Top 15 Best College Basketball Teams of the 90s│2022 Ranking

If you were there in the 90s, you will know how significant and momentous that time period was for college basketball.

And even if you didn’t, someone who did undoubtedly attempted to explain it to you.

But what made college basketball in the 1990s so unique was that some of the top teams and players of that time didn’t win national championships.

In 1991, UNLV had a 45-game winning streak but could not win consecutive championships. Literally, the Fab Five achieved no success. Furthermore, neither of those talented North Carolina and Duke teams from 1998 to 1999 could lower the nets.

In addition, none of the players during this decade—including Allen Iverson, Marcus Camby, God Shammgod, Felipe Lopez, Glenn Robinson, Vince Carter, Antawn Jamison, Shaq, Chris Jackson, Ray Allen, Elton Brand, Kenyon Martin, John Wallace, Alonzo Mourning, Penny Hardaway, Paul Pierce, Calbert Cheaney, and Tim Duncan—ever experienced “One Shining Moment.”

Continue reading this article to find out the best college basketball teams of the 90s.

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Overview of the Best College Basketball Teams of the 90s

Some outstanding champions competed in the NCAA basketball tournament in the 90s.

We believe this decade to be the greatest to have experienced the best college basketball teams.

So, below is an overview of the best college basketball teams of the 90s.

  1. 1996 Kentucky Wildcats
  2. 1990 UNLV Runnin’ Rebels
  3. 1992 Duke Blue Devils
  4. 1991 Duke Blue Devils
  5. 1999 Connecticut Huskies
  6. 1995 UCLA Bruins
  7. 1997 Arizona Wildcats
  8. 1993 North Carolina Tar Heels
  9. 1998 Kentucky Wildcats
  10.  1994 Arkansas Razorbacks
  11.  1995 UMASS
  12.  1993 Michigan Fab 5
  13.  1990 Georgia Tech
  14.  1997 Kansas
  15.  1990 LMU

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List of the Best College Basketball Teams of the 90s

The intensity of college basketball reaches its pinnacle in March, making it one of the most thrilling sports to watch. March is when the NCAA Tournament takes place, thus the term “March Madness.” Many people think the 1990s saw the best college basketball ever played.

Hence, we have compiled a list of the best college basketball teams of the 90s. Check them below.

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#1. 1996 Kentucky Wildcats

What do you call a squad that had 11 players compete in the NBA? They were referred to as “The Untouchables” in Kentucky.

This team is one of the best college basketball teams of the 90s.

They included Antoine Walker, Derek Anderson, Tony Delk, Jamaal Magloire, Walter McCarty, Ron Mercer, Nazr Mohammed, Scott Padgett, Mark Pope, Jeff Sheppard, and Nazr Mohammed.

The most talented team in NCAA history was the 1995–96 Kentucky Wildcats. Even the most recent Wildcats squads cannot hold a candle to this powerful group.

The Cats’ average win margin throughout their 34-2 campaign was 22.2 points per game (91.6 PPG to their opponents 69. 4 PPG).

Head coach Rick Pitino’s teams consistently won the March Madness tournament.

They defeated their first four tournament opponents by an average of 28 points prior to the Final Four.

With Delk, Walker, and Mercer leading the way, the Wildcats defeated UMass and Syracuse once they got to the Meadowlands.

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#2. 1990 UNLV Runnin’ Rebels

The 1990 national championship win for UNLV was a stunning declaration of supremacy.

The Runnin’ Rebels put Duke through their paces and defeated them (103-73) with the greatest margin of victory (30) in tournament history.

Jerry Tarkanian, the school’s head coach, won his first NCAA men’s basketball championship with this team.

At the half of the championship game, UNLV led Duke by a score of 12. They made history in the second half. The Rebels outscored blue Devils by 19 more points as they shot 61.2 percent for the contest.

This game nearly never happened. The Runnin’ Rebels held off a valiant second-half rally by Ball State in their Sweet 16 match against them, resulting in a two-point triumph for Tark and the Rebels.

Larry Johnson, Stacey Augmon, Greg Anthony, and Anderson Hunt served as the team’s leaders.

