Power Ranking the 50 US States by College Basketball Strength

Kerry Miller@@kerrancejamesCollege Basketball National AnalystMarch 9, 2014

Power Ranking the 50 US States by College Basketball Strength

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    Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

    We are constantly being bombarded with debates about the best conference in the country, but this might be the first time anyone has attempted to mathematically rank the 50 U.S. states (and District of Columbia) by college basketball strength.

    Using 75 years of tournament history and three years of AP rankings, we've done exactly that.

    Depending on how well you know college basketball history, you can probably guess most of the states in the top 10. Based on their sheer number of national championships, it should be no surprise to find California, Kansas, Kentucky and North Carolina near the top of the list.

    But Nevada at No. 4? That one shocked even me.

    On the following slide, I'll explain the thought process that went into the calculations. Beyond that, we'll work our way from Alaska all the way up to the most successful state in the nation.


    Unless otherwise noted, statistics on the following slides are courtesy of College Basketball Reference.

Criteria Considered

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    David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

    If math isn't your thing, feel free to jump right into the rankings, but rest assured there is a method to this madness. For those of you who aren't terrified by numbers, here's how we determined where each state ranks.

    The historical componentwhich accounts for 85 percent of each state's scoreis based entirely on tournament appearances, Final Fours, national championships and the combined number of years for all D-I schools in each state. Regular-season wins were not included because, let's be honest, what you do during the regular season means nothing compared to how you do in the tournament.

    Number of years per D-I school was included in the calculation, as it's simply not fair to judge states like California and Texas with more than 20 D-I schools on the same plane as states like Minnesota and Wyoming that only have one school to bring home the bacon.

    Also, tournament appearances by schools that are no longer D-I were excluded. Apologies to Oklahoma and New York for losing the contributions of Oklahoma City, NYU and CCNY, but we either had to exclude those wins or include every school that ever counted as D-Iand the former was much less complicated.

    In the end, we settled on the following formula: [TA + (FF*4) + (NC*20)] / Y

    TA = tournament appearances, FF = Final Fours, NC = national championships and Y = total number of tournament-eligible years by all D-I schools in the state.

    The current component makes up the remaining 15 percent of each state's score, and it is based on the number of weeks that schools have been ranked in the AP Top 25 since the start of the 2011-12 season. As with the historical component, we had to include a multiplier for the number of schools, so as to not give an unfair advantage to states with a lot of D-I schools.

    The formula for the current component is: WR / (54*S)

    WR = weeks ranked and S = number of schools in the state. Fifty-four represents the maximum number of weeks that a team could have been ranked.

    We also added multipliers to each component. To get the historical component on a scale from 0 to 85, the scores were multiplied by 74.6744. To put the current component on a scale from 0 to 15, a factor of 24.796 was included.

    Add them together, and you get each state's score.

    Pretty simple, right?

51. Alaska

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    Michael Dinneen/Associated Press

    Score: N/A

    Number of D-I Programs: Zero

    Noteworthy Programs: Alaska-Anchorage Seawolves (D-II)


    Alaska is at the bottom of the list for not having any D-I schools.

    On the plus side, Alaska does give us the Great Alaska Shootout every year, and Alaska-Anchorage did score a memorable win over Michigan 25 years ago.

50. Maine

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    David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

    Score: 0.0

    Number of D-I Programs: One

    Noteworthy Programs: Maine Black Bears


    The Past

    The Black Bears have a ton of history.

    Hardly any of it is good.

    This is Maine's 53rd season of NCAA tournament eligibility, but it has yet to make an appearance in the Big Dance. The Black Bears have finished 22 of the past 32 seasons with a sub-.500 record, and they have already locked in a sub-.500 record for the 2013-14 season.


    The Present

    The America East Conference's tournament representative has been either a No. 15 or No. 16 seed in each of the past six seasons. Maine's conference record over the past six seasons was 35-57.

    You do the math.


    The Future

    There isn't a single senior on this year's roster, so there's at least a reasonable expectation that this team will be much improved next season under a ton of veteran leadership.

49. Delaware

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    Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

    Score: 3.27

    Number of D-I Programs: Two

    Noteworthy Programs: Delaware Fightin' Blue Hens and Delaware State Hornets


    The Past

    Though the two schools have combined to make five NCAA tournaments since 1992, they have yet to win a game in the Big Dance.

    Delaware State's one appearance came as a No. 16 seed in the 2005 NCAA tournament. After opening the season 4-11 with an ample number of blowout losses to power-conference schools, the Hornets won 15 of their next 17 games in MEAC play before running into Duke in the opening round.

    At least the Fightin' Blue Hens had a fightin' chance in three of their four appearances, earning a No. 13 seed in the 1992, 1993 and 1999 NCAA tournaments. Unfortunately, they couldn't capitalize on any of them.


    The Present

    Delaware State is nothing short of dreadfulranking near the bottom in the nation in virtually every statistical categorybut Delaware won the Colonial regular-season championship.


    The Future

    Delaware's five leading scorers consist of three seniors and two juniors, so there might be a couple of rebuilding years in the near future.

48. Montana

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    Ben Margot/Associated Press

    Score: 5.97

    Number of D-I Programs: Two

    Noteworthy Programs: Montana Grizzlies and Montana State Bobcats


    The Past

    The Bobcats are 0-3 in NCAA tournament history, but the Grizzlies do have two wins—one over Utah State in 1975 and one over Nevada in 2006.

    Their biggest contribution to the tournament, though, was knocking Weber State out of three consecutive Big Sky tournaments from 2010-12, thus keeping Damian Lillard from doing his best Stephen Curry impersonation.

    Neither team has ever been ranked in the AP Top 25, and that doesn't seem likely to change in the foreseeable future.


    The Present

    The Grizzlies have been to three of the last four NCAA tournaments. Kareem Jamar and teammates would love to make it four out of five.


    The Future

    Montana State does have a mildly intriguing recruit coming next season. Bradley Fisher, a 7'0" center from England, will be joining the Bobcats in large part due to assistant coach Chris Haslam. Haslam was also a big man from England and spent his collegiate days at Wyoming back in the early '90s.

    Fisher is by no means a top recruit, though, and Montana State is losing its top two scorers from a team that barely scores as it is. Montana is also losing its top scorer to graduation, so 2014-15 could be even more of a rebuilding year than usual in the state of Montana.

47. Vermont

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    ELISE AMENDOLA/Associated Press

    Score: 6.33

    Number of D-I Programs: One

    Noteworthy Programs: Vermont Catamounts


    The Past

    Try as they might, the Catamounts are unlikely to ever outdo what they did in the 2005 NCAA tournament.

    Taylor Coppenrath and T.J. Sorrentine led the team to a monumental upset over No. 4 Syracuse in the opening round. It was the only time (thus far) that Vermont has come within 10 points of advancing to the round of 32.


    The Present

    Chances are you've had no reason to hear about Vermont since its near-upset of Duke on Nov. 24, but the Catamounts have been playing pretty well in 2014.

    Since opening the season with a 4-8 record, they have dominated in America East play and should be well on their way to this year's tournament.


    The Future

    Vermont does have a 3-star recruit next season in the form of Brandon Hatton, but the team is also losing all five of its leading scorers to graduation. The America East Conference isn't exactly a gauntlet of quality competition, but there could be a couple of difficult years forthcoming.

46. Idaho

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    Otto Kitsinger/Associated Press

    Score: 6.44

    Number of D-I Programs: Three

    Noteworthy Programs: Idaho Vandals, Idaho State Bengals and Boise State Broncos


    The Past

    Idaho State hasn't been to the NCAA tournament in 27 years. The Bengals haven't even finished more than one game over .500 in any of the past 19 seasons. But there is a fair amount of tournament history in that potato patch.

    Back in the 1950s, Idaho State was a regular in the NCAA tournament. The Bengals went to seven consecutive tournaments from 1953-1959, winning a total of six games during that stretch. They also advanced to the Elite Eight in 1977, stunning UCLA in the Sweet 16 to end the Bruins' streak of 10 straight years making it to the Final Four.

    The other two schools haven't done nearly as well. Idaho won one game in the 1982 NCAA tournament, while Boise State is still winless in six trips.


    The Present

    Idaho and Idaho State are a combined 151 games below .500 over the past nine seasons, and neither is doing much to improve upon that this season.

    Boise State has been much better than that, but a stretch of three straight losses to open the month of February has doomed the Broncos to a trip to the 2014 NIT.


    The Future

    Idaho and Idaho State aren't going anywhere fast, but 2014-15 could be a special year for Boise State.

