2013 Preseason No. 1: Kentucky
Final Record: 29-11
NCAA Tournament Result: No. 8 Seed – Lost National Championship
While the 2014 team was much better in terms of talent and overall success, the 2013 Wildcats were closer to winning a National Championship.
This team featured what may very well be the best recruiting class ever. Of the top 10 players in the 2013 class, five of them committed to play for Kentucky. The team’s top seven scorers all found their way to the NBA at one point. Even with all of that, they managed to lose 11 games during the regular season and got the dreaded eight-seed designation in the NCAA Tournament.
In the second round, they did to Wichita State what Wisconsin would do to Kentucky the following year, and that ended their hopes of an undefeated season. They had a wild run to the National Championship game, winning their five games by a combined 18 points.
Seventh-seeded UConn was the only thing standing in their way of winning it all. Stand in the way is exactly what they did, as Shabazz Napier channeled his inner Kemba Walker and led the Huskies to another title.
What does all of this mean?
Well, it really doesn’t mean anything. As you can see, there has been just about every possible outcome you could imagine for the preseason #1 team. Teams have won it all. Teams have missed the tournament entirely.
However, the fact that six of the nine teams (Michigan State not included due to COVID) have reached the Sweet Sixteen and four of them made it to the Final Four should make you feel pretty good about the outlook for the 2023 Jayhawks.