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Kentucky Wildcats named most overrated program of last decade in college basketball

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We can neither confirm nor deny John Higgins wrote this article.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-South Regional-Kentucky vs North Carolina Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Since John Calipari arrived at Kentucky, there is a strong case to be made for the Wildcats being the most successful program in the country during that time frame. However, it is apparently possible to create an imaginary system with arbitrary calculations to show that Kentucky is the most overrated program. Jason Lisk at The Big Lead did just that.

It would seem that Lisk started this process with the end in mind of getting a reaction of a few large fan bases, because it makes zero sense. Zero.

To come up with this list, I looked at the preseason Top 25 list, and the end-of-season list, and compared them. (If a team was unranked at the beginning of the season, they were assigned a ranking of 38, and if unranked at end of season, assigned a ranking equal to their seed value–or a 50 if missed the tournament).

Read that again.

One more time.

Yeah, so he starts off with the AP Top 25, a ranking voted on by the media that has proven to be unreliable. That ranking for a team is the first factor in the “formula.” Your ranking is your score, unless you are unranked. If you are not ranked, you are assigned a score of 38.

Why 38 you ask? Excellent question. Based on the article, it is a completely random selection.

Your end of season score is apparently determined by your seed in the NCAA Tournament. So the end of season, accurate assessment of being “appropriately” rated is based on the opinions of the tournament selection committee. Not the AP poll. Not the coach’s poll. Not tournament results. But your tournament seed. If you don’t make the tournament, you will get a score of 50. Not 38. But 50.

Does any of that make sense to you?

The Kentucky Wildcats have been ranked in the preseason Top 4 in seven of the last eight years. They’ve finished there in only three of those seasons. Add in an 18-13 season when Billy Gillespie was coach in 2008, after starting as preseason #20; missing the tournament in 2013, after being ranked 3rd; and dropping to an 8 seed (but then advancing to the championship game) after being preseason #1 in 2014, and no team has underperformed in so many years.

Perhaps the biggest flaw in the end of season assessment is that IT DOES NOT INCLUDE THE POST SEASON. So the 2014 Kentucky team that finished as a runner-up in the national tournament was actually given an end of season rating of between 29-32, depending on which 8-seed you believe they had in the tournament. Quite the discrepancy there, Jason.

So subtracting the overall tourney seed from the preseason AP ranking would give you a team’s overall rating appropriateness for that year. Obviously, the lower the score, the more overrated you are. But why would he choose seeding as an appropriate measure? Why not just use the post season AP poll? Why not use tournament success?? Whould that possibly benefit?

Compare [Kentucky’s rating] to fellow Bluebloods Kansas and Duke, who do not make this list. Kansas has been ranked in the preseason every year in the last decade, with an average ranking of 7.3, and yet has finished with an average ranking of 5.5. For Duke, it’s 5.9 preseason average and 7.0 end of season. Both have finished Top 10 in nine of 10 years.

First of all, this “ranking” does not even include the last ten years. He only looks at 2008-2016. That makes it convenient to throw in the 2016-2017 season when it would benefit some and not mention it when it could help someone else.

Including tournament results would also require Lisk to mention Duke's inability to get out of the opening weekend in 2008, 2012, 2014, and 2017. Also of note, the 2012 and 2014 losses were in the first round to much lower seeded teams.

Want some more evidence that this measurement is garbage? The next two overrated teams on his list after Kentucky were Connecticut and North Carolina, both of which have won multiple national titles since 2008. Those programs are more overrated than Arizona's final four drought, Michigan State's inability to win title, and Duke's propensity to go home early in March?

Come on, man.

I could go on and on about the lack of validity of this “formula,” but the reality is that Lisk was simply looking for some page views. I would much rather have not given his post any additional attention, but I felt it necessary to make it clear how bogus his methods are.

Read his article at your own risk, but prepare yourself to be confused and frustrated throughout, like watching John Higgins officiate.