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Best men's college basketball program in every state

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Brian Jenkins // UVM Athletics

Best men's college basketball program in every state

When it comes to the best college basketball programs in the country, the cream of the crop are typically referred to as “blue bloods.”

The usual suspects come to mind — North Carolina, Duke, Kentucky, UCLA and the likes. But what if you kept the discussion within the confines of state lines? With March Madness in full swing, the folks at Stacker took a crack at naming the best college basketball program in all 50 states (plus Washington, D.C.)

To do this, we took into account a program’s total national titles, Final Four appearances, tournament wins and tournament berths. Once each state’s top school was identified, we ranked the 51 selections based on tournament appearances. While the battle for state supremacy in some states featured lower stakes — South Dakota State or South Dakota? — others states have multiple “blue blood” programs with their borders, making it all the more difficult to settle on one pick.

So which is it — Duke or North Carolina? Kentucky or Louisville? Read on to see which schools cut down the nets for statewide supremacy.

Note: For the purposes of this list, we’re including all tournament appearances for each school, even those that have since been nullified by the NCAA due to rules violations, with ties broken by number of tournament wins, then by Final Four appearances.

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Skip Hickey // Alaska Anchorage Athletic Department

Alaska: Alaska Anchorage Seawolves

NCAA tournament appearances: 0

The 49th state of the Union — and the largest by area of the bunch — does not have a single Division I college basketball team. The Alaska Anchorage Seawolves, however, hold the top spot as the state’s best Division II program. Alaska Anchorage made it to the Division II national championship game in 1988, losing to the University of Lowell, 75-72. More recently, the Seawolves advanced to the national semifinals in 2008.

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University of Maine Athletic Department

Maine: Maine Black Bears

NCAA tournament appearances: 0

The Black Bears compete in the America East Conference as part of Division I, but have never made it to the Big Dance. Maine’s last winning season came in 2009-10, when the team went 19-11 (11-5). Since the 2013-14 season, the Black Bears have lost at least 22 games each year.

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Chris Coduto // Getty Images

North Dakota: North Dakota State Bison

NCAA tournament wins: 1

NCAA tournament appearances: 3

North Dakota State made its first NCAA tournament appearance in 2009. The Bison’s lone tournament win came in 2014, when, as a No. 12 seed, a late 3-pointer sent the game against Oklahoma into overtime. North Dakota State eventually won, 80-75.

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Christian Petersen // Getty Images

South Dakota: South Dakota State Jackrabbits

NCAA tournament wins: 0

NCAA tournament appearances: 4

South Dakota State moved to Division I in 2004 and made its first tournament appearance in 2012. It’s made the field in four of the past six years, but the Jackrabbits are still searching for their first win. They’ve been close twice, though — first in 2012 to No. 3 seed Baylor, 68-60, and then in 2016 to No. 5 seed Maryland, 79-74.

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Keith Lovett // Wikicommons

Delaware: Delaware Fightin’ Blue Hens

NCAA tournament wins: 0

NCAA tournament appearances: 5

Delaware made its first tournament appearance in 1992, losing as a No. 13 seed to Cincinnati, 85-47. Its last appearance came in 2014, when the Fightin’ Hens lost to Michigan State, 93-78, in the round of 64.

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Darryl Oumi // Getty Images

Hawaii: Hawaii Rainbow Warriors

NCAA tournament wins: 1

NCAA tournament appearances: 5

In its fifth tournament appearance in 2016, the Rainbow Warriors finally pulled off a win by upsetting the No. 4 seed California Golden Bears, 77-66. It ended a 14-year tournament drought, as the program hadn’t made the Big Dance since 2002.

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Jim McIsaac // Getty Images

Vermont: Vermont Catamounts

NCAA tournament wins: 2

NCAA tournament appearances: 6

Vermont has advanced past the round of 64 just once in its six appearances, but that instance serves as one of the most memorable tournament moments of the 21st century. In 2005, the No. 13 seed Catamounts knocked off No. 4 seed Syracuse, 60-57. The defining moment came when Vermont guard T.J. Sorrentine made a ridiculously deep 3-pointer with just over a minute remaining in overtime to give the Catamounts a four-point lead.

