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FiveThirtyEight gives UK an eight percent chance of winning it all


One of my favorite tools in March Madness is’s game probabilities for the entire NCAA tournament. (One of my least favorite tools in March Madness is Rick Pitino.)

The popular statistics website has the win probabilities for every team and they are updated live during games throughout the tournament, and then presented all nice and neat on an interactive bracket. You should play around with it when you’re filling out your bracket(s) today at work.

In the case of Kentucky, FiveThirtyEight gives the Wildcats an eight percent chance of winning the whole thing. On the path to get there, there is a 97 percent chance the Cats beat Northern Kentucky; a 68 percent chance they beat Dayton or Wichita State to reach the Sweet 16; a 47 percent chance they’re playing in the Elite Eight; a 30 percent chance they go to Phoenix; a 17 percent chance they make the championship; and then the eight percent chance to raise the trophy.


Only Villanova, Gonzaga and Kansas have a better shot at winning it all, according to FiveThirtyEight’s projection.

See it all for yourself here.

Article written by Drew Franklin

I can recite every line from Forrest Gump, blindfolded. Follow me on Twitter: @DrewFranklinKSR

14 Comments for FiveThirtyEight gives UK an eight percent chance of winning it all

  1. symphonist41169
    12:25 pm March 13, 2017 Permalink

    I’ll take it. Just figuring normal percentages without looking at seeding, records, etc., if we’re one of 68 teams in the tourney then from a purely mathematical viewpoint we have a roughly 1.5% chance. By being rated with an 8% chance means FiveThirtyEight is saying we’re more than 5 times more likely to win than simple math dictates. I like our chances.

  2. m4ff3w
    12:41 pm March 13, 2017 Permalink

    FiveThirtyeight is giving Wichita State a 2% chance to win it all.

    That is higher than any 3 seed, other than UCLA – which they also give a 2% chance.

  3. catsfan27
    12:55 pm March 13, 2017 Permalink

    I don’t like the draw as much as the next guy/gal, but people seem to be forgetting that NC and UCLA must win a couple of games as well. I know their path is a little easier, but it’s March, and anything can happen.

  4. Mathlete
    12:59 pm March 13, 2017 Permalink

    They also predict it’s UK and the 3 1’s not named UNC in the Final Four. Honestly, if we get another shot at Kansas in the Final Four I’d be ecstatic because we’re a much better team than we were 2 months ago

  5. BobTheBuilder
    1:24 pm March 13, 2017 Permalink

    This is the same website the predicted Hillary would win in a land slide.

    • Stellarcrusher
      1:43 pm March 13, 2017 Permalink

      I genuinely intend no offense here, but you are demonstrating a complete ignorance for how probabilities work. 538 had Trump at a 30% chance of winning the day of the election. That doesn’t mean they are saying Hillary will win. Compare this with a baseball player with a .300 batting average. The most likely outcome is they don’t get a hit, but would you say the batting average was wrong if they do (ignoring whatever miniscule update after a single hit)?

    • Tipa
      1:46 pm March 13, 2017 Permalink

      Didn’t they give Trump a 30% change to win? That was the highest reported chance of any analysis site that I remember. 1/3 does happen fairly frequently. I would be raising a stink about anyone who had Trump at 1/10 or worse.

  6. OMGahDio
    2:14 pm March 13, 2017 Permalink

    Joe Lunardi also has Kentucky goin to the Championship game playing Gonzaga… Saw that as I was filling out my bracket…

  7. Cayyuuuts2
    3:08 pm March 13, 2017 Permalink

    Five Thirty Eight also gave Hillary a 71% chance of winning election. So these percentages are about as valuable as a shit filled diaper.

    • Stellarcrusher
      3:10 pm March 13, 2017 Permalink

      Read my reply to BobTheBuilder… Probabilities mean a lot with proper interpretation.

    • JoeMoney333
      3:13 pm March 13, 2017 Permalink

      It’s fascinating how ignorant politics can make people.

    • Mathlete
      3:26 pm March 13, 2017 Permalink

      I think it just exposes the existing ignorance, people suddenly become experts in things they’ve never actually heard of because people in their party have one stance or another

  8. psuegobigblue
    3:56 pm March 13, 2017 Permalink

    They did say Trump was closer in the polls than what was being predicted. Said he had a good chance to win.