    Assuming Anthony Drmic and Derrick Marks return for their senior seasons, they will join forces with incoming 4-star recruit Chandler Hutchison. With both New Mexico and San Diego State losing a few crucial players to graduation, the Mountain West will likely be a battle between Boise State and UNLV.

45. Hawaii

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    Marco Garcia-USA TODAY Sports

    Score: 6.79

    Number of D-I Programs: One

    Noteworthy Programs: Hawaii Rainbow Warriors


    The Past

    In just its second season as a program, Hawaii went 23-4 and got as high as No. 12 in the AP poll before exiting in the first round of the 1972 NCAA tournament.

    Six years later, the Warriors finished the 1977-78 season with a 1-26 record.

    They've been all over the board, but in four tries, they've never won a game in the NCAA tournament. As a matter of fact, they have yet to even lose a tournament game by single digits.


    The Present

    Not only are the Warriors well above .500 this season, but they also have wins over Saint Mary's and Oregon State. Either UC Santa Barbara or UC Irvine will likely represent the Big West in the 2014 tourney, but Hawaii has a chance to get back to the Big Dance for the first time in over a decade.


    The Future

    Christian Standhardinger will be dearly missed when he graduates after this season, but between Garrett Nevels, Isaac Fotu and Keith Shamburger, Hawaii will still have quite a stable of scorers next season.

44. South Carolina

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    Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

    Score: 7.33

    Number of D-I Programs: 12

    Noteworthy Programs: Clemson Tigers and South Carolina Gamecocks


    The Past

    South Carolina is the only state in the bottom 13 in the power rankings with more than six schools. It's a pretty good state for football, but its basketball prowess is quite lacking.

    Despite 12 schools, the state has a grand total of 16 victories in NCAA tournament history. The majority of those belong to Clemson (nine) and South Carolina (four), and the Gamecocks haven't won a tournament game since 1973.

    No team from South Carolina has ever been to the Final Four, and Clemson's run to the Elite Eight in 1980 was the only time the state has even gone that far.


    The Present

    Clemson briefly had an outside shot at making this year's tournament as an at-large team, but it wouldn't be a surprise if the state failed to send a single team to the tournament for a third consecutive season.


    The Future

    Before a disappointing 2012-13 season, Clemson had finished above .500 in seven consecutive seasons, and it is well on its way to starting a new streak this year.

    With South Carolina almost certainly destined for a fifth straight season finishing in the bottom three in the SEC standings, Clemson might be the state's best hope for future returns.

43. North Dakota

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    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Score: 7.46

    Number of D-I Programs: Two

    Noteworthy Programs: North Dakota and North Dakota State Bison


    The Past

    Save for North Dakota State's 10-point loss to Kansas in the first round of the 2009 tournament, the state has never taken part in the NCAA tournament. 

    To be fair, there wasn't a single D-I Dakota team as recently as a decade ago. After several years as an Independent, North Dakota State joined the Summit League before the 2007-08 season. North Dakota spent a few years in the Great Westa conference that did not receive an auto bid to the tournamentuntil joining the Big Sky this past season.

    Still, one tournament appearance and no tournament wins won't cut it in these rankings. Maybe the state deserves some bonus points for having the only player to score 60 points in a game in the past 13 years, but Ben Woodside merely serves as a bright spot in a lackluster history.


    The Present

    North Dakota State was strong last season but not strong enough to overcome South Dakota State's Nate Wolters in the Summit League final. The Bison are the team to beat this year, though.


    The Future

    The three leading scorers for both North Dakota and North Dakota State are seniors, andbig surpriseneither school has much of anything in the pipeline in the way of top recruits. However, at least North Dakota gets to have a nickname again in 2015.

42. New Hampshire

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    Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sport

    Score: 8.17

    Number of D-I Programs: Two

    Noteworthy Programs: Dartmouth Big Green and New Hampshire Wildcats


    The Past

    There's a very good chance you don't remember ever seeing a school from New Hampshire in the NCAA tournament. The last time it happened was at the conclusion of the 1958-59 season. Prior to that, though, the state has a decent amount of tourney history.

    Dartmouth has a 10-7 record in the NCAA tournament, including playing in the 1942 and 1944 national championship gamescoming up short in both.


    The Present

    The Wildcats have never made the NCAA tournament and haven't finished above .500 since the 1993-94 season. Dartmouth's recent past hasn't been much better. The Big Green won just 27 percent of their games over the past 14 seasons. 


    The Future

    If either of these teams made the NCAA tournament in the next five yearslet alone won a game in the tournament—we would need a documentary to discover how it was even possible.

41. Colorado

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    Young Kwak/Associated Press

    Score: 9.19

    Number of D-I Programs: Five

    Noteworthy Programs: Colorado Buffaloes and Colorado State Rams


    The Past

    The Buffaloes have a pair of trips to the Final Four in the annals of their history, but they haven't done much of anything in the past 45 years.

    Here's some perspective on how long it has been since they made a deep run in the NCAA tournament: The last time Colorado made the Final Four, the other teams in its region to make the Elite Eight were Bradley, Oregon State and San Francisco.

    But tournament wins are tournament wins, no matter how long ago they occurred.


    The Present

    As recently as mid-November, things were looking up for the Centennial State.

    Colorado State was coming off of a strong 2012-13 season, Colorado was a trendy sleeper pick, and even Northern Colorado shocked the world with an upset of Kansas State on opening night.

    It's been all downhill since then. Spencer Dinwiddie tore his ACL, the Rams are near the bottom of the Mountain West Conference, and it's looking like Weber State will represent the Big Sky in the tournament instead of Northern Colorado. 


    The Future

    Assuming Dinwiddie now comes back for his senior year (and is healthy enough to play), the 2014-15 season could be a great one for the state of Colorado. The Buffaloes don't have a single senior averaging better than 5.0 minutes per game, so they'll have virtually their entire rotation back for another go-around.

    The Rams are losing one somewhat key player (Gerson Santo) to graduation, but they will have a bevy of crucial upperclassmen returning for another year. They could very well be poised for a bounce-back season.

40. Mississippi

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    Kelly Lambert-USA TODAY Sports

    Score: 10.39

    Number of D-I Programs: Six

    Noteworthy Programs: Mississippi State Bulldogs, Mississippi Rebels and Alcorn State Braves


    The Past

    Excluding this season, Alcorn State has a .338 winning percentage in my lifetime. Yet, the Braves have three (opening-round) tournament wins in their history. That's three more wins than 2014 sleeper team Southern Miss can claim. So, yes, the SWAC team counts as a noteworthy program.

    Ole Miss and Mississippi State don't have a particularly deep history of successthe schools had a combined record of 1-3 in the first 56 NCAA tournamentsbut have both been solid since the mid-'90s. They have a total of 14 tournament wins in the past 20 years, including the Bulldogs' trip to the 1996 Final Four.


    The Present

    Mississippi State has struggled over the past two seasons since Rick Stansbury's sudden retirement from the head coaching position, but the state is still in good shape.

    Andy Kennedy has gotten Ole Miss back to being a quality programeven though most probably can't look past Marshall Henderson's antics these daysand Southern Miss is bound to do a bit of tournament damage at some point in the next few seasons.


    The Future

    Mississippi State is an incredibly young team right now. Of the Bulldogs' five leading scorers, three are sophomores. In total, they have nine underclassmen on the roster. In theory, they'll only get better with age.

    Ole Miss is losing Henderson after the season, but it has a quartet of 3-star recruits on the way. Both teams should be mildly respectable in the SEC next year.

39. Rhode Island

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    Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

    Score: 11.24

    Number of D-I Programs: Four

    Noteworthy Programs: Providence Friars and Rhode Island Rams


    The Past

    The Ocean State would be in much better shape in these power rankings if Brown University didn't exist. The Bears have gone to just one tournament in the past 75 years, and they lost to Syracuse by 49 points in 1986.

    Providence, on the other hand, has been pretty average over the past decade, but it has carried the state historically. The Friars have 14 tournament wins and made it to the Final Four in 1973 and 1987.


    The Present

    The Rams had a pretty solid run from 2002-2011, but they didn't make the tournament once during that stretch. They have been dreadful over the past two-plus seasons.

    Unless Providence is able to steal an at-large bid, this may be the 10th consecutive season in which the state of Rhode Island fails to earn a bid to the tournament.


    The Future

    Between Bryce Cotton and Kadeem Batts, Providence will be losing a lot after this season. However, the Friars do have two incoming freshmen whom ESPN ranks in the top 100 of the 2014 class, and they have already gotten a verbal commitment from a 4-star recruit for the 2015-16 season.

