Does Kentucky Have the Best College Basketball Team Since the Turn of the Century?

Kentucky is still undefeated and on the top of the AP Poll. How good are they within historical context?

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.

2001Duke Blue Devils25.10
2015Kentucky Wildcats23.20
2005North Carolina Tar Heels22.88
2002Duke Blue Devils22.63
2008Kansas Jayhawks21.97
2001Stanford Cardinal21.80
2009North Carolina Tar Heels21.34
2007North Carolina Tar Heels21.20
2000Cincinnati Bearcats21.14
2004Duke Blue Devils21.12
2001Arizona Wildcats21.10
2000Michigan State Spartans20.93
2010Duke Blue Devils20.92
2011Ohio State Buckeyes20.65
2010Kansas Jayhawks20.57
2013Louisville Cardinals20.48
2000Stanford Cardinal20.46
2001Michigan State Spartans20.30
2008North Carolina Tar Heels20.24
2012Kentucky Wildcats20.14
2005Illinois Fighting Illini20.13

And if you're curious about this Kentucky team versus Anthony Davis' from 2012, check out Bryan Mears' write-up.