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PhotoByFriday.com

New Hampshire: Dartmouth Big Green

NCAA Final Fours: 2

NCAA tournament wins: 10

NCAA tournament appearances: 7

Dartmouth hasn’t made the Big Dance since 1959, with all seven of its appearances coming between 1941 to 1959. The Big Green made two national championship game appearances in 1942 and 1944, losing both times. The only other Division I program in New Hampshire, the New Hampshire Wildcats, has never made the NCAA tournament.

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Berniestew // Wikicommons

South Carolina: South Carolina Gamecocks

NCAA Final Fours: 1

NCAA tournament wins: 8

NCAA tournament appearances: 9

Prior to the 2017 NCAA tournament, South Carolina had made the Sweet Sixteen just three times, all coming from 1971 to 1973. Between 1974 and 2004, the Gamecocks made the field five times and were bounced in the first round each time. South Carolina didn’t make the tournament from 2005 to 2016 before getting in as a No. 7 seed last season. It then went on a historic tear, beating No. 2 seed Duke in the round of 32 en route to the school’s first-ever Final Four appearance.

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University of Montana Athletics

Montana: Montana Grizzlies

NCAA tournament wins: 2

NCAA tournament appearances: 10

In its first-ever NCAA tournament game in 1975, the Grizzlies beat Utah State in the first round before dropping a tough 67-64 loss to UCLA in the second round. UCLA went on to win the national championship. Montana’s second tournament win came in 2006 when, as a No. 12 seed, the Grizzlies beat No. 5 seed Nevada.

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Michael Reaves // Getty Images

Mississippi: Mississippi State Bulldogs

NCAA Final Fours: 1

NCAA tournament wins: 11

NCAA tournament appearances: 10

The Bulldogs made a run to the Final Four in 1996, led by center Erick Dampier, who averaged 13.8 points and 8.2 rebounds per game during the tournament. Mississippi State made six tournament appearances between 2002 and 2009, but haven’t made the Big Dance since.

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Ken Lund // Wikicommons

Idaho: Idaho State Bengals

NCAA tournament wins: 8

NCAA tournament appearances: 11

Idaho State qualified for the tournament eight straight seasons from 1953 to 1960. The Bengals even made it to the Elite Eight in 1977 — a run highlighted by a second-round upset of UCLA, which had made nine consecutive Final Fours up to that point

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Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Minnesota: Minnesota Golden Gophers

NCAA tournament wins: 13

NCAA tournament appearances: 13

The Golden Gophers made a run to the Final Four in 1997, knocking off No. 2 seed UCLA in the Elite Eight. Minnesota didn’t win another NCAA tournament game until 2013, when, coincidentally, the Golden Gophers again defeated the Bruins in the round of 64.

 

 

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Doug Pensinger / Staff

Colorado: Colorado Buffaloes

NCAA Final Fours: 2

NCAA tournament wins: 10

NCAA tournament appearances: 14

Most of the Buffaloes’ success on the hardwood came in the early years of the NCAA tournament. Colorado made the Final Four in 1942 and 1955, and the program has made five Sweet Sixteen appearances — though none since 1969. Following a 27-year tournament drought, Colorado finally returned to the field in 1997 lead by Chauncey Billups. The Buffaloes have since appeared in five more tournaments, though they’ve gotten out of the first round just twice since 1997.

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U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Jason Wiese

Wyoming: Wyoming Cowboys

NCAA championships: 1

NCAA Final Fours: 1

NCAA tournament wins: 9

NCAA tournament appearances: 15

Wyoming’s lone national championship came in 1943, the fifth year the NCAA tournament was held. At that time, the field was only eight teams deep, and there was no seeding process. Since 1943, the Cowboys have made the field 13 times but advanced past the first round just five times. The only year Wyoming had multiple tournament wins after 1943 was in 1987, when the Cowboys made it to the Sweet Sixteen as a No. 12 seed before losing to UNLV.

