15 Best College Basketball Team Of All Time | 2023 Ranking

Basketball’s evolution has been fascinating over the years. For years, teams tried to get old and stay old by relying on multi-year starters and long-standing traditions.

Then came the one-and-done era, when elite programs attempted to win with superstar freshmen.

We’re now in a sort of middle ground. The top guys go straight to the NBA, but some collegiate programs can use glitzy name, image, and likeness deals to keep outstanding college players around for a little longer.

Because of this, there have been many good college basketball teams over the years, but which ones deserve a place in the best college basketball teams of all time?

It’s a hard question with no simple answers, but it’s one we’ll try to answer today.

Importance of College Basketball

College basketball is well developed in the United States. Here are a few reasons college basketball is so important

  • It Influences other areas: You may not realize it, but college basketball (and basketball in general) has impacted many areas outside of the sports industry. The online casino industry is one of the most affected. Many basketball fans enjoy casino games, which is why many game developers have created a plethora of games with college basketball teams as themes. These themes are common in slot games, but there are many others.
  • Teaches young people discipline: College students are frequently undisciplined because they are at a stage in their lives where they can enjoy some of the best things that youth has to offer without any obligations. This can be disastrous because adulthood can be a real slap in the face. Fortunately, college basketball teaches players discipline and responsibility while also preparing them for future challenges.
  • Easier scouting: This may seem obvious, but as college basketball has grown in popularity, scouts have had an easier time identifying talent. Both parties benefit from this arrangement. Teams can track potentials much more quickly, while players have a better chance of getting discovered.
  • Determination and Hard Work: College basketball teaches its players one of life’s most important lessons. There is no limit to your greatness if you work hard enough. If you want to be successful in life, you must work your way up. Nobody says it will be easy or quick to get to the top, and the sooner you realize that, the better. Due to the high level of competition, college basketball forces players to work hard and learn life lessons much 

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What Are The Differences Between NCAA and NBA Basketball

The structure of college and professional basketball games is similar. They are usually crowded with devoted fans, feature fierce competition, and are thrilling to watch.

Although the game of basketball is essentially the same for college and professional athletes, there are a few rules to keep in mind the next time you watch an NCAA or NBA basketball game.


  • Four 12-minute quarters in the NBA
  • NCAA rules call for two 20-minute halves (both leagues have a 5 min overtime)


  • The NBA shot clock is set at 24 seconds, with 8 seconds to cross half court.
  • NCAA rules call for a 30-second shot clock, with 10 seconds to cross half court.

Three-Point Line

  • NBA: 23’9″ from the basket
  • NCAA: 19’9″ from the hoop

Width of paint under the hoop

  • 16 feet wide in the NBA
  • 12 feet wide in NCAA


  • Six personal fouls before fouling out in the NBA. After the fourth team foul in a quarter, the opponent gets two free throws.
  • NCAA rules require 5 personal fouls before fouling out. After the seventh team foul of the half, the score is 1-1. After ten team fouls, the opponent gets two free throws.


  • Jump ball for possession in the NBA
  • NCAA: Possession arrow indicating who has possession of the ball.


Both the jersey and the shorts must be well tucked in, and the shorts cannot get worn below the knee.

  • NBA: If a player’s uniform is incorrect, he or she will get fined.
  • NCAA: If a player’s uniform is incorrect, the whistle is usually blown and the player corrects it.

How Many College Basketball Players Make It to the NBA?

Many kids grow up playing basketball with dreams of one day making it to the NBA, but that dream is rarely realized.

Only a small percentage of the thousands upon thousands of male high school basketball players go on to compete in the NCAA. According to an NCAA study published in April 2020, of the 540,769 male high school basketball athletes, 18,816 (or 3.5%) went on to play in college.

When only Division 1 schools are now considered, that number drops to 1%. Making it to the pros is more difficult; only 1.2% of those 18,816 make it from the NCAA to the NBA.

The odds are just as long, if not longer for female basketballers. Though female high school athletes have a slightly higher chance of making it to the NCAA than males, their chances of making it to the pros are lower.

