Courtesy of Thee Sports Blog
All-Time Wins: 2,065
All-Time Win Percentage: 0.738%
NCAA Championships: 5
Final Four Appearances: 18
NCAA Tournament Appearances: 43
Conference Regular Season Titles: 36
Ranking this entire list has been an extremely difficult process. It is difficult separating programs that are only one championship, one conference title or a few regular season victories apart from each other.
With that in mind, I do believe that there are three clear choices for the best programs in college basketball history. On one hand you have the UCLA Bruins, who lead the nation in national championships and produced the greatest dynasty in college basketball history.
The Kentucky Wildcats are another clear contender, with their all-around blend of dominance in the early and latter days of basketball history and their status as the all-time wins leader.
Finally, you have the North Carolina Tar Heels. They are tied with UCLA for the most Final Four appearances by any program with 18 apiece. Playing in the Final Four on a consistent basis is a good barometer of seeing how often a particular program was one of the very best teams year in and year out. North Carolina certainly passes that test with flying colors.
The difficulty in ranking these three programs is placing them in order. As you can see, I have the Tar Heels rated third all-time and although there is certainly a valid debate for them to place higher, I believe that three is the correct placement on the all-time list.
In terms of wins, North Carolina is third all-time behind Kentucky and Kansas. However, they are second in history in terms of winning percentage, topping that of UCLA.
North Carolina has certainly produced countless memorable figures, including former head coach Dean Smith and former player and all-time great Michael Jordan. Those two people still keep North Carolina relevant to this day with their historical impact and how they changed the game of basketball forever.
The Tar Heels are also second all-time in conference tournament titles, finishing one spot ahead of rival Duke with 25. They only trail Kentucky in this category.
In terms of all-time history, North Carolina certainly has an impressive spread of dominance across multiple eras of basketball. Their first national championship occurred in 1957, when head coach Frank McGuire guided his team to a perfect 32-0 season record.
Dean Smith won the school's following two championships in 1982 and 1993, with many Final Four appearances occurring during that time period. When Roy Williams took over the program in 2004, he guided the Tar Heels to championships in 2005 and 2009.
Of the schools on this list, North Carolina is the only one to have two head coaches win multiple national titles. However, the school's overall championship pedigree is what ultimately places it third all-time instead of further up on the list.
The Tar Heels can brag about reaching 18 Final Fours. However, having won only five championships out of those 18 trips suggests that North Carolina is a program that is consistently near the top of the mountain, but also one that ultimately fails at the end more often than not.
Out of those 18 trips to the sport's final weekend, they only advanced to the national final game nine times. When ranking the absolute best programs in the sport, a program simply must perform better on basketball's biggest stage to be considered as the best of all-time.
With that being said, their overall resume is extremely impressive and Roy Williams has their future headed in a great positive direction. They are one of college basketball's most elite schools and boast a tradition and history that would be the envy of any program.