    If there's hope for the future for Rhode Island, it's in Providence.

38. Louisiana

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    Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

    Score: 11.26

    Number of D-I Programs: 12

    Noteworthy Programs: LSU Tigers and Louisiana Tech Bulldogs


    The Past

    If not for LSU, Louisiana would be near the bottom of the barrel. The state has 36 tournament wins, but 24 of them belong to the Tigers.

    LSU has been to four Final Foursmost recently in 2006but has yet to play in a national championship game.

    Some of the Tigers' best seasons came 35 years ago. From 1978-81, LSU was 80-17 and spent 48 consecutive weeks in the AP Top 15. The Tigers just had the misfortune of running into the eventual national champion prior to the championship game in each of those three tournaments.

    Louisiana Tech is the next-best team in the state with four wins in its five trips to the tournament from 1983-91.


    The Present

    Both LSU and Louisiana Tech are on the 2014 bubble. LSU is hoping to break a stretch of four straight years without a tournament bid, while Louisiana Tech is looking to dance for the first time in 23 years.


    The Future

    Louisiana Tech is losing a ton of guys after this season, but it might be able to make a run to the tournament next season if Raheem Appleby and Kenneth Smith return for their senior years.

    LSU might be shaping up for a breakout season.

    Many pegged the Tigers as a sleeper team for the 2013-14 season, but they may have just been a year early with those predictions. Jordan Mickey and Jarell Martin are both freshmen and among LSU's leading scorers this season.

    You never know who will stay or who will leave early anymore, but if those two players and Johnny O'Bryant III come back for another season, look for LSU to contend for the SEC title in 2014-15.

37. New York

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    Seth Wenig/Associated Press

    Score: 11.59

    Number of D-I Programs: 22

    Noteworthy Programs: Syracuse Orange, St. John's Red Storm and Iona Gaels


    The Past

    It's kind of hard to believe New York is this low on the list, but the Empire State just has way too many useless teams dragging it down. Syracuse is great and St. John's was fantastic once upon a time, but the other 20 schools have combined for 66 tournament appearances and one Final Four in 1,148 years of existence.

    Focusing on the positives, though, Syracuse won it all in 2003, has been to five Final Fours and has missed the tournament just seven times in the past 41 years. Save for a couple of truly iconic programs like Indiana, Kentucky, Louisville and North Carolina, there hasn't been a more consistently great school over the past four decades than Syracuse.

    St. John's had a pretty nice run of its own for about 20 years under Lou Carnesecca. From 1976-92, the Red Storm competed in 15 NCAA tournaments, advancing to one Final Four, three Elite Eights and four Sweet 16s.


    The Present

    Aside from another great season for Syracuse, New York has St. John's fighting for an at-large bid, Canisius, Iona and Manhattan battling for the MAAC title and LIU-Brooklyn's Jason Brickman making a run at the all-time assists record.

    Provided you aren't hoping to see Binghamton, Cornell or Niagara win any games, it's been a fun year of college hoops in New York.


    The Future

    Syracuse is presumed great until proven otherwise, and St. John's should be headed for at least another above-average season if D'Angelo Harrison, Jakarr Sampson and Rysheed Jordan are back again next year.

36. Georgia

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    Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

    Score: 11.76

    Number of D-I Programs: Seven

    Noteworthy Programs: Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and Georgia Bulldogs


    The Past

    It wasn't all that long ago that Bobby Cremins turned Georgia Tech into one of the best programs in the country. Starting in the 1984-85 season, the Yellow Jackets spent at least one week in the AP Top 15 in 12 consecutive seasons. During that stretch, they won 15 games in 10 trips to the NCAA tournament.

    Save for a surprising run to the 2004 national championship game, it has been almost 20 years since we've really seen Georgia Tech play that well.

    Outside of Georgia Tech, though, there's not much to write home about. Georgia has a 7-11 all-time record in the tournament, but the Bulldogs have only gone to 10 of the past 30 tournaments, making the Sweet 16 just once (1996).


    The Present

    Georgia might send two teams to the 2014 NCAA tournament, but it won't be either of the ones mentioned above. Georgia has had a nice run since the end of November, but the Bulldogs are still a large stone's throw from a tournament bid.

    Mercer has already earned the Atlantic Sun's automatic bid, and Georgia State may very well represent the Sun Belt. If Georgia State does make it, I hope the selection committee does the right thing and pits the Panthers against Kentucky as early as possible.

    Who doesn't want to watch Ryan Harrow try to eliminate the team he led to the NIT last year?


    The Future

    Georgia Tech is near the bottom of the ACC and is going to lose three of its five leading scorers after the season. I don't know when the Yellow Jackets will return to national relevance, but I'm pretty confident it won't be next season.

    Georgia, on the other hand, has just one senior on the roster (Donte' Williams), and he's sixth on the team in both points and minutes. The Bulldogs have been a surprise in the top half of the SEC standings this year, but it probably won't be a one-year stand. Georgia might be a 2015 tournament team.

35. New Jersey

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    Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

    Score: 11.95

    Number of D-I Programs: Eight

    Noteworthy Programs: Seton Hall Pirates, Princeton Tigers and Rutgers Scarlet Knights


    The Past

    Princeton was strong in the 1960s, advancing to the 1965 Final Four and appearing in three other Sweet 16s during the decade.

    Rutgers had some success in the 1970s. The Scarlet Knights made it to the Final Four in 1976 and advanced to the Sweet 16 in 1979.

    Seton Hall made it to six tournaments in a span of seven years in the late '80s and early '90s, coming one point short of winning the 1989 national championship.


    The Present

    New Jersey has been a bit of a college hoops wasteland over the past 20 years.

    Save for Seton Hall's trip to the 2000 Sweet 16 as a No. 10 seed, the Garden State hasn't done much in recent memory.


    The Future

    Seton Hall could be turning the corner. 

    The Pirates are flirting with a .500 record this season and have one of the top 10 incoming recruiting classes next season. 2014-15 might not be their year, but they'll be back on the map in the next couple of years.

34. Virginia

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    Steve Helber/Associated Press

    Score: 12.40

    Number of D-I Programs: 14

    Noteworthy Programs: Virginia Cavaliers, VCU Rams, George Mason Patriots


    The Past

    Good thing VCU and George Mason decided to make those recent trips to the Final Four. Without them, Virginia would be in significantly worse shape.

    Aside from those surprising runs out of the Colonial Athletic Association, Virginia's only representation in the Final Four came from the Cavaliers' two trips back in the early 1980s.

    Old Dominion also helped the state's score. The Monarchs have never even advanced as far as the Sweet 16, but they have gone dancing in 11 of their 38 years as a D-I program. That's more than William & Mary can claim, as the Tribe are 0-of-75.


    The Present

    George Mason and Virginia Tech have fallen by the wayside in the past few years, but it's been a nice run over the past decade or so for the state of Virginia.

    Richmond has an outside shot at making the tournament, VCU is a perennial threat to make a deep run, and the Cavaliers might actually be vying for a No. 1 seed this year. 


    The Future

    VCU's incoming recruiting class is rated in the top 20 in the country. I can't even fathom what Shaka Smart is fixing to do with that program now that he's actually able to recruit top talent.

    Virginia is losing Joe Harris and Akil Mitchell after this season, but Tony Bennett's team should still be in great shape for the next few years. The other five players out of Virginia's top seven scorers this season are either freshmen or sophomores.

33. Alabama

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    L.G. Patterson/Associated Press

    Score: 12.43

    Number of D-I Programs: Nine

    Noteworthy Programs: Alabama Crimson Tide, Auburn Tigers and UAB Blazers


    The Past

    The schools from Alabama have combined to make 58 trips to the NCAA tournament without appearing in a single Final Four. South Carolina is next on that unfortunate list with 48 trips and zero national semifinalists.

    The Crimson Tide went to 17 tournaments between 1982 and 2006.

    You'd think at some point during that stretch they would have accidentally won four games in a row. However, they only made it as far as the Elite Eight onceand that run in the 2004 tournament was perhaps the most unlikely of all, as No. 8 seed Alabama knocked off 30-1 Stanford to advance to the Sweet 16.

    UAB made it to the Elite Eight in 1982, and Auburn did the same in 1986, but the Heart of Dixie is still waiting for its first Final Four banner.


    The Present

    The Crimson Tide are putting the finishing touches on their worst season in more than 40 years. Auburn's year hasn't been any better.

    If not for UAB's surprising win over North Carolina back in December, this entire season might have been a lost cause for the state of Alabama.

    But hey, Auburn had an exciting football season, right?


