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Kentucky Wildcats: A Historical Look at March Nuttiness

We members of the BBN are often looking for early hints to help predict how our post season will turn out for our Kentucky Wildcats. Breaking down what can be expected for March Madness can be a difficult task. Ask anyone that has ever tried to fill out a bracket prediction how tough it is. March Madness is on like Donkey Kong as every serious team is even more focused on bringing their all to every game.

Some have questioned Cal's request for teams to 'go all nutty on us'. My theory about his wishes is that he wants our team to face an opponent that is playing as if the game were a win or go home situation, now. What better way could he prepare our young guys for the Nuttiness of March? You know how it is, often a team lights up in an area or areas where it was never expected. Facing that now requires the team to make important how-to-win decisions on the court. Studying tape or stats does not prepare you for any game of nutty.

I wanted to know more about Kentucky's history of do or die time so I went searching on Jon Scott's website for any trends I could find about March games. I never knew he had info of wins and losses for a specific date though. Light bulb moment right then and there. Yes, you read that right, I am delving into reading the tea leaves of past game dates. I thought it would be fun, especially when we are looking for another reason to be a little more excited this season. We are after all ... aren't we? So now, if you ever wanted to know if the past Wildcat calendar in March is revealing, let's all jump and take a look.
[Insert Jaws theme music here.]

At this point, without having any earthly idea where we will be seeded, I will have to look at all possible game dates.The First Four 2012 games, March 13th and 14th, are between the four lowest-seeded automatic bids and four lowest-seeded at-large teams. I will not include those dates for this look.

The Second and Third Round games this year occur on March 15th, 16th, 17th, and 18th. According to Jon's website our record on March 15th is 11-2 with our last game on that date being in 2008 yielding a four point overtime loss to the Georgia Bulldogs. Almost got it! Our record on March 16th is 14-2 with our last game being in 2007 with a win over the Villanova Wildcats. For March 17th our record is 9-3 and we last played and won over the Princeton Tigers last year. March 18th's record is not so kind with a less than stellar 8-5 record. Our last game on that date was a win against the East Tennessee St. Buccaneers in 2010. If we total all games on these four days, we have a record of 42-12. I'll take a 77.77% chance of winning a game on any of these four dates.

This brings us to the Regional games of the tourney. The dates for these games are March 22nd, 23rd, 24th, and 25th. For the 22nd Kentucky's record is 8-7. We last played on the 22nd against the Maryland Terrapins and lost, in 2002. Our record against teams on the 23rd is 5-0. Nice one. Our last game on that date was a win against Creighton Bluejays in 2008. Next up, on the 24th, we are are 4-1. We haven't played on the 24th since 1984 and yielded a win against the Illinois Fighting Illini. For the 25th, our record is 5-2. On this date last year was the spectacular win over the Ohio St. Buckeyes. I know you all remember that. Our record for this four day stretch is 22-10. Probability is down to 68.75% of winning on any of these four dates. If you take out a chance of playing on the 22nd it goes up to 82.35%. Settled.

If you are still with me, we are down to the Final Four. The dates for the SuperDome games are March 31st and April 2nd. For the 31st Kentucky's record is 0-4 and that is about the ugliest stat I have seen in a while. Vengeance belongs to us though because our last game on the 31st was in 1997 with an overtime loss to the Arizona Wildcats. We all know that game is the missing link to our three-peat. For April 2nd, I regret to inform you our only game on this date was last year against the Connecticut Huskies. I don't have to remind you how that turned out, now do I? You don't have to understand numbers to know I came up with a big fat 0.00% for wins in five games on these two dates. This is now the ugliest stat I have ever seen. We gotta fix that. Somebody call Statbusters really quick.

In order to be totally unbiased as I wrote this, I didn't look at the final two dates until I got to them. When I saw them I was in shock and I seriously thought about dropping this post entirely. Then I gazed deeper into the tea leaves and I saw clearer. I saw we could both improve these dates numbers while avenging our should-have-happened three-peat for 1996-1997-1998 with a win and also move past how we felt toward UConn for denying us our chance at smacking the Dookies down for the 2011 title. In the end, looking for our team to have a deep run come tourney time is about talent, hope, a few numbers, and blue stars. Check, check, and we really love blue stars.

Thanks for reading and Go Big Blue!

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