UK Was the First Program to 2,000 Wins
As of the 2011-12 basketball season, the University of Kentucky is the all-time wins leader in college basketball with 2,092 victories. Kentucky is also the all-time leader in winning percentage, winning at a .763 success rate. Kansas and North Carolina follow closely behind with 2,070 and 2,065 victories, respectively. Kentucky was the first team to reach the 2,000 victory plateau, and they have extended their lead in this category since then.
This is an impressive statistic to say the least, but simply having 2,092 wins in school history does not tell the full story of Kentucky's dominance over time. They are the all-time winningest school in college basketball, but the most amazing aspect of their wins record is how consistently excellent the Wildcats have won during each era of basketball.
For example, the University of Kentucky was also the first college program to win 1,000 games in school history. They achieved this feat during the 1968 season, which is remarkable considering the fact that Kentucky was fourth overall in the wins list just 10 years prior to reaching the 1,000 mark. For an excellent illustration of Kentucky's rise up the all-time wins list, be sure to visit the page at BigBlueHistory.net.
With Kentucky being the first program to achieve 1,000 victories and the first to reach the 2,000 victory mark, there is little doubt that the Wildcats have been the most successful program over time. No other university has matched Kentucky's ability to win year in and year out, and even decade to decade.
This is further illustrated by taking a look at the official NCAA record book and examining the winningest programs by decade. The record begins in the 1930-39 decade, and Kentucky has finished among the top 10 winningest programs in every decade on the list except for the 2000-09 decade.
In fact, here is a list of Kentucky's rank per decade:
1930-39: 2nd-best winning percentage (.827)
1940-49: 1st in winning percentage (.851)
1950-59: 1st in winning percentage (.872)
1960-69: 5th-best winning percentage (.741)
1970-79: 5th-best winning percentage (.764)
1980-89: 9th-best winning percentage (.731)
1990-99: 2nd-best winning percentage (.817)
2000-09: 19th-best winning percentage (.712)
With the exception of the 2000-09 decade, Kentucky has consistently won games at a more successful rate than any other basketball program. Below is a list that totals the number of decades that the following schools have finished in the top 10 winning percentage:
Kentucky: 7 (1930's, 1940's, 1950's, 1960's, 1970's, 1980's, 1990's)
Kansas: 3 (1930's, 1990's, 2000's)
North Carolina: 3 (1970's, 1980's, 1990's)
Duke: 3 (1960's, 1990's, 2000's)
UCLA: 3 (1960's, 1970's, 1990's)
Indiana: 1 (1970's)
As you can see, Kentucky is not only the wins leader in college basketball. They have been the standard of excellence since the dawn of the sport, and no school has matched their rate of success over the span of basketball history.