Does Kentucky Have the Best College Basketball Team Since the Turn of the Century?
For the fourth straight week, Kentucky sits unanimously at the top of college basketball's AP Poll, receiving all 65 first place votes from the media panel.
They're pretty good, I guess.
The Wildcats still haven't lost, and they naturally sit atop our own power rankings with a 23.20 nERD. For those of you who aren't aware, nERD is our in-house efficiency metric that shows what we'd expect a particular team to win by against an average opponent on a neutral court. So, if the Wildcats took on Montana (-.05 nERD) in a random location, we'd expect Kentucky to win by a little over 23 points.
Kentucky's 23.20 nERD is borderline absurd. It's nearly four points better than the second-ranked (according to our power rankings) Wisconsin Badgers, and almost five points better than Virginia's 18.43 nERD -- you know, that same Virginia team that ranks second in the AP Poll.
Just how good is Kentucky in terms of nERD? They're elite. Since 2000, we've recorded just one team with a better nERD score than this year's Kentucky: The 2001 Duke Blue Devils. Take a look at the chart below showing each team since 2000 who have hit a nERD of 20 or better.
|2001||Duke Blue Devils||25.10|
|2005||North Carolina Tar Heels||22.88|
|2002||Duke Blue Devils||22.63|
|2009||North Carolina Tar Heels||21.34|
|2007||North Carolina Tar Heels||21.20|
|2004||Duke Blue Devils||21.12|
|2000||Michigan State Spartans||20.93|
|2010||Duke Blue Devils||20.92|
|2011||Ohio State Buckeyes||20.65|
|2001||Michigan State Spartans||20.30|
|2008||North Carolina Tar Heels||20.24|
|2005||Illinois Fighting Illini||20.13|