2014-15 Kentucky Wildcats vs. 1975-76 Indiana Hoosiers From WhatIfSports.com image

Chasing perfection: '15 Kentucky vs. '76 Indiana

We simulate the 2014-15 Kentucky Wildcats vs. the 1975-76 Indiana Hoosiers

WhatIfSports.com
March 26, 2015

With each win in the NCAA tournament, the Kentucky Wildcats find themselves not only one step closer to a national championship, but to a perfect season as well. It's a feat that hasn't been accomplished in 39 years, when Bobby Knight's Indiana Hoosiers finished 32-0 in 1976. At the time of the Hoosiers' triumph, perfect seasons were relatively common. Indiana's run marked the seventh perfect season in 21 years, a streak that began with Bill Russell's San Francisco Dons in 1956. The very next season, North Carolina went 32-0. And UCLA famously achieved perfection four times between 1964 and 1973.

Since 1976, every team that's come close to perfection has inevitably drawn comparisons to the Hoosiers. Whether it was Larry Bird's 1979 Indiana State Sycamores, the 1991 UNLV Runnin' Rebels or even last year's Wichita State Shockers, the chase for history always brings to mind the last to achieve it.

Now, it's Kentucky's turn. How would this year's Kentucky squad match up with the undefeated Hoosiers? With the power of our college basketball simulation engine, we are able to tackle the hypothetical question: What if the 1975-76 Hoosiers played the 2014-15 Wildcats?

First, let's look at the lineups.

2014-15 Kentucky Wildcats
Pos.PlayerHtPPGRPGAPGFG%
GAndrew Harrison6-69.22.23.6.379
GAaron Harrison6-611.12.51.5.389
FTrey Lyles6-108.55.31.1.491
FKarl-Anthony Towns6-1110.06.81.1.559
CWillie Cauley-Stein7-09.36.41.0.577
- Reserves - 27.413.06.4.461

1975-76 Indiana Hoosiers
Pos.PlayerHtPPGRPGAPGFG%
GQuinn Buckner6-38.92.84.2.441
GBobby Wilkerson6-77.84.35.3.493
FTom Abernathy6-710.05.32.0.561
FScott May6-723.57.72.1.527
CKent Benson6-1117.38.81.6.578
- Reserves - 14.57.05.2.476

Kentucky has considerable size on Indiana, with their starting five averaging 6'9" to the Hoosiers' 6'7". The height disparity is most evident at the forward positions, where Tom Abernathy and Scott May - both 6'7" - match up with 6'10" Trey Lyles and 6'11" Karl-Anthony Towns.

Indiana's starters outscore the opposition at a hefty clip, averaging 67.5 points per game to Kentucky's 48.1 scoring average. They shoot more efficiently too, making 52.6 percent of shots compared to 46.8 percent for UK. Field goal percentage is a little skewed though, since the three-point shot wasn't part of the game in 1976.

The Wildcats' biggest advantage may be their second unit. Kentucky's reserves, which include four of the team's nine McDonald's All-Americans, outperform Indiana's bench to the tune of 12.9 more points, 6.0 more rebounds and 1.2 more assists per game.

The Simulation

We played Kentucky vs. Indiana 1,001 times on a neutral court. Check out how each team fared in the simulation. To play the matchup yourself, select "Simulate Game."

2014-15 Kentucky Wildcats vs. 1975-76 Indiana Hoosiers
MatchupWin %Avg. Score 
2014-15 Kentucky Wildcats58.983.6Build UK or IU Dream Team
vs. 1975-76 Indiana Hoosiers41.181.2Simulate Game
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Jake Westrich is the Digital Content Coordinator for WhatIfSports.com. He can be reached at jwestrich@whatifsports.com.

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