Hunt, who finished the season as the third-leading scorer for the team, exploded in this Final Four in Denver. His 49 points helped him win the Most Outstanding Player award at the NCAA tournament.

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#3. 1992 Duke Blue Devils

This Duke team of 1991–1992 was a tournament-tested group, with some players making their fourth straight Final Four.

One of the best college basketball teams of the 90s was this group.

All season, Duke only suffered two losses. Both fit within their busy ACC schedule (against North Carolina and Wake Forest).

Five players on the roster under head coach Mike Krzyzewski scored in double figures: Christian Laettner, Thomas Hill, Grant Hill, Bobby Hurley, and Brian Davis (off the bench).

Many people believe that the East Regional Final between the Blue Devils and Kentucky is the best tournament game ever. Christian Laettner made “The Shot” in this contest versus the Wildcats.

Duke was trailing Michigan in the championship game by one at the break. But the Blue Devils, who surged out and grabbed complete control, held the Wolverines, who included the Fab 5 to 20 points in the game’s final 20 minutes.

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#4. 1991 Duke Blue Devils

The 1991 NCAA Tournament served as a type of comeback mission for the Duke basketball team.

UNLV defeated the Blue Devils by a score of 30 points in the 1990 national championship game, which stands as the largest title game margin of victory ever. It was crucial that team captain Mike Krzyzewski and his squad turn things around.

By an average of 19 points per game, the Blue Devils steadily defeated each of their first four March Madness opponents in 1991.

Duke’s 1991 national semifinal matchup featured a rematch with the Runnin’ Rebels. This time, Duke won by two points, taking the weight of their prior March Madness defeat off everyone’s shoulders.

Christian Laettner, Bill McCaffrey, Thomas Hill, Grant Hill, and Bobby Hurley all averaged double-figure scoring for the Blue Devils during the season.

This was Duke’s first men’s basketball NCAA championship under Coach K.

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#5. 1999 Connecticut Huskies

Any opponent that could not match up with the Connecticut Huskies’ wide-open offense in 1998–1999 had a dreadful time.

This team is one of the best college basketball teams of the 90s.

Rip Hamilton and Khalid Al-Amin combined for a worrisome one-two perimeter punch.

The Huskies finished the regular season 28-2 and won the Big East regular season and conference tournament.

When the Huskies defeated Gonzaga in the Elite Eight, Kevin Freeman had a career night. He scored 13 points and pulled down 15 rebounds, including an absurd 10 offensive ones.

Hamilton won the school’s first NCAA title by scoring 24 against Ohio State in the national semifinal and 27 against Duke in the championship game.

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#6. 1995 UCLA Bruins

A talented team that achieved success with balanced scoring and solid defense was the 1994–1955 UCLA Bruins.

Ed O’Bannon led the Bruins’ top six scorers with double digit averages (20.3 PPG), followed by Tyus Edney, Charles O’Bannon, Charles Zidek, J. R. Henderson, and Toby Bailey.

The Bruins would have had an early departure and a dismal 1995 NCAA tournament if it weren’t for Tyus Edney’s miraculous coast-to-coast drive against Missouri in the second round.

Edney led the squad in scoring and assists with 21 points during the national semifinal. He was forced to sit out of the championship game because of a wrist injury.

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#7. 1997 Arizona Wildcats

The Arizona Wildcats unexpectedly won the national championship in 1997.

They stumbled into March Madness with a 19-9 record and a fifth-place Pac 10 finish.

To end the regular season, the Cats weren’t exactly on a roll. In their final eight contests, they were 4-4.

The University of Alabama was in danger of losing to South Alabama even in their tournament opener. At the half, the Jaguars were in the lead by two points.

Arizona was the ideal illustration of a “team of destiny”.

They just wouldn’t accept defeat.

Miles Simon, Mike Bibby, Michael Dickerson, and sixth man Jason Terry made up the Wildcats’ effective perimeter offense.

This team is one of the best college basketball teams of the 90s.

They were the only team in tournament history to defeat three No. 1-seeds, which was one of their remarkable feats during their unlikely journey to the 1997 championship.

Lute Olson, the head coach of Arizona, cemented his legacy in college basketball with this victory.