    The Future

    Alabama added a pair of 4-star recruits in both the 2013 and 2014 classes, so perhaps help is on the way. We'll see if Anthony Grant is still around to reap the fruit of his recruiting, as Alabama is 0-1 in the NCAA tournament under his five years of tutelage.

32. Maryland

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    Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

    Score: 14.26

    Number of D-I Programs: Nine

    Noteworthy Programs: Maryland Terrapins and Navy Midshipmen

    The Past

    Maryland Terrapins? Good. State of Maryland? Not so much.

    The Terps had quite the run in the middle of the Gary Williams era, advancing to the Sweet 16 five times in a span of six years, including the 2002 title and the 2001 Final Four. During the Lefty Driesell years in the 1970s and '80s, they made it to five Sweet 16s during a 13-year stretch.

    Other than that, the Old Line State hasn't done much of anything. Navy has been to 11 NCAA tournaments but no Final Fours. The other seven states have combined for 14 tournament appearances in 253 chances.


    The Present

    Loyola (MD) is the only team from the state to have made the tournament in any of the past three seasons, and that seems unlikely to change. Maryland is having a somewhat respectable final season in the ACC, but the Terrapins won't be dancing unless they win the conference tournament.


    The Future

    The Terrapins have a very strong incoming recruiting class with three 4-star recruits. If those players make an instant impact, it's possible Maryland will be ready to immediately compete in the Big Ten.

31. South Dakota

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    Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

    Score: 14.93

    Number of D-I Programs: Two

    Noteworthy Programs: South Dakota Coyotes and South Dakota State Jackrabbits


    The Past

    South Dakota's D-I history is about as deep as a kiddie pool.

    Both of its schools are currently in the Summit League. South Dakota State joined in the summer of 2007, while South Dakota made the switch before the 2011-12 season. All in all, the state has had eight chances to go dancing and has impressively converted on two of them.

    Unfortunately, the Jackrabbits opened the 2012 tournament against a Baylor team that would eventually reach the Elite Eight and merely served as a stepping stone at the start of Michigan's journey to the 2013 championship game.


    The Present

    When Nate Wolters graduated to the NBA, he took the state's competitiveness with him. Both teams have improved a bit in conference play, but South Dakota opened the season with a 3-9 record, while South Dakota State went 4-7 in its first 11 games.


    The Future

    South Dakota State added a couple of 2-star recruits this season and will add another next year, but until one of the two schools adds another guy like Wolters, it's impossible to forecast when South Dakota will be represented in the tournament again.

30. Texas

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    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Score: 15.61

    Number of D-I Programs: 23

    Noteworthy Programs: Texas Longhorns, Houston Cougars, UTEP Miners and Baylor Bears


    The Past

    Houston is 0-4 in the NCAA tournament since 1985, but the Cougars were one of the biggest historic scorers for Texas. They made it to the Final Four five times between 1967-84 but failed to ever quite seal the deal, losing most famously in the 1983 championship game to Jimmy Valvano's Wolfpack.

    Similar to Houston, UTEP has been pretty useless for the past two decades, but the Miners did provide Texas with its only national championship in 1966.

    Hard to believe Texas has been to 22 of the past 25 tournaments with only one trip to the Final Four (2003), but that's precisely why Rick Barnes' approval rating seems to have spent the past decade in the toilet.


    The Present

    The Longhorns are looking pretty strong this year. A trip to the Final Four doesn't seem too likely, but it's good to see them back in the saddle after missing the tournament last year.

    Elsewhere in the state, SMU is having its best season in about 30 years, Baylor is going dancing, and Stephen F. Austin is gathering steam as a team that a lot of people will pick for a Cinderella run in this year's tournament. 


    The Future

    Both SMU and Texas will be a serious threat to win the 2015 title.

    The Longhorns don't have a single senior on this year's roster, and Jonathan Holmes is the only junior who gets any playing time. If they can avoid losing early entrants to the NBA, Texas should at least win a Big 12 title at some point in the next two seasons.

    The Mustangs have a pair of departing seniors, but they'll have their top two scorers back for another year. More importantly, they're getting one of the top recruits in the nation in Emmanuel Mudiay.

29. Tennessee

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    Lance Murphey/Associated Press

    Score: 16.20

    Number of D-I Programs: 12

    Noteworthy Programs: Memphis Tigers, Tennessee Volunteers and Vanderbilt Commodores


    The Past

    It was at this stage in the game that I discovered two things. First, Memphis was known as Memphis State until 1994. And second, College Basketball Reference still counts forfeited trips to the Final Four as trips to the Final Four.

    If it's good enough for them, it's good enough for me, so Memphis gets credited for three trips to the national semifinals, even though the 2008 run officially never happened. Good thing, too, because no other school from the Volunteer State has advanced that far in the tournament.

    Aside from Memphis (24-of-59), Belmont (6-of-15) and Chattanooga (10-of-37) have been to the highest percentage of tournaments, while Tennessee (19-of-75) has been to the most.


    The Present

    Tennessee hasn't been to the tournament since Cuonzo Martin took over for Bruce Pearl after the 2010-11 season, but the Volunteers are shaping up to be one of the bubbliest teams on Selection Sunday. Should they fail to get in, Memphis would likely be the only Tennessee school to make the tournament.


    The Future

    Both Tennessee and Vanderbilt have solid incoming recruiting classes, though they're nothing compared to the annual hauls of Kentucky and Florida. It should be interesting to see if either school can become that elusive third team from the SEC to actually wow the selection committee.

28. Nebraska

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    Jason DeCrow/Associated Press

    Score: 16.99

    Number of D-I Programs: Three

    Noteworthy Programs: Creighton Bluejays and Nebraska Cornhuskers


    The Past

    The Cornhuskers are 0-6 in the NCAA tournament, but Creighton has the state covered with 11 wins.

    Most of those didn't even occur in the past 40 years, either. Between the 1941, 1962, 1964 and 1974 tourneys, Creighton had a 6-5 record. Though they have been in nine of the last 15 tournaments, the Bluejays haven't made it to the Sweet 16 since before they started calling it that.


    The Present

    This should be the year to change that, though. Creighton received a middling seed in each of the last two tournaments, eventually getting eliminated by No. 2 Duke and No. 1 North Carolina. Doug McDermott and co. won't play a No. 1 or No. 2 seed until they have already advanced to the Sweet 16.

    Nebraska may not make the tournament, but at least Tim Miles' team has had a respectable season. 


    The Future

    Heaven only knows what Creighton will look like after losing McDermott, Grant Gibbs, Jahenns Manigat and Ethan Wragge after this season, but it might not all be bad news for the Cornhusker State.

    Nebraska is only losing one player to graduation who contributed much of anything this season, and its three leading scorers are all sophomores.

    Provided Terran Petteway, Shavon Shields and Walter Pitchford only continue to get better with age, there's an outside chance that Nebraska could actually compete for a Big Ten title in the next two seasons.

27. Massachusetts

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    Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

    Score: 17.07

    Number of D-I Programs: Seven

    Noteworthy Programs: Holy Cross Crusaders, Boston College Eagles and Massachusetts Minutemen


    The Past

    It's always been a mystery to me how schools like Kentucky and North Carolina can stay extremely good for decades while programs at Holy Cross and San Francisco have devolved into nothingness since winning national championships.

    That's right. Holy Cross won the NCAA title in 1947. Yet, the Crusaders haven't won a single tournament game since 1953. They won 82.6 percent of their games from 1945-56 but have only once had a single-season winning percentage that high in the past 60 years (2002-03).

    Regardless of their success over the past six decades, they're still the only team from Massachusetts to ever win a national championship.


    The Present

    Harvard and Massachusetts have been carrying the flag for the Bay State over the past few seasons. Tommy Amaker has the Crimson headed very much in the right direction, and the Minutemen made it as high as No. 13 in the AP Top 25 this year after 14 consecutive seasons without once being ranked.


    The Future

    Aside from Chris Egi going to Harvard, there isn't a single player in 247sports.com's ranking of the top 250 incoming recruits that has committed to play for a school in Massachusetts.

    Harvard will remain in great shapeespecially in a weak conferencebut it might be a down year or two for the Minutemen as they adjust to life without Chaz Williams.

    Also, try not to be alarmed when basketball pundits start offering Boston College as a sleeper team for next season. The Eagles haven't signed a single incoming freshman for next season, but they also aren't losing anyone who has scored a point in this calendar year.

    Expect a lot of "This team beat Syracuse! Imagine what it can do with another year of experience!" rationale over the summer.

