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UPDATED Greatest College Basketball Program

I took some suggestions from you all, or at least the ones not screaming and rambling on like crazy people, and have updated the greatest college basketball program debate.  I think you might like the results.  A couple notes on what has changed and why certain things were done the way they were:

1. The 1930’s are not included because many college basketball teams were not created yet, PLUS the NCAA Tournament began in 1939.  Starting with the 1940’s is the most fair comparison of these 5 programs.

2. I eliminated Hall of Famers from the totals because many players made their careers in the professional ranks PLUS the numbers reflected members who had any connection to a school.  For instance, 2 of Kansas’ Hall of Famers were because those people were ASSISTANTS at 1 time at Kansas. 

3. A lot of criticism about the 1990’s.  First, unfortunately, Duke beats Kentucky in every category in the 90’s besides tying with 2 titles.  As far as North Carolina, the reason they tie is because they went to the NCAA Tournament every year where Kentucky missed twice.  They won 1 less title, but went to the Final Four 1 more time.  Plus, they beat UK head to head both times in the 90’s. 

4. An obvious omission was TOTAL WINS.  That needed to be added, and was.  CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT TITLES can not be included because conferences like the SEC and Pac-10 had HUGE gaps in time where there was no conference tournament.  But, REGULAR SEASON CONFERENCE TITLES should have been included and was. 

5. I changed the NBA Draft Picks category from OVERALL draft picks to Draft picks in the first 2 rounds.  Mainly because of supplemental draft picks and transfers who schools count as draft picks, the official numbers can be disputed.  This number can not, plus it symbolizes TOP talent coming from those schools.

6. If I was a mathmetician, I would weight these categories so that total titles was worth more than NBA Draft picks.  Of course some things are more important than others.  But I’m sorry, most people don’t want to see a complicated math formula for something that is basically an opinion.  So, all the categories are worth the same.  Get over it math geeks. 

1. Kentucky (2 titles, 3 Final Fours, 4 Tournament Appearances, 8 conference championships)
2. Kansas (0 titles, 1 Final Four, 2 Tournament Appearances, 5 conference championships)
3. UNC (0 titles, 1 Final Four, 2 Tournament Appearances, 3 conference championships)
T-4. Duke (0 titles, 0 Final Four, 0 Tournament Appearances, 3 conference championships)
T-4. UCLA (0 titles, 0 Final Four, 0 Tournament Appearances, 3 conference championships)

1. Kentucky (2 titles, 2 Final Fours, 7 Tournament Appearances, 7 conference championships)
2. Kansas (1 title, 3 Final Fours, 3 Tournament Appearances, 5 conference championships)
3. UNC (1 title, 1 Final Four, 2 Tournament Appearances, 3 conference championships)
4. UCLA (0 titles, 0 Final Four, 3 Tournament Appearances, 5 conference championships)
5. Duke (0 titles, 0 Final Four, 1 Tournament Appearance, 2 conference championships)

1. UCLA (5 titles, 6 Final Fours, 7 Tournament Appearances, 7 conference championships)
2. Duke (0 titles, 3 Final Fours, 4 Tournament Appearances, 4 conference championships)
3. UNC (0 titles, 3 Final Fours, 3 Tournament Appearances, 5 conference championships)
4. Kentucky (0 titles, 1 Final Four, 6 Tournament Appearances, 5 conference championships)
5. Kansas (0 titles, 0 Final Four, 3 Tournament Appearances, 3 conference championships)

1. UCLA (5 titles, 7 Final Fours, 10 Tournament Appearances, 10 conference championships)
2. Kentucky (1 title, 2 Final Fours, 7 Tournament Appearances, 7 conference championships)
3. UNC (0 titles, 2 Final Fours, 6 Tournament Appearances, 6 conference championships)
4. Kansas (0 titles, 2 Final Fours, 4 Tournament Appearances, 4 conference championships)
5. Duke (0 title, 1 Final Four, 2 Tournament Appearances, 1 conference championship)

