Does NCAA like to pair UK with Louisville and Duke?

From the in-box, Roger writes:

Mr. Clay,

I always enjoy your columns and insights. I have a research project for you. The NCAA forced UK to play UL in 1983 in the tournament. It seems to me that since the, the NCAA has gone out of its way to put UK in the same bracket as UL and/or Duke. This year they are both in the same region. How many times since 1983 has UK been placed in the same bracket as UL or Duke or both? Thanks.

So I did the research covering the last 31 tournaments:

  • 1984 Mideast 1-Kentucky 5-Louisville – Met in Sweet 16
  • 1985 West 12-Kentucky
  • 1986 Southeast 1-Kentucky
  • 1987 Southeast 8-Kentucky
  • 1988 Southeast 2-Kentucky 5-Louisville
  • 1989 UK didn’t make tournament
  • 1990 UK banned from tournament
  • 1991 UK banned from tournament
  • 1992 East 1-Duke 2-Kentucky
  • 1993 Southeast 1-Kentucky
  • 1994 Southeast 2-Duke 3-Kentucky
  • 1995 Southeast 1-Kentucky
  • 1996 Midwest 1-Kentucky 6-Louisville
  • 1997 West 1-Kentucky
  • 1998 South 1-Duke 2-Kentucky
  • 1999 Midwest 3-Kentucky

  • 2000 Midwest 5-Kentucky
  • 2001 East 1-Duke 2-Kentucky
  • 2002 East 4-Kentucky
  • 2003 Midwest 1-Kentucky
  • 2004 St. Louis 1-Kentucky
  • 2005 Austin 1-Duke 2-Kentucky
  • 2006 Washington 8-Kentucky
  • 2007 West 8-Kentucky
  • 2008 South 11-Kentucky
  • 2009 UK didn’t make tournament
  • 2010 East 1-Kentucky
  • 2011 East 4-Kentucky
  • 2012 South 1-Kentucky 2-Duke
  • 2013 UK didn’t make tournament
  • 2014 Midwest 3-Duke 4-Louisville 8-Kentucky

It should also be noted thatĀ Louisville did not make tournament in 1985, 1987, 1991 1998, 2001, 2002, 2006. So the 1991 tournament did not include either UK or U of L.

Meanwhile, Duke did not make the tournament in 1995.

That means there have been 19 tournaments since 1983 in which Kentucky could have been in the same region with Louisville and Duke.

  • Kentucky and Louisville have been in the same region 4 times — 21.1 percent.
  • Kentucky and Duke have been in the same region 7 times — 36.8 percent.
  • This year is the first time UK, Louisville and Duke have all been in the same region — 5.3 percent.

You also have to take into account that the committee likes to put teams at the nearest tournament sites, if possible. The fact that Kentucky and Louisville are so close geographically increases the possibility they would be in the same region. Both are also fairly close to Duke.

Feel free to check my math.

 

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