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The Associated Press ranks Kentucky the #1 basketball program of all-time


The debate over the best college basketball program of all-time can be broken down a number of ways: most national championships (UCLA), most wins (Kentucky), most Final Fours (UNC), etc. etc. Today, the Associated Press gave Kentucky fans another bragging point: the #1 spot in the AP’s All-Time Top 100 Rankings. By this metric, Kentucky is first, followed by North Carolina and UCLA.

How did the AP determine the rankings? The AP formula counted poll appearances (one point each) to mark consistency and No. 1 rankings (two points each) to acknowledge elite programs, going back to the poll’s inception in 1949. Kentucky came out on top with 1,111 points, which includes 124 appearances at #1. Impressively, Kentucky has appeared in 75.37% of all polls, the second best mark behind North Carolina. Here’s the top ten:

1. Kentucky (1,111 points)
2. North Carolina (1,098)
3. Duke (1,032)
4. UCLA (957)
5. Kansas (857)
6. Indiana (662)
7. Louisville (627)
8. Arizona (594)
9. Syracuse (581)
10. Cincinnati (500)

Other tidbits from the AP’s study:

  • Kentucky’s best full decade was the 1950’s, during which it appeared in 89.63% of polls
  • The 1990’s were a close second with 89.33% of AP poll appearances
  • The 1960’s were the worst (59.59%)
  • Kentucky has missed appearing at least once in the poll for only three seasons during the 68-year history of the AP poll, the fewest poll-less seasons of any program. Those seasons were 1952-1953, 1988-1989, and 1989-1990.


[Associated Press]

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.

11 Comments for The Associated Press ranks Kentucky the #1 basketball program of all-time

  1. rockatao
    2:12 pm March 29, 2017 Permalink

    There’s a reason they were ranked in 1952-53.

    • runningunnin.454
      2:29 pm March 29, 2017 Permalink

      Yep, didn’t get to play a schedule due to point-shaving scandal in late ’40’s.
      The University was penalized for N.Y. mobsters getting to 2 or 3 kids, although the coaching staff was not implicated.

    • J-Dub421
      2:39 pm March 29, 2017 Permalink

      Same reason we weren’t ranked from 88-90.

    • CatBlue in LR
      5:32 pm March 29, 2017 Permalink

      Not exactly the same. They played games in ’89-’90, just didn’t win many of them (13-18, iirc). They didn’t play any games in ’52-’53, hence couldn’t be ranked. If they had played a schedule, I guarantee you they would have been ranked, and probably pretty high (not that I remember that far back; just based on what I’ve read).

  2. rockatao
    2:15 pm March 29, 2017 Permalink

    “not ranked” above ….. and the rest of the 50’s was pretty dang good …. if you miss one entire season, and still have 89.63% of the polls, that would equate to missing one poll in the other 9 years

  3. runningunnin.454
    2:33 pm March 29, 2017 Permalink

    Indiana and Cincinnati relevancy is taking it back a ways.

  4. Mc12
    2:54 pm March 29, 2017 Permalink

    John Higgins of the AP was not able to vote originally, but his 1 vote is in. It’s now UNC 1,150 points, and UK 1,022

  5. pcefrog5
    2:57 pm March 29, 2017 Permalink

    The easiest way to prove the greatest program of all time no matter what metrics are used:
    Remove the accomplishments from the greatest coach of each program and then compare.

    • RealCatsFan
      3:26 pm March 29, 2017 Permalink

      Yep! Kentucky has won a championship under five different coaches. No other program has won under more than three. Definition of sustained excellence.

  6. catsarerunnin
    4:39 pm March 29, 2017 Permalink

    And if not for the Fiddler on the Roof we would be in another Final Four.