Best College Basketball Teams (03/30/16)

By John Ewing Director of Research and Analytics @johnewing
Ranking the best college basketball teams of all-time.

Which college basketball team is the greatest to ever cut down the nets? As we head to Houston for the Final Four we rank every past National Champion to determine which team is the best ever.

To build our National Championship Power Rankings, we “played” every team against every other team, using strength of schedule adjusted statistics, 50,000 times each and ranked them by overall winning percentage of those games.

Let the countdown begin…

10. 1995-96 Kentucky Wildcats

If there is one thing this Kentucky team has in common with its Wildcat contemporaries is the amount of talent on one roster. Tony Delk, Antoine Walker, Walter McCarty, Derek Anderson, Ron Mercer and Nazr Mohammed were all first-round draft picks, plus four other players on this team made it to the NBA. “The Untouchables” went 34-2 in the regular season winning a then school record 27 straight and rolled through the tournament winning six matchups by an average of 21 points.

9. 1968-69 UCLA Bruins

This was Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's (Lew Alcindor) last season in Westwood. He went out in style winning a third consecutive National Championship for the Bruins, the program's fifth in six years. UCLA lost one game all season, which ended a winning streak of 51 straight in Pauley Pavilion, 41 overall and 45 in conference play. Abdul-Jabbar was named the Final Four's Most Outstanding Player for a third year and was the first ever to earn the Naismith College Player of the Year award.

8. 1975-76 Indiana Hoosiers

The last team to complete a perfect season, Indiana went 32-0 before capping their magical run with a National Championship. The Hoosiers had three starters, Scott May, Kent Benson and Quinn Buckner, earn All-American honors with May being named NCAA Player of the Year.

7. 1972-73 UCLA Bruins

Another year, another title. The Bruins won their seventh straight National Championship in 1973 and set a record with 88 straight wins. John Wooden's team won all of its tournament games by double-digits. In the title game, Bill Walton went 21 of 22 from the floor for 44 points. This is often mentioned as the greatest college basketball performance of all-time. Walton was named National Player of the Year for a third time in his collegiate career.

6. 2011-12 Kentucky Wildcats

John Calipari can recruit and for the third consecutive year he had the nation's top class headlined by Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Marquis Teague and Kyle Wiltjer. The young Wildcats would win the NCAA Championship, Kentucky's eighth title and set a record (38) for most wins in a season. Davis won every award possible and then was taken with the first overall pick in the NBA Draft.

5. 1966-67 UCLA Bruins

This is the first of UCLA's unmatched seven straight NCAA Championships. The 1966 squad could have won the title as well but NCAA rules at the time prevented freshmen from playing, which kept Lew Alcindor, Kenny Heitz, Lynn Shackelford and Lucius Allen (the core of the 1967 title team) from playing. Alcindor dominated in his first varsity season averaging 29.0 points and 15.5 rebounds. The NCAA banned the dunk the next season because of Alcindor.

4. 1954-55 San Francisco Dons

The Dons started three African-American players, including future Hall of Fame players Bill Russell and K.C. Jones, which helped change the game. Russell's athletic style of play and defensive prowess helped San Francisco go 28-1. The Dons defeated LaSalle in the 1955 title game giving the school its first National Championship.

3. 1967-68 UCLA Bruins

The Bruins walked all over their opponents in the regular season going 29-1 and winning by an average of 26.2 points. The tournament was no different as UCLA bested all comers by an average of 21 points, including revenging their lone regular season loss to Houston. Lew Alcindor, the USBWA College Player of the Year, averaged 26.2 points and 16.5 rebounds that season. Alcindor was named to the all-tournament team as were Bruins teammates Lucius Allen, Lynn Shackelford and Mike Warren.

2. 1955-56 San Francisco Dons

This was the first team in college basketball history to finish an entire season undefeated. The Dons dominated with defense giving up just 52 points per game (tops in the nation). Bill Russell, who averaged 20 points and 21 rebounds in his senior season, and K.C. Jones helped lead San Francisco to their second straight championship and extend their winning streak to 55 games.

1. 1971-72 UCLA Bruins

The honor of the greatest team of all-time goes to the 1972 Bruins. This season was the beginning (in earnest) of UCLA's record 88 straight wins. The Walton Gang led the Bruins to an undefeated (30-0) regular season, winning on average by more than 30 points per game. UCLA was ranked No. 3 in the country in scoring (94.6 points) and No. 6 in defense (64.3). Bill Walton averaged 21.2 points and 15.5 rebounds per game. He was named Naismith College Player of the Year and fellow teammate Henry Bibby was a consensus First-Team All-American.

This team was so good that after a close national championship game against Florida State, Walton said, “We should have beat these guys with ease. I guess I should be happy that we won, but, in all honesty, I'm not."

Ranking every College Basketball Champion

Rank Team
1 1972 UCLA
2 1956 San Francisco
3 1968 UCLA
4 1955 San Francisco
5 1967 UCLA
6 2012 Kentucky
7 1973 UCLA
8 1976 Indiana
9 1969 UCLA
10 1996 Kentucky
11 1960 Ohio State
12 2008 Kansas
13 1993 North Carolina
14 1963 Loyola Chicago
15 2005 North Carolina
16 2015 Duke
17 1948 Kentucky
18 1989 Michigan
19 1984 Georgetown
20 1941 Wisconsin
21 2009 North Carolina
22 1978 Kentucky
23 1995 UCLA
24 1945 Oklahoma A&M
25 1946 Oklahoma A&M
26 1951 Kentucky
27 1994 Arkansas
28 1992 Duke
29 1966 Texas Western
30 1962 Cincinnati
31 2013 Louisville
32 1964 UCLA
33 1998 Kentucky
34 2001 Duke
35 2002 Maryland
36 1999 Connecticut
37 1991 Duke
38 1982 North Carolina
39 1980 Louisville
40 2000 Michigan State
41 1940 Indiana
42 2007 Florida
43 1954 La Salle
44 1987 Indiana
45 1990 UNLV
46 1961 Cincinnati
47 2004 Connecticut
48 1979 Michigan State
49 1957 North Carolina
50 2010 Duke
51 1939 Oregon
52 1965 UCLA
53 1981 Indiana
54 1949 Kentucky
55 1970 UCLA
56 2006 Florida
57 1959 California
58 1986 Louisville
59 1971 UCLA
60 1943 Wyoming
61 2003 Syracuse
62 1977 Marquette
63 1988 Kansas
64 1944 Utah
65 1953 Indiana
66 2014 Connecticut
67 1983 NC State
68 1985 Villanova
69 1952 Kansas
70 1958 Kentucky
71 1947 Holy Cross
72 1942 Stanford
73 1974 NC State
74 1997 Arizona
75 2011 Connecticut
76 1975 UCLA
77 1950 CCNY