Kentucky Basketball NCAA Tournament & Final Four History

Kentucky's Willie Cauley-Stein dunks against Notre Dame during the 2015 NCAA Men's Basketball tournament. (Getty)

Kentucky’s Willie Cauley-Stein dunks against Notre Dame during the 2015 NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament. (Getty)

For the fourth time in the last five seasons, Kentucky is in the Final Four. This is the program’s 17th trip to the Final Four, which ties them for second all-time with UCLA and one appearance shy of North Carolina’s 18.

And for the second consecutive year, John Calipari and his Wildcats squad will matchup against Wisconsin – a game they came out victorious to move on to the national championship game where they ended up falling to UConn, 60-54.

While UK looks to get to its 13th NCAA Championship game, which would break its standstill with UCLA for the most of all time, and win its eighth national championship in program history, the Wildcats are also in pursuit of something that hasn’t been done since 1976 – a perfect season capped with a national championship.

If the Wildcats were to succeed to National Champions with a 40-0 record, they would not only be considered one of if not the best team college basketball has ever seen, but also put them on the list with San Francisco, North Carolina, UCLA (four times) and Indiana as having a perfect season.

A National Championship for Kentucky would be its first since 2012 and the second since Calipari took the helm in 2009.

Here is a list of all of Kentucky’s NCAA Tournament accomplishments:


NCAA Tournament Appearances:

54
Years: 1942, 1945, 1948, 1949, 1951, 1952, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1961, 1962, 1964, 1966, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1978, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015


Sweet 16 Appearances:

41
Years: 1951, 1952, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1961, 1962, 1964, 1966, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1978, 1980, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1992, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015


Elite Eight Appearances:

36
Years: 1942, 1945, 1948, 1949, 1951, 1952, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1961, 1962, 1966, 1968, 1970, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1978, 1983, 1984, 1986, 1992, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2003, 2005, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015


Final Four Appearances:

17
Years: 1942, 1948, 1949, 1951, 1958, 1966, 1975, 1978, 1984, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015


NCAA Tournament Runner-Up:

4
Years: 1966, 1975, 1997, 2014


NCAA Tournament National Champions:

8
Years: 1948, 1949, 1951, 1958, 1978, 1996, 1998, 2012


With a rich and successful basketball history such as that, you have to wonder where Kentucky stands all time in the NCAA Tournament. The Wildcats have played in a record 54 NCAA Tournaments and 167 NCAA Tournament games. They hold the records for most Sweet Sixteen appearances, Elite Eight appearances and the most total postseason tournament appearances – includes the NIT.

UK is also the winningest NCAA Division I basketball program in history, holding both the most all-time wins with 2,178 (and counting) and the highest all-time winning percentage – 76.4.

As mentioned, Kentucky is tied with UCLA for most Final Fours of all time with 17, and is looking to break the record for most NCAA Championship games – Monday, April 6 would be UK’s 13th.

The Wildcats also lead the nation with 59 20-win seasons, 14 30-win seasons, and is the only school with 5 different NCAA Championship coaches – Adolph Rupp, Joe B. Hall, Rick Pitino (now with Louisville), Tubby Smith (now with Texas Tech), and Calipari (current coach).

And as you can probably imagine, the Wildcats nation level success also trickles down into conference play. Coming from the SEC, Kentucky has nabbed 48 regular season championships and 29 conference tournament championships.


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