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BTI's Rants and Ramblings: A Preseason #1 or #2 Ranking.....what does it mean?

Article written by:On3 imageBryan the Intern
  We all know that the expectations for the Kentucky basketball team coming into this season are high once again.  And with that expected high ranking comes fans expectations that a national title or Final Four is a realistic goal this team could have.  But, what does that high ranking generally mean for season success?  As amazing as it seems, Kentucky has only been ranked in the Top 2 of the preseason AP poll 10 times in the last 45 years.  So, just how good did those 10 teams turn out?  Below are the major stats for each of those squads: 2014-15 Preseason Ranking: 1 NCAA Tournament Result: FINAL FOUR NCAA Seed: 1 SEC Result: 16-0 SEC Tournament Result: Champion Final Record: 38-1 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 2011-12 Preseason Ranking: 2 NCAA Tournament Result: NATIONAL CHAMPS NCAA Seed: 1 SEC Result: 16-0 SEC Tournament Result: Runner-Up Final Record: 38-2 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 1993-94 Preseason Ranking: 2 NCAA Tournament Result: 2nd round (Marquette) NCAA Seed: 3 SEC Result: 12-4 SEC Tournament Result: CHAMPIONS Final Record: 27-7 1983-84 Preseason Ranking: 2 NCAA Tournament Result: Final Four (Georgetown) NCAA Seed: 1 SEC Result: 14-4 SEC Tournament Result: CHAMPIONS Final Record: 29-5 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 1979-80 Preseason Ranking: 2 NCAA Tournament Result: Sweet 16 (Duke) NCAA Seed: 1 SEC Result: 15-3 SEC Tournament Result: Runner-Up Final Record: 29-6 1977-78 Preseason Ranking: 2 NCAA Tournament Result: CHAMPIONS NCAA Seed: No seeding in tournament SEC Result: 16-2 SEC Tournament Result: No tournament held Final Record: 30-2 1969-70 Preseason Ranking: 2 NCAA Tournament Result: Elite 8 (Jacksonville) NCAA Seed: No seeding in tournament SEC Result: 17-1 SEC Tournament Result: No tournament held Final Record: 26-2 So, what are the final stats for these 7 teams combined: National Champions: 3 out of 10 Final Four: 6 out of 10 SEC Regular Season Champs: 8 out of 10 (The 1994 team only won East Division) SEC Tournament Champs: 3 out of 8 #1 Seed in NCAA Tournament: 5 out of 8 25-Win Season: 9 out of 10 I think this shows us one major thing, and that is that all of these teams were really, really good.  All of the teams were SEC champions in one way or another.  All the teams had over 20 wins, and 9 of the 10 had over 25 wins.  But the NCAA Tournament is maybe the greatest crap-shoot in sports. The best teams rarely win the whole tournament, and just making the Final Four is a 50-50 proposition.  I would say that only the 1994 team was NOT a Final Four caliber team, and yet only 6 of the other 9 teams actually made the Final Four.  That being said, if you told me that Kentucky had a 66% chance to make the Final Four right now, I would take that in a heartbeat.  I hope you would too if you are being realistic. On the other side of the coin, the 1978, 1996, and 2012 teams made it happen during the tournament, and I would say that before their tournaments, they would already be called the best 3 teams of this group.  So, the most elite of elite UK teams usually prove it during the NCAA Tournament.  And until this team can put together 6 wins in late March and early April, all this preseason hype and ranking doesn’t mean jack.  Even a 30-win season and SEC title don’t mean jack either.  This years team will revolve around 6 games and 6 games only. That's how it is at Kentucky and the above stats show that.

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2022-10-05