College basketball in Kentucky has been anything but boring the past five seasons. The Louisville Cardinals men’s team won the national championship in April; the Kentucky Wildcats won it the season before. Each has spent time ranked No. 1; each has at times left fans disappointed.
The new season begins for both teams this weekend. It’s another season loaded with promise—the Wildcats are the preseason No. 1; the Louisville Cardinals are No. 3.
So, before the first tipoff of 2013-14 season for the highest-profile bluegrass teams, let’s take a look at how the teams have performed over the past five years.
Below are how the Wildcats and Cardinals ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 since the 2008-09 season.
The chart excludes postseasons—meaning UK’s 2011-12 and UofL’s 2012-13 championships national champions, respectively, aren’t indicated.
The quick takeaway is that the Cardinals are more consistently ranked among men’s college basketball’s better teams. But when the Wildcats have been strongest, they’ve been very highly regarded by the media members who vote in the AP poll. Either way, most of the 350-plus Division I men’s college basketball programs in the U.S. are surely envious of both team.
The Cardinals were ranked in 72 of the last 95 polls (including the 2013-14 preseason poll). The Wildcats were ranked in 62. Kentucky was ranked No. 1 12 times, though, and the Cardinals were ranked No. 1 twice.
Kentucky begins its season Friday against UNC-Asheville. The Louisville Cardinals’ season begins Saturday against College of Charleston.