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The Top 25 College Basketball Programs of All Time

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Ranking the Best of the Best

All-Time Andrew Synowiez-USA TODAY Sports

UCLA, Duke, Kentucky, Kansas, North Carolina. When thinking of those college basketball teams it is very hard not to think of them as some of the greatest programs of all-time. Although it is very hard to rank those five schools, along with every other top 25 college basketball program of all-time, why not give it a shot.

There will certainly be many teams left out of this list, since there is way too many basketball teams in college, but these 25 teams really do separate themselves from the rest of the field, although many teams could make a case for being on this list.

Who could forget the John Wooden years when he coached UCLA to more national championships than most teams could ever dream of? And year after year how the Blue Devils and Tar Heels are consistently ranked in the top 25 for being the great teams that they are.

The Indiana Hoosiers were once one of the most storied basketball programs of all-time, and now they are certainly making a comeback towards that feat.

Billy Donovan has coached the Florida Gators to three national championships and his name will eventually be discussed with all of the greats. Tom Izzo is another huge name in college basketball and his Michigan State Spartans, along with previous Spartans teams have been in the elite status for some time now.

Keep in mind that this is of all-time, not just as of late. Whether the case, read on to see the power ranking of the top 25 college basketball programs of all-time. Does your favorite team make the cut?

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25. Texas Longhorns

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The Texas Longhorns have never won a national championship, but they have made the Final Four three times and won a number of Southwest Conference titles. Texas has also won three Big 12 titles, which is a conference owned by the Kansas Jayhawks historically.

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24. Utah Utes

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Utah has won one national championship, along with many conference titles. Although Utah has not made a Final Four since 1998, this program has made four in its history, along with 15 Elite Eights.

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23. North Carolina State Wolfpack

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North Carolina State is the reason why teams cut down the nets after a huge victory, which first took place in 1947.

The Wolfpack have won two national championships, including one of the most memorable national titles in history, when NC State beat heavily favorited Houston in 1983.

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22. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

notre dame
Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish may not be the most storied program in Indiana history, but they aren’t a bad one by any means. In fact, they have made the Sweet 16 15 times.

Not to mention, the Fighting Irish were the team that snapped UCLA’s 88-game winning streak in 1974.

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21. Marquette Golden Eagles

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The Marquette Golden Eagles are always in the NCAA tournament, despite the fact that they usually are not the winners of their conference. This team last made the Final Four in 2003, but made it two other times in its history, along with a national championship.

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20. Temple Owls

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The Temple Owls punch their ticket to the NCAA tournament on just about a yearly basis. This team is always wearing its dancing shoes and it has also made the Final Four twice, along with a national championship, which came way back when in 1938.

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19. Villanova Wildcats

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Villanova is known for having one of the biggest upsets in college basketball history, for beating the Georgetown Hoyas in the 1985 national championship game. The Wildcats were huge underdogs in that game, but none of that mattered.

Along with that Final Four appearance, Villanova has been one of the last four teams standing in the NCAA tournament four times.

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18. Michigan Wolverines

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When thinking of Michigan Wolverines basketball, it is hard not to think about the Fab Five and what they could have been at Michigan. Although it is no longer in the books, the Fab Five did manage to make back-to-back national championships, which is pretty impressive no matter who you are.

The Wolverines are once again one of the best teams in college basketball and have a team that is good enough to go on a Final Four run.

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17. UNLV Rebels

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Year after year the UNLV Rebels are a relevant team in college basketball. That is because the Rebels have consistently won conference tournaments or regular season titles and they are consistently in the NCAA tournament.

No to mention, UNLV has made four Final Fours in its history, along with one national title in 1990.

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16. Arkansas Razorbacks

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Surprisingly, the Arkansas Razorbacks have made it to six Final Fours, but their last one came in 1995. This team won a number of Southwest Conference titles and just two SEC titles.

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15. Ohio State Buckeyes

ohio state
Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

Thad Matta has turned the Ohio State Buckeyes into an elite team in college basketball. The Buckeyes are known as a football school, but its basketball school has made the Final Four 11 times, which is the sixth most in college basketball history.

