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Kentucky has three of Sporting News' top 31 teams to not win a title

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The 2002-03, 2009-10 and 2014-15 Kentucky Wildcats made Sporting News' list of the best college teams to not win a national championship.

Karl-Anthony Towns led Kentucky to a historic 38-0 start last season.
Karl-Anthony Towns led Kentucky to a historic 38-0 start last season.
Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Kelenna Azubuike, John Wall and Karl-Anthony Towns.

The 2002-03 team (led by Azubuike) ran into future Hall of Famer and current Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade, the 2009-10 (led by Wall) team shot 4-for-32 from three-point range in the Carrier Dome in an Elite Eight loss to West Virginia and the 2014-15 team (led by Towns) came within two wins of completing the first 40-0 season in college basketball history.

These three stars and their teams were represented on a recent list made by Sporting News on the top 31 teams to not win a championship. The 2002-03 team was ranked 27th out of the 31 teams, while the first-year version of John Calipari's Wildcats ranked 18th.

The 2014-15 team -- the team that came within a whisker of 40-0 -- finished only behind the 1990-01 UNLV Runnin' Rebels for the top spot on SN's list of teams.

There's a few notes from the list:

If you look at what could have been for those three Kentucky teams on the list, the '02-03 Wildcats would have had a solid Kansas team waiting for them in the Final Four that beat Duke and Arizona in back-to-back games, followed by some guy named Carmelo Anthony and the Syracuse Orange in the title game.

For the 2009-10 team, the television ratings would have been through the roof with a Final Four meeting against Duke in Indianapolis, who would go on to win the title that season.

The 2014-15 team's wounds still feel rather fresh. If the 'Cats would have defeated the Wisconsin Badgers in the Final Four again, they once again would find themselves in a showdown with the Duke Blue Devils. I don't know if there would be a game in college basketball history that could compare to those ratings if that happened last season.