Ranking the Top Programs of the 21st Century #100 – # 76
Making the top 100 is an amazing feat. While all of these teams have had years of success, many have still had down years that inhibit further progress in the rankings. The 19 years being covered allows lots of time for teams to have down years and still make a name for themselves. Some are on the rise, while others are dropping fast. However, one thing that is known for certain is every single one of these teams has had some deal of success within the century. With 100 days until the start of the season its time to see the next group of the best of the best of the 21st century.
# 100 Pacific Tigers
The Tigers spent a long time in the Big West where they found most of their success under Bob Thomason. They have four regular season titles, three tournament titles, they received an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament, went to the second round twice and were able to accomplish eight 20-win seasons while also achieving a rank as high as 17 in the AP polls. The 2013-2014 season brought in a big change as they no longer had Thomason with them and moved to WCC. Since that point the program has struggled and have only had one winning season.
Rating Score: 21.53
# 99 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
The Yellow Jackets are another team out of the ACC that have struggled to win championships. With zero championships of any kind to show have really held down the program, but a strong run from 2000-2010 with Paul Hewitt has kept the program alive. The team has made the NCAA tournament five times and also earned a three seed in 2004 when they reached the national title game before losing to Connecticut. As far as the other tournament appearances, they didn’t go quite as well as they were unable to even reach the Sweet 16 in any of those years. Overall, the Yellow Jackets have had success in the regular season as they were ranked as high as number three in the AP poll in two separate seasons.
Rating Score: 21.70
# 98 Robert Morris Colonials
Robert Morris has seen success within the Northeast Conference. The Colonials showed much of that strong run from 2007-2015 where they were able to compile seven 20-win seasons and three trips to the NCAA tournament. The Colonials have also been able to claim the Northeast in five seasons while continuing their success. Down years have hurt as they have seen five different coaches within the decade but with a 330-278 record the good years have been plenty.
Rating Score: 21.98
# 97 Kansas State Wildcats
Another classic program that has struggled to overcome the ultimate powerhouse in the Big 12. The Wildcats have been a force to deal with since the 2006-2007 season with Bob Huggins as a coach. While they didn’t make it to the NCAA tournament the team did manage to rack up a 23-win season. Since that time Frank Martin and Bruce Weber have been able to get the Wildcats rolling as they have continued their winning ways with nine more 20-win seasons and eight trips to the Big Dance. They have achieved an AP ranking as high as number three in the country and and have been seeded as high as a two in the NCAA tournament while making the the Elite Eight twice. The only area that can really be improved is winning the Big 12.
Rating Score: 22.46
# 96 Oral Roberts Golden Eagles
Oral Roberts has spent time in the Mid-Continent, Summit, and Southland conferences within the past decade. Over that span they have racked up five conference regular season titles and have marched on into the big dance on three consecutive seasons increasing there seed every year..
Rating Score: 22.62
# 95 Miami (FL) Hurricanes
The Hurricanes are another team that can claim to be a victim of the blue blood syndrome. With a few years in the Big East and many more in the ACC, Miami has struggled to bring home the tournament titles only claiming two regular season and one tournament title. The Hurricanes have however been a formidable foe in March. They have reached the field of 64 seven times and have advanced as far as the Sweet 16 on three separate occasions. Miami can also boast about AP ratings as they have soared as high as #2.
Rating Score: 22.75
# 94 Georgia State Panthers
The Panthers of Georgia State have plenty to be proud about. The team has claimed five regular season titles as they have played in the Atlantic Sun, Colonial, and Sun Belt Conference. With three tournament titles and three trips to the NCAA tournament they have also advanced to the round of 32 twice.
Rating Score: 23.03
# 93 Northern Iowa Panthers
Northern Iowa has spent the entire 21st century in the Missouri Valley conference, where they have sustained a high level program that can compete against the big guys. With other programs in the Missouri Valley at high levels the Panthers have only been able to walk away once as the regular season champions, but seem to play well with their backs against a wall as they can claim to be the conference tournament champions five times. They have reached the NCAA tournament 7 times and have been able to advance as far as the Sweet 16.
# 92 Sam Houston State Bearkats
The Bearkats have been a constant program in the Sun Belt. They have taking home the regular season title five times and have been marching in March twice. With early exits in the NCAA tournament Sam Houston State doesn’t have much more that the program can claim.
# 91 Siena Saints
Siena has been one of the programs to beat in the MAAC. Over the last 19 seasons they have won the MAAC five times. The Saints have also been a tough out in March. They have been dancing on four occasions with three of those coming from automatic births after winning the MAAC tournament. The Saints have moved on to the round of 32 twice and have even been seeded as high as a 9 seed in the Big dance.
Rating Score: 23.47
# 90 UNC Asheville Bulldogs
As a member of the Big South the Bulldogs have seen a number of years that can be labeled as a success. The Bulldogs can boast about their five regular season titles and along with that they have entered the NCAA tournament four times but have never been seeded
Rating Score: 23.48
# 89 Alabama Crimson Tide
Another school from the SEC that just hasn’t been able to get a move on and keep up a consistent performance year after year. The Crimson Tide have been able to rack up a 374-255 record (.595) but seem to struggle against strong opponents. They have reached the NCAA tournament in seven seasons going on a run of five consecutive trips from 2001-2006. However, all of those trips have ended before the SWeet 16 besides one trip to the Elite Eight in 2004. With three regular season titles they have been working hard but are unable to take that step further until the program remains consistent.