4.1%, or 16,509, of the 399,067 female high school basketball players, go on to play in college. When looking at Division 1 schools, that figure drops to 1.3%.

Even though women have more opportunities in college, the WNBA is unique in that it has fewer teams and a smaller roster than the NBA.

According to the NCAA study, only 0.8% of the 16,509 women who have the opportunity to play in college play in the WNBA. As a result, it’s safe to say that these players are the best of the best.

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15 Best College Basketball Team of All Time

Here is the best college basketball team of all time

#1. UCLA Bruins (1963 – 1975)

Ten national championships in 12 years are absurd enough, but let’s focus on the especially absurd seven-year stretch in the middle.

UCLA won the national championship all seven years, beginning with Lew Alcindor’s sophomore year (freshmen were not allowed to play) in 1966-67.

Most basketball fans are aware that Wooden won ten championships and led UCLA to an 88-game winning streak, but did you know the Bruins went 205-5 (97.6 percent) during those seven years?

To put that in context, No. 2 seeds have a 132-8 (94.3 percent) record in the first round against No. 15 seeds since the NCAA tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985.

Broadening the scope to include the final two years of this 12-year reign of terror, UCLA got ranked in the Top Five in the AP poll every week for nine consecutive seasons, and it finished No. 1 or No. 2 in the AP poll 11 of the 12 years.

As good as the other teams on this list will be, nothing can compare to what UCLA accomplished under Wooden. UCLA Bruins is one of the best college basketball teams of all time.

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#2. UNLV Rebels (1989 – 1991)

The UNLV Rebels is one of the best college basketball teams of all time. At their best, no team in the country could compete with the Rebels, as Duke discovered when they lost the 1990 title game by 40 points.

Even after center, David Butler graduated, the Rebels won 34 straight games with George Ackles at the helm before falling to the same Blue Devils in the Final Four.

Anderson Hunt, the tournament’s most valuable player during the title run, was the only core player who did not go on to play in the NBA.

As a Hawk, Stacey Augmon earned the nickname “Plastic Man” for his suffocating defense, while Greg Anthony (the PG who led an NCAA team-record 24.7 assists per game in 1990-91) developed into a solid NBA reserve.

Larry Johnson, the 1991 Wooden, and Naismith Award winner who averaged 21.6 points and 11.2 rebounds over two college seasons and became an NBA All-Star with the Hornets, led the star-studded cast.

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#3. Duke Blue Devils

The Blue Devils are one of the best college basketball teams of all time, and they are well-loaded. Battier, a senior, won the Wooden Award as well as the NABC Defensive Player of the Year for the third year in a row.

As a sophomore, Williams was the team’s leading scorer, an explosive lead guard who won the Wooden Award the following season. Boozer was a force on the inside, Dunleavy was a skilled wing, and Nate James and Chris Duhon held down the guard positions.

Casey Sanders was a high-energy big man who could bounce around and block shots that Battier couldn’t get. This 31-4 team has the highest-ever adjusted efficiency margin on KenPom among all teams that have completed a season.

Duke had to come back from double digits down against Maryland in the Final Four (but won by 11 points) to reach the national championship, then beat Arizona by 10 points to win it all, led by Dunleavy’s 21 points.

Battier probably doesn’t get enough credit for how much he influenced and changed games at this level, and on almost any other team, Williams would have been the undisputed leader. As it was, Duke was a tremendously talented team that delivered results.

#4. Kentucky Wildcats (1966)

The Kentucky Wildcats had one of the deepest rosters in college basketball  history. They had five first-round draft picks in Walter McCarty, Antoine Walker, Tony Delk, Derek Anderson, and Ron Mercer, as well as four other NBA players.

9 players from one NBA team, almost every player on the team. Kentucky finished the season 34-2 overall and undefeated in conference play. During the season, they set a school record by winning 27 consecutive games.

The Wildcats won every game in the tournament by an average of 21 points, including the championship game, in which they won 76-67 over Syracuse. They are one of the best college basketball teams of all time.

