’90s get their due on college hoops’ all-time teams

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If there’s no “dominant team” this season, it means a ranking of the 10 greatest college basketball teams of all time is an easy thing to promote.

No updating required. At least for another 12 months.

As part of Sporting News’ “Great Debates” series, they used a panel of 41 experts to determine the best teams the game’s ever seen. It’s a solid list, too.

I encourage you to click the link and read through for their explanations, but I’m including the 10 below:

1. 1966-67 UCLA Bruins
2. 1972-73 UCLA Bruins
3. 1975-76 Indiana Hoosiers
4. 1981-82 North Carolina Tar Heels
5. 1954-55 San Francisco Dons
6. 1990-91 UNLV Rebels
7. 1973-74 N.C. State Wolfpack
8. 1991-92 Duke Blue Devils
9. 1983-84 Georgetown Hoyas
10. 1995-96 Kentucky Wildcats

The top three are all unbeaten teams. The rest – except for Georgetown – either have one or two losses. All except Kentucky featured a national player of the year.

Some observations:

  • The list probably could’ve included more UCLA teams (any of Alcindor’s title teams, for example), but it’s good to have some variety.
  • Duke beat that ’91 UNLV team in the Final Four, and went on to have an all-time team with the same roster. Georgetown lost to ’82 UNC in the championship, but claimed an all-time team with a roster that only had three essential carryovers.
  • Interesting that three teams from the ‘90s make the list compared to two from the ‘80s. Considering the ‘80s are usually hailed as a decade with superior basketball – and similar talent – it speaks to how good those teams from UNLV, Duke and Kentucky were.
  • I confess. I’ve never seen Bill Russell’s S.F. Dons play. But I’m guessing most of the panel didn’t either given they played 55 years ago. It’s a sign of respect to Russell and K.C. Jones, but I’d say the Dons are too high on this list.
  • No teams from the 2000s is either an indication that more time needs to pass before we elevate the likes of ’01 Duke, ’05 Carolina, ’07 Florida and ’08 Kansas. Of that group, Carolina and Florida seem the most likely to break into the top10.

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