Rating Score: 23.49
# 88 Holy Cross Crusaders
Holy Cross has been a Patriot League foe that has been a hard out for the other members of the league. However, once out amongst the other leagues the Crusaders tend to struggle. Holy Cross holds a claim to nine titles all together. They have won the Patriot League regular season four times and have taken home the tournament title five times to make it to the NCAA tournament. That’s about as far as they get as they have lost in the First Round in all of their NCAA tournament games.
Rating Score: 24.06
# 87 Washington Huskies
The Washington Huskies are another program that is so close to the consistency of a program on the rise but has been unable to maintain their success. With 350 wins in the last decade they have propelled themselves into six NCAA tournaments. Of those six they have reached the Sweet 16 three times but have been unable to make it any deeper into March. As a program that does tend to rack up some conference titles the Huskies have fared well against the powerhouse of Arizona as they have five Pac-12 titles. Washington has reached as high as eight in the AP poll and have been seeded as a one in March. The struggles of consistency will haunt the team as they still haven’t found their way.
# 86 Milwaukee Panthers
The early cinderella out of the Horizon stuned the country under Bruce Pearl in 2004 as they reached the Sweet 16 as a 12 seed and ended the season 26-6. The 2003-2004 season was a big highlight for the program and put the team on the map. As the Panthers have managed to go 327-226 in the last decade they have also totaled four regular season and four conference tournament titles. The panthers have seen many highs but also are a mid-major program that has been unable to break out of the classic mid-major status.
Rating Score: 24.13
# 85 Western Michigan Broncos
With only two trips to the NCAA tournament the Broncos of Western Michigan seem out of place this high in the ranking. As a member of the MAC Western Michigan has wrapped up a total of seven regular season titles. With the league split into East and West divisions the Broncos have fared well in the West but unfortunately the West has consistently been the weaker division and when the time comes to play in the MAC tournament the Broncos fall short.
Rating Score: 24.33
# 84 Chattanooga Mocs
As a mid-major program in Tennessee, the Mocs have played well over time to make a name for themselves in Tennessee. As a member of the Southern conference they have been one of, if not the, team to beat. Chattanooga has racked up six regular season titles claiming the Southern conference year after year. Their luck isn’t quite as nice when it comes to the Southern Conference tournament as they have only won three tournaments to advance to the NCAA tournament.
Rating Score: 24.56
# 83 Tulsa Golden Hurricane
Tulsa has been a team that can’t seem to find a true home for themselves. The Golden Hurricane have spent time in the WAC, Conference USA, and now reside in the American Athletic conference. With each of their moves no true success seems to follow. Tulsa has three regular season titles and 2 automatic births to the NCAA tournament. With four totlal tickets punched in March the success ends their as they have been unable to make it to the Sweet 16.
Rating Score: 24.61
# 82 St. Mary’s Gaels
As a true Mid -major program, St. Mary’s has found it difficult as a member of the WCC behind Gonzaga. Without the Bulldogs the Gaels would rise greatly in these rankings. St. Mary’s has found luck on three different occasions being able to slay the giant and take home a WCC regular season title and two more times winning the WCC conference tournament. However, their success doesn’t end their as they have climbed the ranking to as high as 11 and have been to a total of six NCAA tournaments. A loss in the Sweet 16 in 2010 was as far as the Gaels would make it but with no fault of their own.
Rating Score: 24.66
# 81 Akron Zips
The Zips have zipped on through the MAC as they have a total of eight MAC titles( five regular, three tournament). However, they haven’t been able to take advantage of their trips to the NCAA tournament as all three of their trips have ended in the round of 64. Akron has done some damage as they have gone 395-252.
Rating Score: 25.19
# 80 Missouri Tigers
Consistency for a program starts with a successful coach and the Tigers seem to have trouble keeping that coach around. Throughout the 21st century Missouri is on their sixth coach and hoping that this one will stay around for a while. Throughout all these changes the team has managed to make the NCAA tournament 10 times and have even reached the Elite Eight twice. They have been ranked as high as number two in the country and even seeded as a two in the NCAA tournament. As a member of the Big 12 they struggled to bring home conferences titles and still do now as a men=mber of the SEC. In total the Tigers have claimed two tournament titles.
Rating Score: 25.24
# 79 College of Charleston Cougars
As a member of the Southern and CAA conferences the Cougars are a scary team during the regular season as they have racked up 394 wins and seven regular season titles. However, that’s where the success ends. The Cougars have only won their tournament once to move on to the NCAA tournament where they lost in the first round.
Rating Score: 25.38
# 78 Texas Southern Tigers
The dominance of the SWAC belongs to Texas Southern the past few years. Going 127-35 over they last nine years in the SWAC has been pretty impressive. The Tigers have also claimed six regular season titles and five tournament titles. With no luck thus far in the NCAA tournament te Tigers challenge themselves every year with a tough non-conference schedule and will most likely find that first win in the NCAA tournament soon.
Rating Score: 25.76
# 77 George Mason Patriots
The team of 2006 was the Patriots of George Mason. As the teamed stunned team after team in the NCAA tournament to reach the Final Four as an 11 seed. That’s not all that the Patriots can boast, they have also claimed three regular season titles and have been to the NCAA tournament three other times all under Jim Larrranaga. Since his departure to Miami and their move from the the CAA to the A-10 the Patriots have struggled.
Rating Score: 26.62
# 76 Princeton Tigers
The Tigers of the Ivy have done a wonderful job keeping pace with the pack. Princeton has reached the NCAA tournament four times and have won the IVY a total of five times. The Tigers haven’t done much more as the program has had a difficult time staying successful as they seem to only be successful every four years.
Rating Score: 26.72