26. Illinois

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    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    Score: 17.36

    Number of D-I Programs: 13

    Noteworthy Programs: Illinois Fighting Illini, DePaul Blue Demons, Loyola (IL) Ramblers


    The Past

    Loyola (IL) won a national championship in 1953. Bradley made it to the championship game in both 1950 and 1954, losing both.

    Other than the Illini's trip to the 2005 championship gamea loss to North Carolinathose were the only times the state of Illinois was represented in the NCAA title game.

    That's pretty surprising, considering how good DePaul was in the 1970s and '80s and how successful the Fighting Illini have been for the past 30 years.

    In total, though, the state has been to 89 tournaments, advancing to the Final Four 10 times.


    The Present

    The 2013-14 season has not been kind to the Prairie State. We'll see what happens in the conference tournaments, but the state could very well go 0-of-13 in tournament bids this year.

    The Illini did appear in the AP Top 25 for one week back in January, but that hardly makes up for an otherwise disappointing season.


    The Future

    It's no fluke that both DePaul and Illinois are near the bottom of their conference standings. It might be a while before the state of Illinois has another college basketball team worth supporting.

25. Missouri

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    Dak Dillon-USA TODAY Sports

    Score: 17.71

    Number of D-I Programs: Five

    Noteworthy Programs: Missouri Tigers, Missouri State Bears and Saint Louis Billikens


    The Past

    The Missouri Tigers have been to 26 NCAA tournaments without once advancing to the Final Four. Only BYU (27) has been to more dances without making it past the Elite Eight.

    They do have 22 tournament wins in those 26 trips, but it's rather disappointing to see a team have that many above-average seasons without any banners worth hanging.


    The Present

    Saint Louis has been one of the better teams in the country over the past three seasons. The Billikens will be headed to the NCAA tournament for a third consecutive year, hoping to break their 57-year drought without a Sweet 16 appearance.

    Missouri is on the bubble, but the Tigers will also be looking to extend their streak of tourney appearances. Should they see their name on Selection Sunday, it will be for the sixth straight season.


    The Future

    Saint Louis is going to have one heck of a rebuilding season next year. All five of the Billikens' leaders in minutes played are in their final year of eligibility. Grandy Glaze (what a name!) averaged just 2.8 points per game through Saint Louis' first 11 A-10 games, but he'll likely have to be a leading scorer next year.

    Missouri's fate is TBD until we find out whether Jabari Brown and/or Jordan Clarkson decide to return for their senior years. The Tigers are already losing Tony Criswell and Earnest Ross. Losing their two leading scorers as well could send them spiraling to the bottom of the SEC next year.

24. West Virginia

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    Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

    Score: 18.91

    Number of D-I Programs: Two

    Noteworthy Programs: West Virginia Mountaineers


    The Past

    For every other state with three or fewer programs, I've listed each school under the "Noteworthy Programs." However, Marshall is only noteworthy for how useless its basketball program has been for the state of West Virginia. In 75 years, the Thundering Herd have been to five NCAA tournaments, failing to win a single game.

    At least the Mountaineers have had some success. They have been to 25 of the past 60 tournaments, twice advancing to the Final Four. In Jerry West's junior year (1959), they came within one point of winning the national championship against California.


    The Present

    Marshall is on its way to one of the worst seasons in program history. Given how unimpressive that history has been, that's really saying something.

    West Virginia has had a bounce-back year after a very poor inaugural season in the Big 12.


    The Future

    The 'Eers probably aren't making the 2014 NCAA tournament, but they'll be dancing next season. Unless Juwan Staten or Eron Harris is an early departure for the NBA, they'll have their entire roster back for another year.

23. Washington

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    James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

    Score: 20.53

    Number of D-I Programs: Five

    Noteworthy Programs: Gonzaga Bulldogs, Washington Huskies and Seattle Redhawks


    The Past

    Seattle wasn't even a D-I program throughout the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s, yet the Redhawks have been the Evergreen State's most successful program. In 32 years of existence, Seattle has been to 11 NCAA tournaments, including the 1958 championship game against Kentucky.

    That was the last time Washington was represented in the Final Four. Washington and Washington State have each made one trip to the national semifinals, but you have to go back to 1953 and 1941, respectively, in order to find them.

    Gonzaga has been to five Sweet 16s in the past 15 years, but the Bulldogs have never advanced past the Elite Eight.


    The Present

    Gonzaga or bust. The Washington Huskies are pretty good, but they're going to miss the tournament for a third straight season. 


    The Future

    Don't hold your breath. The Huskies are losing two of their top four scorers after this season and don't have much in the way of incoming recruits. Gonzaga has some decent freshmen on the horizon but will need to replace three key players before next year.

22. Minnesota

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    Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

    Score: 20.98

    Number of D-I Programs: One

    Noteworthy Programs: Minnesota Golden Gophers


    The Past

    It's hard to believe that the Land of 10,000 Lakes only has one D-I basketball program, but it's Golden Gophers or bust for Minnesota.

    Minnesota has been to 12 of the past 43 NCAA tournaments, compiling a 13-12 record. Since making it to the Final Four in 1997, though, the Golden Gophers have won just one game in five trips.


    The Present

    Minnesota is putting the finishing touches on its seventh consecutive winning season.

    If they could just figure out how to win on the road, the Golden Gophers would be...well...golden. From Jan. 10, 2013 through Feb. 14, 2014, they were 18-4 at home and 4-17 on the road. 


    The Future

    Of Minnesota's eight leading scorers this season, two are seniors and five are juniors. Without any high school recruits worth mentioning from the 2013 or 2014 class, the 2014-15 season might be Minnesota's last above-average season for a while.

21. Florida

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    Seth Wenig/Associated Press

    Score: 21.68

    Number of D-I Programs: 13

    Noteworthy Programs: Florida Gators, Florida State Seminoles and Jacksonville Dolphins


    The Past

    With 351 D-I schools to try to keep track of, I'm not afraid to admit I had no idea that a) Jacksonville's mascot is a dolphin and b) the Dolphins played in the 1970 national championship game. Hopefully you can forgive my ignorance, considering that was years before I was born and they haven't won a single tournament game since then.

    Really, though, the Sunshine State has been carried by the Gators.

    The University of Florida didn't compete in a single NCAA tournament until 1987, but it has won 38 games and two championships over the past 27 years.


    The Present

    The Gators have been to three consecutive Elite Eights and are all but a lock for a No. 1 seed in this year's tournament.

    Aside from having, you know, the best team in the entire country, it hasn't been a banner year for the state of Florida. Miami and Florida State have had disappointing seasons, and neither Central Florida nor South Florida has exactly been competitive in the AAC.


    The Future

    Despite losing four of the team's leaders in minutes played to graduation after this season, it's probably about time we just assume that Billy Donovan is going to have his team ready to compete every year.

    The Gators will be reloading with three 4-star recruits next season. 

20. Oregon

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    Chris Pietsch/Associated Press

    Score: 21.99

    Number of D-I Programs: Four

    Noteworthy Programs: Oregon Ducks and Oregon State Beavers


    The Past

    Neither Portland nor Portland State has ever won an NCAA tournament game, so you'll forgive us for only focusing on the state schools in this one.

    Oregon won the first national championship in 1939, but it hasn't been back to the Final Four since. The Ducks have made four more trips to the Elite Eight, thoughmost recently in 2002 and 2007so at least the past 75 years haven't been a total loss.

    Oregon State has been to two Final Fours (1949 and 1963).


    The Present

    Oregon State has some history, but none of it is recent. The Beavers are very likely headed toward a 24th consecutive season without a tournament bid.

    Oregon, on the other hand, is in great shape. It has been a tale of three seasons for the Ducks, opening the year 13-0 before losing eight out of 10 and finishing the regular season with seven straight victories. All in all, it's enough to go dancing. The Ducks will be looking to build on last year's trip to the Sweet 16.


    The Future

    It could be a rough couple of years in Oregon. Between the Ducks and the Beavers, there are 11 seniors on the 2013-14 rosterincluding five of the seven players averaging better than 10 points per game.

    Oregon State may be adding JUCO transfer Gary Payton II next year, but unless he's twice as good as his dad, it won't be enough to have that team contending for a Pac-12 title.

19. Pennsylvania

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    Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

    Score: 22.39

    Number of D-I Programs: 14

    Noteworthy Programs: Villanova Wildcats, Temple Owls, La Salle Explorers and Pittsburgh Panthers


    The Past

    Pennsylvania has been represented in the Final Four 13 times and won two national championshipsLa Salle in 1954 and Villanova in 1985so it's a little surprising that the Keystone State isn't higher on the list.

