College Basketball: Power Ranking the Top 50 Men's Programs of All Time
College basketball is one of those sports that you just can't help but fall in love with. It's full of history-rich programs and dynasties, but ranking them can be difficult.
This top 50 list was difficult; there are so many great programs in college basketball that ranking them is not the easiest thing in the world.
So here are my top 50 programs of all time. Feel free to express your praise, or displeasure in the comment section. Enjoy.
50. Virginia Cavaliers
Coming in at No. 50 we have the Virginia Cavaliers. Virginia has a winning percentage of .559 and has appeared in the NCAA tournament 16 times. They have won seven ACC titles and have appeared in two Final Fours.
The best years for Virginia were the 1980s when they went to two Final Fours.
Their most famous player had to be Ralph Sampson who was named Player of the Year three times as well as being picked as the No. 1 overall in 1983.
49. Utah State Aggies
Utah State is one of those programs that does not get enough credit in the college hoops world. They have one of the toughest home courts in America and have been great throughout their history.
They have a winning percentage of .590 and have had 14 regular-season conference titles and eight tournament titles.
The Aggies have also been to the NCAA tournament 20 times, where they have failed to do much when it came down to it.
48. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets have had a great program over the years. They have had a lot of success in the ACC, but don't get the credit, because of Duke and UNC.
Georgia Tech has appeared in the NCAA tournament 16 times and the Final Four twice.
They have won three ACC regular-season titles and four tournament titles.
47. Xavier Musketeers
The Xavier Musketeers are one of the best mid-majors in college basketball, and are regarded as a great team to schedule year in and year out.
The Musketeers have won 17 regular-season conference championships and nine tournaments.
When it comes to the NCAA they are a perennial player. They have appeared 22 times in the tournament, winning almost half of their games.
46. Florida State Seminoles
The basketball program at Florida State is often overlooked due to the large success of the football squad, but the basketball program deserves respect as well.
The Seminoles have won two regular-season titles, as well as a conference tournament title. They have appeared in 13 NCAA tournaments and have made it to the Final Four once.
Florida State's most famous player is David Cowens who is the all-time leading rebounder at Florida State and a Hall of Famer.
45. Dayton Flyers
The Flyers are one of those little schools that seems to always poke their head up come tournament time.
They have appeared in 14 NCAA tournaments and have even been to the Final Four once in the school's history, which has been the highlight of their program thus far.
They have won three conference titles and are a great mid-major as they are regarded as one of the best in the country.
44. Wake Forest Demon Deacons
Wake Forest is a team that is very easy to forget about, even though they have made 22 tournament appearances and even have a Final Four under their belt.
They have won their conference nine times, which is very tough to do in a conference that has two of the greatest programs of all time.
They are probably most famous for Tim Duncan, who went to the school.
43. Alabama Crimson Tide
Alabama is yet another program that is often overlooked due to their great success on the gridiron. Although the football team may be good, the basketball program is rich in tradition as well.
They have won 17 conference championships and appeared in the NCAA tournament 19 times. Bama is one of those teams to always have your eye on.
Although they seem to not have it all together, they can always sneak up and steal a victory.
42. Washington Huskies
The Washington Huskies are out of the Pacific Athletic Conference and have had success as a program but are overshadowed by UCLA and Arizona.
The Huskies have won their conference 13 times and have advanced to the NCAA tournament a total of 16 times including a Final Four. The Huskies have had a wonderful program over the years and will continue to build on this success in the future, as the Pac-12 continues to grow and develop back into a great basketball conference.
41. Pittsburgh Panthers
The Pittsburgh Panthers are the first of many Big East teams on this list. They have won their conference 15 times which is quite the accomplishment.
They have appeared in the NCAA tournament 23 times over their program's vibrant history and have made one run at the Final Four.
40. Tennessee Volunteers
Although the program has been marred by Bruce Pearl, the Tennessee Volunteers have had a good history.
They bolster a .612 winning percentage and have won 16 conference titles in their history.
In addition to a tremendous winning percentage and great conference success, they have appeared in 19 NCAA tournaments.
Hopefully this program will be able to recover after such a great scar has been placed upon them by the Pearl era.
