College basketball’s 25 finest groups of the past 25 years

  • Myron Medcalf, ESPN

    • Personnel WriterOct 3, 2023, 09:45 AM ET Close Covers college basketball
    • Joined in 2011
    • Graduate of Minnesota State University, Mankato

The men’s college basketball offseason uses a chance to review the past, not simply the most recent season, and take a look at the minutes throughout the history of the sport. However sometimes those discussions are made complex by a limitless time frame. How can you compare players or teams from the 1980s to now, when the game has altered dramatically?That’s why we’ve released a series that focuses on the past 25 years of college basketball. Any group, player, coach or emphasize from 1998-99 through 2022-23 is qualified. The rest?That’s somebody else’s problem.After going through the leading 25 players, leading

25″What if?”moments, leading 25 private

efficiencies and the 25 most significant duds, we turn, lastly, to the 25 greatest teams of the previous 25 years. We didn’t just rank the last 25 nationwide champions since we think there were teams throughout these 25 years that should have a spot even if they missed the nationwide title.Yeah, we know. You might hate this list. Or you might love it. There is probably very little in-between. Consider the criteria. It’s simple to discover a plethora of unbelievable performances throughout college

basketball over the previous 25 years. Nevertheless, our objective was to determine the greatest efforts based on the stakes of the game, the opponent, the minute, the numbers and the reactions.Many groups were considered– our apologies, 2023 Huskies, 2017 Tar Heels and 2007 Buckeyes–

but didn’t make the cut. It wasn’t personal.If you think your preferred group is missing out on, well, you may be right. But, we had just 25 spots.Record: 34-2( 16-2 Big East )Achievements: National champ, Big East champ, Big East tournament champ Yes, these Huskies were underdogs who entered a national title match against a powerful Duke squad(the Blue Devils had actually won 32 consecutive games)as minus-9.5 underdogs. But this group had been a dominant force all season and had only 2 losses. In among those (a 59-42 defeat vs. Syracuse ), Richard” Rip” Hamilton(21.5 PPG)– Most Impressive Gamer in the Last 4 that season– played while injured. This is no Cinderella. It’s the best team of the past 25 years. Record: 35-4(13-3 ACC )Accomplishments: National champion, ACC champ, ACC tournament

champ Shane Battier(19.9 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 2.1 SPG, 2.3 BPG)won the Wood Award that year after leading Duke to the national championship. Jay Williams and Mike Dunleavy Jr., who were both top-three choices in the 2002 NBA draft, were also essential members of Mike Krzyzewski’s team that won its NCAA tournament games by an average of 17.2 points.Record: 38-2(16-0 SEC) Accomplishments: National champ, SEC champion With NBA all-star Anthony Davis(14.2 PPG, 7.4 RPG, 4.7 BPG)– who won the Wood Award as a freshman– the Wildcats were a defensive force that
held five of their opponents that season under 50 points

. Seven future NBA players helped John Calipari win 14 games by 20 points or more. Kentucky likewise ended up leading 10 in both changed offending and protective performance on KenPom that season.Record: 37-2 (16-0 ACC) Achievements: National runner-up, ACC champ, ACC competition champion This team is typically mentioned as the very best group in current history that stopped working to win a title. It won 32 consecutive games prior to suffering an

upset loss to UConn in the 1999 championship game. Elton Brand Name(17.7 PPG, 9.8 RPG, 2.2 BPG ), who won

the Wooden Award that season, assisted a team that led the country in scoring (91.8 PPG)and produced 5 future first-round picks.Editor’s Picks 2 Related Record: 35-5( 13-3 SEC)Achievements: National champion, SEC champ, SEC competition champion In its 2nd consecutive run to the championship game– something that has yet to be repeated because– Billy Donovan’s crew had couple of

defects. The

Gators boasted the most effective offense in America (41%clip from the 3-point line)and held opponents to just 62.6 points

per game. Al Horford(13.2 PPG, 9.5 RPG ), Corey Brewer (13.2 PPG)and Joakim Noah(12.0 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 1.8 BPG)all wound up being lotto choices in the 2007 NBA draft, too.Record: 33-6 (12-4 Big East)Accomplishments: National champ, Big East tournament champion Emeka Okafor (17.6 PPG, 11.5 RPG, 4.1 BPG ), who won the Wood Award that season, and Ben Gordon (18.5 PPG, 43% from beyond the arc) led the Huskies to their 2nd national championship in 5 years.

