The Greatest College Basketball Programs Ever: Ranking the top teams of all time

OrangeXtreme

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11. Syracuse

Record since 1938-39: 1,467-704 | Regular-season titles: 10
NCAA Tournaments: 40 | Final Fours: 6
Weeks ranked: 550 | Top-60 NBA picks: 52
POINTS: 873

Jim Boeheim would never take sole credit for this, but let's come correct: He's more responsible for his team's placement on this list than any coach at any school. That's because Boeheim has set a men's Division I record for longest affiliation with any school in history. He played at Syracuse, and when you include his playing days and time as an SU assistant, Boeheim has spent all but nearly three years of his adult life at SU. Fifty-four of his 76 years on this soil involve him with the program. He is Orange through thick and thin -- and yes there have been controversies, highs and lows and chapters upon chapters of SU hoops history. He is that program, through thick and thin -- and yes there have been controversies, highs and lows and chapters upon chapters of Orange hoops history. He's won 1,069 games in 44 seasons (though more than 100 have been taken off the books).

Syracuse's home venue, the Carrier Dome, is also part of the viewing tapestry of college hoops, as the stadium has been the reason the school has led in attendance in most years over the past three decades and is unique to the sport. The basketball team plays there, as opposed to a traditional facility, in part because the football team for decades wasn't popular enough to sustain it being a football-only venue. Your SU consensus All-Americans since 1939: Dave Bing (1966), Derrick Coleman (1990), Billy Owens (1991), Hakim Warrick (2005), Wes Johnson (2010). No, Carmelo Anthony was not a consensus pick in 2002-03, when he, Gerry McNamara, Warrick and Kueth Duany paced Cuse to its first and only national championship. Pearl Washington also did not crack the list, but he, Anthony, Leo Rautins, Danny Schayes, John Wallace, Etan Thomas, Jonny Flynn, Dion Waiters and Tyler Ennis all were top-20 picks coming out of college. Cuse has a close race for best player in school history: Bing, Anthony, Washington and Coleman are all right there.
 

sutomcat

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Yeah it seems weighted toward some stupid crap.
The criteria used are indeed messed up.
If you claim to be picking ‘the greatest college basketball programs ever’, you should include the entire history of each school, and not just arbitrarily ignore 4 decades of history,

That is one huge problem.

Then he decided to include points for regular season conference titles won too, which I think artificially elevates programs that have been in conferences for a long time, particularly bad conferences.

I also think attendance should be considered as well. Fan following is a key component that differentiates the good programs from the bad ones,

So yes, this is a largely worthless effort. Norlander failed. Again,
 

Alsacs

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11 isn’t that disrespectful. I think we are maybe 10.

1. UCLA
2. Kentucky
3. North Carolina
4. Kansas
5. Duke
6. Indiana
7. Louisville
8. Michigan State
9. Villanova the 2 Jay Wright title bump them up to here.
10. ??

Then you got programs like UConn, Syracuse, Arizona, Michigan, Florida.

Our one NC is what hurts us like Arizona. UConn has a lot of chitty years but 4 titles.

11 is not wrong necessarily.
Cincinnati hasn’t been to the Final Four since 1992. They have 2 Oscar titles but they aren’t a better program than us. We have been medicore since 2015 and been to a Final Four while they haven’t done jack in March.
 

kcsu

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UCLA
Kentucky
KU
Duke
NC
Indiana are my top tier.

Michigan State
Villanova
Uconn
SU
Cincy
Louisville second tier
 

sufandu

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At first I was thinking there is no way Cincinatti should be top 10. Then I read the blurb and understand why they are, even if I don't agree with it. It's interesting how people want to complain that UConn fans want to ignore college basketball history before 1990 but it seems we are wanting to ignore Cincinatti's history from the 50's and 60's.

My criticism of the list is that regular season and NIT titles are too heavily weighted. There is too much variation from league to league to weight it that heavily and some schools were independent far longer than others. Titles from the B1G, ACC, or old Big East are way more valuable than many other conferences. NIT titles should not be weighted as heavily as elite 8's.

If you change the weight of the regular season titles, that probably knocks Cincinatti out of the top 10 and puts us in, but it's still close.
 
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MSOrange

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The criteria used are indeed messed up.
If you claim to be picking ‘the greatest college basketball programs ever’, you should include the entire history of each school, and not just arbitrarily ignore 4 decades of history,

That is one huge problem.