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Steve Dykes // Getty Images

Oregon: Oregon Ducks

NCAA championships: 1

NCAA Final Fours: 2

NCAA tournament wins: 23

NCAA tournament appearances: 15

Oregon won the inaugural NCAA tournament by beating Ohio State, 46-33, in the title game. The Ducks would not return to the Final Four again until 2017 after making five fruitless Elite Eight appearances in between. The 2017 team advanced to the Final Four by beating No. 1 seed Kansas, thanks in large part to forward Jordan Bell’s eight blocked shots.

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Thomson200

Georgia: Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

NCAA Final Fours: 2

NCAA tournament wins: 23

NCAA tournament appearances: 16

The Yellow Jackets came close to reaching the pinnacle in 2004 when, as a No. 3 seed, they advanced to the national championship game, where they lost to Connecticut. Georgia Tech has made three tournaments since 2004 (2005, 2007 and 2010), advancing past the first round twice.

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Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Massachusetts: Boston College Eagles

NCAA tournament wins: 22

NCAA tournament appearances: 18

From 1994 to 2009, Boston College made the NCAA tournament in 10 out of 16 seasons, but only advanced to the Sweet Sixteen twice. The Eagles advanced to the Elite Eight in 1994 as a No. 9 seed, a run highlighted by a second-round upset of No. 1 seed North Carolina.

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Wesley Skies // Wikicommons

Rhode Island: Providence Friars

NCAA Final Fours: 2

NCAA tournament wins: 15

NCAA tournament appearances: 19

The Friars last made the Final Four in 1987 as a No. 6 seed, a run that was made possible after Providence was nearly upset by No. 14 seed Austin Peay in the second round. Providence won that game, 90-87, in overtime, then knocked off the top two seeds in the region before falling to Syracuse in the national semifinal. The Friars advanced to the Elite Eight in 1997 as a No. 10 seed, but have just one tournament win since then.

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Thebobbyroberts // Wikicommons

Alabama: Alabama Crimson Tide

NCAA tournament wins: 20

NCAA tournament appearances: 19

Alabama’s deepest tournament run came in 2004 when, as a No. 8 seed, the Crimson Tide advanced to the Elite Eight. Alabama upset No. 1 seed Stanford — a team that entered the tournament with a  30-1 record — in the second round, before falling to Connecticut in the regional final. Alabama’s last tournament win came against Marquette in 2006.

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Mitchell Leff // Getty Images

Nebraska: Creighton Bluejays

NCAA tournament wins: 12

NCAA tournament appearances: 20

Creighton’s lone Elite Eight appearance came in 1941 — the third year of the tournament. That achievement rings a bit hollow, though, as there were just eight teams in the field that season. From 1941 to 1998, the Bluejays made the tournament just nine times. Since then, Creighton has made the field in 11 out of 19 seasons, though the program hasn’t made the Sweet Sixteen since 1974.

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SD Dirk // Wikicommons

Washington: Gonzaga Bulldogs

NCAA Final Fours: 1

NCAA tournament wins: 29

NCAA Tournament appearances: 20

When Mark Few became Gonzaga’s head coach ahead of the 1999-2000 season, the Bulldogs had made the NCAA tournament just twice — in 1995 and 1999. Under Few, the Zags have qualified for the Big Dance in 19 straight seasons, becoming the undisputed kings of the mid-majors in the process. Few has guided Gonzaga to the Sweet Sixteen seven times and finally broke through to the Final Four in 2017, leading the team to the national championship game, where it fell to North Carolina.

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U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Daniel Hughe

Nevada: UNLV Runnin’ Rebels

NCAA championships: 1

NCAA Final Fours: 4

NCAA tournament wins: 33

NCAA tournament appearances: 20

Led by an impressive collection of talent that included three future first-round NBA draft picks — Larry Johnson, Stacey Augmon and Greg Anthony — UNLV ran through the competition during the 1990 NCAA tournament, eventually beating Duke by 30 in the national championship game. That was the peak of the program’s heyday, as the Runnin’ Rebels consistently won under head coach Jerry Tarkanian. UNLV made the Final Four in 1977 — Tarkanian’s fourth season — and then made the field each year from 1983 to 1991. The team advanced to the Elite Eight four times during that span, with three Final Fours.