They won every NCAA tournament game by an average of 13.3 points. And they held their opponents to a 38.7%

clip from inside the arc, the No. 1 mark in America that season.Record: 33-4( 14-2 ACC)Accomplishments: National champ, ACC champ After this group lost its season opener to Santa Clara, Roy Williams put his group through a difficult practice– water breaks were restricted– former players still talk about as the catalyst for the entire season’s success. A Tar Heels team with four first-round picks in the 2005 NBA draft would lose just three more games. Sean Might (17.5 PPG, 10.7 RPG)& Co. tore through challengers, and led the country with 88 points per game.Record: 32-7(13-3 Big Ten)Accomplishments: National champ, Big Ten champ, Big Ten tournament champion The Spartans won their 2nd national championship in school history by winning 20 of their last 22 games. Led by Mateen Cleaves(12.1 PPG, 6.9 APG)and Morris Peterson(16.8 PPG, 6.0 RPG), they won every game in the NCAA tournament by double digits. They also made 38%of their 3-point efforts and held challengers to just 58.9 points per game, a top-10 mark in America that season. play 1:55 Kansas hands Baylor its first loss of the season David McCormack leads the way with 20 points as Kansas removes Baylor from the unbeaten list.Record: 28-2 (13-1 Huge 12 )Accomplishments: National champ, Big 12 champ MaCio Teague (15.9 PPG), Jared Butler(16.7 PPG)and Davion Mitchell (14.0 PPG )were the engine for one of the most dominant college basketball seasons of the previous 25 years.

Scott Drew’s

team won its first 18 games, however the Bears saved their best work for the NCAA competition, where they beat their opponents by approximately 17 points. That includes remarkable wins over Houston, a top-10 protective team, in the Final

4 and Gonzaga, the top offensive group in America, in the title game. Record: 32-4( 15-1 ACC)Accomplishments: National champ, ACC champ Juan Dixon (20.4 PPG, 40%from 3, Most Impressive Gamer in the national title game)anchored a program that scored 85 points per game, the No. 5 mark in the country at the time. It wasn’t an ideal season for the Terps

, however. After a lopsided
99-78 loss at Duke, they went on

a 19-1 run in their next 20 games, a stretch that ended with a 64-52 triumph over Indiana in the championship game game.Record: 31-4(13-3 ACC )Achievements: ACC competition champion Although they fell short in the postseason, heaven Devils divided their series with ultimate national champ Maryland. Jay Williams won the Wooden Award after leading a team that completed first in changed offensive and protective effectiveness on KenPom. This was one of the most balanced teams in current college basketball history, too– the Blue Devils made 57 %of their shots inside the arc and likewise forced turnovers on 26%of their challengers’belongings– so their loss to Indiana in the Sweet 16 came as a shock.Record: 34-4 (13-3 ACC) Achievements: National champ, ACC champ Tyler Hansbrough (20.7 PPG, 8.1 RPG), who made three successive Associated Press All-America teams, led 7 future NBA stars on this squad. The Tar Heels connected on 39 %of their 3-point attempts and finished first in adjusted offensive effectiveness. They were likewise unstoppable in the NCAA competition, beating every challenger by double

digits.Record: 37-3 (13-3 Big 12)Accomplishments: National champ, Big 12 champion, Huge 12 tournament champion This group will always be specified by Mario Chalmers’amazing game-tying shot in the nationwide title game against Memphis at the end of policy, before the Jayhawks secured Costs Self’s very first title at Kansas in overtime. But one can not forget that the Jayhawks likewise lost only 3 games that season(all on the road)and won their last 13 games of the season. Plus, Chalmers (12.8 PPG, 4.3 APG )sustained a group that had seven future NBA players.Record: 38-2( 16-0 Conference USA )Achievements: National runner-up, Conference U.S.A. champ, Conference USA tournament champ The Tigers were minutes from winning a national title versus Kansas, however lingering concerns at the complimentary toss line(61.4%that season, 329th nationally)ended those dreams. Still, Derrick Rose (14.9 PPG, 4.7 APG) and Chris Douglas-Roberts (18.1 PPG, 41 %from 3)backed a team that had won lost simply one game prior to dealing with the Jayhawks in the national championship. play 0:57 Williams:’It’s not fair when you bet Villanova’Jay Williams and Jay Bilas break down how Villanova was

able to be so dominant in the Championship game game.Record: 36-4( 14-4 Big East )Achievements: National champ, Big East competition champ Today, Donte DiVincenzo, Mikal Bridges and Jalen Brunson are all NBA standouts who’ve collectively signed NBA agreements worth$ 242 million. Six years earlier,, they were stars for a Villanova team that secured its 2nd title in 3 years.

The Wildcats

connected on 40.1 %of their 3-point attempts and completed initially in adjusted offending efficiency on KenPom. Their NCAA competition typical margin of success was 17.6 points.Record: 37-2( 15-1 Big Ten)Achievements: National runner-up, Big Ten champion, Big Ten tournament champ Bruce Weber’s squad began the

season with 29 successive wins. Luther Head( 15.9 PPG), Dee Brown (13.3 PPG ), Deron Williams( 12.5 PPG), Roger Powell (12.0 PPG)and James Augustine(10.1 PPG, 7.6 RPG)headlined the team that had just with just two imperfections on its record: a one-point loss at Ohio State in the regular-season finale, and the national title game loss versus North Carolina. Record: 35-4(15-3 ACC)Accomplishments: National champ Although Mike Krzyzewski had championship game groups with more skill(see: the squads above), this crew was probably his deepest title team. Tyus Jones (The Majority Of Impressive Player in the Final 4 )and Jahlil Okafor (17.3 PPG, 8.5 RPG) were 2 of the 8 players on this lineup who consequently reached the NBA following the Blue Devils’ win over Wisconsin in the nationwide title game. They likewise completed sixth in scoring that season with 79.3 PPG.Record: 38-1(18-0 SEC

