Ranking the top 10 all time best college basketball teams

Ranking the top 10 all time best college basketball teams

Basketball is one of the most famous sports worldwide and has amassed huge fan bases and fortune. The United States of America has seen some of the best college basketball teams of all time governed by collegiate athletic bodies.

Best college basketball team seasons of all-time
Michigan State Spartans guard Jaden Akins fires a cross court pass during a game against Rutgers Scarlet Knights on 19 January 2023 in East Lansing, MI. Photo: Adam Ruff
Source: Getty Images

These collegiate athletic bodies are responsible for deciding the number and level of scholarships awarded to different basketball players. Additionally, they have greatly invested in NCAA basketball since its inception.

The top 10 best college basketball teams of all time

Most NBA players are selected from these college basketball teams at a young age to further their careers. According to stats in 2023, these are the best college basketball teams and seasons of all time:

10. Villanova Wildcats

Best college basketball team
Villanova Wildcats forward Brandon Slater during the Never Forget Tribute Classic men's college basketball game against Boston College on 10 December 2022 in Newark, NJ. Photo: John Jones
Source: Getty Images

Villanova Wildcats are among the best college teams in the college basketball arena and have won two national championships, in 2016 and 2018, with Jay Wright. Even though their recognition increased after winning two times in three years, they were always a top-notch team with good coaching and culture even before that. In the 60s, John Kraff made the Wildcats winners, and later Massimino made sure they stayed at the top and won the 1985 National Championship.

TeamVillanova Wildcats
UniversityVillanova University
NicknameWildcats
ConferenceBig East
NCAADivision I, FCS
Athletic directorMark Jackson
LocationVillanova, Pennsylvania
Varsity teams24
ArenaWilliam B Finneran Pavilion
Skits coloursNavy blue and white

9. Louisville Cardinals

The Cardinals are a top-notch team that has made ten Final Four appearances and has won three National Championships. They joined the Big East in 2005, and that's when their recognition began.

Best college basketball teams of all-time
Louisville Cardinals forward JJ Traynor drives past Pittsburgh Panthers guard Nelly Cummings during a college basketball game on 18 January 2023 in Louisville, Kentucky. Photo: Joe Robbins
Source: Getty Images

Louisville Cardinals had only two coaches from 1971 to 2017, Denny Crum and Rick Pinito, and thus they maintained a consistency that saw the team take home trophies.

TeamLouisville Cardinals
NicknameCardinals
UniversityUniversity of Louisville
ConferenceACC
NCAADivision I, FBS
Athletic directorJosh Heird
LocationLouisville, Kentucky
Varsity teams21
ArenaKFC Yum! Center
Skits coloursRed and black

8. Michigan State Spartans

The Spartans are among the best college basketball teams in history. They won the 1979 National Championship and have been an icon for the NCAA.

Best college basketball team seasons of all-time
Jaxon Kohler and Tyson Walker of the Michigan State Spartans celebrate late in the second half against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights on 19 January 2023 in East Lansing, Michigan. Photo: Rey Del Rio
Source: Getty Images

In the 90s, Jud Heathcote made an impressive turnover to propel the Spartans to their glory and, in so doing, set the pace for Tom Izzo, who made them one of the greatest squads ever.

TeamMichigan State Spartans
NicknameSpartans
UniversityMichigan State University
ConferenceBig Ten
NCAADivision I, FBS
Athletic directorAlan Haller
LocationEast Lansing, Michigan
Varsity teams23
ArenaBreslin Student Events Center
Skits coloursGreen and white

7. Indiana Hoosiers

Indiana is one of the greatest college basketball teams of all time. Being coached by Bobby Knight, they won three national championships and almost a dozen Big Ten championships. On the other hand, Branch McCracken, in 1930, led the Hoosiers to their first ever two championships.

Best teams in college basketball history
Malik Reneau of the Indiana Hoosiers puts up a shot in the second half against the Illinois Fighting Illini at State Farm Center on 19 January 2023 in Champaign, Illinois. Photo: Michael Hickey
Source: Getty Images

Although they have struggled in the past decades, Indiana has always been in the rankings of the top 10 college basketball teams.

TeamIndiana Hoosiers
NicknameHoosiers
UniversityIndiana University Bloomington
ConferenceBig Ten
NCAADivision I
Athletic directorScott Dolson
Head coachMike Woodson
LocationBloomington, Indiana
ArenaSimon Skjodt Assembly Hall
Skits coloursCrimson and cream

6. Syracuse Orange

In 2003, the Orange won the National Championship, which was only the start. The team has the longest active streak for consecutive winning seasons under Jim Boeheim, their head coach, for over 40 years.

Best college basketball team
Syracuse forward Maliq Brown reacts during a college basketball game against Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets on 21 January 2023 at Hank McCamish Pavilion in Atlanta, GA. Photo: Rich von Biberstein
Source: Getty Images

Nevertheless, the Orange's have always reached the Final Four in the last fifty years, and they are almost at the top all-time list regarding NCAA appearances and tournament victories.