1. UNC (1 title, 2 Final Fours, 10 Tournament Appearances, 6 conference championships)
2. Kansas (1 title, 2 Final Fours, 6 Tournament Appearances, 1 conference championship)
T-3. Kentucky (0 titles, 1 Final Four, 8 Tournament Appearances, 5 conference championships)
T-3. Duke (0 titles, 3 Final Fours, 7 Tournament Appearances, 1 conference championship)
5. UCLA (0 titles, 1 Final Four, 5 Tournament Appearances, 2 conference championships)

1. Duke (2 titles, 5 Final Fours, 9 Tournament Appearances, 6 conference championships)
T-2. Kentucky (2 titles, 4 Final Fours, 8 Tournament Appearances, 3 conference championships)
T-2. UNC (1 title, 5 Final Fours, 10 Tournament Appearances, 2 conference championships)
4. Kansas (0 titles, 2 Final Fours, 10 Tournament Appearances, 7 conference championships)
5. UCLA (1 title, 1 Final Four, 10 Tournament Appearances, 4 conference championships)

1. UNC (2 titles, 4 Final Fours, 9 Tournament Appearances, 6 conference championships)
2. Duke (2 titles, 3 Final Fours, 12 Tournament Appearances, 5 conference championships)
3. Kansas (1 title, 3 Final Fours, 12 Tournament Appearances, 9 conference championships)
T-4. Kentucky (0 titles, 1 Final Four, 11 Tournament Appearances, 5 conference championships)
T-4. UCLA (0 titles, 3 Final Fours, 9 Tournament Appearances, 3 conference championships)

Total NCAA Titles
1. UCLA (11)
2. Kentucky (7)
3. North Carolina (5)
4. Duke (4)
5. Kansas (3)

Most Final Fours
T-1. North Carolina (18)
T-1. UCLA (18)
3. Duke (15)
4. Kentucky (14)
5. Kansas (13)

Total Wins
1. Kentucky (2,052)
2. Kansas (2,038)
3. North Carolina (2,033)
4. Duke (1.944)
5. UCLA (1,709)

Conference Regular Season Championships
1. Kansas (54)
2. Kentucky (46)
3. UCLA (40)
4. North Carolina (35)
5. Duke (22)

NBA 1st-2nd Round Draft Picks
1. UCLA (55)
2. North Carolina (51)
3. Kentucky (45)
4. Duke (44)
5. Kansas (38)

1. Kentucky (52)
2. North Carolina (47)
3. Kansas (43)
4. UCLA (37)
5. Duke (31)

OK, so using the 1-2-3-4-5 point system mentioned earlier, the final standings are:
1. Kentucky: 31.5 points
2. North Carolina: 32 points
3. UCLA: 40.5 points
4. Kansas: 41 points
5. Duke: 48 points

AND KENTUCKY WINS!!!!!!!!!! YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  There, we can now all agree that if God exists and he created a college basketball team, that team was the University of Kentucky.  Now stop sending dead fish heads to my workplace.

Article written by Bryan the Intern

68 responses to “UPDATED Greatest College Basketball Program”

  1. siestakeycat

    Once again, UCLA has 17 Final Fours, not 18. The NCAA DOES NOT COUNT UCLA’s 1980 NCAA Tournament Appearance (and thus, a Final Four Appearance, and a National Championship Game Appearance). Further, not including the 1930’s is simply silly, as it was the first decade of the “modern” era of college basketball, and both major tournaments began in this decade. Further, Kentucky was one of the top two teams in this decade (and likely #1).

    Having said this, I applaud you for having the guts to admit that you were wrong, and the guts to try again. I know you love the Wildcats, but frankly, you seem biased to try to break down the program in any way you can. Perhaps, you should apply for a job at the Lexington Herald Leader.

    In closing, while I appreciate your new found efforts on this subject, you have left out WAY to many important categories for your analysis to be either accurate or fair.

    Jonathan B. Fisher
    Owensboro, KY

  2. goboxoutorgogetinbox

    I didnt even get through this entire article because i got to the Duke part…in the 90’s Duke had a losing season…UK did not

  3. Voice of Reason

    An interesting thought … according to this analysis, we essentially pulled ahead of NC when Liggins was chosen in this year’s draft. We moved from a tie with Duke for draft picks, which would have mean an overall tie with NC, to sole possession of 2nd in draft picks which was enough to propel us into first. I still wish he had stayed though …

  4. SagaciousMind

    Since when do we have 46 regular season titles? Thought it was 44. 44 was Cal’s first year and we didnt win a title last year, championship only.