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#8. 1993 North Carolina Tar Heels

The 1992–93 North Carolina Tar Heels roster was not among the best in the university. But no team Dean Smith coached worked or competed harder than this group.

Eric Montross, George Lynch, Donald Williams, and Brian Rees all scored in double figures to lead the Heels.

UNC defeated one March Madness opponent after another.

In their Elite Eight game versus Cincinnati, they received the closest call. To defeat the Bearcats, the Tar Heels needed overtime.

North Carolina played Michigan’s Fab Five in the championship contest.

As time was running down and Michigan was trailing by two points, Wolverine star Chris Webber tried to call a timeout while being double-teamed.

Unfortunately, all of Michigan’s timeouts had already been used.

After Webber made a mistake that led to a technical penalty, the Tar Heels could gain some breathing room in the last minutes by converting their subsequent free throws.

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#9. 1998 Kentucky Wildcats

In terms of raw talent, the 1997–98 Kentucky Wildcats were not the most talented group. They were a very tough team, though, and they knew what it required to come back in crucial games.

This team is one of the best college basketball teams of the 90s.

This Cats team won the SEC tournament and finished the regular season with a 26-4 record.

They defeated their first three March Madness opponents handily, but they had to work hard to win their final three games.

The team led by head coach Tubby Smith had to overturn double-digit deficits in both the Elite Eight and Final Four contests.

With 27 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists in the national semifinal game versus Stanford, Jeff Sheppard had an impressive performance.

In the last game, he added 16 points and assisted the Cats in their comeback from a 10-point deficit at the half.

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#10. 1994 Arkansas Razorbacks

There weren’t many NBA stars on the 1993–94 Arkansas Razorbacks.

In actuality, the only members of this championship team who pursued any sort of career in the Association were Corliss Williamson and Corey Beck.

The ‘93–94 Hogs executed head coach Nolan Richardson’s signature move—his pressure defense known as the “40 Minutes of Hell”.

Arkansas has outscored their opponents by over 18 points per game on the season (93.4 to 75.6).

Despite the Razorbacks receiving strong contributions from several players, Corliss Williamson served as their major offensive weapon.

Williamson averaged 7.7 rebounds and 20.4 points per game for the entire season.

No one appeared to stop him much throughout the NCAA tournament.

Williams scored 29 points against Arizona in the national semifinal contest. He added 23 more against Duke in the national championship game.

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#11. 1995 UMASS

The team enjoyed the best season in UMass sports history in 1995–1996—nearly a century later. The Minutemen entered the NCAA Final Four for the first time with a 35-2 record.

They had the finest half-court defense in the nation, led by 6’11″ center Marcus Camby, the National Player of the Year, and coached by John Calipari, the Coach of the Year.

The Minutemen of 1995–96 were the most unified offensive team ever.

Despite being double-teamed by defenders, Camby could still locate open teammates.

Marcus Camby was such an important player, even without a goal, that he rose to the position of the most important college player in the nation.

A characteristic of the Calipari era at UMass was the capacity to defeat opponents in their home courts.

The Minutemen won 11 non-conference games while on the road in December 1995, defeating Maryland, Georgia Tech, Syracuse, North Carolina State, Wake Forest, and Memphis.

This earned them the top national ranking.

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#12. 1993 Michigan Fab 5

Until this point, no team has matched the legendary Michigan Wolverines Fab Five. We all recall how the loud-mouthed, stereotypical “fab five” dominated every game and brought new life to collegiate basketball with their baggy shorts and elite skill.

This team is one of the best college basketball teams of the 90s.

In the 1993–94 intercollegiate college basketball season, the University of Michigan’s men’s basketball team competed as the Michigan Wolverines.

The club belonged to the Big Ten Conference and held its home games in Ann Arbor, Michigan’s Crisler Arena.

Under head coach Steve Fisher, the team came second place in the Big Ten Conference. The group qualified as the third seed and made it to the fourth round of the 1994 NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament.

The team maintained a ranking throughout the entire eighteen-week span of the Associated Press Top Twenty-Five Poll, beginning the campaign in fifth place, peaking at number three, and finishing the campaign in eleventh place.

It also finished the campaign in eleventh place in the final USA Today/CNN Poll.

