There have been many magnificent single-season teams in NCAA Division I men’s basketball.
There was the very first undefeated team: Bill Russell and K. C. Jones’ 1955-56 San Francisco Dons (29-0). The last undefeated National Champion was Indiana in 1975-76, who finished up 32-0 behind Kent Benson, Quinn Buckner, Scott May, and Bobby Wilkerson.
And who could forget Jerry Tarkanian’s astonishing 1989-90 UNLV Runnin’ Rebels? One of the most dominant squads of all-time, the Rebs finished the season 35-5 and smashed Duke, 103-73, in the championship game. The 30-point margin of victory set a record which still stands to this day.
However, it is next to impossible to rank all of the astounding single-season juggernauts by any objective standards. How, for instance, could an impartial observer compare the Dons of 1956 to Tarkanian’s Runnin’ Rebs?
It just can’t be done; it all boils down to a matter of preference. Dozens of different teams could be chosen for countless reasons, and who could really provide evidence that their choice was undeniably the correct one?
It is a little simpler, however, to compare—in the parlance of the Tournament Selection Committee—"the entire body of work" of the major NCAA teams.
Statistics work on the mathematical “Principle of Large Numbers.” In laymen’s terms, it means that the larger the sample of numbers one examines, the more likely the results of the comparison will be accurate.
With well over 100 years of NCAA basketball in the record books, we now have a significant amount of data that describes the performance of various Division I basketball programs.
All things—all-time wins, NCAA titles, undefeated seasons and more—considered, which schools have amassed the best resumes of all-time?
It all comes down to a Mount Rushmore of four schools (listed alphabetically): Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina, and UCLA. By the end of this presentation, one will stand out as the best basketball franchise of all time.