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Official U.S. Navy Page // Flickr

Florida: Florida Gators

NCAA championships: 2

NCAA Final Fours: 5

NCAA tournament wins: 45

NCAA tournament appearances: 20

Florida might be the best “bang-for-your-buck” program in college basketball, in that when the Gators do qualify for the tournament, they make the most of it. In 20 appearances, Florida has made 11 Sweet Sixteen appearances, nine Elite Eights and five Final Fours. The Gators have been bounced out of the first round just five times. Most of this success came under former head coach Billy Donovan, who led the program from 1996 to 2015. The peak of that era came from when the Gators won back-to-back national titles in 2006 and 2007, led by a core of future first-round NBA draft picks Joakim Noah, Al Horford and Corey Brewer.

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The Sporting News Archives // Wikicommons

Louisiana: LSU Tigers

NCAA Final Fours: 4

NCAA tournament wins: 24

NCAA tournament appearances: 21

LSU first made the tournament in 1953, advancing to the Final Four before losing to eventual champion Indiana. The Tigers made the field again in 1954 before enduring a 25-year tournament drought. LSU has had two national player of the year award winners in its history — Pete Maravich and Shaquille O’Neal — but never advanced past the second round with O’Neal, and didn’t even make the tournament with Maravich. The Tigers made the Final Four three more times after their first appearance, most recently in 2006.

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Ryan M. Kelly // Getty Images

Virginia: Virginia Cavaliers

NCAA Final Fours: 2

NCAA tournament wins: 29

NCAA tournament appearances: 21

In many ways, the story of Virginia basketball begins with Ralph Sampson. Prior to his arrival as a freshman for the 1979-80 season, the Cavaliers had made the tournament just once. In four seasons, Sampson was named the national player of the year three times, leading the team to three Sweet Sixteen appearances and one Final Four (1981). Sampson left a lasting impact on the program, as Virginia returned to the Final Four in 1984 and qualified for the tournament in nine of the next 12 seasons after his departure. The program has enjoyed a resurgence under current head coach Tony Bennett, but is still searching for its third Final Four bid.

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U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Daniel E. F. Liddicoet

New Mexico: New Mexico State Aggies

NCAA Final Fours: 1

NCAA tournament wins: 10

NCAA tournament appearances: 23

New Mexico State’s lone Final Four appearance came in 1970, when the field included 25 teams, and ended with a loss to eventual champion UCLA. Since then, the Aggies have made the tournament 16 times and have been bounced out of the first round 14 times.

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Corey Perrine/Getty Images

New Jersey: Princeton Tigers

NCAA Final Fours: 1

NCAA tournament wins: 13

NCAA tournament appearances: 25

With apologies to Seton Hall — which has 11 appearances and 15 tournament wins — Princeton gets the nod as the top program in the Garden State. The Tigers made their lone Final Four appearance in 1965, eventually finishing in third place. Aside from that deep tournament run, Princeton’s signature March moment came in 1996 when, as a No. 13 seed, it upset defending champion UCLA in the first round.

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Castleton Road

Iowa: Iowa Hawkeyes

NCAA Final Fours: 3

NCAA tournament wins: 29

NCAA tournament appearances: 25

Iowa made back-to-back Final Fours in 1955 and 1956, losing in the championship game to San Francisco. The Hawkeyes returned to the Final Four in 1980 under head coach Lute Olson, who left four years later for Arizona. Iowa made the NCAA tournament 17 times in 23 years from 1979 to 2001, but have made the field just five times in 17 seasons since.

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Mark Schierbecker // Wikicommons

Missouri: Missouri Tigers

NCAA tournament wins: 22

NCAA tournament appearances: 26

Missouri has made five Elite Eight appearances but has come up short each time. Its most recent appearance came in 2009, when the Tigers lost to No. 1 seed Connecticut. Missouri’s most infamous tournament moment came in 2012, when it became the fifth No. 2 seed to ever be upset by a No. 15 seed in an 86-84 loss to Norfolk State.