TeamSyracuse Orange
NicknameOrange
University Syracuse University
ConferenceACC
NCAADivision I, FBS
Athletic directorJohn Wildhack
LocationSyracuse, New York
Varsity teams20
ArenaJMA Wireless Dome
Skits coloursOrange

5. Kansas Jayhawks

The Jayhawks, one of the best college basketball teams in the NCAA, have won straight regular-season conference titles. They achieved what most squads only dream of by making a record of 30 straight NCAA Tournament appearances.

Best college basketball team seasons of all-time
Joseph Yesufu of the Kansas Jayhawks drives to the basket in the second half on 17 January 2023 in Manhattan, Kansas. Photo: Peter G Aiken
Source: Getty Images

The college basketball team has been dominating the NCAA since the 20s under coach Phog Allen and currently under Bill Self. The teams have been around for a century.

TeamKansas Jayhawks
Nickname Jayhawks
UniversityThe University of Kansas
ConferenceBig 12
NCAADivision I, FBS
Athletic directorTravis Goff
LocationLawrence, Kansas
Varsity teams16
ArenaAllen Fieldhouse
Skits coloursCrimson and blue

4. Duke Blue Devils

Duke has been a powerhouse in the ACC producing formidable players with great skills that ended up playing for top NBA squads. They are among the best college basketball teams of all time. Their success is not only owed to Mike Krzyzewski but also to Bill Foster, who helped in the rise to the Final Four in 1978.

Best college basketball teams of all-time
Duke Blue Devils head speaks with his team during a timeout during the college basketball game against Boston College Eagles on 7 January 2023 in Chestnut Hill, MA. Photo: M Anthony Nesmith
Source: Getty Images

Mike took over the team in 1980 and won numerous titles, including the final Fours and five National championships.

TeamDuke Blue Devils
NicknameBlue Devils
UniversityThe Duke University
ConferenceAtlantic Coast Conference
NCAA Division I, FBS
Athletic directorNina King
LocationDurham, North Carolina
Varsity teams 27
ArenaCameron Indoor Stadium
Skits coloursDuke blue and white

3. North Carolina Tar Heels

The Tar Heels have been on the polls for more weeks than any other college basketball squad and have made 20 Final Four appearances. Additionally, they have won six National Championships.

Best teams in college basketball history
North Carolina Tar Heels forward Jalen Washington during a college basketball game against the Louisville Cardinals on 14 January 2023 in Louisville, Kentucky. Photo: Joe Robbins
Source: Getty Images

North Carolina's Tar Heels started their winning spree in the 20s in the Southern Conference Championship and won titles every other decade. They have two of the best college basketball coaches of all time, Dean Smith and Roy Williams and are one of the best college teams in history.

TeamNorth Carolina Tar Heels
NicknameTar Heels
UniversityThe University of North Carolina
ConferenceACC
NCAADivision I, FBS
Athletic directorBubba Cunningham
Location Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Varsity teams27
ArenaDean E Smith Student Activities Center
Skits coloursCarolina blue and white

2. Kentucky Wildcats

Although the Wildcats have fewer Final Four appearances, they always come out strong on every record contested. They have always taken the lead in the NCAA Tournament, Sweet 16 and Elite Eight appearances and won eight National Championships.

Best college basketball team seasons of all-time
CJ Fredrick of the Kentucky Wildcats celebrates their win over the Tennessee Volunteers as he walks off the court after the game on 14 January 2023 in Knoxville, Tennessee. Photo: Eakin Howard
Source: Getty Images

Since 1921 after winning the first conference championship, they have had five coaches who contributed to the eight National championships titles.

Team Kentucky Wildcats
NicknameWildcats
UniversityUniversity of Kentucky
NCAADivision I, FBS
Athletic directorMitch Barnhart
LocationLexington, Kentucky
Varsity teams19
Basketball arenaRupp Arena
ConferenceSEC
Skits coloursBlue and white

1. UCLA Bruins

UCLA Bruins is the greatest college basketball team of all time. They had one of the best coaches in the game's history, John Wooden, who led them to win the NCAA title in 1971-1972 and ranked fifth in scoring.

Best college basketball team of all-time
Adem Bona of the UCLA Bruins and Oumar Ballo of the Arizona Wildcats jump for the opening tip during the first half of the NCAA game on 21 January 2023 in Tucson, Arizona. Photo: Christian Petersen
Source: Getty Images

He also propelled the Bruins to win seven consecutive national titles and ten championships in twelve years. No squad has ever come close to what they have achieved, and probably none could ever have a legacy like that. Additionally, the Bruins have dominated since the 1920s and have continued to do so till now.

TeamUCLA Bruins
NicknameBruins
ConferencePac-12, Big Ten
NCAADivision I, FBS
Athletic directorMartin Jarmond
LocationLos Angeles, California
Varsity teams25
Basketball arenaPauley Pavilion
UniversityUniversity of California, Los Angeles
Skits coloursBlue and gold

Thanks to their coaches and cultures, the best college basketball teams of all time have dominated over the years. As always, the players come and go, but coaching stability and a strong culture are needed to develop the best squads and players that make the NCAA. Most NBA players started as youngsters in college basketball before continuing their careers in the major league.

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Source: Sports Brief News