Jim Calhoun, UConn Huskies, Big East basketball, March Madness

March Madness can bring out the best (UConn) and worst (Purdue) in college basketball programs.

Like anything in sports, it’s all debatable. UCLA has the most national championships with 11, but 10 of them came before the NCAA Tournament expanded in 1985. Gonzaga only has two Final Four appearances, but only became a college basketball powerhouse in the 21st century.

To try and keep as much debate out of the room as possible, I came up with a (minimally flawed) system to truly rank programs by their March Madness success since the NCAA Tournament expanded to 64 teams (and now 68). It goes as follows.

March Madness program rankings rubric:

  • NCAA Tournament appearance (since 1985) – 1 point
  • Eliminated in Sweet 16 or Elite 8 (since 1985) – 4 points
  • Eliminated in Final 4 or National Championship (since 1985) – 8 points
  • Won National Championship (since 1985) – 16 points

*Programs are awarded points for an appearance, plus how far they make it in the NCAA Tournament plus the FURTHEST they advanced in that tournament. In other words, a team that won the National Championship in 1990 will get 11 points.

1. Duke – 232 points

  • 36 NCAA Tournament appearances (since 1985) – 36 points
  • 13 times eliminated in Sweet 16 or Elite 8 (since 1985) – 52 points
  • 8 times eliminated in Final 4 or National Championship (since 1985) – 64 points
  • 5 National Championships (since 1985) – 80 points

2. North Carolina – 210 points

  • 34 NCAA Tournament appearances (since 1985) – 34 points
  • 12 times eliminated in Sweet 16 or Elite 8 (since 1985) – 48 points
  • 8 times eliminated in Final 4 or National Championship (since 1985) – 64 points
  • 4 National Championship (since 1985) – 64 points

3. Kansas – 193 points

  • 37 NCAA Tournament appearances (since 1985) – 37 point
  • 13 times eliminated in Sweet 16 or Elite 8 (since 1985) – 52 points
  • 7 times eliminated in Final 4 or National Championship (since 1985) – 56 points
  • 3 National Championships (since 1985) – 48 points

4. Kentucky – 176 points

  • 32 NCAA Tournament appearances (since 1985) – 32 points
  • 14 times eliminated in Sweet 16 or Elite 8 (since 1985) – 56 points
  • 5 times eliminated in Final 4 or National Championship (since 1985) – 40 points
  • 3 National Championships (since 1985) – 48 points

5. UConn – 147 points

  • 23 NCAA Tournament appearances (since 1985) – 23 point
  • 9 times eliminated in Sweet 16 or Elite 8 (since 1985) – 36 points
  • 1 time eliminated in Final 4 or National Championship (since 1985) – 8 points
  • 5 National Championships (since 1985) – 80 points

6. Michigan State – 140 points

  • 32 NCAA Tournament appearances (since 1985) – 32 points
  • 9 times eliminated in Sweet 16 or Elite 8 (since 1985) – 36 points
  • 7 times eliminated in Final 4 or National Championship (since 1985) – 56 points
  • 1 National Championship (since 1985) – 16 points

7. Arizona – 130 points

  • 34 NCAA Tournament appearances (since 1985) – 34 points
  • 14 times eliminated in Sweet 16 or Elite 8 (since 1985) – 56 points
  • 3 times eliminated in Final 4 or National Championship (since 1985) – 8 points
  • 1 National Championship (since 1985) – 16 points

8. Syracuse – 121 points

  • 29 NCAA Tournament appearances (since 1985) – 29 points
  • 11 times eliminated in Sweet 16 or Elite 8 (since 1985) – 44 points
  • 4 times eliminated in Final 4 or National Championship (since 1985) – 32 points
  • 1 National Championship (since 1985) – 16 points

9. Louisville – 114 points

  • 26 NCAA Tournament appearances (since 1985) – 26 points
  • 10 times eliminated in Sweet 16 or Elite 8 (since 1985) – 40 points
  • 2 times eliminated in Final 4 or National Championship (since 1985) – 16 points
  • 2 National Championships (since 1985) – 32 points

10. Villanova – 109 points

  • 25 NCAA Tournament appearances (since 1985) – 25 point
  • 5 times eliminated in Sweet 16 or Elite 8 (since 1985) – 20 points
  • 2 times eliminated in Final 4 or National Championship (since 1985) – 16 points
  • 3 National Championships (since 1985) – 48 points

11. UCLA – 105 points

  • 29 NCAA Tournament appearances (since 1985) – 29 points
  • 12 times eliminated in Sweet 16 or Elite 8 (since 1985) – 48 points
  • 4 times eliminated in Final 4 or National Championship (since 1985) – 32 points
  • 1 National Championship (since 1985) – 16 points

12. Florida – 103 points

  • 23 NCAA Tournament appearances (since 1985) – 23 points
  • 6 times eliminated in Sweet 16 or Elite 8 (since 1985) – 24 points
  • 3 times eliminated in Final 4 or National Championship (since 1985) – 24 points
  • 2 National Championships (since 1985) – 32 points