  5. Yroc53

    I kinda agree with your assessment of the programs, however I am under the mindset of “what have you done for me lately?”. We need to win a title to stay competitive with these other schools. You almost sound like a UofL fan with the comparisons of how back in the day we beat you guys..blah..blah..blah..The fact of the matter is, we are heading the right direction and let’s enjoy the ride! GO CATS!!!

  6. siestakeycat


    Kentucky also has 2 Southern Conference Regular Season Titles in addition to their SEC Regular Season titles (These occurred in 1926 and 1932).

  7. duckzula

    well by god if wikipedia said it………

  8. siestakeycat

    BTI, if you don’t know, you could just ask me, as I wrote most of the Wikipedia page (including “The List”) on Kentucky Basketball.

  9. Section 133

    Wow. I hope you get paid for this, BTI. Otherwise, I suggest you learn how to count cards and take us to Vegas or Biloxi.

  10. Beepthacreep

    I hate u of l. But they Have to be top 2 in the 80’s geez. This site sucks more and more

  11. siestakeycat


    Wiki is right on the stats because I compiled most of them, and have double checked all of them.

  12. God have mercy on my soul

    I just went to Wikipedia and updated the stats. We now have 22 titles, Cal has 500+ wins (suck-it NCAA bobbleheads), and the Duke basketball program does not exist!

  13. Beepthacreep

    Nevermind I mis read only of those 5 teams

  14. Bulldawg

    Good post BTI. The knucklehead that said you should work for the Lexington Herald must not read it very often. To work the basketball beat for the Herald you have to have an agenda against UK (like Tipton) so if you are going to be pro UK, then KENTUCKY SPORTS RADIO should be a better fit for you. I would suggest to #2 to get a job not being a critic because your assessment of BTI is terrible! Who cares about UCLA? Don’t you know that nobody pays any attention when the NCAA vacates something? Just ask Coach Cal…BTI also put his reasons for not including the 30’s and that’s good enough for me. Saying that the 30’s was modern is a laugher! They had no 3 point line, no shot clock, and a lot of the rules were much different back then, also wasn’t the NIT the big tourney back then? If you want your own “accurate and fair” analysis then do it yourself and stick it on your fridge cause nobody is going to read it but you dude. Good post BTI and keep em coming. As long as UK is FIRST, I will proudly defend any post you put up!

  15. og68

    UCLA 11,UK 7

  16. SagaciousMind

    Ok cuz i looked at wikipedia and it said 44 in the paragraph about Cal’s first years. But ok, i guess those two titles are never recognized since its not SEC. Didnt know that.

  17. og68

    UCLA 11,UK 7.Hmm

  18. siestakeycat


    BTI is a UK fan, and I know that. By the way, in the 1970’s there was no 3-point line and no shot clock, and plus there was a lot of other rules that were much different. Maybe, we should count it as well.

    As for vacated appearances, here’s how I look at it. UK is held to this standard (see 1987-88), so other schools should be as well. Official records are what they are, and you can’t count vacated records for one school if you don’t count them for another. In short, the official record is the only one that is accurate for ALL schools. You simply can’t pick and choose what you want to count, especially when the situations are very similar.

    And finally, when one is measuring who is the best program in HISTORY, then one should be obligated to look at all factors, to look at the entire body of work, and to be accurate in the statistics that they use for their their results.

  19. siestakeycat

    #17, GTH…..

  20. siestakeycat


    I guess in your book, UK’s 1948, 1949, 1951, 1958, and 1978 NCAA Championships don’t count, either…right? Not to mention, the 1000 or so wins that came in this period.

  21. siestakeycat

    Also, I’ve noticed that All Time Winning Percentage, the final rankings in either poll (a great barometer for measuring overall consistency), NCAA Tournament Appearances, NCAA Tournament Games Played or Won, and Fan Attendance were still not included. All of these are at least as important as several of the categories listed. In other words, not a complete or fair analysis.

  22. Ghostofbearbryant

    Ky should get NO credit for conf accomplishments because their conf cares very little for basketball and there are seldom more than 2 other teams in the conf worth a nickle in the sport.

