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ESPN: Where Kentucky’s national championship teams rank all-time

Virginia won the national championship last night, but how do they stack up vs. the national championship teams that came before them? John Gasaway at ESPN undertook the tall task of ranking all 81 national championship squads, and Kentucky’s eight did pretty well for themselves, three finishing in the top 20.

13. 1996 Kentucky
16. 2012 Kentucky
20. 1978 Kentucky
46. 1998 Kentucky
48. 1951 Kentucky
64. 1949 Kentucky
67. 1958 Kentucky
72. 1948 Kentucky

If you’re curious, the 1972 UCLA team took first place, followed by the 1976 Indiana team and the 1973 UCLA squad. This year’s Virginia team came in at No. 34. The 1996 Kentucky team is the highest ranked of any squad since the early ’80s.

They were called The Untouchables: Tony Delk, Antoine Walker & Co. dropped neutral-site games to John Calipari’s UMass squad and to Mississippi State in the SEC tournament title game. Nevertheless, Rick Pitino’s Wildcats breezed through that year’s NCAA bracket, winning six games by an average of 21 points. UK won its rematch against Marcus Camby and the Minutemen in the Final Four, and then defeated John Wallace and Syracuse to win the title.

Hard to argue with that. Check out the entire list at ESPN.com.

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Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

19 Comments for ESPN: Where Kentucky’s national championship teams rank all-time



  1. michaelb
    1:04 pm April 9, 2019 Permalink

    96 team was stacked , gotta be ranked higher in my opinion



    • ukjaybrat
      1:29 pm April 9, 2019 Permalink

      yeah i thought the 96 team was arguably one of the best teams of all time. how is it ranked only 13?



    • Ridge Runner
      3:28 pm April 9, 2019 Permalink

      Absolutely.



  2. Catcasey1
    1:25 pm April 9, 2019 Permalink

    96 could have beaten them all



  3. IndianaSucks
    1:49 pm April 9, 2019 Permalink

    96 team got screwed a little. Easily top 10 in my opinion. I’ll take 96 over any other.



  4. ScottGreene22
    1:49 pm April 9, 2019 Permalink

    96 team is top 10 for sure they had basically the 98 champs sitting on the bench



  5. katfan33
    1:53 pm April 9, 2019 Permalink

    The 1996 team is a top 3-5 team of all time.



    • UKantholdme
      1:57 pm April 9, 2019 Permalink

      Yup



  6. mashburnfan1
    1:54 pm April 9, 2019 Permalink

    Our 2015 team would have been number 1 if not for coaching. 2015 team had more talent than any of the 8 title teams, maybe any of the NCAA teams ever.



    • IndianaSucks
      2:00 pm April 9, 2019 Permalink

      96 was better



    • Ridge Runner
      3:29 pm April 9, 2019 Permalink

      and… Willie didn’t really show up that game for some reason as well.



    • J-Dub421
      3:30 pm April 9, 2019 Permalink

      What we needed was for Alex to be healthy, or for Booker and Lyles to show up and not get abused on defense that game.



  7. UKantholdme
    1:56 pm April 9, 2019 Permalink

    They can say whatever they want and being a UK fan you can say I’m a homer ….. but I have eyes and common sense …… 1996 is the best team of all time period,end of discussion …….. they would beat any other team … ever!! and the majority of every other team ever!! would get destroyed by 96UK…….I’ll even say the 2012 UK team (which I love)…would get destroyed by 96UK……. carry on



    • J-Dub421
      3:34 pm April 9, 2019 Permalink

      OMG….. stop….. using…. so…. many….. ellipsis…. Just use actual punctuation, like an adult.



    • KYFAN4LYFE
      4:41 pm April 9, 2019 Permalink

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  8. BigJohnC
    3:04 pm April 9, 2019 Permalink

    I read the whole thing this morning. Very good read



  9. CahillsCrossingNT
    5:56 pm April 9, 2019 Permalink

    Gasaway is a moron. How he ranks the 1982 North Carolina team that high is beyond absurd. People act as if the freshman version of Michael Jordan was the same Jordan he became. That team won its opening NCAA game against James Madison by 2 and didn’t exactly dominate Alabama or Houston either in the latter part of the tournament. Then there was the errant Fred Brown of Georgetown pass. That team needed an act of God to win it all and is the most overrated team I’ve seen in my 44 years of watching this sport. Also, that same North Carolina team lost at HOME to a very average Wake Forest team. The best teams NEVER lose at home.



  10. Toofarfromky
    6:48 pm April 9, 2019 Permalink

    There were multiple opinions about the 96 team saying that if you were to split them up and made 2 teams, they would have met in the championship. The greatest collection of college / NBA ready talent ever assembled. For whatever reason they didn’t all fare well at the next level. The day the tournament was one though, they were the greatest of all time.



  11. wallywildcat
    9:31 pm April 9, 2019 Permalink

    Did Sam Gilbert pay this writer too?

    The ’96 squad at #13… CHILD PLEASE!