13. Michigan – 99 points

  • 23 NCAA Tournament appearances (since 1985) – 23 points
  • 7 times eliminated in Sweet 16 or Elite 8 (since 1985) – 28 points
  • 4 times eliminated in Final 4 or National Championship (since 1985) – 32 points
  • 1 National Championship (since 1985) – 16 points

14. Indiana – 87 points

  • 27 NCAA Tournament appearances (since 1985) – 27 points
  • 7 times eliminated in Sweet 16 or Elite 8 (since 1985) – 28 points
  • 2 times eliminated in Final 4 or National Championship (since 1985) – 16 points
  • 1 National Championship (since 1985) – 16 points

15. Gonzaga – 85 points

  • 25 NCAA Tournament appearances (since 1985) – 25 points
  • 11 times eliminated in Sweet 16 or Elite 8 (since 1985) – 44 points
  • 2 times eliminated in Final 4 or National Championship (since 1985) – 16 points

T-16. Arkansas – 79 points

  • 23 NCAA Tournament appearances (since 1985) – 23 points
  • 6 times Eliminated in Sweet 16 or Elite 8 (since 1985) – 24 points
  • 2 times eliminated in Final 4 or National Championship (since 1985) – 16 points
  • 1 National Championship (since 1985) – 16 points

T-16. Oklahoma – 79 points

  • 27 NCAA Tournament appearances (since 1985) – 27 points
  • 7 times eliminated in Sweet 16 or Elite 8 (since 1985) – 28 points
  • 3 times eliminated in Final 4 or National Championship (since 1985) – 24 points

18. Wisconsin – 76 points

  • 24 NCAA Tournament appearances (since 1985) – 24 points
  • 7 times eliminated in Sweet 16 or Elite 8 (since 1985) – 28 points
  • 3 times eliminated in Final 4 or National Championship (since 1985) – 24 points

19. Maryland – 75 points

  • 23 NCAA Tournament appearances (since 1985) – 23 points
  • 7 times eliminated in Sweet 16 or Elite 8 (since 1985) – 28 points
  • 1 time eliminated in Final 4 or National Championship (since 1985) – 8 points
  • 1 National Championship (since 1985) – 16 points

20. Purdue – 73 points

  • 29 NCAA Tournament appearances (since 1985) – 29 points
  • 11 times eliminated in Sweet 16 or Elite 8 (since 1985) – 44 points

21. Ohio State – 66 points

  • 22 NCAA Tournament appearances (since 1985) – 22 points
  • 5 times eliminated in Sweet 16 or Elite 8 (since 1985) – 20 points
  • 3 times eliminated in Final 4 or National Championship (since 1985) – 24 points

22. Texas – 65 points

  • 29 NCAA Tournament appearances (since 1985) – 29 points
  • 7 times eliminated in Sweet 16 or Elite 8 (since 1985) – 28 points
  • 1 time eliminated in Final 4 or National Championship (since 1985) – 8 points

23. Xavier – 63 points

  • 27 NCAA Tournament appearances (since 1985) – 27 points
  • 9 times eliminated in Sweet 16 or Elite 8 (since 1985) – 36 points

24. Georgetown – 62 points

  • 22 NCAA Tournament appearances (since 1985) – 22 point
  • 6 times eliminated in Sweet 16 or Elite 8 (since 1985) – 24 points
  • 2 times eliminated in Final 4 or National Championship (since 1985) – 16 points

25. UNLV – 59 points

  • 15 NCAA Tournament appearances (since 1985) – 15 points
  • 3 times eliminated in Sweet 16 or Elite 8 (since 1985) – 12 points
  • 2 times eliminated in Final 4 or National Championship (since 1985) – 16 points
  • 1 National Championship (since 1985) – 16 points

26. Illinois – 57 points

  • 25 NCAA Tournament appearances (since 1985) – 25 points
  • 4 times eliminated in Sweet 16 or Elite 8 (since 1985) – 16 points
  • 2 times eliminated in Final 4 or National Championship (since 1985) – 16 points

T-27. Virginia – 56 points

  • 20 NCAA Tournament appearances (since 1985) – 20 points
  • 5 times eliminated in Sweet 16 or Elite 8 (since 1985) – 20 points
  • 1 National Championship (since 1985) – 16 points

T-27. Memphis – 56 points

  • 20 NCAA Tournament appearances (since 1985) – 20 point
  • 5 times eliminated in Sweet 16 or Elite 8 (since 1985) – 20 points
  • 2 times eliminated in Final 4 or National Championship (since 1985) – 16 points

29. West Virginia – 54 points

  • 18 NCAA Tournament appearances (since 1985) – 18 points
  • 7 times eliminated in Sweet 16 or Elite 8 (since 1985) – 28 points
  • 1 time eliminated in Final 4 or National Championship (since 1985) – 8 points

30. Oklahoma State – 52 points

  • 20 NCAA Tournament appearances (since 1985) – 20 points
  • 4 times eliminated in Sweet 16 or Elite 8 (since 1985) – 16 points
  • 2 times eliminated in Final 4 or National Championship (since 1985) – 16 points