  23. siestakeycat

    OK, BTI….

    Throw out the entire damn regular season. In fact throw out all games but Final Four games. Then, throw out 45% of Kentucky’s all time wins because of a weak SEC (not true at all since the 1960’s), and yes all opinion based categories (polls) don’t mean anything, and yet opinion selects over half of the NCAA Tournament, but then again, overall tourney appearances, games played, games won, Elite-8’s, Sweet-16’s, etc. don’t matter, anyway. Hell, overall consistency in ALL categories means nothing. After all, everything is subjective. Hell, the best team often doesn’t win the NCAA Tournament (The NCAA Tournament is not scientific either, by the way.) Hell, why even care, it all means nothing, anyway. Hell, Kentucky is not even a top-20 program, come to think of it, much less #1.

  24. Mr. Obvious


    I don’t think U of L was one of the teams that he was factoring into the equation.

  25. siestakeycat

    Of course, the rest of the college basketball world actually puts emphasis on most of these things……

  26. Mr. Obvious


    If Final Fours are more important that wins, then UCLA should be 4th for the 2000’s and us 5th. Definitely not a tie since the 2 final fours should outweigh the 2 more tourney appearances and conference titles.

    Just a thought.


    I don’t need a bunch of fancy cipher’en to tell me that Kentucky is # 1.

  28. siestakeycat

    This is a debate on who has the OVERALL best tradition in history. Therefore, I feel that it is important to consider all meaningful statistics in order to make a sound and fair OVERALL judgement. Hell, if we were just going on the bottom line (by today’s standards), we would conclude that UCLA is the best program. This conclusion can be reached by not including or weighing all the factors involved to achieve such a status, including overall consistency, overall longevity of excellence, and overall fan support.

  29. siestakeycat

    I will explain why attendance and overall fan support is a important deciding factor in this debate, but I will do so later. Steaks on the grill that need attending to right now (6 Angus Prime Ribeye, 12-14 oz ).

  30. Jr

    A big problem with counting conf titles is that two of your “top five” programs are in the same conference. They have to outperform a top 5 all time program to win their conference.

  31. UCLAfan

    All of the titles uk won before blacks were allowed to play are worthless. All those uk title teams that had nothing but crackers were not really that good.

  32. RKA

    Thanks BTI!…… Keep Your Head up. Dont let these guys get you down. You do a Great Job for KSR!

  33. JusttheFacts

    34) Well said.

  34. siestakeycat

    All the conference titles that UCLA won in the incredibly weak Pac-10 of the 1960’s and 1970’s are worthless. Also, all the West Region Championships that UCLA won in the 1960’s and 1970’s are worthless because the West Region was consistently so weak in those years that it was laughable. And finally, all of UCLA’s Final Fours and NCAA Championships of the 1960’s and 1970’s are worthless because Sam Gilbert payed the players like they were rock stars, and bought all the high profile recruits with cash, condos, cars, and hot girls. Boom, roasted.

  35. siestakeycat

    By the way, it’s obviously that these two so-called UCLA fans that have chimed in on this post are posers, and almost assuredly Dirty Bird fans. I can tell this for two reasons: One, there aren’t two UCLA fans on the entire internet, and even if there were, they wouldn’t be here. Two, Dirty Bird fans are obsessed with UK, and of any fanbase out there, they are the ones that consistently say that UCLA’s tradition trumps UK’s (Kansas and North Carolina fans don’t do this).

  36. RidgeRunner

    34) I’ll admit, it’s tough to say just how many tiles we would have won had black players been able to play back in the day. We may not have won all those title back in the 40’s-60’s.

  37. UCLAFan

    37) Anyone who says boom, roasted clearly enjoys gay sex. Rupp hated blacks, so he would have been in big trouble had black players been alowed to play back in the day. Lord knows rupp would not have had any.

  38. goboxoutorgogetinbox

    No BTI, i’m just proving your wrong saying Duke dominated UK in every category in the 90’s…the other nine seasons UK 4 final fours, national runner up and 2 championships..without a losing season..duke the same, except losing season

  39. Ugh...this post

    Now we win….but it’s still a ludicrous post. I feel bad for the statisticians who have read either/both of these posts. It can’t be easy for them.

