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KenPom Ranks Kentucky Second-Best Program Since 1997

Over the last two decades, Kentucky has arguably been the most successful basketball program in the country. There are plenty of trophies and banners to prove it. Now KenPom analytics reinforce that sentiment.

Today Ken Pomeroy released his ranking of every team from 1-353 since 1997. In Pomeroy’s program rankings he accounts for data on the court, program potential and RSCI recruiting rankings. After crunching the numbers, Kentucky is second, only behind Duke.

KenPom’s Top 10 Programs Since 1997

1. Duke +47.02
2. Kentucky +45.07
3. Kansas +37.04
4. North Carolina +34.45
5. Arizona +32.65
6. Michigan State +31.64
7. Villanova +30.03
8. Louisville +29.86
9. Florida +29.56
10. Texas +28.78

Kentucky has two things preventing them from surpassing Duke for the top spot. KenPom’s line of demarcation is a year after a UK National Championship, and Billy Gillispie. UK’s best KenPom finish was in 2015; the worst was Gillispie’s first season in 2008 when they finished 78th. Thanks, Billy.



Article written by Nick Roush

"Look upon the doughnut, and not upon the hole." @RoushKSR

22 Comments for KenPom Ranks Kentucky Second-Best Program Since 1997

  1. Catcasey1
    10:50 am August 9, 2019 Permalink

    Why didn’t he go back to the year 1996

    • AirForceOne
      11:01 am August 9, 2019 Permalink

      Exactly!! Why pick a range of 22 years? Why not 20 or 25? It was intentionally done to place Kentucky behind Puke.

    • runningunnin.454
      12:51 pm August 9, 2019 Permalink

      Yep, arbitrary spinning.

  2. RackEmWillie
    10:55 am August 9, 2019 Permalink

    I mean, given that time period then I would agree with this.

    Although, I’d love to see the rankings if they went back another year.

  3. VirginiaCat
    10:55 am August 9, 2019 Permalink

    Interesting set of metrics. I guess there are a lot of ways to slice and dice the data. I would focus more on actual results and less attention to recruiting and “program potential.” Recruiting is critical, of course, but it’s what you do with those recruits, as Duke demonstrated last year. Potential is far too subjective. In the final analysis, Kentucky is in a class of its own because we have won championships under five different coaches. That tells me that the most critical component of our success has been the BBN itself. Coaches come and go and there are peaks and valleys, but the fan base is what inspires the program to push for excellence.

  4. slangterm
    11:39 am August 9, 2019 Permalink

    Wouldn’t 25 year cut off be the year after Duke lost to Arkansas in title game. Surprise surprise. Instead of omitting that. We will omit a 96 title. Hilarious.

  5. bbn606
    12:03 pm August 9, 2019 Permalink

    I’m so tired up looking up at Duke.

  6. UKFanSC
    12:37 pm August 9, 2019 Permalink

    With the benefit of hindsight it is almost inconceivable how an AD as smart and effective as Mitch Barnhart could hire a Billy Gillespie. Like having Secretariat and selecting John Candy to be the jockey

    • 4everUKblue
      12:44 pm August 9, 2019 Permalink

      Meanwhile Cal was waiting for the phone to ring. Love the Secretariat/John Candy comparison.

  7. AreJ
    1:00 pm August 9, 2019 Permalink

    1997 is the first year KenPom started. Billy G really was the difference between 2nd and 1st. It still shows just how dominant we’ve been under Cal and without a doubt whom the best programs are.

    • Big Sexy
      1:54 pm August 9, 2019 Permalink

      I was wondering if it was something like that because it was such an arbitrary year. Of course you’re going to crush all these whack job conspiracy theorist who think everyone is out to get Kentucky and promote Duke!!

    • mashburnfan1
      4:55 pm August 9, 2019 Permalink

      AREJ….don’t use common sense to these comments, all on here will still say it is just a conspiracy against UK, or other programs cheated and paid or the refs fault. Had Rick stayed her we would be a distant #1, dUKe would be well back in 2nd place

    • catsarerunnin
      8:55 pm August 9, 2019 Permalink

      Mashbum is a douche.

    • dcforuk
      7:48 pm August 9, 2019 Permalink

      If if‘s and buts were candies and nuts we could have one heck of a party. Pitino did have it going while he was here obviously. Would he have adjusted his style to the current game is questionable / uncertain. Camelot he claimed!

    • 4everUKblue
      8:50 pm August 9, 2019 Permalink

      Another asinine comment by mashbum….big surprise.

  8. RexRox
    2:15 pm August 9, 2019 Permalink

    On KenPom’s website, it is possible to go back and look at all rankings (both final and pre-tourney) for all years/teams 2002-present. The highest ranked team during those 18 seasons is the 2015 Cats, even though they were not champions. As we all know, the best team doesn’t always win the tournament. I happen to agree with the rankings. I believe that is likely the best team in the history of college basketball. BTW, if you’re not already a subscriber to KenPom, I highly recommend it. I’m kind of a numbers geek so I have spent many hours surfing his site. Twenty bucks per year.

  9. RexRox
    4:08 pm August 9, 2019 Permalink

    Another cool website, similar to KenPom, is It is free and goes back thru the 2008 season. In their composite rating, they also have the 2015 Cats as the best team over the past 12 seasons.