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Beau B // Wikicommons

Tennessee: Memphis Tigers

NCAA Final Fours: 3

NCAA tournament wins: 34

NCAA tournament appearances: 26

Memphis made the Sweet Sixteen in four consecutive years from 1982 to 1985, thanks in large part to three-time All-American Keith Lee. The closest Memphis got to the mountaintop was in 2008, when the Tigers blew a nine-point lead with under two minutes to play against Kansas in the national championship game. Memphis advanced to the Sweet Sixteen the following year, but hasn’t made it past the second round since.

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Wlaw422 // Wikicommons

Maryland: Maryland Terrapins

NCAA championships: 1

NCAA Final Fours: 2

NCAA tournament wins: 41

NCAA tournament appearances: 26

Prior to Gary Williams’ arrival in College Park, the Maryland basketball program had just 10 NCAA tournament appearances and zero Final Fours. In 22 seasons, Williams led the Terrapins to 14 tournaments and two Final Fours, culminating in a 2002 national championship. That team was led by future NBA draft picks Juan Dixon, Chris Wilcox, Lonny Baxter and Steve Blake.

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Chris Covatta // Getty Images

West Virginia: West Virginia Mountaineers

NCAA Final Fours: 2

NCAA tournament wins: 29

NCAA tournament appearances: 28

Four of West Virginia’s 10 Sweet Sixteen appearances have come under head coach Bob Huggins, who led the Mountaineers to the Final Four in 2010 — the second Final Four in program history and first since 1959. West Virginia has made the tournament nine times in 11 seasons under Huggins (including 2018) and has only once had a losing record in conference play.

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Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Oklahoma: Oklahoma State Cowboys

NCAA championships: 2

NCAA Final Fours: 6

NCAA tournament wins: 38

NCAA tournament appearances: 28

It was a close call between the Cowboys and Oklahoma Sooners — who have more tournament wins (41) and appearances (30) than the Cowboys. But Oklahoma State gets the edge due to its advantage in Final Four appearances and national titles. Oklahoma State went back-to-back in 1945 and 1946, and last made the Final Four in 2004 under Eddie Sutton.

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Chris Coduto // Getty Images

Utah: Utah Utes

NCAA championships: 1

NCAA Final Fours: 4

NCAA tournament wins: 38

NCAA tournament appearances: 29

Utah won the title in 1944 and returned to the Final Four in 1961 and 1968, but didn’t make another run to the championship game until 1998. That season, under head coach Rick Majerus, the Utes featured future first-round NBA draft picks Andre Miller and Michael Doleac. Utah lost in the title game to Kentucky, 78-69, and the Utes have made the Sweet Sixteen just twice since (in 2005 and 2015).

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Michael Barera // Wikicommons

Illinois: Illinois Fighting Illini

NCAA Final Fours: 5

NCAA tournament wins: 40

NCAA tournament appearances: 30

Illinois has made the Final Four five times in program history. It made it to the title game in 2005, losing to North Carolina, 75-70. That team was led by guards Deron Williams, Dee Brown and Luther Head, all three of whom were team captains and All-Americans. Illinois has made the tournament six times since 2005 but has never advanced past the second round.

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Ronald Reagan Presidential Library & Museum/White House

Washington, D.C.: Georgetown Hoyas

NCAA championships: 1

NCAA Final Fours: 5

NCAA tournament wins: 47

NCAA tournament appearances: 30

The face of the Georgetown basketball program is undoubtedly Patrick Ewing, who led the Hoyas to their lone national championship in 1984. Georgetown again made the title game in 1985 but were upset by Villanova. The program’s next Final Four trip didn’t come again until 2007. In 30 NCAA tournament appearances, Georgetown has only been bounced in the first round eight times.