)Achievements: Last 4, SEC champion, SEC competition champ

In spite of losing to Wisconsin in the Last 4, this group– with nine future NBA players– stays among the greatest put together in current college basketball history. Cal’s team won its very first 38 games, a stretch that included a 32-point win over Kansas and a 14-point win over North Carolina. A group that featured Karl-Anthony Towns(10.3 PPG, 6.7 RPG)and Devin Booker(10.0 PPG, 41 %from the 3-point line), Kentucky seemed invincible.Record: 32-6(14-4 ACC )Accomplishments: ACC tournament champion This group didn’t win the nationwide title. It didn’t even make it to the Final 4. But every other group on this list would have had

its hands full with this group that featured Zion Williamson (22.6 PPG, Wooden Award winner), R.J. Barrett (22.6 PPG )and Webcam Reddish(13.5 PPG). The Devils likewise swept Virginia, the 2019 national champions, justifying their addition. They couldn’t strike their threes (30.6%)however they had whatever else. Due to the fact that when they were healthy, they were dominant.Record: 29-4(16-0 Conference USA)Achievements: Conference U.S.A. champion We’ll never ever understand if Kenyon Martin( 18.9 PPG, 9.7 RPG, 3.5 BPG)& Co. could have won

the national championship
. Prior to his season-ending leg injury in the conference competition, nevertheless, the Bearcats were a dominant force that completed undefeated in C-USA action. They held their challengers to 61.8 points per game, the 16th-best mark in the nation, and also finished third in adjusted offending efficiency.Record: 35-5( 16-2 Big East )Achievements: National champ, Big East champ Kris Jenkins ‘buzzer-beater in the championship game is the defining minute of this group’s run to its school’s 2nd ever nationwide title. The 2017-18 squad was a juggernaut, however this group is a close second amongst Jay Wright’s best teams. Josh Hart(15.5 PPG)and five other players on this team, including a young Jalen Brunson, reached the NBA. In the Last Four, the Wildcats beat Buddy Hield and Oklahoma by a massive 44 points. They likewise finished top-five in adjusted offensive and defensive efficiency.Top stories of the week from Get special access to thousands of premium short articles a year from leading writers. – Ranking all 32 NHL
goalie tandems”- Ranking CFB’s 22 unbeaten teams “- NBA training school cheat sheets”More ESPN+material” Record: 35-5(14-4 Big East) Accomplishments: National champion(left), Big East champion, Big East tournament champion In the eyes of the NCAA, this season never ever happened. But left wins won’t change what all of us experienced: a group that imposed its will on both ends of the floor. Russ Smith(18.7 PPG, 2.1 SPG) was a two-way star. Peyton Siva(10.0 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 2.3 SPG)was a capable leader. The Cardinals, who had the very best defense in America, ended the year on a 16-game win streak.Record: 35-3(16-2 ACC)Accomplishments: National champion, ACC champ A year after becoming the very first front runner to suffer a loss to a 16-seed in the NCAA competition, the Hoos lastly reached their dream and won a national title. This is one of the leading defensive teams on this list.
The Cavaliers held their challengers to 46.1 PPG, the leading mark in the nation that season. They also shot 39.5% from the 3-point line, eighth in America. Kyle Man( 15.4 PPG )

and 5 other players on this lineup made it to the NBA.Record: 28-3 (17-1 Huge 12)Achievements: Huge 12 champ

We will never understand what would have occurred in the 2020 NCAA competition, which was canceled due to the pandemic. Several teams were contending for the leading total seed before the shutdown, however Kansas quickly appeared to have an edge over them all. Devon Dotson (18.1 PPG )and Udoka Azubuike(13.7 PPG, 10.5 RPG, 2.6 BPG)led a group that was even better than the Kansas group that won the national title 2 years later on. These Jayhawks held their challengers to simply 60.7 PPG, a top-10 mark in America, and ended the season on a 15-game winning streak.Record: 34-6 (14-4 Huge 12)Accomplishments: National champ, Huge 12 champ, Huge 12 tournament champ Ochai Agbaji (18.8 PPG, 5.1 RPG)and the Jayhawks entered halftime in the championship game game versus North Carolina with a double-digit deficit. However something took place in the locker space, and Kansas stormed back in the second half. Bill Self’s team had legit depth, which was

vital in that game. How excellent was this squad? Jalen Wilson( Associated Press

first string All-American the next season )was the fourth-leading scorer for the Jayhawks, who jointly linked on 54%of their shots inside the arc that season.

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