With 267 steals, the squad broke the previous school record set by the 1986 team’s single-season total of 265 steals.

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#13. 1990 Georgia Tech

During the 1990–91 NCAA men’s basketball season, the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets men’s basketball team represented the Georgia Institute of Technology.

The Yellow Jackets advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament under the leadership of point guard Kenny Anderson and head coach Bobby Cremins (10th year).

Dennis Scott, Kenny Anderson, and Brian Oliver, the “Lethal Weapon 3” combo, led third-seeded Tech to the championship with victories against NC State, Duke, and Virginia.

Oliver earned the Most Valuable Player award with a scoring average of 23.3 points, including 31 in the semifinals.

The victory gave Tech a positive start in the NCAA Tournament, as the Yellow Jackets secured their first trip to the Final Four.

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#14. 1997 Kansas

The 1997 KU team argues it had the best season ever.

This team is one of the best college basketball teams of the 90s.

What was not to love about the 1997 Jayhawk squad, according to Kansas fans? Kansas started the season with 22 victories and held the top spot for 15 weeks.

The Jayhawks easily captured the inaugural Big 12 Conference championship, and their 34-2 record makes them one of KU’s all-time top squads.

Fans in Kansas coveted this group. Jacque Vaughn received hundreds of well wishes from fans after suffering a serious wrist injury. The Allen Fieldhouse floor was covered with roses by Kansas supporters before KU’s last home game of the year.

All 16,300 spectators stayed seated for almost an hour after the game (KU defeated Kansas State) to watch the seniors say their goodbyes.

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#15. 1990 LMU

During the 1989–90 NCAA Division I men’s basketball season, the Loyola Marymount Lions men’s basketball team represented Loyola Marymount University.

Paul Westhead, the Lions’ head coach in his fifth season, was in charge.

As West Coast Conference participants, they attended their home games at Gersten Pavilion in Los Angeles, California.

This 1990 team is one of the best college basketball teams of the 90s.

Hank Gathers and Bo Kimble, two members of the Second Team All-American consensus, helped LMU set an NCAA record for scoring by propelling them to a third straight national scoring championship.

With a 35.3 point per game average, Kimble captured the NCAA individual scoring championship.

Gathers passed away on March 4, 1990, while playing Portland in the WCC Tournament Semifinal. As the 11 seed in the NCAA Tournament’s West Region, we remember the squad for its run to the Elite Eight in Gathers’ honor.

Prior to losing 131-101 to UNLV, the eventual national champions, the Lions defeated Alabama 62-60, New Mexico State 111-92, Michigan 149-115, and the reigning champions, the Michigan Wolverines.

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Who was the best college basketball team ever?

The best team ever was the UCLA Bruins in 1972. They won by an average of 32 points, had Bill Walton, the best player in the country, and concluded the season with a 30-0 record.

What was the first college basketball team?

The first basketball game played by a college team was played in 1893 between Geneva College and Vanderbilt University, respectively, while the first intercollegiate game was played in 1895 between Hamline and Minnesota A&M.

Who played in the 1994 national championship?

By defeating Duke by a score of 76-72 in the championship game, Arkansas became the first team to ever win the national title. The tournament’s Most Outstanding Player was Arkansas native Corliss Williamson.

Who is the best college basketball team in 2022?

Gonzaga Bull Dogs are the greatest collegiate basketball team in 2022.

What is the longest winning streak in NCAA history?

The NCAA basketball teams with the longest victory streaks are:
UNLV: 45 consecutive victories (1990-91)
UCLA: 47 consecutive victories (1966-1968)
San Francisco: 60 consecutive victories (1955-57)
UCLA: 88 consecutive victories (1971-1974)


In the realm of sports, the 90s is a decade that will never be forgotten. Particularly in the history of NCAA college basketball.

This is the reason we’ve put together a list of the best basketball teams of the 90s.

Regardless of what you may think, each of these college basketball teams deserves to be acknowledged for the accomplishments and contributions they made at various levels throughout this time.

It may be difficult to determine which club in this era had the top five players, but there is no disputing that Michigan’s Fab Five recruiting class included some of the finest players in the globe.



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