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Kevin C. Cox // Getty Images

Arkansas: Arkansas Razorbacks

NCAA championships: 1

NCAA Final Fours: 6

NCAA tournament wins: 42

NCAA tournament appearances: 31

Arkansas cut down the nets as national champions in 1994 as a No. 1 seed, knocking off Duke, 76-72, in the title game. The Razorbacks returned to the championship game the following season before losing to UCLA. The 1995 season marked the program’s third Final Four in six years. The team advanced to the Sweet Sixteen in 1996 but hasn’t been back since.

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Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Ohio: Cincinnati Bearcats

NCAA championships: 2

NCAA Final Fours: 6

NCAA tournament wins: 45

NCAA tournament appearances: 31

Cincinnati justed edged out Xavier and Ohio State for the top spot in the Buckeye State. The Bearcats won back-to-back titles in 1961 and 1962, and made it to the championship game in 1963. It made five consecutive Final Fours from 1959 to 1963 — twice led by future Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson — before finally making it for a fifth time in 1992. Cincinnati has made the tournament in eight straight seasons since 2011.

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U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Dylan McCord

Michigan: Michigan State Spartans

NCAA championships: 2

NCAA Final Fours: 9

NCAA tournament wins: 64

NCAA tournament appearances: 31

The bulk of Michigan State’s success as a basketball program has happened under current head coach Tom Izzo. Izzo has led the Spartans to seven Final Four appearances and one national title (2000). The longest Final Four drought Izzo has endured has been four seasons — from 2011 to 2014. Since arriving on campus, every senior class has reached the Final Four at least once.

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Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

Wisconsin: Marquette Golden Eagles

NCAA championships: 1

NCAA Final Fours: 3

NCAA tournament wins: 42

NCAA tournament appearances: 32

Marquette won the national championship in 1977 during head coach Al McGuire’s 13th and final season at the helm. The Golden Eagles finally made it back to the Final Four in 2003, led by sophomore guard Dwayne Wade. Marquette has made the tournament nine times since then but has only advanced to the Elite Eight once.

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Elsa Hasch /Allsport

Arizona: Arizona Wildcats

NCAA championships: 1

NCAA Final Fours: 4

NCAA tournament wins: 56

NCAA tournament appearances: 32

Arizona made the tournament in 25 straight seasons from 1985 to 2009, winning its lone national championship in 1997. That team was led by future NBA first-round draft picks Mike Bibby, Jason Terry, and Michael Dickerson, as well as 1997 Final Four most outstanding player Miles Simon. The Wildcats made it back to the title game in 2001, where they lost to Duke, and have since made the Elite Eight four times.

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Matthew D. Britt // Flickr

Connecticut: Connecticut Huskies

NCAA championships: 4

NCAA Final Fours: 5

NCAA tournament wins: 59

NCAA tournament appearances: 32

Connecticut definitely makes the most of its Final Four trips. The Huskies have won the title in four of their five Final Four appearances and have never lost in a national championship game. Perhaps UConn’s most memorable title run came in 2011, when the team won five games in five days to capture the Big East tournament title — a run that included a Kemba Walker buzzer-beater against Pittsburgh — before ripping off six straight wins in the NCAA tournament.

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Corpx // Wikicommons

Texas: Texas Longhorns

NCAA Final Fours: 3

NCAA tournament wins: 35

NCAA tournament appearances: 33

Texas made two Final Fours in a five-year span (1943 and 1947) before going on a 56-year drought, finally returning in 2003. That run was thanks in large part to that season’s John R. Wooden Award winner, T.J. Ford. The Longhorns have made the tournament 25 times since 1989, including in 2007 with Kevin Durant, only missing out on the action on four occasions.

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barberbonanza // Wikicommons

New York: Syracuse Orange

NCAA championships: 1

NCAA Final Fours: 6

NCAA tournament wins: 65

NCAA tournament appearances: 34

Nearly all of Syracuse’s basketball success has come under current head coach Jim Boeheim. Boeheim has coached the team since the 1976-77 season, leading the program to five Final Four appearances and its only national championship in 2003. That team was headlined by freshman Carmelo Anthony, who averaged 22.2 points per game and was named the tournament’s most outstanding player.

