slate is ranked 31st in adjusted strength of schedule

Rule No. 5: Do not pick a team that lost its conference tournament opener

We won ours, so check.

Numbers don’t lie, right?


Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

16 Comments for ESPN: History shows Kentucky is the best fit to win it all

  1. Catcasey1
    12:58 pm March 15, 2017 Permalink

    Hope history is right

  2. BBaxterUK
    1:03 pm March 15, 2017 Permalink

    All great points. Net cutting ceremony will be in Phoenix all #BBN is invited. #9 #eatitUL

  3. SanDiegoCats
    1:05 pm March 15, 2017 Permalink

    Last time I went to Vegas for first round was 2012. I leave for Vegas tom. So there’s that.

    • MinnesotaCatFan
      1:39 pm March 15, 2017 Permalink

      How ironic. last time i went to Las Vegas was 2012 and I fly out next Thursday. So there’s that…as well!!!

    • Mathlete
      2:06 pm March 15, 2017 Permalink

      If UK cuts down the nets again, does that make Vegas in March an annual trip for you both?

    • MinnesotaCatFan
      2:47 pm March 15, 2017 Permalink

      Absolutely! Though I’m not sure my liver and wallet could make it an annual event! Maybe every 5 years or so

  4. secrick
    1:09 pm March 15, 2017 Permalink

    Well that settles it. Number 9 is on the way. GO BIG BLUE

  5. maximumscott
    2:25 pm March 15, 2017 Permalink

    Last time I never went to Phoenix for the final four UK won the title in 2012.

  6. 8xchamp
    2:35 pm March 15, 2017 Permalink

    I like our team.

  7. pancakesfordinner
    3:10 pm March 15, 2017 Permalink

    Where does Duke fall in this spectrum? They’re favored by vegas and and have a WAY easier bracket than us. For us to even make it to the finals, we have to beat 2 of the 5 teams that beat is this year (UCLA, and Kansas/Louisvile) and UNC who we barely beat.

    Duke has Jason Tatum and Giles who are projected lottery picks on espn, a 2 seed, won their conference tourney, 9th strongest schedule (according to espn’s rpi), but I don’t know where the efficiency numbers come from.

    FYI I hate duke, I’m just trying to objectively figure it where this came from.

    • RealCatsFan
      3:28 pm March 15, 2017 Permalink

      Duck Fuke!

    • RealCatsFan
      3:33 pm March 15, 2017 Permalink

      BTW, they eliminated dook because they don’t have high enough KenPom efficiency ratings…

    • Mathlete
      3:47 pm March 15, 2017 Permalink

      Duck fuke is one of my favorite Asian dishes, great with a side of rice!

    • BlueDeuce
      4:30 pm March 15, 2017 Permalink

      Duke is actually ranked overall in efficiency at #13…but, their adjust offense is #7 while their adjusted defense is #47.

      One of the better metrics or analytics in the past 20 years or so has been having an adjusted offense and defense of 20 or higher (not combined, but individually). The only exception to this rule over the last decade plus was UCONN (2011 or 2014…can’t remember) and they were #21 in one or the other.

      UK has an adjusted offense of #14 and adjusted defense of #10, with an overall of #4 so they are in the realm of the metrics/analytics.

      UNC and Duke are not due to adjusted defense numbers. Villanova and Wichita State are in there too but don’t have lottery picks (though won their conference tournament). Gonzaga meets all the criteria other than strength of schedule and a couple other teams are right there but fall out of the top 20 in one of the efficiency ratings (offense or defense), no lottery pick, strength of schedule or didn’t get a top 4 seed.

      On paper UK looks good…just got to play teams to their averages and not have one go crazy to have a change. I’d still like their chances even with all this said!

  8. etp714
    3:10 pm March 15, 2017 Permalink

    I feel #9 is on the way!!

  9. Luether
    3:20 pm March 15, 2017 Permalink

    Nine would be fine…