UK #1 In The AP Poll: A Complete History

On Monday the newest Associated Press Poll was released for NCAA Division I men’s college basketball and the University of Kentucky received 46 of the 65 first-place votes to become the #1 team in the country, a feat that hadn’t been accomplished by the Wildcats since the 2009-2010 season, John Calipari’s first season at Kentucky. As a result of Kentucky climbing back to the top of the college basketball world, I decided to look at the history of UK being ranked #1 in the AP Poll and here’s what I found:

First off, I will start off with a little history of the Associated Press Poll. The AP Poll was first released in the 1948-1949 season on January 18th, 1949. St. Louis was the first school to be ranked #1 in the AP Poll, UK was the second. The regular season polls from 1948-1949 to 1959-1960 only ranked 20 teams, from 1960-1961 only 10 teams (except in December 1960 and the 1964-1965 preseason poll), 1968-1969 to 1988-1989 went back to 20 teams, and since 1989-1990 they have ranked 25 teams. Preseason polls started in the 1961-1962 season, and there were post-NCAA Tournament polls in 1952-1953, 1953-1954, 1973-1974, and 1974-1975. The polls from 1948-1949 to 2006-2007 were released on Tuesdays, with a few exceptions. The polls, starting in the 2007-2008 season, have been released on Monday.

Monday’s poll gave UK their 90th apprearance ranked #1 in the AP Poll. Here are the top 5 schools in terms of appearances ranked #1 in the AP Poll:
1. UCLA – 134 appearances
2. Duke – 122 appearances
3. North Carolina – 108 appearances
4. Kentucky – 90 appearances
5. Kansas – 58 appearances

To put Kentucky into perspective, the entire Big XII conference has a combined 80 appearances as #1 in the AP Poll, 10 less than UK. Also, the other 11 SEC schools have a combined 26 appearances as #1 in the AP Poll, 64 less than UK.

  • UK has been ranked #1 in the AP Poll in 18 different seasons
  • Most consecutive seasons with a #1 appearance – 4 seasons (1950-1951 to 1954-1955) (UK didn’t play in the 1952-1953 season)
  • Number of seasons ranked #1 in the final AP Poll – 8 (1948-1949, 1950-1951, 1951-1952, 1953-1954, 1965-1966, 1969-1970, 1977-1978, 2002-2003)
  • Longest drought between being ranked #1 (Seasons) – 8 (1969-1970 to 1977-1978)
  • Longest drought between being ranked #1 (Games) – 222 (March 29th, 2003 vs. Marquette to January 26th, 2010 vs. South Carolina)
  • Most separate stints ranked #1 in a season – 3 times (1951-1952, 1958-1959, 1969-1970)
  • Most consecutive weeks ranked #1 in a season – 11 weeks (1977-1978) (November 29th, 1977 to February 7th, 1978)
  • Biggest Jump To #1 – 2 spots (#3 January 22nd, 1952 to #1 January 29th, 1952, #3 February 17th, 1959 to February 24th, 1959)
  • Biggest Fall From #1 – 5 spots (#1 November 29th, 1993 to #6 December 6th, 1993)

Number Of Appearances By Decade
1940′s – 6 appearances, 1st amongst schools (only 1 season with AP Poll) 1 different season
1950′s – 43 appearances, 1st amongst schools, 5 different seasons
1960′s – 6 appearances, 7th amongst schools, 2 different seasons
1970′s – 20 appearances, 3rd amongst schools, 2 different seasons
1980′s – 5 appearances, 9th amongst schools, 3 different seasons
1990′s – 7 appearances, 8th amongst schools, 3 different seasons
2000′s – 1 appearance, 18th amongst schools, 1 different season
2010′s – 2 appearances, 5th amongst schools, 2 different seasons

Number Of Appearances By Coach
Adolph Rupp – 61 appearances
Joe B. Hall – 16 appearances
Eddie Sutton – 3 appearances
Rick Pitino – 7 appearances
Tubby Smith – 1 appearance
John Calipari – 2 appearances

National Championship Teams Not Ranked #1
1957-1958- Highest ranking was #3, was ranked #9 entering the NCAA Tournament
1997-1998 – Highest ranking was #4, was ranked #5 entering the NCAA Tournament

Final Four Teams Not Ranked #1
1974-1975 – Highest ranking was #2, was ranked #6 entering the NCAA Tournament
1996-1997 – Highest ranking was #3, was ranked #5 entering the NCAA Tournament

UK’s overall record when ranked #1 in the AP Poll: 153-24 (.864)
Longest winning streak when ranked #1: 17 games (January 4th, 1954 to January 1st, 1955)
Longest losing streak when ranked #1: 2 games (January 4th, 1964 to January 6th, 1964, January 9th, 1988 to January 13th, 1993)