31. Alabama – 51 points

  • 19 NCAA Tournament appearances (since 1985) – 19 points
  • 8 times eliminated in Sweet 16 or Elite 8 (since 1985) – 32 points

32. Georgia Tech – 48 points

  • 16 NCAA Tournament appearances (since 1985) – 16 points
  • 4 times eliminated in Sweet 16 or Elite 8 (since 1985) – 16 points
  • 2 times eliminated in Final 4 or National Championship (since 1985) – 16 points

33. Cincinnati – 47 points

  • 23 NCAA Tournament appearances (since 1985) – 23 point
  • 4 times eliminated in Sweet 16 or Elite 8 (since 1985) – 16 points
  • 1 time eliminated in Final 4 or National Championship (since 1985) – 8 points

34. LSU – 46 points

  • 18 NCAA Tournament appearances (since 1985) – 18 points
  • 3 times eliminated in Sweet 16 or Elite 8 (since 1985) – 12 points
  • 2 times eliminated in Final 4 or National Championship (since 1985) – 16 points

T-35. Oregon – 45 points

  • 13 NCAA Tournament appearances (since 1985) – 13 point
  • 6 times eliminated in Sweet 16 or Elite 8 (since 1985) – 24 points
  • 1 time eliminated in Final 4 or National Championship (since 1985) – 8 points

T-35. Tennessee – 45 points

  • 17 NCAA Tournament appearances (since 1985) – 17 points
  • 7 times eliminated in Sweet 16 or Elite 8 (since 1985) – 28 points

T-35. Iowa State – 45 points

  • 21 NCAA Tournament appearances (since 1985) – 21 points
  • 6 times eliminated in Sweet 16 or Elite 8 (since 1985) – 24 points

T-38. Baylor – 44 points

  • 12 NCAA Tournament appearances (since 1985) – 12 point
  • 4 times eliminated in Sweet 16 or Elite 8 (since 1985) – 16 points
  • 1 National Championship (since 1985) – 16 points

T-38. Utah – 44 points

  • 16 NCAA Tournament appearances (since 1985) – 16 points
  • 5 times eliminated in Sweet 16 or Elite 8 (since 1985) – 20 points
  • 1 time eliminated in Final 4 or National Championship (since 1985) – 8 points

T-38. Temple – 44 points

  • 24 NCAA Tournament appearances (since 1985) – 24 points
  • 5 times eliminated in Sweet 16 or Elite 8 (since 1985) – 20 points

41. Butler – 43 points

  • 15 NCAA Tournament appearances (since 1985) – 15 points
  • 3 times eliminated in Sweet 16 or Elite 8 (since 1985) – 12 points
  • 2 times eliminated in Final 4 or National Championship (since 1985) – 16 points

42. Marquette – 42 points

  • 18 NCAA Tournament appearances (since 1985) – 18 points
  • 4 times eliminated in Sweet 16 or Elite 8 (since 1985) – 16 points
  • 1 time eliminated in Final 4 or National Championship (since 1985) – 8 points

43. NC State – 41 points

  • 17 NCAA Tournament appearances (since 1985) – 17 points
  • 6 times eliminated in Sweet 16 or Elite 8 (since 1985) – 24 points

T-44. Stanford – 40 points

  • 16 NCAA Tournament appearances (since 1985) – 16 points
  • 4 times eliminated in Sweet 16 or Elite 8 (since 1985) – 16 points
  • 1 time eliminated in Final 4 or National Championship (since 1985) – 8 points

T-44. Pittsburgh – 40 points

  • 20 NCAA Tournament appearances (since 1985) – 20 points
  • 5 times eliminated in Sweet 16 or Elite 8 (since 1985) – 20 points

T-46. Florida State – 38 points

  • 14 NCAA Tournament appearances (since 1985) – 14 points
  • 6 times eliminated in Sweet 16 or Elite 8 (since 1985) – 24 points

T-46. Missouri – 38 points

  • 22 NCAA Tournament appearances (since 1985) – 22 points
  • 4 times eliminated in Sweet 16 or Elite 8 (since 1985) – 16 points

48. Texas Tech – 37 points

  • 13 NCAA Tournament appearances (since 1985) – 13 points
  • 4 times eliminated in Sweet 16 or Elite 8 (since 1985) – 16 points
  • 1 time eliminated in Final 4 or National Championship (since 1985) – 8 points

T-49. Miami (Fla) – 35 points

  • 11 NCAA Tournament appearances (since 1985) – 11 points
  • 4 times eliminated in Sweet 16 or Elite 8 (since 1985) – 16 points
  • 1 time eliminated (2023 not finished yet) in Final 4 or National Championship (since 1985) – 8 points

T-49. Auburn – 35 points

  • 11 NCAA Tournament appearances (since 1985) – 11 points
  • 4 times eliminated in Sweet 16 or Elite 8 (since 1985) – 16 points
  • 1 time eliminated in Final 4 or National Championship (since 1985) – 8 points

T-49. Notre Dame – 35 points

  • 19 NCAA Tournament appearances (since 1985) – 19 point
  • 4 times eliminated in Sweet 16 or Elite 8 (since 1985) – 16 points

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