2013 NCAA Basketball Championship Power Rankings From WhatIfSports.com image

Louisville vs. Every Champion Since 1985

We simulate the Cards vs. every NCAA basketball champion since the tournament expanded to 64 teams

By Jake Westrich - WhatIfSports.com
April 9, 2012

Using our college basketball simulation engine, we placed Louisville in a round-robin tournament featuring every national champion since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985. Every team in the tournament played every other team 51 times. The simulation generated each team's winning percentage (Win %) and average points per game (Avg. PPG).

To simulate these games or any other theoretical matchups of your choosing, try the WhatIfSports.com College Basketball SimMatchup tool.

2013 Louisville vs. Every Champion Since 1985
RankTeamWin %Avg. PPGSimulate vs. Louisville
12000-01 Duke Blue Devils90.296.3SimMatchup >
21995-96 Kentucky Wildcats85.894.8SimMatchup >
32004-05 North Carolina Tar Heels80.393.8SimMatchup >
41989-90 UNLV Runnin' Rebels75.195.1SimMatchup >
52007-08 Kansas Jayhawks62.984.2SimMatchup >
61997-98 Kentucky Wildcats61.783.9SimMatchup >
71991-92 Duke Blue Devils61.393.0SimMatchup >
82003-04 Connecticut Huskies59.682.0SimMatchup >
92001-02 Maryland Terrapins57.588.6SimMatchup >
102006-07 Florida Gators57.284.9SimMatchup >
112008-09 North Carolina Tar Heels56.991.2SimMatchup >
121994-95 UCLA Bruins56.291.0SimMatchup >
131993-94 Arkansas Razorbacks54.292.7SimMatchup >
141992-93 North Carolina Tar Heels53.389.0SimMatchup >
152005-06 Florida Gators50.483.7SimMatchup >
162012-13 Louisville Cardinals48.778.4National Champs!
171988-89 Michigan Wolverines48.190.2SimMatchup >
181998-99 Connecticut Huskies44.683.5SimMatchup >
192011-12 Kentucky Wildcats44.077.7SimMatchup >
201985-86 Louisville Cardinals43.888.8SimMatchup >
211990-91 Duke Blue Devils43.089.5SimMatchup >
221999-00 Michigan State Spartans40.282.4SimMatchup >
232009-10 Duke Blue Devils38.982.2SimMatchup >
242002-03 Syracuse Orange31.881.8SimMatchup >
251986-87 Indiana Hoosiers29.786.5SimMatchup >
261996-97 Arizona Wildcats22.584.9SimMatchup >
272010-11 Connecticut Huskies22.375.0SimMatchup >
281984-85 Villanova Wildcats19.578.9SimMatchup >
291987-88 Kansas Jayhawks10.380.1SimMatchup >

For the second consecutive year, a team from the Commonwealth of Kentucky claimed college basketball's top prize. Like the Kentucky Wildcats in 2012, the Louisville Cardinals won as the top overall seed in the tournament. The Cardinals are just the sixth top overall team to cut down the nets since 1985.

Louisville's blend of frontcourt talent and backcourt experience thwarted opponents throughout the NCAA Tournament. The team's high-pressure defense enabled rallies against Wichita State in the Final Four (down by 12 points with 13:35 to play in the second half) and Michigan in the championship game (down by 12 points with 3:00 to play in the first half).

Using the same college basketball simulation engine that accurately predicted a six-point Louisville win over Michigan, we "played" the Cardinals against every National Champion since the NCAA Tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985.

The Cardinals ranked 16th in the simulation, winning 48.7 percent of their games, while averaging 78.4 points per contest. The team edged out last year's champ and in-state rival as the Wildcats finished 19th and won 44 percent of their games.

Rick Pitino is no stranger to the NCAA Championship, having won while at Kentucky. His 1996 Wildcats ranked second in the simulation.

We also "played" an all-Louisville round-robin tournament, pitting the 2013 squad against Denny Crum's 1980 and 1986 National Champions in 51 simulations.

2013 Louisville vs. 1980 and 1986 Louisville
RankTeamWin %Avg. PPGSimulate vs. Louisville
11979-80 Louisville Cardinals56.484.6SimMatchup >
22012-13 Louisville Cardinals47.580.0National Champs!
31985-86 Louisville Cardinals46.185.9SimMatchup >

The 1980 Cardinals rank as the best champion in school history, winning 56.4 percent of simulations. The team was led by Darrell Griffith, the John R. Wooden Award winner and the 1979-80 Final Four Most Outstanding Player.

Pitino's 2013 team just edged out Crum's 1986 Cardinals that featured Milt Wagner, Billy Thompson and Pervis Ellison.

Are you interested in creating your own all-time NCAA tournament dream team? Check out our NCAA Basketball Dream Teams feature and start loading up your roster with guys like Duke's Christian Laettner, Indiana's Isiah Thomas, Georgetown's Patrick Ewing and North Carolina's Tyler Hansbrough. Then simulate your roster against other dream teams or any NCAA basketball program past or present. Best of all, it's FREE!


Jake Westrich is the Digital Content Coordinator for WhatIfSports.com. He can be reached at jwestrich@whatifsports.com.

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