Record By Coach
Adolph Rupp – 112-15 (.882)
Joe B. Hall – 26-2 (.929)
Eddie Sutton – 4-1 (.800)
Rick Pitino – 7-4 (.636)
Tubby Smith – 3-1 (.750)

John Calipari – 1-1 (.500)

Record By Month
November – 2-1 (.667)
December – 29-4 (.879)
January – 33-9 (.786)
February – 51-2 (.962)
March – 38-8 (.826)

Record By Decade
1940′s – 18-1 (.947)
1950′s – 74-9 (.892)
1960′s – 15-4 (.789)
1970′s – 29-3 (.906)
1980′s – 6-1 (.857)
1990′s – 7-4 (.636)
2000′s – 3-1 (.750)

2010′s – 1-1 (.500)

Other Various Records When Ranked #1

Record At Home – 68-2 (.971)
Record At Alumni Gym – 7-0 (1.000)
Record At Memorial Coliseum – 40-1 (.976)
Record At Rupp Arena – 21-1 (.955)
Record On The Road – 34-11 (.756)
Record At Neutral Sites – 51-11 (.823)
Record In The SEC Tournament – 13-2 (.867)
Record In The NIT Tournament – 0-1 (.000)
Record In The NCAA Tournament – 20-4 (.833)
Record vs. SEC Opponents – 88-14 (.863)
Record vs. Non-Conference Opponents – 65-10 (.867)
Record vs. Ranked Opponents – 29-11 (.725)
Record vs. Unranked Opponents – 124-13 (.905)

Most Games Played Against
SEC Opponent – Vanderbilt, 15 games
Non-Conference Opponent – Indiana, Notre Dame, and Xavier, 5 games
Most Wins Against
SEC Opponent – Mississippi and Vanderbilt, 11 wins
Non-Conference Opponent – Notre Dame and Xavier, 5 wins
Most Losses Against
SEC Opponent – Vanderbilt, 4 losses
Non-Conference Opponent – St. Louis, 2 losses
Largest Margin Of Victory
Ranked Opponent – 31 points, #1 Kentucky – 84 #16 UCLA – 53, December 26th, 1951
Unranked Opponent – 55 points, #1 Kentucky – 95 Georgia – 40, February 21st, 1949 and #1 Kentucky – 95 Tennessee – 40, February 16th, 1952
Largest Margin Of Defeat
Ranked Opponent – 14 points, #1 Kentucky – 69 #9 Marquette – 83, March 29th, 2003 (NCAA Midwest Regional Final)
Unranked Opponent – 15 points, #1 Kentucky – 86 Vanderbilt – 101, January 13th, 1993
Most Points Scored
UK Player – Dan Issel, 44 points (vs. Notre Dame, March 12th, 1970) (NCAA Mideast Regional Semifinals)
Opponent – Austin Carr, 52 points, March 12th, 1970 (NCAA Mideast Regional Semifinals)

UK’s Record vs. SEC Opponents

Alabama – 3-1 (.750)
Arkansas (Arkansas didn’t join the SEC until 1991-1992) – 1-0 (1.000) (2-0 Overall 1.000)
Auburn – 8-1 (.889)
Florida – 7-0 (1.000)
Georgia – 6-0 (1.000)
Georgia Tech (Georgia Tech was in the SEC until 1963-1964) – 9-3 (.750)
Louisiana State – 6-1 (.857)
Mississippi – 11-0 (1.000)
Mississippi State – 9-2 (.818)
South Carolina (South Carolina didn’t join the SEC until 1991-1992) 0-1 (.000) (1-1 Overall .500)
Tennessee – 9-1 (.900)
Tulane (Tulane was in the SEC until 1965-1966) – 8-0 (1.000)
Vanderbilt – 11-4 (.733)

There have been 3 games in which UK was ranked #1 in the AP Poll and their opponent was ranked #2 in the AP Poll. Here are those 3 games:

March 26th, 1949
NCAA Championship
Seattle, Washington
#1 Kentucky – 46
#2 Oklahoma A&M (now Oklahoma State) – 36

December 21st, 1954
Memorial Coliseum
#1 Kentucky – 70
#2 Utah – 65
UKIT (University of Kentucky Invitational Tournament)

March 18th, 1966
NCAA Final Four
College Park, Maryland
#1 Kentucky – 83
#2 Duke – 79

Topics: Kentucky Wildats #1 In The Polls, Kentucky Wildcat Basketball, Kentucky Wildcats Lexington Kentucky, Kentucky Wildcats Number One Team In The Nation

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