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Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Pennsylvania : Villanova Wildcats

 

NCAA championships: 2

NCAA Final Fours: 4

NCAA tournament wins: 58

NCAA tournament appearances: 36

Villanova became the lowest-seeded team to win the national championship in 1985 when, as a No. 8 seed, the Wildcats knocked off the defending champion Georgetown Hoyas, 66-64. Villanova returned to the Final Four in 2009, and finally won it all again in 2016, beating North Carolina on one of the most iconic shots in tournament history — a Kris Jenkins 3-pointer at the buzzer.

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Gary Mook/ALLSPORT

Indiana: Indiana Hoosiers

NCAA championships: 5

NCAA Final Fours: 8

NCAA tournament wins: 66

NCAA tournament appearances: 39

Three of Indiana’s five national titles came under Hall of Fame head coach Bob Knight. Knight’s 1975-76 team finished a perfect 32-0, and he led the Hoosiers to the Final Four five times. Indiana made it back to the Final Four in 2002, advancing to the national championship game before losing to Maryland, 64-52. It has not made it past the Sweet Sixteen since.

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Phil Roeder // Wikicommons

Kansas: Kansas Jayhawks

NCAA championships: 3

NCAA Final Fours: 14

NCAA tournament wins: 103

NCAA tournament appearances: 46

Kansas has won three national titles under three different coaches: Phog Allen (1952), Larry Brown (1988) and Bill Self (2008). In 2018, Self led Kansas to its 14th consecutive Big 12 championship, the longest conference title streak in Division I history. The Jayhawks’ championship in 2008 featured one of the most remarkable comebacks in title game history. Kansas stormed back from a nine-point deficit late in the game against Memphis to force overtime, capped by a 3-pointer from Mario Chalmers in the final seconds — a shot known now as the “Mario Miracle.”

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Associated Students of the University of California at Los Angeles

California: UCLA Bruins

NCAA championships: 11

NCAA Final Fours: 17

NCAA tournament wins: 106

NCAA tournament appearances: 46

The Bruins’ 11 national championships are the most in NCAA history. Ten of those titles came while the legendary John Wooden was the coach, with each happening within a 12-year span — a run that included a seven-year streak from 1967-73. Wooden’s UCLA teams featured legends like Lew Alcindor, Bill Walton, Gail Goodrich and Jamaal Wilkes, and he doctored one of the most dominant runs in American sports. UCLA’s most recent national championship came in 1995 under Jim Harrick, and the program appeared in three consecutive Final Fours under Ben Howland — most recently in 2008. The Bruins’ 1995 run was kept alive thanks to a buzzer-beating shot by guard Tyus Edney, who streaked the length of the court in under 4.8 seconds to beat Missouri, 75-74, in the second round.

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Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

North Carolina: North Carolina Tar Heels

NCAA championships: 6

NCAA Final Fours: 20

NCAA tournament wins: 123

NCAA tournament appearances: 48

With apologies to Duke — which has won five national titles, made 16 Final Fours and won 109 tournament games — the selection for the Tar Heel state goes to North Carolina, which trumps Duke in nearly every metric. The Tar Heels have made more Final Fours than any other program and featured perhaps the greatest basketball player of all-time in Michael Jordan, who played three collegiate seasons from 1981-84. North Carolina has won three national titles under current head coach Roy Williams, most recently in 2017.

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Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Kentucky: Kentucky Wildcats

NCAA championships: 8

NCAA Final Fours: 17

NCAA tournament wins: 126

NCAA tournament appearances: 56

Like the state of North Carolina, Kentucky features two top-flight programs within its borders. But as impressive as the Louisville Cardinals’ resume is, it can’t compare to the Kentucky Wildcats. Only UCLA has more national championships, and North Carolina is the only program with more Final Four appearances. Kentucky is the all-time leader in tournament wins, appearances and games played (177). The Wildcats won four national championships under legendary coach Adolph Rupp, followed by one each under John B. Hall (1978), Rick Pitino (1996), Tubby Smith (1998) and John Calipari (2012). The program’s most recent title-winning team was headlined by freshmen Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, and Marquise Teague — all of whom were selected in the first round of that year’s NBA draft.

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