The Greatest Team of the Decade is…

As the New Year rolls in, so does a new decade. The 2010s saw plenty of action in college basketball with conference realignments, mid-major final four runs and the first #16 to beat a one in the NCAA tournament. With 2020 approaching the question arises as to who was the best team of the decade?

What defines a successful team? Plenty of teas have had success throughout the 2010s. Wichita State and Kentucky both finished the regular season undefeated, eight different programs won a national championship, thirteen programs reached the title game and twenty-five programs made the Final Four. Does that truly define the best? Any team can make a run in the NCAA tournament. Since 2010 there have been eight teams who made the Final Four as a seven seed or lower. So what is it that makes a team the best?

There were lots to look at but in determining the best teams of the 2010s a few factors stuck out. First, a team that doesn’t make the NCAA tournament can be discounted. Teams that were not seeded in the top four in their region also were discounted. Earning a top four seed means that throughout the season, with your whole body of work you were one the best sixteen teams in the country. More so, a team that was able to reach the Final Four also had to be considered as well as winning percentages.

Next, NCAA tournament success was accounted for. The goal for every team at the start of the season is an NCAA title, a great team that fails to win games in the tournament cannot be considered great.

Lastly, a tool needed to be used that could compare teams across seasons. KenPom ratings were taking into account as they provide a great factor to the success of a team consistently throughout the seasons. The higher the rating the better the team is.

With these factors in mind, here are the greatest teams of the past decade.

#10

maxresdefault (2)2016 Villanova
NCAA Seed: 2
KenPom Rating: 32.01

Jay Wright’s first national championship team finished first in at KenPom in 2016. The team played in one of the greatest championship games of all time with Kris Jenkins hitting a three at the buzzer to lift Villanova to their first championship since 1985. The Wildcats had an offense and defense ranked in the top five in the country. Josh Hart led the way but the heart of the team was Ryan Arcidiacono.

#9

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2015 Duke
NCAA Seed: 1
KenPom Rating: 32.38

Coach K has coached plenty of great teams throughout his career but the will and effort of his 2015 National Championship team earned them a place on this list with two other 2015 teams. They finished third at KenPom with a top ten offense and defense. Jahlil Okafor was a unanimous All-American with Quinn Cook making the second team for Sporting News. One setback was their lack of conference championships as they are the lone team who failed to capture at least one that season.

#8

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2015 Wisconsin
NCAA Seed: 1
KenPom Rating: 33.72

The second from 2015, Wisconsin fell to Duke in the National Championship game after and is only one of three teams here that did not win a National Championship. The Badgers finished second at KenPom and had the overall best offense. Led by the consensus All-American Frank Kaminsky this is arguably the best Wisconsin team of all-time. Bo Ryan’s final team gave everything they had falling one win and five points away from a National Championship.

#7

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2017 Gonzaga
NCAA Seed: 1
KenPom Rating: 32.05

The second team here who fell short in the National Title game the Bulldogs came as close as ever to their first National Championship. The Bulldogs lost one game all season before they fell to North Carolina. The Bulldogs finished first at KenPom and had the overall top defense. Nigel Williams-Goss was a consensus second team All-American but the likes of Przemek Karnowski and Jordan Mathews also in the fold the Bulldogs were a formidable team.

#6

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2010 Duke
NCAA Seed: 1
KenPom Rating: 32.29

An inch or so away from falling in the National Championship game, Duke was able to beat Butler when Gordon Haywards half-court heave fell off the iron to give coach K another championship. Duke finished the season ranked first at KenPom and finished top five in both offense and defense. The most amazing feat is that this was no Duke team decorated with one-and-done talent. After the 2010 season zero players from the roster were drafted to the NBA. Nolan Smith was drafted in 2011 and the Plumlee twins were also eventually drafted, but this Duke team dominated exactly like that as a team.

#5

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2013 Louisville
NCAA Seed: 1
KenPom Rating: 32.92

The wins and the championship have been vacated, but there is no denying the fact that when these players were on the court they dominated. They finished top ten in offense and defense at KenPom and led the way overall after claiming the top spot. The Cardinals were spectacular and finished the season winning sixteen straight to give the Cardinals the NCAA championship.

#4

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2018 Villanova
NCAA Seed: 1
KenPom Rating: 33.76

Two years after Jay Wright’s first national championship the Wildcats did it again. Villanova lost their first Big East regular season title for the first time since 2014, but the Wildcats dominated in the NCAA tournament. Villanova finished the season winning the Big East tournament and then winning by an average of 17.6 points in the NCAA tournament. The Wildcats finished top ranks at KenPom and their offense was ranked best in the country.

#3

8a05ffb26bffef3d5c7d4cb92cb3a36c_crop_north2015 Kentucky
NCAA Seed: 1
KenPom Rating: 36.91

As the third team from 2015, this Wildcat team is the only team on this top ten not to reach a championship game. Kentucky was a team no one wanted to play. The Wildcats finished the season 38-1 after falling to Wisconsin in the Final Four. They finished as the best team at KenPom and top six in both offense and defense. They finished an undefeated SEC schedule and finished as the highest rated team ever in the KenPom era.

#2

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2012 Kentucky
NCAA Seed: 1
KenPom Rating: 32.59

In 2012 the Wildcats had no problem finishing with an NCAA title. The Wildcats finished first at KenPom and were rated in the top ten in both offense and defense. The Wildcats only suffered two losses on the season and once again rolled through the SEC undefeated in the regular season. Six players were drafted after the season to the NBA including the top two picks in Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.

#1

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2019 Virginia
NCAA Seed: 1
KenPom Rating: 34.22

After becoming the biggest embarrassment the previous season when they lost to #16 seed UMBC, Virginia redeemed themselves 2019. They won the National Championship, the ACC regular season, finished first at KenPom, and had both offense and defense rated top five in the country. Three players were drafted to the NBA and after only three losses on the season, Virginia was not a surprise to win it all. After a tough road in the NCAA tournament including two overtime wins the 2019 Virginia Cavaliers can be called the best team of the decade.

 

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