Then he decided to include points for regular season conference titles won too, which I think artificially elevates programs that have been in conferences for a long time, particularly bad conferences.

I also think attendance should be considered as well. Fan following is a key component that differentiates the good programs from the bad ones,

So yes, this is a largely worthless effort. Norlander failed. Again,
The regular season conference titles caught my attention also. Along with the 2 national championships with Oscar, Cincy racked up conference titles in the Great Midwest and Conference USA, but didn't do as well in the real Big East. I think most schools on that list could have won the Great Midwest and Conferene USA consistently.

 

sufandu

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The criteria used are indeed messed up.
If you claim to be picking ‘the greatest college basketball programs ever’, you should include the entire history of each school, and not just arbitrarily ignore 4 decades of history,

That is one huge problem.

Then he decided to include points for regular season conference titles won too, which I think artificially elevates programs that have been in conferences for a long time, particularly bad conferences.

I also think attendance should be considered as well. Fan following is a key component that differentiates the good programs from the bad ones,

So yes, this is a largely worthless effort. Norlander failed. Again,
Is attendance an accurate measure of fan following? Is our following really that much better than Duke's?
 

MSOrange

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At first I was thinking there is no way Cincinatri should be top 10. Then I read the blurb and understand why they are, even if I don't agree with it. It's interesting how people want to complain that UConn fans want to ignore college basketball history before 1990 but it seems we are wanting to ignore Cincinatti's history from the 50's and 60's.

My criticism of the list is that regular season and NIT titles are too heavily weighted. There is too much variation from league to league to weight it that heavily and some schools were independent far linher than others. Titles from the B1G, ACC, or old Big East are way more valuable than many other conferences. NIT titles should not weighted as heavily as elite 8's.

If you change the weight of the regular season titles, that probably knocks Cincinatti out of the top 10 and puts us in, but it's still close.
Agree I don't understand why NIT titles are the same as Elite 8's. One is winning a tournament of teams that weren't good enough to make the NCAA and one is competing against the best in the country. That''s not the same.
 

sufandu

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Agree I don't understand why NIT titles are the same as Elite 8's. One is winning a tournament of teams that weren't good enough to make the NCAA and one is competing against the best in the country. That''s not the same.
Exactly. I can see giving it something because they are likely teams that are better than the NCAA automatic bid teams from crap comferences, but equating it with elite 8 is too much.

It would mean more if he included NIT championships prior to the NCAA tournament and weighted them differently, but since he starts his history with the founding of the NCAA tournament they should be worth less.
 

sutomcat

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Is attendance an accurate measure of fan following? Is our following really that much better than Duke's?
I think fan following it is a worthy metric when trying to rank college basketball programs in terms of their greatness. The great programs have great fanbases and great support.

I have lots of other problems with the methodology. An NIT Title should not have the same value as getting to the Elite Eight. Yes, the NIT used to be a more important tournament but winning one now is essentially meaningless in terms of establishing greatness. If you have to give credit for this, it should only be for the early years. 3 points for winning the NIT?

The points for getting to the Elite Eight are too low. If you get 2 points for getting an NCAA bid, how can you only get 1 more for getting 3 NCAA wins? You get 7 points for getting a fourth win, 0 points for getting a fifth win and then 10 points for getting a sixth win. No, this is poorly thought out.

I have no problem with giving a few more points for getting to the Final Four, the championship game and winning a title, but for me, there should be a consistent setup.

This is how I would do it:
Getting an NCAA bid gets 2 points. That part is okay.

You get a point for your first NCAA win in the tournament, 2 for a second, 3 for a third, 4 for a fourth (final four appearance), 5 for a fifth (championship game appearance) and 6 for a sixth.

So getting to the Final 32 gets you 1 point.
Getting to the Sweet Sixteen gets you 3 points.
Getting to the Final Four gets you 1+2+3+4 or 10 points.
Getting to the Championship Game gets you 1+2+3+4+5 or 15 points.
And winning it all gets you 21 points.

That would be a more equitable way of handling points for NCAA appearances.
 

Alsacs

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Cincinnati is high but I just looked at the list he did a good job.

We need a second title and we become par with Michigan State.

What sucks is the 1987 game.
That is really it.
1996 we lost to a better team.
2010 a stupid fluke injury screwed us.

2012 we got screwed by the refs but I think we lose to Anthony Davis.

2013 we needed a bench scorer but that was the greatest zone defense ever and that ref for calling a charge on a slide.

Give JB top of the country talent he knows how to cook.
Our talent going down is why we aren’t a contender.