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#5. Indiana Hoosiers

The Indiana Hoosiers of 1975 were one of the best college basketball teams of all time. In the first 12 games of the 1975-76 season, the Indiana Hoosiers defeated five ranked opponents: No. 2 UCLA, No. 8 Notre Dame, No. 14 Kentucky, No. 17 St. John’s, and No. 19 Michigan. Despite not playing another ranked team during the regular season, they never lost.

The Hoosiers finished the regular season 27-0 and were the top-ranked team entering the NCAA tournament. They began the tournament with a 20-point victory over No. 17 St. John’s, then went on to defeat No. 6 Alabama, No. 2 Marquette, and No. 5 UCLA on their way to the championship game.

In the NCAA Tournament Championship, Indiana faced No. 9 Michigan. They dominated the Wolverines, winning 86-68 to finish the season 32-0 and with a championship to show for it. All seasons were always led by Steve Green, Scott May, and Kent Benson.

#6. North Carolina Tar Heels

This team has produced legends such as Michael Jordan, the great point guard, and head coach Dean Smith. These outstanding individuals not only enhanced North Carolina’s reputation but also altered basketball history.

The Tar Heels have a long track record in the NCAA. Under coach Frank McGuire, they also had a perfect 32-0 season in 1957.

During the reigns of Dean Smith and Roy Williams, the team went on to win championships. This basketball program also has two head coaches who have won multiple national championships. The North Carolina Tar Heels is one of the best college basketball teams of all time.

  • Total Wins: 2,065
  • Winning Percentage: 0.738%
  • National Championships: 5
  • Final Four Appearances: 18
  • NCAA Tournament Appearances: 43
  • Conference Titles (Regular Season): 36

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#7. Kansas Jayhawks (2001 – 2018)

The Kansas Jayhawks are one of the best college basketball teams of all time. The Jayhawks turned the Big 12 into their playground after the year 2000.

During these 17 years, they won at least a share of the regular-season conference title 16 times—and won a dozen league games in the one exception. They finished in the Top 17 of the AP poll in all 17 years and received a No. 4 seed or better in the NCAA tournament, including nine No. 1 seeds.

When Roy Williams left for the job in North Carolina in 2003, the Jayhawks barely missed a beat in their adjustment to life under Bill Self. By his fourth year in charge, they had become a force to be reckoned with.

They have an overall record of 510-108 (82.5 winning percentage); one national championship; five Final Fours; 14 consecutive Big 12 regular-season titles.

#8. Houston Cougars (1982 – 1983)

The Houston Cougars is one of the best college basketball teams of all time, although they never won a national championship.

They made three straight Final Fours with highlight-reel dunks and physical defense. They were never closer to a championship than in 1983 when Lorenzo Charles’ put-back dunk at the buzzer stunned them.

Guard Michael Young led the team with 17.3 points per game, but despite his prodigious leaping ability, he was unable to make the NBA.

Clyde Drexler and Akeem Olajuwon, on the other hand, went on to Hall of Fame careers after averaging 29.8 points and 20.2 rebounds per game in their only season as Cougar starters.

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#9. San Francisco Dons (1956)

The Dons is one of the best college basketball teams of all time. They were the first team to go undefeated for an entire season. The Dons had two of the best defensive players in history. KC Jones and Bill Russell are their names.

Russell averaged an incredible 20 points and 21 rebounds his senior year, earning him All-American honors for the second time. San Francisco went on to win every game by more than 11 points, and Russell grabbed 50 rebounds in the semi-finals and championship game, which they won 83-71 over Iowa.

#10. NC State Wolfpack (1974)

The Wolfpack is one of the best college basketball teams of all time. They won six regular-season games against ranked opponents, including five in the top six (three wins against No. 4 North Carolina, and two against Maryland).

They beat Maryland once more to win the ACC Tournament and advance to the NCAA Tournament.

It wasn’t easy, but they won the NCAA tournament. To begin, they defeated No. 5 Providence and No. 13 Pittsburgh.