  40. Says me

    UK in the 90’s had 2 titles, 4 FF’s, Duke had 2 and 5. But:

    UK went to the Final 8 an additional 3 times, plus a Sweet 16 appearance. Duke’s 4 non FF years saw a 2nd round loss, a 1st round loss, a second round loss, and a Final 8 loss.

    Overall NCAA record for the decade- UK 31-6, Duke 32-7.

    UK finished in the top 10 8 times, Duke 7. Overall record for the decade, UK- 281-63, Duke 271-78.

    If Duke wins out in that decade, it’s not by much.

  41. Says me

    And another thing- the “3 conference championships” for the 90’s is meaningless. First of all UK won the conference in 90-91, no matter what the stupid SEC tries to claim. 14-4 was the best record in the league that year. Second, UK lost their division in 92-93 to a flukish Vandy performance, and in 96-97 to a flukish SC performance. Both times, UK ripped through the SEC Tourney like the games were exhibitions against Transy.

    If you’re going to look at “conference titles” then the SEVEN SEC Tournaments that UK won should count for something.

  42. klaus

    on a pro uk site. the best, i might add. we are arguing about a poll that says we win? i repeat “?”. either cardinals have swooped in on us, or you folks are all delusional zombies.

  43. RidgeRunner

    I love this list because its done by a non-uk fan and when that happens ya know we are the talk of the town…

    Copy & paste this in your browser:

  44. RidgeRunner

    Sorry, the above link is “clickable”…no need to paste.

    39..dude, don’t hide behind my name….own up to who ya are. geeze.

  45. Catlanta

    UK is the greatest of all time, no doubt.

  46. bung

    40) 1958 we beat Seattle with the great Elgin Baylor. Rupp was not a rascist, he had the 3rd black kid ever to play in the SEC. Many kids that Rupp wanted wouldnt go to a team that toured the South back then. It probably COST us titles not the other way around you UK hating, reverse rascist, history revisionist.

  47. bung

    my facts are sometimes better than my spelling….

  48. Dave in Bangkok

    Some of you guys are taking this shit way too seriously. lol

  49. Dave in Bangkok

    #40 UCLAfan

    You’re dried up old dead coach was a cheating piece of shit. F*ck that old bastard and you.

    Rupp attempted to recruit black athletes to UK. Many of them would not come because a) they did not want to play in Southeast conference States such as Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia and other Southern Jim Crow legacy states and b) Rupp did not personally recruit players.

    Rupp sent Assistants to do his recruiting. When Black Athletes were finally being allowed to play in the NCAA, the attitude of Athletes was changing. They expected that if they were important enough to a program, the HC would recruit them. Many Black Athletes wanted to hear what Rupp had to say in person. Rupp refused to do in home visits. Near the end, he finally started to do the in home visits.

    Read about Don Barksdale. He and Rupp were on the same Olympic Basketball team. Barksdale has nothing but good things to say about Rupp.

    Of course, idiotic lovers of the cheating John Wooden/Sam Gilbert love to talk trash about other programs. The only difference between UCLA and UNLV is that the NCAA actually investigated UNLV. They swept all of the violations of UCLA under the rug.

    Now, until you learn how to read and research for yourself, you f*cking twat, run back under that rock from which you crawled. You twisted piece of f*cking human filth.

    Oh, and kiss my ass!

  50. Dave in Bangkok

    #17 og68

    I’ll correct it for ya.

    Sam Gilbert 10, Jim Harrick 1

    Adolph Rupp 4, Joe B. Hall 1, Rick Pitino 1, Tubby Smith 1

    So that comes out to:

    UK — 7

    UCLA — 1

    Sam Gilbert Construction Corp. — 10

  51. Dave in Bangkok

    Also, Rupp coached Black Athletes as a High School Coach in Kansas.

    If he was a racist, why did he allow Black Athletes on his HS teams in the 1930s?

    Come on, you brilliant f*ckwads? Answer this question??????

  52. Dave in Bangkok

    Rupp and UK get the Racism Legend thrown against them because they won in 1966 against Texas Western.

    Had UK lost in the Semi-final game of that Final Four, Duke would have been the team that played Texas Western with a “lily white” starting five. Therefore, Duke would be the Elitist Racist School of the South instead of UK.