This year’s squad isn’t a top of talent team either. We have a top 30 recruit coming in next year hopefully he can be a difference maker.
 

sufandu

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I think fan following it is a worthy metric when trying to rank college basketball programs in terms of their greatness. The great programs have great fanbases and great support.

I have lots of other problems with the methodology. An NIT Title should not have the same value as getting to the Elite Eight. Yes, the NIT used to be a more important tournament but winning one now is essentially meaningless in terms of establishing greatness. If you have to give credit for this, it should only be for the early years. 3 points for winning the NIT?

The points for getting to the Elite Eight are too low. If you get 2 points for getting an NCAA bid, how can you only get 1 more for getting 3 NCAA wins? You get 7 points for getting a fourth win, 0 points for getting a fifth win and then 10 points for getting a sixth win. No, this is poorly thought out.

I have no problem with giving a few more points for getting to the Final Four, the championship game and winning a title, but for me, there should be a consistent setup.

This is how I would do it:
Getting an NCAA bid gets 2 points. That part is okay.

You get a point for your first NCAA win in the tournament, 2 for a second, 3 for a third, 4 for a fourth (final four appearance), 5 for a fifth (championship game appearance) and 6 for a sixth.

So getting to the Final 32 gets you 1 point.
Getting to the Sweet Sixteen gets you 3 points.
Getting to the Final Four gets you 1+2+3+4 or 10 points.
Getting to the Championship Game gets you 1+2+3+4+5 or 15 points.
And winning it all gets you 21 points.

That would be a more equitable way of handling points for NCAA appearances.
I agree with the majority of what you've said in both posts. I think it makes sense that fan following should be considered. I just am not sure how you measure that and questioned game attendance as being an accurate metric, citing SU and Duke as an example.
 

sutomcat

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I agree with the majority of what you've said in both posts. I think it makes sense that fan following should be considered. I just am not sure how you measure that and questioned game attendance as being an accurate metric, citing SU and Duke as an example.
Could be as easy as giving teams a point for every season their attendance was above 95% of capacity, or finished in the top 10 in the country in attendance. Shouldn't get a ton of points for this. But to me anyway, this is one of the things that distinguishes good programs from great programs.
 

sufandu

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Could be as easy as giving teams a point for every season their attendance was above 95% of capacity, or finished in the top 10 in the country in attendance. Shouldn't get a ton of points for this. But to me anyway, this is one of the things that distinguishes good programs from great programs.
Maybe you could use those, but SU would then rarely score anything for 95% capacity because of the size of the building and Duke would never have a chance for leading attendance because if the size of theirs, so wouldn't be an accurate reflection.
 

Cuserulz

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Agree I don't understand why NIT titles are the same as Elite 8's. One is winning a tournament of teams that weren't good enough to make the NCAA and one is competing against the best in the country. That''s not the same.
Pre 70's the NIT was the better Tournament. Schools would often get invited to both and would routinely choose the NIT. UCLA won so many of their titles against teams that weren't necessarily the best competition.
 

sufandu

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Pre 70's the NIT was the better Tournament. Schools would often get invited to both and would routinely choose the NIT. UCLA won so many of their titles against teams that weren't necessarily the best competition.
I thought I heard the NCAA mandated that conference champions were required to play in the NCAA tournament. When did that begin?
 

Cuserulz

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Around 1970 Marquette chose the NIT over the NCAA Tournament because of the region they were placed in. The NCAA subsequently barred any team that did so from playing in any Tournament. The issue was resolved around 2005 or '06. This was around the time the NCAA bought the NIT Tournament.
 

FRANKIEFAN

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Cincy, Villanova, and UConn in front of us? Ridiculous
8/9 won 4 of 10 titles in the previous decade.

6-14 are pretty interchangable and our peer schools. We are in the middle. Since our first season in the ACC we have not been good barring a final four run a year we possibly shouldn't have made the tournament.

Lousiville has been what we should be the last decade or so.

We can't even freaking play well in early season tilts vs Uconn or Georgetown when their programs are in the gutter every game vs those two has been as unwatchable as last nights football game.
 

sufandu

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Around 1970 Marquette chose the NIT over the NCAA Tournament because of the region they were placed in. The NCAA subsequently barred any team that did so from playing in any Tournament. The issue was resolved around 2005 or '06. This was around the time the NCAA bought the NIT Tournament.
They were an at large selection. Were conference champions required to partiicpate sooner?
 

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