How much do preseason rankings matter?

UK was ranked, as expected, No. 2 in the coaches and the AP Top 25 poll Thursday. (It’s the highest UK has been ranked since 1995-96, and UK plays six teams currently in the Top 25, and more nuggets of goodness

As you can see, most teams that made at least the Final Four come from the top of the rankings. In the 13 seasons represented, the eventual national champion was ranked in the top 4 nine times. One instance of a slightly lesser ranking (No. 9 Duke two seasons ago) winning it all exists, and there’s three cases of a team that came from outside the Top 25 taking home a title.

Expanding the parameters a bit, the vast majority of Final Four teams came from the Top 10 (32 out of 52).

Eight times a Final Four team came from outside the Top 25. Eight times the team ranked No. 2 made the Final Four.