    Unfortunately, there are quite a few bottom-feeders. St. Francis (PA), Lehigh, Lafayette and Bucknell have combined for just 15 tournament appearances in 284 years of opportunitywithout a single tip to the Final Four.

    Most of Pennsylvania's history is of the ancient variety. Other than Villanova's trip to the 2009 Final Four, each of the state's appearances in the national semifinals came more than 25 years ago.


    The Present

    Both Pittsburgh and Villanova will be looking to change that this year. Pittsburgh still hasn't proven that it is capable of winning a big game this year, but Villanova is pretty comfortably one of the best teams in the country.


    The Future

    Pittsburgh might be in some trouble next year after it loses both Lamar Patterson and Talib Zanna.

    Villanova should still be in good shape. James Bell is graduating, but the Wildcats are adding a pair of 4-star recruits to an already deep rotation.

    And on the "Rip Van Winkle Sleeper Watch," keep an eye out for Temple next season. The 2013-14 season was a colossal disaster, but the Owls were in the NCAA tournament in each of the previous six seasons.

    They are losing leading scorer Dalton Pepper but will return three players averaging better than 13 points per game this year while adding a 4-star power forward.

18. Iowa

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    David Purdy/Getty Images

    Score: 22.75

    Number of D-I Programs: Four

    Noteworthy Programs: Iowa Hawkeyes and Iowa State Cyclones


    The Past

    The state of Iowa has been represented in the Final Four five timesthree times by Iowa, once by Iowa State and once by Drake.

    However, those all happened more than 30 years ago.

    Thus, it was the school that has never advanced past the Sweet 16 that delivered the state's most memorable tournament moment when Ali Farokhmanesh and the Northern Iowa Panthers knocked Kansas out of the 2010 NCAA tournament.


    The Present

    Both Iowa and Iowa State should make this year's tournament, and Drake and Northern Iowa will go down in history on the list of teams that lost to an undefeated Wichita State.


    The Future

    With Roy Devyn Marble, Melvin Ejim and DeAndre Kane all graduating after this season, both Iowa and Iowa State could have a bit of a rebuilding year ahead.

17. New Mexico

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    Eric Draper/Associated Press

    Score: 23.50

    Number of D-I Programs: Two

    Noteworthy Programs: New Mexico Lobos and New Mexico State Aggies


    The Past

    Believe it or not, New Mexico State is the one with the richer tournament history.

    The Aggies haven't won a tournament game in more than 20 years, but they might actually have become something of a dynasty program if it wasn't for UCLA. They had a 5-3 record in the NCAA tournament from 1968-70, but all three of the losses came at the hands of John Wooden's Bruins. And in their last respectable showing in the tournament, UCLA eliminated them in the Sweet 16 of the 1992 tournament.

    Meanwhile, the Lobos have been a very good regular-season team over the past 30 or so years, but they haven't yet figured out how to turn that into a deep tournament run.


    The Present

    Both schools have made the tournament in each of the past two seasons and should do so again this year. New Mexico will likely make the tournament as an at-large team. And if New Mexico State fails to win the WAC tournament to earn an automatic bid, something has gone horribly wrong.


    The Future

    New Mexico could fall on some hard times after losing Cameron Bairstow and Kendall Williams to graduationand would really be in trouble if Alex Kirk decides to forgo his senior seasonbut I suspect the Land of Enchantment will be doubly represented in the tournament for at least a fourth consecutive year.

16. Ohio

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    Ben Woloszyn-USA TODAY Sports

    Score: 27.43

    Number of D-I Programs: 14

    Noteworthy Programs: Ohio State Buckeyes and Cincinnati Bearcats


    The Past

    Between 1959 and 1963, Cincinnati and Ohio State combined for eight Final Fours and three national championships.

    Aside from that magical run, the entire state has 10 Final Four appearances and no titlesall of which belong to Cincinnati or Ohio State except for Dayton's trip to the 1967 title game.

    Ohio State has come close in recent years. The Buckeyes have been to three Final Fours in the past 15 years and have advanced at least as far as the Sweet 16 in four straight tournaments.

    He's still pretty young (46), but Thad Matta doesn't get nearly enough respect in any discussion about the greatest coaches in the country. His career winning percentage is better than that of Mike Krzyzewski, Rick Pitino, Jim Boeheim and Bill Self.


    The Present

    The Buckeye State is in pretty fantastic shape right now.

    Ohio State and Cincinnati are locks for the tournament. Xavier is on the bubble. And whether Toledo, Ohio or Akron wins the MAC tournament, that team will be a nightmare for whoever it draws in the NCAA tourney.


    The Future

    Cincinnati is very likely headed for an atrocious adjustment period after Sean Kilpatrick, Justin Jackson and Titus Rubles graduate.

    Ohio State, on the other hand, might be better than ever. Losing Aaron Craft and Lenzelle Smith Jr. is going to sting a little bit, but the Buckeyes have one of the best incoming recruiting classes in the nation, headlined by outstanding shooting guard D'Angelo Russell.

    If LaQuinton Ross, Shannon Scott and Sam Thompson all return for their senior seasons, Ohio State might ranked No. 1 in the preseason Top 25.

    Xavier landed a pretty good haul of recruits as well, with two 4-star players and three 3-star guys. Semaj Christon might make the leap to the NBA. If he doesn't, Xavier will be returning six of its seven leading scorers to pair with those incoming freshmen.

    The Musketeers should compete for the Big East title for years to come.

15. District of Columbia

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    Alex Brandon/Associated Press

    Score: 29.02

    Number of D-I Programs: Four

    Noteworthy Programs: Georgetown Hoyas


    The Past

    American, George Washington and Howard have combined for four tournament wins in 14 appearances.

    Suffice it to say, Georgetown has been the only bastion of hope for the nation's capital for quite some time now.

    The Hoyas have gotten a reputation as of late as a team that chokes in the tournament, but they are 46-28 all time with five Final Fours and the 1984 championship. Between 1982 and 1996, they went to 14 out of 15 tournaments, winning at least one game each year and advancing to the title game three times.


    The Present

    Georgetown is 1-4 in the past four tournaments. The win was against No. 14 Belmont. The four losses were against No. 11 VCU, No. 11 North Carolina State, No. 14 Ohio and No. 15 Florida Gulf Coast. The Hoyas probably aren't heading to the tournament this year.

    If his dad hadn't been the coach that put Georgetown on the map in the 1980s, one has to wonder if John Thompson III would still have a job.

    George Washington is likely D.C.'s best shot for a tournament team this year. The Colonials haven't been dancing since 2007, but they're sitting pretty for an at-large bid.


    The Future

    Losing Markel Starks and Nate Lubick after the season is going to hurt Georgetown, but the Hoyas are adding a trio of 4-star forwards to join Jabril Trawick and D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera. If they miss the tournament this year, I like their chances of getting back there in 2015.

14. Utah

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    Rick Bowmer/Associated Press

    Score: 30.39

    Number of D-I Programs: Six

    Noteworthy Programs: Utah Utes, Brigham Young Cougars and Utah State Aggies


    The Past

    Utah had a nice run under Rick Majerus in the 1990s, but it was decades before that the Utes did the most damage. They won the 1944 title and advanced to the Final Four in both 1961 and 1966.

    BYU and Utah State have combined for 47 NCAA tournament bids without a single trip to the Final Four. Add in Weber State's 14 trips without producing a national semifinalist, and the Beehive State has three of the 16 teams with the most tournament appearances and no Final Fours.


    The Present

    Utah State has struggled in its inaugural season in the Mountain West, but it will finish above .500 for a 21st consecutive year.

    Utah might not make the tournament this year, but the Utes are playing exponentially better than they were two years ago.

    BYU is squarely on the bubble. Dance or no dance, kudos to the Cougars for putting together a strong enough nonconference schedule to even still be in the conversation.


    The Future

    Utah has one senior on the roster, and Renan Lenz plays sparingly. With Delon Wright and Jordan Loveridge back for another year, the Utes could be headed for their first tournament win since 2005.

    Meanwhile, BYU doesn't have a single senior this year and has an incoming recruiting class that ranks in the top 25 in the nation, according to ESPN. If there's ever going to be a changing of the guard in the West Coast Conference, the 2014-15 season should be BYU's chance at overtaking Gonzaga.

13. Arizona

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    Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

    Score: 31.23

    Number of D-I Programs: Four

    Noteworthy Programs: Arizona Wildcats


    The Past

    Arizona technically has four D-I programs, but Grand Canyon just became one this season and won't be eligible for postseason play until 2018.

    The Antelopes are only two tournament appearances away from matching Northern Arizona's total, though, so shame on the Lumberjacks for 75 years of ineptitude.

