Top 10 Best College Basketball Teams Of All Time

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Like the NBA, the NCAA tournament attracts a lot of attention thanks to its dramatic and exciting matches. At college basketball, viewers can understand the culture and admire the incredible moments in each national championship game.

Determining the best college basketball teams is not an easy task. Many factors can point out the success of a team. Some teams stand out with talented head coaches. Others have illustrious college basketball history.

The list below will highlight the best college basketball programs of the past time based on Scott Fujita‘s criteria. Let’s read on to discover!

Top-Rated 10 Best College Basketball Teams Ever

As is customary every year, the mighty men’s football teams at the university will battle to choose the NCAA champion in the playoffs in March. The fan frenzy contributed to the league’s nickname “March Madness”.

The NCAA tournament is an opportunity for potential rookies to showcase their abilities and have the opportunity to appear in the NBA draft. For fans, this tournament is like an exciting extra-curricular activity.

We’ve curated a list of the strongest college basketball teams based on national titles, overall winning percentage, NCAA tournament appearances, and player quality.

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10. Ohio State Buckeyes

  • Total Wins: 1607
  • Winning Percentage: 608%
  • National Title: 1
  • Final Four Appearances: 11
  • NCAA Tournament Appearances: 28
  • Conference Titles (Regular Season): 22

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Ohio State Buckeyes 

Starting at number ten on the list is the Ohio State college basketball team. Throughout the long NCAA history, this basketball program has been a consistent force. They impressed with the runner-up title in the 1938-39 season and are still growing.

With eleven appearances in the national semifinals, Ohio State ranks sixth all-time in the NCAA record books. The 1959-60 season was the most successful when they won the national title game. Having only one win has prevented them from going any further on this list.

The head coach is also an essential part of the team’s organization, and the Buckeyes have two prominent individuals: Fred Taylor and Thad Matta.

Taylor brought the first national championship to Ohio State for three consecutive National Finals appearances. Meanwhile, Matta led the basketball program to the Final Four in last season’s NCAA tournament.

9. Connecticut Huskies

  • Total Wins: 1,513
  • Winning Percentage: 0.637%
  • National Championships: 3
  • Final Four Appearances: 4
  • NCAA Tournament Appearances: 30
  • Conference Titles (Regular Season): 29

In their 15 years in the NCAA tournament, the Connecticut Huskies have shown a strong contender with multiple championships. Since head coach Jim Calhoun took over, they have achieved a total of three NCAA championships. One of them was the victory over Georgia Tech in the national final.

With a school history that is not too long, this basketball program has had impressive achievements.

However, we cannot place this team higher on the list because of their lackluster performance before Calhoun’s time. They have never won any conference title or championship in the past.

8. Michigan State Spartans

  • Total Wins: 1523
  • Winning Percentage: .597%
  • National Titles: 2
  • Final Four Participants: 8
  • NCAA Tournament Appearances: 26
  • Conference Titles (Regular Season): 13

Still a contender from the Big Ten, the Spartans are a mystery to everyone.

Head coach Tom Izzo has led the team to become a force reckoned with over the past 20 years. They have participated in many Final Fours and have won several important titles. We absolutely cannot deny the tournament success of this team.

However, the biggest problem holding Michigan State back on the list is the lack of consistency. Some of Izzo’s best squads have lost themselves and been knocked out early in the title race. In contrast, the members who did not receive the favor made unexpected strides.

An impressive face from the Spartans is the legendary point guard Magic Johnson. He was the first overall pick and had a successful career with the Los Angeles Lakers.

7. Louisville Cardinals

  • Total Wins: 1,662
  • Winning Percentage: 0.658%
  • NCAA Titles: 2
  • Final Four Appearances: 9
  • NCAA Tournament Appearances: 38
  • Conference Titles (Regular Season): 21

When it comes to the NCAA tournament appearance, the Cardinals’ numbers are awe-inspiring. They have an admirable basketball tradition. Under the leadership of head coach Rick Pitino, they had two Final Four appearances. It shows that the team is ready to get back into the game.

Louisville’s era of dominance fell in the 1980s, with the only two national championships in school history in 1980 and 1986. It was Denny Crum who played the most critical role in the team’s success.

In addition to their tournament successes, the Cardinals’ impressive win rate also earns them a spot on this list.

