CBS names Kentucky ‘Greatest College Basketball Program Ever’

Using a data-driven formula, UK blew away the field

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (UK Athletics) – The Greatest Tradition in the History of College Basketball has now been named the “Greatest College Basketball Program Ever” by CBS Sports.

The Kentucky men’s basketball program came out on top – and by a large margin – in a data-driven ranking of college basketball’s best programs since the advent of the NCAA Tournament in 1939. UK blew away the competition with 1,931.8 points, nearly 250 points more than North Carolina in second place. Duke ranked third, followed by UCLA and Kansas.

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Matt Norlander headed up research to provide “a ranking built much more on statistics and achievements than broad perception or subjective rankings.”

Norlander came up with categories and assigned values to them, assigning points – in order of importance – for NCAA Tournament championships (20 points), Final Four appearances (10 points), regular-season titles (five points), Elite Eights without making the Final Four (three points), NIT titles (three points), NCAA Tournament bids (two points, win (0.5 points), losses (-0.5 points), wins over ranked opponents (0.5 points), weeks ranked (0.1 point), top-10 NBA picks (five points), 11-30 NBA picks (three points) and 31-60 NBA picks (one point).

Data from the NCAA record book, Sports Reference,,, Stats Inc., school record books, and ESPN’s College Basketball Encyclopedia was used.

Kentucky, the NCAA’s all-time leader in wins (2,319), NCAA Tournament wins (129), NCAA Tournament appearances (58) and NCAA Tournament games (181), ranked among the leaders in nearly every major category.

In addition to leading in the aforementioned fields, UK owns 49 Southeastern Conference regular-season championships, ranks second with eight national titles, is tied for second with 17 Final Fours and is second in Final Four wins with 20.

Of course, Kentucky has really asserted its dominance with its recent NBA Draft success, highlighted again this week when three more Wildcats were selected in the NBA Draft. UK has produced 41 NBA Draft picks, 31 first-rounders, 21 lottery selections and three No. 1 picks in just the last 11 years alone under current head coach John Calipari.

The current Wildcats will look to continue the tradition of dominance next week when they open the 2020-21 season in the Bluegrass Showcase. UK will take on Morehead State on Wednesday at 6 p.m. in Rupp Arena on SEC Network.

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Bryan Kennedy hails from the Bluegrass State. He was born and raised in Owensboro, KY where he graduated from Apollo High School in 2006. Bryan graduated from the University of Kentucky with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Spanish in 2010. He also received his master's degree in Sports Media and Branding from Western Kentucky University. While at UK, Bryan was the general manager of the on-campus TV station. He also did sports reporting, anchoring, producing and even the weather for UK Student News Network. While working for UKSNN, he also had the pleasure of covering Coach John Calipari's first press conference when he was introduced as the new head coach of the Kentucky Wildcats; easily one of his favorite moments as a young sports reporter. Before coming to ABC 36, Bryan was a morning anchor and reporter at WXXV News 25, our sister station in Gulfport, MS. He anchored more than four hours of news every day, including morning shows on NBC and Fox. While down south, Bryan had the opportunity to cover the Sugar Bowl, New Orleans Saints and the New Orleans Pelicans. After spending a little more than two years at WXXV, Bryan is extremely excited to return home. In his spare time, Bryan enjoys playing sports, especially rugby. He also enjoys crossfitting and watching sports (obviously). He's extremely excited to cover Central Kentucky. Feel free to say hello and send story ideas