    Arizona State has 13 tournament appearances, but the Sun Devils have never made the Final Four.

    So, clearly, the Wildcats are almost 100 percent responsible for Arizona being this high on the list. They have been to 27 of the past 29 tournaments, including four Final Four appearances and a national championship in 1997.


    The Present

    Arizona spent eight straight weeks at No. 1 earlier this season, and Arizona State handed Arizona one of its only losses on the season. Both Pac-12 teams are likely headed for the tourney.


    The Future

    If you think Arizona is great this year, buckle up to bear down next year.

    Jordin Mayes is the only senior on the roster, and he hardly plays. Aaron Gordon will probably leave for the NBA, but the Wildcats are getting one of the top high school recruits in Stanley Johnson and one of the top JUCO recruits in Kadeem Allen.

    If there is any 40-0 talk in the weeks and months leading up to the 2014-15 season, it'll be about Arizona.

    Arizona State, on the other hand, is likely headed for a world of pain. Of the Sun Devils' four leading scorers this season, three are seniors and the other is Jahii Carson, who will depart for the NBA.

12. Connecticut

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    Jessica Hill/Associated Press

    Score: 31.41

    Number of D-I Programs: Seven

    Noteworthy Programs: Connecticut Huskies


    The Past

    If we were power ranking the 351 schools, Connecticut would rank somewhere on the back end of the top 10. The Huskies have been to four Final Fours and have won three national championships. All of those have occurred in the past 20 years, and it's much more difficult to make the Final Four today than it was just 30 years ago.

    However, the state of Connecticut is being dragged down by six teams which have done nearly nothing. Central Connecticut State, Fairfield and Yale have combined to make nine trips to the NCAA tournament without winning a single game. Hartford, Quinnipiac and Sacred Heart have never even been dancing.

    In summation, the Huskies have 52 tournament wins while the rest of the Constitution State is winless in 214 combined years of chances.


    The Present

    Per usual, Connecticut is in great shape for the tournament. Excluding last year's absence due to the academic-progress-rate ban, the Huskies have been to 18 of the past 23 tournaments.


    The Future

    Good thing Louisville is moving to the ACC and Cincinnati is likely headed for a down season, because Connecticut would be in some trouble next season in an above-average conference. Replacing the minutes and production from Shabazz Napier, Niels Giffey and Lasan Kromah is going to be problematic.

11. Arkansas

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    Beth Hall-USA TODAY Sports

    Score: 33.70

    Number of D-I Programs: Five

    Noteworthy Programs: Arkansas Razorbacks


    The Past

    If your basketball memory only goes back 18 years, finding Arkansas this high on the list is a pretty big surprise. The Razorbacks have just a 3-7 record in the NCAA tournament since 1997, failing to make it as far as the Sweet 16 in any of those years.

    However, Arkansas was something of a dynasty back in the early '90s. Between 1990-1996, Arkansas went 23-6 in the Big Dance under Nolan Richardson's tutelage, including winning it all in 1994.

    Of the other four D-I schools in Arkansas, only Arkansas-Little Rock has provided anything of value for the state's score. The Trojans pulled off a big upset as the No. 14 seed against Digger Phelps' Notre Dame squad in the 1986 NCAA tournament. 


    The Present

    No school from Arkansas has been ranked at any point in the past two-plus seasons. Arkansas is on the bubble and will be looking to end a two-year tourney drought for the Natural State. 


    The Future

    Mike Anderson has the state's primary school headed in the right direction. The Razorbacks landed a 5-star recruit this past offseason in the form of power forward Bobby Portis.

    The freshman is averaging better than 12 points per game and could evolve into the type of team leader in the low post that Adreian Payne has become for Michigan State.

10. Wyoming

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    Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Spor

    Score: 37.82

    Number of D-I Programs: One

    Noteworthy Programs: Wyoming Cowboys


    The Past

    Back in the 1940s and early 1950s, Wyoming was pretty darn good. The Cowboys actually won the 1943 national championship.

    It sounds like crazy talk for a team that has made the tournament all of one time in the past 25 years, but the days of the Skyline Conference were a simpler time (I'm guessing).


    The Present

    The Cowboys aren't worthy of tournament inclusion, but Larry Shyatt has this team moving in the right direction. 


    The Future

    Depending on whether or not Larry Nance Jr. is able to recover from a torn ACL in time to play next season, Wyoming could be headed for a rebuilding yearand it is not easy to build a basketball team at 7,300 feet above sea level.

9. California

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    Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

    Score: 40.11

    Number of D-I Programs: 24

    Noteworthy Programs: UCLA Bruins, San Francisco Dons, California Golden Bears, Stanford Cardinal and USC Trojans


    The Past

    I fully expect California at No. 9 to be a point of contention in the comments section, since the Golden State has more national championships than any other state. In fact, there isn't an entire state (aside from California, of course) that has more titles than UCLA's 11.

    Unfortunately, California's score was bogged down by a plethora of UCs (Davis, Irvine, Riverside and Santa Barbara) and Cal States (Bakersfield, Fullerton and Northridge) that have amounted to virtually nothing. Those seven schools have combined for nine tournament appearances in 176 years of existence.

    Sure, UCLA has been to 18 Final Fours, but there are also 18 schools in California that have never advanced that far in 720 seasons. It ended up diluting the Bruins' contributions.

    Just know that, even though California isn't No. 1 in these rankings, UCLA would be No. 1 if we were power rankings the 351 schools.


    The Present

    Of course, only one of California's 15 national championships has occurred since USA's Bicentennial year. UCLA owned the 1960s and '70s, San Francisco and California ruled the '50s, and Stanford won a title way back in 1942.

    But what have you done for me lately, California?

    UCLA did make it to three straight Final Fours from 2006-08, but that concludes the list of times that the state of California was represented in the Final Four in the past 15 years.

    UCLA, California and Stanford have been pretty good this season and could all make the tournament, but it's possible that San Diego State is California's only real hope for a deep run this year.


    The Future

    UCLA, Stanford and San Diego State each has a top-20 recruiting class for the 2014 season and should remain strong programs for the foreseeable future.

8. Indiana

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    Score: 41.37

    Number of D-I Programs: 10

    Noteworthy Programs: Indiana Hoosiers, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Purdue Boilermakers and Butler Bulldogs


    The Past

    It has been 27 years since their last title, but only UCLA and Kentucky have won more national championships than the Hoosiers.

    They haven't been to many Final Fours, though. Of the 17 teams that have been to the Final Four at least five times, Indiana has the highest percentage of national championshipswinning the title 62.5 percent of the time that it makes the national semifinals.

    The Hoosiers are the only team from the Hoosier State to have won a national championship. The other nine schools have combined for six Final Foursincluding Butler's improbable run to back-to-back championship games in 2010-11but have failed to cut down the nets.


    The Present

    The state of Indiana has sent at least one team to the NCAA tournament in 30 of the past 31 years, but it may be getting shut out this year. Each of its noteworthy programs has had a downright miserable season compared to the past five years.

    Indiana's best hope might actually be the only team in the state that has never been to the tournament. The IPFW Mastodons have more than 18 wins for the first time in school history and will be one of the primary candidates to win the Summit Conference tournament.


    The Future

    Indiana and Purdue should both bounce back to relevance in a hurry. They each have a ton of talented freshmen and sophomores and have a bunch of talented incoming freshmen next seasonboth Indiana and Purdue are in the top 25 of ESPN's 2014 class rankings.

7. Michigan

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    Tony Ding/Associated Press

    Score: 42.19

    Number of D-I Programs: Seven

    Noteworthy Programs: Michigan Wolverines and Michigan State Spartans


    The Past

    In the past 29 years, Michigan and Michigan State have combined to make 39 tournament appearances, 19 Sweet 16s, 10 Final Fours and two national championships. Prior to 1985, they had another five Final Fours and a national championship.

    The rest of the state has done nothing special, but the two banner programs have accomplished more than enough to carry the Wolverine State into the top 10.


    The Present

    Both Michigan and Michigan State are likely headed for a No. 4 seed or better for a third straight season. There might be seven programs in the country who accomplish that task on Selection Sunday, but the fact that two are from the same state is quite impressive.


    The Future

    Far be it from me to doubt Tom Izzo's coaching abilities, but next season could be a tough one for the Spartans. They will definitely be losing Keith Appling and Adreian Payne. Chances are they'll lose Gary Harris to the NBA as well.

    Michigan's fate is very much to be determined. The Wolverines only have one senior and one junior, and neither Jon Horford nor Jordan Morgan would be missed too much if the rest of their core group ignores the temptation to bolt for the pros.