They then defeated No. 2 UCLA in double overtime, ending their seven-year championship streak, before winning the championship against No. 3 Marquette.

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#11. Louisville Cardinals

When it comes to NCAA tournament appearances, the Cardinals are almost unrivaled. They have a great basketball tradition. They made two Final Four appearances under the direction of head coach Rick Pitino.

It demonstrates that the team is eager to return to the game. Louisville’s era of dominance ended in the 1980s, with the school’s only two national championships coming in 1980 and 1986.

Denny Crum was the most important player in the team’s success. The Cardinals are one of the best college basketball teams of all time. Some of their achievements include;

  • Total Wins: 1,662
  • Winning Percentage: 0.658%
  • NCAA Titles: 2
  • Final Four Appearances: 9
  • NCAA Tournament Appearances: 38
  • Conference Titles (Regular Season): 21

#12. Cincinnati Bearcats (1957 – 1963)

Oscar Robertson began a string of dominance in the Bearcats. In three seasons with the Bearcats, the Big O averaged 33.8 points, 15.2 rebounds, and (unofficially) 7.1 assists per game, leading them to a 79-9 record and three consecutive years in the Top Five of the final AP poll.

They advanced to the Final Four in both 1959 and 1960 but were then defeated by California in both of those national semifinals. Cincinnati went 28-2 during Robertson’s senior year, with an average margin of victory of 22.0 points.

It was one of the most dominant seasons in men’s college basketball history—at least until the aforementioned Final Four loss.

After Robertson graduated, the Bearcats became even more unbeatable. They won it all in 1961 and 1962 and came close to completing a three-peat. The Bearcats is one of the best college basketball teams of all time.

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#13. Georgetown Hoyas (1985)

The Georgetown Hoyas is one of the best college basketball teams of all time. Patrick Ewing, the team’s All-American, led the team to a 35-2 record.

The defending National Champions, the Georgetown Hoyas, stormed through the first five games of the 1985 tournament until they ran into Cinderella Villanova.

The Hoyas were heavily favored against the Wildcats, but Villanova outshot Georgetown 66-64 in one of the biggest upsets in NCAA history, shooting 79% from the field.

#14. Arkansas Razorbacks (1994)

The Nolan Richardson-led Arkansas Razorbacks had a memorable season in 1993-94. They finished 31-3, the third-most wins in a single season in school history. It was also Nolan Richardson’s seventh consecutive NCAA tournament appearance.

Despite losing to No. 10 Kentucky in the SEC Tournament semifinals, the Razorbacks stepped up their game when the NCAA tournament began. They won by 15 points over North Carolina A&T, 12 points over Georgetown, and 21 points over Tulsa on their way to the Elite Eight.

Things became more difficult as the tournament progressed, but Arkansas never stopped winning. They won their first championship by defeating No. 11 Michigan by 8 points, No. 9 Arizona by 9 points, and No. 6 Duke by four points.

Corliss Williamson and Scotty Thurman led them. The Arkansas Razorbacks is one of the best college basketball teams of all time.

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#15. Michigan State Spartans

Over the last two decades, head coach Tom Izzo has guided the team to become a force to become an unstoppable force.

They have appeared in numerous Final Fours and have won several significant titles. We simply cannot deny this team’s tournament success.

The main issue holding Michigan State back on the list is a lack of consistency. Some of Izzo’s best teams have faltered and gotten eliminated early in the title race. Members who did not receive the favor, on the other hand, made unexpected progress.

Nevertheless, Michigan State Spartans are still one of the best college basketball teams of all time. Some of their achievements include;

  • Total Wins: 1523
  • Winning Percentage: .597%
  • National Titles: 2
  • Final Four Participants: 8
  • NCAA Tournament Appearances: 26
  • Conference Titles (Regular Season): 13

Features of People That Plays College Basketball

#1. They love the game of basketball: This may appear obvious, but it is clear that not all players enjoy the game. Players frequently enjoy the attention or awards they receive, or they play to make their parents happy, or simply because they are tall. In the end, players who play for reasons other than the love of the game rarely make it to the college level.