39. LSU Tigers
LSU has been one of those rocky teams in the past. They are either up or down; it seems as though this team has no middle ground to stand.
Their winning percentage is nothing to run home about, but they have won 12 conference titles and appeared in 20 NCAA tournaments.
In the tournaments they have gone to four Final Fours over their history.
Their most notable player in history would have to be Shaq, although few people actually remember he went to college for two years.
38. Missouri Tigers
Yet another Tiger is on this list as one of the greatest college basketball programs—can't you hear the roar?
Mizzou has won 22 conference titles over their history, making them one of the most successful programs in the Big 12.
They have appeared in 24 NCAA tournaments, but have yet to appear in a Final Four.
37. Iowa Hawkeyes
The Iowa Hawkeyes are a Big Ten team that doesn't get a lot of respect due to the fact they aren't that great at the moment. They do, however, have a rich past.
They have won 10 conference titles, and appeared in 22 NCAA tournaments. During their NCAA tournament runs, the Hawkeyes have appeared in three Final Fours.
36. Princeton Tigers
The Princeton Tigers are a team that have had tremendous success and revolutionized the game with their style of offense.
Princeton has won 29 conference titles, and has appeared in 24 NCAA tournaments including a trip to the Final Four.
Princeton plays in the Ivy League, which does not help their spot on this list.
35. Oklahoma Sooners
Oklahoma is a school that is acclaimed for their football program rather than their basketball program, but both programs have had success in the past and will continue in the future.
Oklahoma has had 21 conference titles but only 14 of those have been regular-season titles. The Sooners have also appeared in 26 tournaments. They have appeared in four Final Fours as well in their span.
Their most famous player as of right now would have to be Blake Griffin, the tremendous dunker for the Clippers.
34. San Francisco Dons
San Francisco is a team that is not thought of at all, but they have a rich history of tradition and excellence.
They have 16 conference titles and and have made 16 appearances in the tournament.
Where they really rise to fame is their two national titles; what really brings them down is the fact that they have not been relevant in some time.
They are best known for Bill Russell who played for the team in the early 1950s.
33. Kansas State Wildcats
The Kansas State Wildcats are a team that has had a lot of success in the past, but are outshined by their rival, Kansas.
KSU has won 19 conference tournaments and appeared in 25 tournaments.
In those 25 tournaments, they have been to four Final Fours as well, which is a big accomplishment.
32. Texas Longhorns
The Texas Longhorns are a part of the Big 12 and are mainly known for their football program as well. They have won 28 conference titles including 25 regular-season titles.
They have also appeared in 29 NCAA tournaments and have been to the Final Four twice in program history.
Texas seems to be in the hunt every year but just can't get over that national title hunt.
31. Brigham Young University Cougars
BYU, believe it or not, is not just known for their star player, Jimmer Fredette, but they also have a fairly good basketball history.
Over the program's history they have won 25 conference titles along with three tournament championships.
They have also made 27 appearances in the NCAA tournament.
30. St. John's Red Storm
The Saint John's Red Storm are now coached by Steve Lavin and have one of the best winning percentages in college basketball.
They have won 17 conference titles, and have appeared in 28 tournaments including two runs at the Final Four.
St. John's is still building and is likely to have one of the best teams in the nation this season.
29. Wisconsin Badgers
The Wisconsin Badgers are one of the most feared and physical teams in the nation. No one wants to play in the Khol Center and for valid reason.
The Badgers have won 19 conference titles, and have appeared in 17 NCAA tournaments.
In the tournament they have had some success, having gone to two Final Fours and a national title.
28. Houston Cougars
There are a lot of Cougars on this list, but here is another.
Houston has had a great basketball history in the heart of football country.
They have won 11 conference titles, and have made 19 tournament appearances. In those 19 appearances, they have made it to five Final Fours, which has a lot to do with their placing on this list.
They could be higher, if they were more consistent.
27. Maryland Terrapins
Maryland is one of those programs that is consistent, but also rocky as well.
On their belt, they only have 10 conference titles.
They have made 24 NCAA tournament appearances, but have also had two Final Four appearances. The thing that really makes Maryland stand out on this list is their national title.
Unfortunately, this program will always be remembered by the Len Bias tragedy.