    In a perfect world, they still have three more years of Zak Irvin and Derrick Walton Jr. and two more years of Mitch McGary, Nik Stauskas, Glenn Robinson III and Caris LeVert. If all of those guys actually stick around, we might as well just hand the next few B1G titles to Michigan now.

6. Oklahoma

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    Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

    Score: 46.25

    Number of D-I Programs: Four

    Noteworthy Programs: Oklahoma State Cowboys and Oklahoma Sooners


    The Past

    In the first 13 years of the NCAA tournament, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State combined for six Final Fours and two national championshipsback-to-back titles in 1945-46 when Oklahoma State was still known as Oklahoma A&M.

    Since then, they have each made the Final Four twice. Oklahoma has been in 23 of the past 31 tournaments, while Oklahoma State has gone to 16 of the last 23.


    The Present

    Neither has had much tournament success in recent years, though. Oklahoma did make an Elite Eight appearance in 2009, but Oklahoma and Oklahoma State have a combined record of 5-7 in the tournament since 2006.

    Both will be looking to improve upon that record this year. The Cowboys' bid is still a little shaky at the moment, but the Sooners will almost certainly get their chance.


    The Future

    The Sooners should be in great shape for a while. They're losing Cameron Clark this year, but he's the only one of their top five scorers that isn't a freshman or a sophomore.

    Oklahoma State's future is considerably more up in the air. Markel Brown is graduating after this season, and Marcus Smart will likely depart for the NBA as well. The Cowboys have a pair of quality incoming recruits in Joe Burton and Jared Terrell, but they're still holding out hope for Myles Turner.

    Should they land the top remaining unsigned recruit, they'll be contending for a Big 12 title next season. If they don't, it might be another March on the bubble.

5. Wisconsin

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    Andy Manis/Associated Press

    Score: 48.61

    Number of D-I Programs: Four

    Noteworthy Programs: Marquette Golden Eagles and Wisconsin Badgers


    The Past

    The Wisconsin Badgers make the tournament nearly every year, but they always seem to get eliminated before they should. They're basically the opposite of Michigan State, which seems to always win one or two more games than it should.

    Since incredulously making it to the Final Four as a No. 8 seed in 2000, Wisconsin has been to 13 straight tournaments, advancing to the Elite Eight just once in 2005. And let's be honest, the Badgers had some help that year by being the No. 6 seed in a region where both the No. 3 and No. 2 seed lost before playing Wisconsin.

    But, Wisconsin won the national championship in 1941, and Marquette won it in 1977, so the Badger State is in pretty good shape.


    The Present

    Wisconsin will extend its tournament streak to 16 consecutive seasons, likely earning a No. 2 seed this year.

    Marquette will almost certainly miss the tournament at this point, but there is hope for Wisconsin elsewhere. Green Bay was gathering some serious steam as this year's consensus Cinderella team until the Phoenix were an early exit from the Horizon tournament. They still have an outside shot at an at-large bid, but it's likely Badgers or nothing for the state of Wisconsin.


    The Future

    Marquette is losing more than 50 percent of its points and rebounds to graduation. Buzz Williams won't let that program sink too far, but it might be another year or two before the Golden Eagles are back and ready to compete.

    Wisconsin's only major casualty this year will be Ben Brust, but that just means more minutes for Nigel Hayes and Bronson Koenig. The Badgers will be plenty strong once again next season.

4. Nevada

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    Ethan Miller/Getty Images

    Score: 49.55

    Number of D-I Programs: Two

    Noteworthy Programs: UNLV Runnin' Rebels and Nevada Wolfpack


    The Past

    During Jerry Tarkanian's 19 years as a head coach at UNLV, the Runnin' Rebels won 82.9 percent of their games, advancing to four Final Fours and winning the national championship in 1990.

    As a point of comparison, UCLA won 84.4 percent of its games during John Wooden's final 19 years at the helmwhich includes the Bruins' 10 national championship in a span of 12 years.

    Outside of Wooden, you'd be hard-pressed to find a coach who accomplished more for a program in two decades than Tark the Shark.


    The Present

    Aside from that hot stretch in the 1970s and '80s, though, there hasn't been a whole lot going on in the Silver State. Nevada has never been to the Elite Eight, and UNLV hasn't been there since 1991.

    Neither will be making the tournament this year, barring a miraculous run through the Mountain West Conference tournament.


    The Future

    The Wolf Pack are slumping and going nowhere fast. They were able to take care of business in the WAC fairly routinely, but it might be a while before they're really competing for a MWC titleespecially with their two leading scorers leaving after this season.

    UNLV, however, should be back on top of the MWC next season. The Runnin' Rebels lose a relatively key player in Kevin Olekaibe, but they have one of the top recruiting classes in the country after signing Rashad Vaughn in mid-February.

3. North Carolina

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    Grant Halverson/Getty Images

    Score: 56.52

    Number of D-I Programs: 18

    Noteworthy Programs: North Carolina Tar Heels, Duke Blue Devils and North Carolina State Wolfpack


    The Past

    According to Wikipedia, North Carolina has an area of 53,819 square miles. Strange that the vast majority of the state's history is contained to three schools within about 30 miles of each other.

    Both Charlotte (1977) and Wake Forest (1962) have advanced to the Final Four once, but they've got nothing on the Triangle.

    North Carolina has been to 18 Final Fours, winning five titles. Duke isn't far behind with 14 trips to the national semifinals and four championships. Compared to all that, North Carolina State's three Final Fours and pair of national championships seems pretty pithy, but the Wolfpack are still one of just 14 schools that have won it all more than once.


    The Present

    As is often the case, Duke and North Carolina are looking great, while the rest of the state is pretty much left to root for them.

    If you insist on rooting for a team from the Tar Heel State that is neither the Tar Heels nor the Blue Devils, jump on North Carolina Central's bandwagon. The Eagles only became eligible for the NCAA tournament in 2011 and have not yet been to the Big Dance. But they are the overwhelming favorites to represent the MEAC this March.


    The Future

    Duke and North Carolina have two of the five best incoming recruiting classes in the entire country.

    At least one of those two schools has been in every tournament since 1974 and at least one has advanced to the Sweet 16 in each of the 18 NCAA tournaments since 1996.

    Don't expect either of those trends to end any time soon.

2. Kansas

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    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Score: 87.66

    Number of D-I Programs: Three

    Noteworthy Programs: Kansas Jayhawks, Kansas State Wildcats and Wichita State Shockers


    The Past

    Did you feel that? Did you notice the completely ridiculous jump from No. 3 to No. 2?

    The gap between Kansas and North Carolina is larger than the difference between North Carolina and No. 16 Ohio.

    Kansas doesn't have anywhere near as many titles as states like California, Kentucky and North Carolina, but the Sunflower State checks in at No. 2 in the power rankings because it doesn't have a single bad team weighing it down.

    Wichita State has been to two Final Fours, Kansas State has been to four of them and the Jayhawks have won three national championships in 14 trips to the Final Four.


    The Present

    Both Wichita State and Kansas are very much in the running for a No. 1 seed.

    Kansas is headed to its 25th consecutive NCAA tournament, while Kansas State will likely be going to the tournament for a fifth straight year.


    The Future

    Kansas might be losing Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid after just one season, but the Jayhawks will be reloading once again with 5-star recruits Cliff Alexander and Kelly Oubre.

    With all of the press it has gotten this season, it's hard to imagine Wichita State will have any difficulty recruiting over the next few years. Losing Cleanthony Early after this season may lead to a brief adjustment period, but the Shockers should be fine for years to come.

1. Kentucky

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    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Score: 91.82

    Number of D-I Programs: Seven

    Noteworthy Programs: Kentucky Wildcats and Louisville Cardinals


    The Past

    Kentucky and Louisville have combined for 92 tournament appearances, with an overall record of 183-87, 25 Final Fours and 11 national championships.

    That's just...insane.

    Regardless of your preferred historical metric, both the Wildcats and Cardinals are among the seven best teams in the nation. And unlike North Carolina, the other schools in the Bluegrass State aren't a complete liability.

    Western Kentucky has been to 23 tournaments and competed in the 1971 Final Four. Eastern Kentucky, Morehead State and Murray State have 29 total tournament appearances.


    The Present

    In the past three years, both Kentucky and Louisville have been to two Final Fours and have won a national championship. Each is a strong candidate to make the Final Four this year as well.


    The Future

    Kentucky and Louisville have two of the five best recruiting classes in the nation.

    Looks like good things happen for your state when you've won the past two national championships.