THE TOP TEN Most Prestigious College Basketball Programs
ESPN's list. Here is their intro:
All week, we've outlined our criteria for the Prestige Rankings, a numerical method of ranking the best Division I men's college basketball programs since the 1984-85 season. The 1984-85 season was when the NCAA tournament expanded to 64 teams, making it the first time a national champion had to win six tournament games to cut down the nets. It was also the start of the fairest inclusion in the NCAA tournament: Before that season, even the best conferences got only one team in the field. And with the introduction of the 3-point line in 1985-86, the past 24 seasons can be considered the most modern era of college basketball.
ESPN's list. Here is their intro: All week, we've outlined our criteria for the Prestige Rankings, a numerical method of ranking the best Division I men's...  more
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Created 08/28/08
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1
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DUKE BLUE DEVILS, ACC

By any measure of success, Duke is king of the hill in college basketball in the 64-team era of the NCAA tournament. Besides the three national titles, Duke is No. 1 among all basketball programs with 69 NCAA tournament wins, 12 first team All-Americans, 11 top-10 NBA picks, 10 No. 1 seeds and seven title game appearances. An easy selection in any format for No. 1.
 
 
 

2
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KANSAS JAYHAWKS, Big 12

The Jayhawks had eight 30-win seasons in the time span, tied for the most with Duke. A big part of KU's undoing was the failed tournament runs in the mid-1990s when they were 1- or 2-seeds. Others will point to the back-to-back first-round losses to Bucknell and Bradley in 2005 and 2006.
 
 
 

3
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NORTH CAROLINA TAR HEELS, ACC

A stat-sheet stuffer in every category, including NIT appearances and losing seasons. Along with Kansas, Kentucky, Connecticut and Florida, the Tar Heels have won two national titles. They also have been a No. 1 seed nine times and have six 30-win seasons. Very impressive, but still not as impressive as their big rival eight miles down the road.
 
 
 

4
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KENTUCKY WILDCATS, SEC

The premier program in the SEC cracks the Top 5 despite being banned from the NCAA tournament twice. The Wildcats dominated the conference tournament, earning 12 automatic berths (tied with Penn for the most). UK hasn't been too shabby in the Big Dance either, making three straight national title games from 1996-1998 and winning twice. However, the Wildcats haven't made the Final Four since.
 
 
 

5
DISAGREE?

ARIZONA WILDCATS, Pac-10

The Wildcats are the only program to make the NCAA tournament in all 24 seasons of our era. Arizona joins Duke as the only schools from major conferences in the double digits for conference championships and automatic bids. Throw in four Final Fours and a national title, and this Top 5 ranking is a no-brainer.
 
 
 

6
DISAGREE?

CONNECTICUT HUSKIES, Big East

An NIT title in 1988 was the turning point transforming this regional power into a national one. Two national titles followed (1999, 2004), along with six 30-win seasons and the third-most top-10 NBA picks. The top-ranked Big East program on our list finished with the best record in the league an impressive eight times.
 
 
 

7
DISAGREE?

UCLA BRUINS, Pac-10

If this was an all-time list, the Bruins would be sitting on top of the heap. They are still near the top with their four Final Four appearances (including three in the last three years) and don't forget the 1995 national title. However, that was their first title since the 1975. Believe it or not, the Bruins haven't even won the most Pac-10 regular-season and tourney titles since 1985. That honor would belong to Arizona, which won 21, six more than the Bruins.
 
 
 

8
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UNLV REBELS, Mountain West

One of the most scandal-plagued programs in the history of the sport still cracks the Top 10. It's all thanks to the glory days of Jerry Tarkanian, when the Rebels dominated the Big West while racking up five 30-win seasons. Between 1987 and 1991, UNLV made three Final Fours, including a dominating national title in 1990.
 
 
 

9
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SYRACUSE ORANGE, Big East

With Pete Gaudet the official Duke head coach for 19 games in 1994-95, Syracuse is the best school on our list that has had only one head coach since 1984-85. SU is also the highest-ranked school that didn't have the benefit of a single No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. The Orange are just a rock-solid, consistent winner that hasn't suffered a losing season since 1968-69.
 
 
 

10
DISAGREE?

GEORGETOWN HOYAS, Big East

Georgetown would have easily leapfrogged its biggest rival in Syracuse if these rankings went back one season farther to 1984 when the Hoyas won the national title. Only one first-round loss in 16 NCAA tournament appearances definitely helps their cause, along with having seven top-10 NBA picks. The Hoyas win the tiebreaker with Michigan State thanks to a .687-.668 winning percentage advantage since 1984-85.
 
 
 



[source: ESPN.com ]


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