26. Memphis Tigers
The Memphis Tigers have had a lot of success as a program, especially for a mid-major.
Over their history they have won 26 conference titles and appeared in the NCAA 22 times.
In those 22 times, they have reached three Final Fours.
Their most famous player was Derrick Rose, who was unfortunately caught up in a scandal, but is one of the best players in the NBA.
25. Florida Gators
Florida is one of those teams that seems like they should be higher on the list, but were just not consistent over the years.
They have won 10 conference titles and made 16 tournament appearances.
Their success in the tournament is what has them on this list. They have appeared in four Final Fours and have won two national titles.
24. Illinois Fighting Illini
The Fighting Illini have had a lot of success on the court over the years.
They have won 19 conference titles and have appeared in 29 tournaments. In the tournament they have made five Final Four appearances, but have not got the job done.
They have a tough home court and always come to play hard.
23. Temple Owls
The Temple Owls have dominated the A10 over the years.
They have won 30 conference titles as well as making 29 tournament appearances.
In their time in the tournament, they have established themselves as a team that you do not want to draw because they pesky.
They have made two Final Four appearances in their program history.
22. Marquette Golden Eagles
Marquette is that team in the Big East that everyone forgets about, but they have a storied history.
Although they do not win the conference often, they still know how to get it done. They have only won the conference five times in their history, but have made 29 tournament appearances including three Final Fours and even a national title.
They are low on the list because they have not been consistent over the years.
21. Purdue Boilermakers
The Purdue Boilermakers are this high up on the list for consistency. Although they might not have a national title, they have been very consistent over the years.
They have won 23 conference titles, the most in the Big Ten, and have made 25 tournament appearances.
In those 25 times they have made two Final Fours.
One of the major accomplishments for the Boilermakers is that they have a winning record over every other team in the Big Ten, something that is not done often.
20. UNLV Rebels
UNLV is a squad that has quietly crept into the top 20 programs of all time. They have won their conference 25 times and have a winning percentage above 70 percent.
The Rebels have made 18 tournament appearances, including four Final Fours and one national title.
When thinking of basketball, not many people consider UNLV as one of the greats, but they are quickly becoming one.
19. Oklahoma State Cowboys
Oklahoma State has also had a quiet growth to the top of the college basketball world. They have been fairly consistent over the years and have had a lot of success.
OSU has won 23 conference titles and appeared in 24 NCAA tournaments.
They have appeared in six Final Fours and have won it all twice.
18. Villanova Wildcats
Nova is a program that has had a lot of success over its history and over the past few years.
They have only won 11 conference titles, but have appeared in the NCAA tournament 32 times.
This tournament run has included four Final Fours and a national title.
Playing in the Big East, they get tested a lot, and this just goes to show how great that conference really is.
17. Georgetown Bulldogs
Georgetown is yet another Big East team that has had a lot of success over the past. They have won the conference 17 times over their history, and have appeared in 27 tournaments.
In those tournaments they have found success and appeared in five Final Fours and have won one national title.
Georgetown is one of those teams that you can count on being good year in and year out.
16. Arkansas Razorbacks
Arkansas has won 33 conference titles. They are probably the sneakiest team in this top 20, because not a lot of people even consider their basketball program as one of the best over time—but they are wrong.
The Razorbacks have appeared in 29 tournaments and have been to six Final Fours.
They got the job done one time in the tournament and have a national title.
15. NC State Wolfpack
This team is a five-man wolf pack. Okay, lame joke—but they do have a pretty good basketball program though. They have dominated the conference tournaments winning it 17 times and winning the regular-season tournament 13 times.
Also, they have have made 22 tournament appearances, as well as having three Final Four appearances and two national titles.
14. Cincinnati Bearcats
The Cincinnati Bearcats have been to 25 NCAA tournaments as well as having numerous success in their conference.
Along with the NCAA tournament success, they have won 32 conference titles as well.
In the NCAA tournament they have been to six Final Fours and won two national titles.
13. Michigan Wolverines
Michigan is one of those teams that sneaks up on you as well. After the Fab Five they had some success, but they are best known for that great era in Michigan Basketball.
They have won 13 conference titles and had 22 tournament appearances.
