College basketball is a game filled with parody. In this day and age, any team is capable of riding a hot-streak into the NCAA tournament and grinding their way to a National Championship. Because of this parody, many of the game's most talented teams slip up somewhere in March Madness. That is what makes it such a compelling national event and it is therefore important to take a look at the teams over the years who never lived up to their potential.
There are several teams who easily could have made the list, but only the most special squads made the final cut. Here are the best teams of the last 30 years who never won an NCAA title but were primed to do so.
Ohio State, 2006-2007
The powerful Kansas Jayhawks rolled through the 1996-1997 season with only one loss, a 96-94 defeat to rival Missouri. They avenged that loss in the Big 12 Championship game, where they throttled the Tigers by a whopping 27 points.
They went into the NCAA tournament as the odds-on favorite to take home the national championship trophy, but fell to Arizona in the Sweet Sixteen, the team who went on to win it all. That KU team featured future NBA players Paul Pierce, Jacque Vaughn, Raef LaFrentz and Scot Pollard.
The Duke Blue Devils dominated the 1998-1999 season. Their six-man rotation of Elton Brand, Shane Battier, Trajan Langdon, William Avery, Chris Carrawell and sixth-man Corey Maggette was as impressive of a rotation as you will find at the college level.
They ran the table in the tough Atlantic Coast Conference and breezed into the 1999 National Championship game with a 37-1 record.
They fell to a scrappy Connecticut team that was led by Richard Hamilton and fan favorite Khalid El-Amin in the final, never able to live up to their enormous potential.
This team will always be remembered for their shocking loss to Villanova in the final, a 66-64 defeat. In 1984-1985, there wasn't a more dominant player in college basketball than Patrick Ewing, who won numerous player of the year honors that season.
They were known for their impressive defense, like many talented Georgetown teams in history. However, Ewing wasn't the only star on this squad. Five of his teammates were drafted into the NBA in the following years.
The talent assembled on the 1997-1998 North Carolina Tar Heels was downright scary. Their roster featured four future NBA Draft selections.
They were led by Vince Carter and Antawn Jamison, but Shammond Williams, Ed Cota, Ademola Okulaja, Makhtar N'Diaye and Brendan Haywood also helped carry a significant portion of the load.
They reached the Final Four, but were upset by a Utah Utes team featuring Andre Miller and Michael Doleac.
The Big Ten school enjoyed one of the most successful seasons in recent memory. They started the season 29-0, winning a Big Ten regular season title outright.
They followed that by winning the Big Ten Tournament and made it all the way to the 2005 National Championship game.
There, they met the only other team in the nation with more talent than them: the North Carolina Tar Heels. They lost the game 75-70, a crushing end to such a promising season.
Their stars that year were future NBA draft selections Deron Williams, Dee Brown and Luther Head.
The hype surrounding this team in the Bluff City could not be quelled in the months leading up to the 2007-2008 season. They had talent, speed, athleticism and depth, and were being looked at as preseason favorites to cut down the nets.
The Tigers set an NCAA record with 38 wins during the season and their roster featured Derrick Rose, Chris Douglas-Roberts, Joey Dorsey and Robert Dozier, all future NBA Draft picks.
John Calipari may never come as close to winning a title as he did then, when his team squandered a nine-point lead with two minutes left in the game.
If you are a true basketball fan, you know about the heartbreaking 1989-1990 college basketball season. The Loyola-Marymount Lions were the fastest-paced team in college basketball, averaging a blistering 122.4 points per game.
Their up-tempo attack was aided by the domination of Hank Gathers and Bo Kimble, two stars from Philadelphia. The season prior, Gathers averaged 32.7 points and 13.7 rebounds per game and was a heavy favorite to win the 1990 National Player of the Year award.
That would never happen though. Gathers collapsed and died on the court on March 4, 1990 in a game against the Portland Pilots. The Lions made an emotional run to the Elite Eight, where they lost to eventual champion UNLV.
After dominating Duke in the 1990 National Championship by a score of 103-73, the Runnin' Rebels entered the 1990-1991 season as the favorites to cut down the nets once again.
They went undefeated throughout the regular season, but were tripped up by Duke 79-77 in the Final Four. Their squad featured stars Larry Johnson, Stacey Augmon and Greg Anthony.
The Jerry Tarkanian era in Las Vegas was one of the most exciting times in college basketball history.
They were the greatest basketball fraternity in college basketball history. The Houston Cougars of 1982-1983 were led by two future Hall-of-Famers in Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler.
Before the Fab Fave came along, this team brought swagger and confidence to the college game with games full of dunks and excitement.
They entered the National Championship as the heavy favorites and rode in on a 26-game winning streak, but couldn't beat Jim Valvano's upstart North Carolina State team. They lost the game 54-52.
The 1992-1993 Michigan Wolverines featured the best recruiting class in the history of college basketball. It was Ray Jackson, Chris Webber, Juwan Howard, Jalen Rose and Jimmy King against the world, or at least that was their mindset.
They were trendsetters with their baggy shorts, black socks, and brash trash-talking ways. After losing to Duke in the 1992 National Championship game as freshman, they returned in 1993 for revenge.
However, Chris Webber called a timeout the Wolverines didn't have and Dean Smith's Tar Heels took home the trophy.