Kentucky and Kansas battling for No. 1 on all-time wins list. Where does that race stand?

Ryan C. Hermens/

The two winningest programs in college basketball history will share the floor in Rupp Arena on Saturday night.

For the time being, at least, Kentucky is the team doing the chasing.

UK entered last year’s NCAA Tournament with a two-game lead over Kansas on the all-time wins list. By the end of March Madness, the Wildcats had fallen out of the top spot.

Kentucky was shocked in the first round by 15-seed Saint Peter’s, while the Jayhawks rolled through the bracket, racking up six victories and winning the school’s fourth national title.

That tournament win tally — Kansas beating Kentucky 6-0 — gave the Jayhawks a four-game cushion on the Cats entering this season. UK officially lost the title of “winningest program” in college basketball after KU defeated Providence in the Sweet 16 last March, and the Cats have dropped a little further behind the Jayhawks due to the uneven start to their 2022-23 season.

Going into Saturday night’s game in Rupp, the all-time win tally stands at 2,373 victories for Kansas and 2,367 victories for Kentucky — a six-win gap in favor of the visitors.

The Jayhawks have lost three straight games but still have a 16-4 record this season, while Kentucky has a 14-6 mark going into the weekend.

This will be the 35th meeting between UK and Kansas, and the Wildcats lead the series 24-10. The Cats won 16 of the first 17 games between the two teams played between 1950 and 1984, but the rivalry has been nearly even since then, with KU topping UK 9-8 over the past 17 games. This is the 10th time the two teams will face off under their current head coaches, and John Calipari holds a 5-4 advantage over Bill Self in those games, including a win for Kentucky in the 2012 national championship game. (Self’s Jayhawks defeated Calipari’s Memphis Tigers in overtime in the 2008 NCAA title game).

Kentucky and Kansas have had head-to-head matchups more often than not during the Calipari era, thanks to the Champions Classic and the SEC/Big 12 Challenge, though this will be the final season for the latter showcase. Southeastern Conference teams will start a new challenge with the Atlantic Coast Conference beginning next season.

UK and KU will play each other again next season in the Champions Classic, however, with the game already set for Nov. 14 at a location to be determined.

Despite losing the all-time wins lead, Kentucky is still the No. 1 college basketball team in overall winning percentage. The Cats have won 76.1 percent of their games, with North Carolina next at 73.4 percent and Kansas third at 72.9 percent.

UNC is also the third-winningest program in history — with 29 victories fewer than Kentucky going into the weekend — followed by Duke at No. 4 with 2,261 wins.

Louisville started the season at No. 26 on the all-time wins list, but the Cardinals’ disastrous 2022-23 campaign — they take a 2-17 record into the weekend — has dropped them behind UConn, North Carolina State, Arkansas and Gonzaga, putting U of L in the 30th spot.


No. 9 Kansas at Kentucky

What: SEC/Big 12 Challenge

When: 8 p.m.


Radio: WLAP-AM 630, WBUL-FM 98.1

Records: Kentucky 14-6 (5-3 SEC), Kansas 16-4 (5-3 Big 12)

Series: Kentucky leads 24-10

Last meeting: Kentucky won 80-62 on Jan. 29, 2022, in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge at Lawrence, Kan.

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