#2. Must have an incredible work ethic: To advance to the college level, players must have a strong work ethic to develop the necessary skills. You will have to make sacrifices to get into the gym and work on your game.

Parties are usually skipped, fun time with friends may have to be foregone, and vacations are also postponed, but these are all things that serious basketball players don’t mind. They are willing to pay the price and want to spend their days in the gym!

#3. Possession of advanced skills: To put it bluntly… If a player is not on his or her VARSITY high school team, there is no reason to worry about playing college basketball at this time. To go even further, the player should be one of, if not the, best on their high school varsity team.

#4. A certain amount of physical attributes: Not every player has a body build like LeBron James, Dwight Howard, or Anthony Davis, and that’s perfectly fine! However, to play college basketball, players must have certain physical tools, unless they excel in another area (ie. a short player with blazing speed).

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Ways to Improve Your Basketball Skills

#1. Put ball control first.

The simplest way to improve as a basketball player is to improve your dribbling skills. To practice this skill, begin in a centered athletic position, with your nose behind your toes and your hips loaded but not leaning forward.

Balance is the key to ball handling: keep your body static and in an athletic position while moving the ball around your body.

Dribble aggressively and to the side of your foot while maintaining a bounce height that reaches between your knee and hip.

#2. Determine and improve your weak points.

To improve as a player, you must first address your weaknesses. For example, if you struggle at the free-throw line, devote more time to improving your free-throw percentage during practice sessions.

Do you feel at ease dribbling with your non-dominant hand? If not, practice dribbling with that hand using dribbling drills. To become an elite player, you must identify and eliminate your flaws to be well-rounded in all aspects of the game.

#3. Practice at game speed.

Any player can use good form during solo dribbling or shooting sessions, but maintaining that form during a game when the pressure is on and fans are cheering in the stands can be difficult.

If you excel during daily practice but dribble poorly and take bad shots in a real game, you’re probably not practicing at game speed.

To help you mimic the pace of a game when practicing your basketball skills alone, pretend that defensive players are guarding you. Defenders will not give you several seconds to plant your feet and slowly execute your shooting motion.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a college basketball team that has had a perfect season?

Only 20 teams have ever entered the NCAA tournament with a perfect record in the tournament’s 82-year history.

Which coach has the most NCAA victories?

John Gagliardi has the most overall career wins (489), mostly at the NCAA Division III level. Gagliardi began his head coaching career in 1949 at Carroll in Helena, Montana, and moved to Saint John’s in Collegeville, Minnesota, in 1953, where he remained until his retirement after the 2012 season.

Which college has the most NBA Hall of Famers?

UCLA and Kansas have the most hall-of-Famers, with seven each. The Bruins have legends like Bill Walton, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Gail Goodrich, and Ann Meyers, the first woman to ever try out for an NBA team. Wilt Chamberlain, Clyde Lovelle, Paul Pierce, and Lynette Woodard are among the Jayhawks’ players.

What was the most recent NCAA team to go undefeated?

UCLA is the only team with four consecutive perfect national championship seasons. Since 1976, five teams have gone undefeated in the regular season, the most recent being Wichita State in 2014, Kentucky in 2015, and Gonzaga in 2021.

Is it possible for an unranked team to win March Madness?

Two teams entered the NCAA Tournament unranked and won the national championship. The 1985 Villanova Wildcats and the 1988 Kansas Jayhawks are the only two teams to enter the NCAA Basketball Tournament unranked in the AP Poll and go on to win the championship.

Which college has the most first-round NBA draft picks?

Duke has produced the most No. 1 overall picks in NBA Draft history, with five. Duke has had four No. 1 draft picks in the Common Draft era (since 1966), which is also the most in NBA history.


There are many factors and scales in creating a ranking of the best college basketball teams of all time. Different sites will have different opinions.

However, this list should help you understand more about the accomplishments and strengths of these basketball teams. 



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