The Greatest College Basketball Program Ever Is?

Last night Kansas and Kentucky, two of the most storied college basketball programs played for the National Championship in New Orléans.  With the win Kentucky staked their claim as the greatest but who has the greatest college basketball program of all time.  Is there an answer?  Who has the greatest coaching legends?  Who had the best players?  Who has dominated the sport?  Here are the finalists that I have come up with.

Anthony Davis (John Sleezer/LANDOV)

Kentucky Wildcats

All-Time Record 2089–649 (.762)

8 NCAA National Championships

23 Consensus First Team All-Americans

 All-Time Team: G Louie Dampier, G John Wall, F Dan Issel, F Antoine Walker, C Anthony Davis (Program’s Greatest Player)

Legendary Coaches:  Adolph Rupp, Rick Pitino

Wilt Chamberlain

Kansas Jayhawks

All-Time Record 2070-805 (.720)

3 NCAA National Championships

27 Consensus First Team All-Americans

All-Time Team:  G Jacque Vaughn, G Jo Jo White, F Danny Manning, F Paul Pierce, C Wilt Chamberlain

Legendary Coaches:  Phog Allen, Larry Brown, Roy Williams


Lew Alcindor

UCLA Bruins

All Time Record 1720-767 (.692)

11 NCAA National Championships

20 Consensus First Team All-Americans

All-Time Team:  G Sidney Wicks, G Gail Goodrich, F Kevin Love, F David Greenwood, C Lew Alcindor

Legendary Coach:  John Wooden

Michael Jordan

UNC Tar Heels

All Time Record 2,065-734 (.738)

5 NCAA National Championships

25 Consensus First Team All-Americans

All-Time Team:  G Michael Jordan, G Phil Ford, F James Worthy, F Antawn Jamison, C Tyler Hansbrough

Legendary Coaches:  Matt Doherty (Just playing), Dean Smith, Roy Williams

Grant Hill

Duke Blue Devils

All-Time Record 1944-827 (.702)

4 NCAA National Championships

19 Consensus All-Americans

All-Time Team:  G Jason Williams, G Johnny Dawkins, F Grant Hill, F Elton Brand, C Christian Laettner

Legendary Coach:  Mike Krzyzewski

Isiah Thomas

Indiana Hoosiers

All Time Record 1,491–765 (.661)

5 NCAA National Championships

15 Consensus All-Americans

All-Time Team:  G Isiah Thomas, G Steve Alford, F Calbert Cheney F Scott May, C Kent Benson

Legendary Coach:  Bobby Knight 

If you are a Syracuse, Georgetown or UConn fan, I know I left you guys off.  Sorry but you don’t have the history these other guys have.  I know there are many more facts I could use but these are the ones that I am using for my comparisons.  I will rank the 6 programs on a 1-6 point scale based on the facts I am using.  The win %, titles and All-Americans will be easy but the All-Time Team comparisons and coaches will be based on opinion.  Feel free to argue.

PROGRAM Win % National Championships Consensus All-Americans All-Time Team Coaching
Kentucky 1 2 3 6 5
Kansas 3 6 1 3 6
UCLA 5 1 4 1 1
UNC 2 3 2 2 3
Duke 4 5 5 5 2
Indiana 6 3 6 4 4
  1. UCLA (tie between UCLA and UNC was broken by National Titles)
  2. UNC
  3. Kentucky
  4. Kansas
  5. Duke
  6. Indiana

    John Wooden and the legendary UCLA Bruins.


8 thoughts on “The Greatest College Basketball Program Ever Is?

  1. There was no one more dominant than UCLA for a decade. They’ve got John Wooden. All those players in that span. John Wooden is UCLA. Then after 1980, they didn’t do much for about 10 years, then they came back under Harrick, then once he left they faded again. I’d call them a so-so basketball team. Yes they made 3 straight Final Fours in the mid 2000s but as of lately you haven’t heard much from them. I don’t know, I don’t think you can call them the best team ever. The debate can go on and on about every one of these teams. In the 80s you can say who’s Kentucky…and for most of the 2000s. Long time in between titles and Final Fours. Carolina has been consistent 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and 2000’s. 28 straight years making the tournament, 16 straight Sweet 16s. I don’t want to be biased though. Kansas is on a streak of 23 in a row of making the tournament, few Final Fours, a couple titles, which is good. Dook, well I’m just gonna leave Dook out. Indiana has struggled since Bobby Knight left up until now, think they might have righted the ship.

  2. You spelled Dampier and Pitino wrong.

  3. Interesting that the program who has had five coaches win national championships is ranked 2nd to last in coaching…

    • 1. Wooden 2. Coach K 3. Smith 4. Knight 5. Pitino
      You can only get as high as your best coach can.

      • Ah, ever heard of Adolph Rupp?

      • Sorry I see you listed Rupp and Pitino as UK coaches. Choosing Pitino over Rupp really kills your credibility.

  4. I tend to rank modern era coaches higher because of the versatility they need to have in today’s coaching culture. Recruiting and managing player’s egos is much harder now than it was for Rupp. I also don’t think that Rupp transitioned well into the changing culture of college ball’s integration.

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