  53. Dave in Bangkok

    Also, Rupp assisted in the placement of local Blacks in schools in the North and Northeast that would accept Blacks long before he was allowed to Recruit Black Athletes.

    He went out of his way and expended extra effort to do so.

    Would a racist have bothered with this? No, you stupid f*cks, a racist would not have bothered to help Black Athletes attend an institution of higher learning. A racist would have done everything in his power to thwart Blacks in achieving a College Degree.

    Now, you pieces of f*cking shit, go play in traffic and leave folks alone who know better than you. You bunch of f*cking twats!

  54. siestakeycat

    Overall consistency over the decades and excellence in ALL categories are what make Kentucky the #1 college basketball program of all time. It’s really pretty simple. No other college basketball program has been as consistently good as Kentucky for as long as Kentucky has, nor has any other college basketball program achieved the consistent level of excellence in ALL categories that Kentucky has achieved.

  55. siestakeycat


    Rupp also held clinics for black coaches, attended the boys’s black high school state tournament on a regular basis, opened the Coliseum for black high school teams to practice in, and passed out circus tickets every year in the black neighborhoods of Lexington. He also visited black children in the Shriner’s Children’s Hospital in Lexington (a hospital in which he was largely responsible for getting built).

    Further, Rupp recruited black players earlier than any other southern coach, as early as the fall of 1963. This was before any other SEC, ACC, or SWC coach (although not by much). Also, it is important to remember that the University of Kentucky petitioned the SEC to integrate black athletes (with Rupp’s prodding) in 1957, 1959, 1961, and 1962. When no such permission was every formally given, the University of Kentucky simply instituted their own directive on recruiting black athletes in 1963.

    And finally, and this is important to remember, Rupp and Kentucky were the first southern school to play against teams with black players (in 1949), and also the first southern school to host a team with a black player (in 1950). In fact, throughout the 1950’s and 60’s, Kentucky played against dozens upon dozens of teams (both home, away, and in the NCAA Tournament) with black players. No other southern team would do this.

    By the way, Rupp did not coach a black player while in Kansas. Instead, he coached a black player while he was the coach at Freeport High School, in Freeport, Illinois. Just for the record.

  56. siestakeycat

    And oh’ yeah, UCLA bought all of their titles……

  57. the anti-cat

    Way to screw with the numbers to get a desired result. Any chance you work for the gub-mint?

  58. siestakeycat

    Once again UofL trolls, no one buys that you are UCLA fans. Hell, UCLA has about 20 fans, and they are all at the beach right now.

  59. siestakeycat

    #60, take a look at “The List” in the previous thread if you want definitive proof that Kentucky is the #1 program of all time. Go ahead, look at it. That thread is on the second page now. By the way, at least you have the guts to say you hate Kentucky. Rest assured, we hate you too.

  60. hoops


  61. siestakeycat

    It funny how all the haters can ignore facts, rewrite history, make up outright lies, and spin anything to make UK look bad. Obsessed, maybe?

  62. Yea Sure

    So all wins are created equal? A win over Ole Miss counts just as much as a win over Duke? Some how you would have to determine quality wins to get a better gauge. Also, since when does the number of players drafted matter to college program success? Oh wait, since Calipari has been here! And to put 2nd round picks as a factor is quite a stretch.

  63. tubbys decade of debacle

    1. UNC (2 titles, 4 Final Fours, 9 Tournament Appearances, 6 conference championships)
    2. Duke (2 titles, 3 Final Fours, 12 Tournament Appearances, 5 conference championships)
    3. Kansas (1 title, 3 Final Fours, 12 Tournament Appearances, 9 conference championships)
    T-4. Kentucky (0 titles, 1 Final Four, 11 Tournament Appearances, 5 conference championships)
    T-4. UCLA (0 titles, 3 Final Fours, 9 Tournament Appearances, 3 conference championships)

    Who was coach again during this time? Ole tubby, thats who!!

  64. guest1

    Didn’t we see this article the other day? No need to “update” it. It’s ok if we aren’t number 1 in made up polls.

  65. siestakeycat

    Everyday is good day when you’re a Wildcat!