The only blemish on the Buckeyes’ resume is the fact that they have only won one national championship out of five tries, and that last national title came in 1960.

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14. Georgetown Hoyas

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The Georgetown Hoyas were once an elite team in college basketball, making it to three Final Fours in the ‘80s. However, this team last made a Final Four appearance in 2007 and five times overall. The Hoyas have not won a national championship though since 1984.

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13. Cincinnati Bearcats

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It has been a very long time, but the Cincinnati Bearcats were once one of the best teams in the game, making it to five Final Fours in a row, however, this was a long time ago. The Bearcats have made six Final Fours overall, along with two national championships.

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12. Arizona Wildcats

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The Arizona Wildcats have made it to four Final Fours, making two national titles and winning one of those. The Wildcats were once one of the best programs in college basketball and they are starting to go back to their old ways.

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11. Florida Gators

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Most people wouldn’t think of the Florida Gators as being one of the best teams of all-time, but their resume certainly says otherwise. The Gators’ success has come as of recent, but Billy Donovan has turned Florida into a powerhouse in college basketball, winning two national championships, making three title games and making five Final Fours. That is just what Donovan has done ever since joining the team.

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10. Connecticut Huskies

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When thinking about the Connecticut Huskies, most people probably think of Jim Calhoun, who is no longer the coach of this team. The Huskies have won three national titles, with two of those coming since 2004.

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9. Syracuse Orane

Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The Syracuse Orange have only won one NCAA tournament championships, but it was relatively recent in 2003. We all remember that team, when Carmelo Anthony was the most dominant player in the game. Jim Boeheim has been one of the most successful coaches ever since joining Syracuse and he has a great team on a yearly basis.

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8. Louisville Cardinals

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The Louisville Cardinals have not won a national championship since 1986, but they did manage to make the Final Four last season in 2012. The Cardinals have two national titles on their belt, but it is their nine Final Four approaches that make them so impressive.

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7. Michigan State Spartans

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When is Tom Izzo and the Michigan State Spartans not in the Final Four? Izzo has led his team to the Final Four five times since 2000. The Spartans may only have two national championships, but they have easily been one of the best teams in the game since the year 2000.

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6. Indiana Hoosiers

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The Indiana Hoosiers were once upon a time one of the best teams in the game. However, they are going back to their old traditions and are once again one of the best teams in college basketball. The Hoosiers have won five national championships, but it has been awhile since their last won way back in 1987.

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5. Kansas Jayhawks

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Coming off of a national championship game loss, the Kansas Jayhawks have been the best team in all of college basketball at the end of the season three times, with their last national title coming in 2008. Bill Self consistently puts together good teams and his Jayhawks will be good for a very long time because of that.

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4. North Carolina Tar Heels

North Carolina
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North Carolina is consistently ranked in the top 10. The Tar Heels have won five national titles, but have made the championship game nine times. North Carolina has made 18 Final Four appearances, which is the most by any school.

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3. Duke Blue Devils

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Not too far down from North Carolina is the Duke Blue Devils. The Blue Devils have won four national championships in their very storied program, along with making it to 15 Final Fours. Mike Krzyzewski will go down as one of the best coaches ever, considering that his Blue Devils are consistently ranked in the top 10 and he has the most wins of all-time.

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2. UCLA Bruins

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The UCLA Bruins have won more national championships than any team in college basketball history, with 11. John Wooden led this team to 10 of those titles, and seven in a row, which is a record that will never even come close to being touched ever again. UCLA has just as many records as anyone, but they did a lot of their damage way back when. However, they are still easily one of the best basketball programs of all-time.

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1. Kentucky Wildcats

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The Kentucky Wildcats have won eight national championships, with their first being in 1948 and their last one coming in 2012. Year after year, the Wildcats are ranked in the top 25. With John Calipari as their head coach, who knows how many championships this team will win. Kentucky has made 15 Final Fours. Not to mention, they have made back-to-back Final Four appearances. This team has been to more Elite Eights and Sweet 16s than what is right. When it comes to college basketball, the Kentucky Wildcats are the best team of all-time.

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