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Kentucky Basketball: So You Are A High Seed? Been There, Done That

I looked at the last five seasons we reached or won the title game to see what kind of path was taken to get there. Spoiler Alert: We have earned our success since 1996.

Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

Kentucky slugged their way to a birth in the 2015 sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament by beating a Cincinnati team hell bent on trying to pull, scratch, claw, elbow, illegal screen and trash talk the ‘Cats to a loss.  Like many teams this year though, Kentucky can play your game and still beat you... and do it comfortably.

We do not yet know whom the boys in blue will be playing but we do know it will be either the Maryland Terrapins (4 seed) or the West Virginia Mountaineers (5 seed and just a "gritty" as Cincy).  I started thinking back on the more recent Kentucky NCAA runs and was trying to remember any scares from Cinderella they may have had.

Turns out in the years that either Kentucky has won the title or gotten to the title game, they have not had any scares from Cinderella.  The reason is they never have gotten to play a team that was squeezing the glass slipper for all it is worth.

I looked at this year so far plus 1996, 1997, 1998, 2012, and 2014.  It is astonishing the level of seed that the Wildcats plowed through in those years.  I took out the first round in the years we were a 1 or 2 seed because all of those years they were assigned a lamb to bring into their lion's den.  Beyond the assigned cupcakes in those 6 years, UK has played an amazing average seed of 4.29


  • 1996 Average Seed Opponent: 6.0
  • 1997 Average Seed Opponent: 5.8
  • 1998 Average Seed Opponent: 6.3
  • 2012 Average Seed Opponent: 6.2
  • 2014 Average Seed Opponent: 3.8

2015 is pacing to look like one of the similar numbers as well.  Of course, anyone can beat anyone but I think it is likely for us to win #9 we are looking at facing 16, 8, 4, 3, 1, 1 to do it.  I think most of can agree that if we are going to pull off the quest for perfection, we would not have it any other way either.