10 Best NCAA Basketball Schools to Obsess Over
Recently, we looked at the best college football programs in the country. The list didn’t just include the best teams from the 2013 season but took into account history, legacy, present talent, coaching, facilities, etc. Winning the most recent national championship doesn’t necessarily make the best school — you have to win consistently and be relevant for an extended period of time. This will be part two of that article, in which we rank the best men’s basketball programs in the National Collegiate Athletic Association.
Similar to the best football schools, the best basketball schools weren’t made overnight. These aren’t the Florida Gulf Coasts of basketball, who make Cinderella runs through the NCAA tournament only to go back into obscurity. No, the best basketball programs in the country are teams that have a history built on excellence and a future similarly bright. Whether it’s a future Hall of Fame coach or a string of impressive recruiting classes, these schools are built to succeed in the long run — not one miracle run. And they do. While there are some good teams that just missed this list (not a result of bias), here are the NCAA’s 10 best basketball programs from top to bottom.
To start, Mike Krzyzewski is the reason Duke is atop this list. Coach K took over the Blue Devils in 1980 and hasn’t looked back since. He became the winningest coach in the history of men’s NCAA basketball in 2011 and has single-handedly made Duke one of the best teams every year. Whether it’s the four championships he has coached the Blue Devils to (1991, 1992, 2001, and 2010) or Coach K’s ridiculous 14 Final Four appearances, he has become to college basketball what Bear Bryant was to college football.
Sure, Duke wasn’t a powerhouse before Krzyzewski arrived in Durham, but it has been ever since. More than a few former and current National Basketball Association players have played for Coach K — Grant Hill, Christian Laettner, and Shane Battier, to name a few — and prospered under his tutelage. This is a trend that will continue as long as Krzyzewski keeps doing what he’s doing: win. The Blue Devils last missed the NCAA tournament in 1995, which says enough about their dominance these past few decades.