6. Indiana Hoosiers

  • Total Wins: 1,687
  • Winning Percentage: 0.637%
  • National Championships: 5
  • Final Four Appearances: 8
  • NCAA Tournament Appearances: 36
  • Conference Titles (Regular Season): 20

During the 1970s and 1980s, the Hoosiers were indeed a dominant force under the leadership of Bob Knight. This talented coach has led and brought regular-season success to the history of the team. With 20 conference championships, we can not deny their power.

A fun fact is that Hoosiers and Cardinals are destined rivals. They had fierce competitions for the title of the best team after Indiana’s 1976 victory. The 80s was the alternating position of the two groups.

With a talented leading scorer, the Knights’ team went undefeated 32-0 in 1976.

5. Kansas Jayhawks

  • Total Wins: 2,070
  • Winning Percentage: 0.720%
  • National Championships: 3
  • Final Four Appearances: 14
  • NCAA Tournament Appearances: 41
  • Conference Titles (Regular Season): 55

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Kansas Jayhawks

With an incredible win rate of .720, the Jayhawks are one of the few teams with such a reasonable win rate in history. Their ability in regular-season games is also formidable with 55 titles – the highest number to date.

Even so, the number of championships they received is still relatively modest. This team has faced formidable opponents in the past three seasons – Texas Tech and Baylor.

In its ten years in the NCAA, Kansas has never been underrated as the number four seed. The audience also loved this basketball program and voted for them in 1st place in 2020.

4. Duke Blue Devils

  • Total Wins: 1,971
  • Winning Percentage: 0.703%
  • National Championships: 4
  • Final Four Appearances: 15
  • NCAA Tournament Appearances: 36
  • Conference Titles (Regular Season): 22

Mike Krzyzewski is the man who changed the history of the Blue Devils. He brought attention to a lackluster basketball program. His legacy is still being written and developed to this day.

The period from 1988 to 1992 marked the remarkable journey of “Coach K”. He led the Duke to five consecutive Final Four appearances with consecutive tournament titles.

In addition to championship titles, the Blue Devils also boast an incredible conference record. Their rivalry with the Tarheels is perhaps one of the most thrilling and fascinating confrontations in history.

3. North Carolina Tar Heels

  • Total Wins: 2,065
  • Winning Percentage: 0.738%
  • National Championships: 5
  • Final Four Appearances: 18
  • NCAA Tournament Appearances: 43
  • Conference Titles (Regular Season): 36

Ranking teams with one conference title or national title is tricky. After all, achievement is still an essential measure of the success of a basketball program. The Tar Heels is the third team on this list, thanks to its long track record.

This team is the birthplace of legends like the great point guard Michael Jordan or head coach Dean Smith. These outstanding individuals not only highlighted North Carolina’s reputation but changed basketball history completely.

Tar Heels’ track record spans the course of the NCAA. They also had a perfect 32-0 season in 1957 under the guidance of coach Frank McGuire. The team went on to win championships during the reigns of Dean Smith and Roy Williams.

This basketball program is also the only team with two head coaches who have won multiple national titles.

2. UCLA Bruins

  • Total Wins: 1,731
  • Winning Percentage: 0.691%
  • National Championships: 11
  • Final Four Appearances: 18
  • NCAA Tournament Appearances: 44
  • Conference Titles (Regular Season): 30

With eleven NCAA championships, many argue that the best college basketball team in the world is UCLA. They had a dominant empire with lots of titles and achievements. Under the guidance of Hall of Fame head coach John Wooden, the history of the Bruins has never been so glorious.

Wooden is great; everyone admits that. But it is those monumental achievements that keep UCLA from being at the top of this list.

The peak of this basketball program took place under the direction of a single head coach. Since the era of Wooden, we have not seen such a mighty UCLA. The lack of consistency in form prevented them from taking first place on the list.

1. Kentucky Wildcats

  • Total Wins: 2,092
  • Winning Percentage: 0.763%
  • National Championships: 8
  • Final Four Appearances: 15
  • NCAA Tournament Appearances: 53
  • Conference Titles (Regular Season): 52

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Kentucky Wildcats 

With eight national championships, Kentucky is at the top of the list for the best basketball programs of all time. They have a consistent form throughout the history of the team with a fantastic win rate.

All the head coaches who have led the Wildcats have brought impressive achievements. They have their own championships. It proves that the strength of this basketball program is entirely independent of any one particular individual.

Final Thoughts

There are many factors and scales in creating a ranking of the most successful college basketball teams of all time. Each individual will have different opinions.

Hopefully, this list of ours can help you understand more about the achievements and strength of these basketball teams. Do not forget to share with us about the optimal choice in your heart. Thank you for reading!

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