UM has had six Final Four appearances as well as a national title.
12. Ohio State Buckeyes
Although their football program may be answering some questions, the Ohio State basketball program is still in great shape.
They have successfully become a dynasty and have done some great things.
They have had 25 conference titles, and appeared in 27 tournaments.
The Buckeyes have had great success and have 10 Final Fours but only one national title.
11. Syracuse Orange
Just outside of the top 10 comes Syracuse.
'Cuse is one of the most well-known college basketball programs in the nation.
They have won 15 conference titles and appeared in 34 tournaments, with five Final Fours and a national title. The Orangemen know how to get it done.
10. Louisville Cardinals
The Louisville Cardinals are a great success on the court. They have won 25 conference titles and are one of the most well-known programs.
They have appeared in 27 tournaments including eight Final Fours and two national titles. With the lead of Rick Pitino, this program will keep growing into one of the nation's elite before long.
9. Michigan State Spartans
Michigan State has been a very successful program in college basketball for a long time. Before Izzo they had Magic Johnson and it's just been a great time to be a Spartan.
The Spartans have won 14 conference titles and have had a lot of success in the NCAA tournament.
They have been in the tournament 25 times and have made the Final Four eight times and won two national titles.
8. Arizona Wildcats
The Arizona Wildcats are a team that has been crazy consistent for the past 30 some years.
They have won 24 conference titles, and have made 29 tournament appearances. They have made four Final Fours and have won one of them.
Arizona is back. They will continue to do well and will be back on top once again in a few years.
7. UConn Huskies
The UConn Huskies have had 34 conference titles over the years, which is an astounding number. What is even more astounding is that they have been to 29 tournaments, made the Final Four four times and won the national title three times.
If the Huskies get to the Final Four, watch out because they know how to win it.
With Jim Calhoun still in coaching, it could be bad news for the rest of the teams in the country, even if the recruiting scandal continues.
6. Indiana Hoosiers
Indiana comes in at No. 7 on my list. They would be higher if they were still relevant on the national scene.
Indiana has won the conference 20 times and has been to 35 NCAA championships, eight Final Fours and has five national titles.
Kelvin Sampson really put the screws to this program with illegal phone calls, but Tom Crean could be the guy to revive them—just ask an IU fan.
5. Kansas Jayhawks
The Kansas Jayhawks may be best known for the most famous chant in college basketball, but their team is pretty good too.
They have won their conference 54 times and have won 12 of the conference tournaments.
The Jayhawks have appeared in 40 NCAA tournaments, been to 13 Final Fours and won three national titles.
They are one of the best in the nation, and have been consistent forever.
4. Duke Blue Devils
Duke is Duke. Possibly the most known college basketball team in the nation. They are coached by Coach K and they are No. 4 on this list behind some great teams.
Duke has won the conference championships 22 times and the conference tournament 24 times.
They have appeared in 35 NCAA tournaments, including 15 Final Fours and four national championships. Duke will always be good, because they have built a dynasty.
3. North Carolina Tar Heels
Right down the road from Duke is North Carolina.
UNC is best known for being the college that Michael Jordan went to and will continue to be known for that as well as their great basketball.
They have 35 conference titles, as well as 25 tournament titles. They have appeared in 42 tournaments, going to 18 Final Fours and winning five national titles.
They are the real deal, and will always be a college basketball powerhouse.
2. Kentucky Wildcats
Now a lot of you will be mad about UK not being No. 1, but honestly, you can't argue with John Wooden.
UK has had a great history and continues to be one of the best in the nation in this new era.
The Wildcats have won 51 conference titles, along with 29 tournament titles. They have appeared in 52 NCAA tournaments and made the Final Four 14 times and have won seven national titles.
With the likes of Rick Pitino and Adolf Rupp in their history, they are one of the most historic programs ever.
UCLA is best known for their legendary coach John Wooden, one of the most iconic figures in sports. His coaching style made UCLA what it is known as today, the best program in college basketball.
The Bruins have won 30 conference titles as well as appearing in the tournament 44 times.
In the tournament they made the Final Four 18 times and have 11 national titles.
UCLA is on the rise once again, and will continue to be the best program of all time, unless the other top 5 members have something to say about that.