If you have been a fan of the radio show or the site for awhile, you have heard of the “Rule of 71.” The rule says that the first team to score 71 points in a game will win. Every game we sit and mention the rule, but how accurate is it?
For Kentucky games this season, the team that made it to 71 first won 34 of the Cats’ 38 games. They only lost 1 time and in 3 of the games, neither team made it 71 points. The one loss? We can look back to the game at Georgia this season, where JJ Frazier’s three with 2:24 left, gave Georgia a 71-69 lead over Kentucky. Of course, we know that the Cats ended up winning 82-77.
To further analyze the rule, I also went through and analyzed the NCAA Tournament so far. The tournament has played 66 of 67 total games and the team that scored 71 first has won 50 of those. 14 of the games had neither team reach that mark. This left 2 games that failed the rule of 71; Xavier’s upset win over Arizona and Oregon’s win over Rhode Island.
What does all of this mean? It means that the rule definitely has some validity. A winning percentage of 0.947 is hard to beat.