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The 16 most successful programs in NCAA Basketball since 2009, Part 2

John Calipari has taken some flack from the media for “underachieving” since he arrived at Kentucky. But has he really? I continue my look at the most successful college programs since he arrived in Lexington.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-East Regional-Wisconsin vs Florida Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier this week, I started the task of researching and rating the top 16 NCAA college basketball programs since 2009, which is when John Calipari arrived at Kentucky. Here is my first post which explains the ratings I used and this post also broke down four of the teams. Here is a look at where we left off on our 16 team bracket.


Today, we are going to look at the four-team bracket that houses the #3, #6, #11, and #14 teams. Like we did the other day, I will present this as part of a bigger 16 team bracket over the next week or so,

Let's start with our #3 team overall. And there will probably be some arguing.

NCAA Basketball: Final Four Championship Game-Gonzaga vs North Carolina Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports


There are different criteria for success in college basketball and probably no team has dominated their conference like the Bulldogs have. We run into this debate a lot in college football when it comes to the perceived weaker schedule some non power-five conference teams face.

The beauty of college basketball is that all of the non power-five conference teams get to their chances in the playoffs and have an equal chance at winning the title. The Bulldogs have finally had some tournament success over the last three seasons with an Elite Eight (2015), Sweet 16 (2016) and a NCAA runner-up this year.

It should be noted that the Bulldogs have made the NCAA Tournament 19 straight seasons. Granted, the bulk of the points for the Bulldogs are due to their success in the WCC. The Bulldogs have dominated the conference and have won both the regular season and conference tournament title the past five seasons. An elite eight and a national runner-up in the past three seasons is indicative of a program that is among the better programs in the country, but you can debate the ranking of #3 in the comments.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-South Regional-North Carolina vs Butler Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports


As fate has it, this pairing is between the two darlings of the non power five programs. The Bulldogs had the majority of their success in the early part of their sample with NCAA runner-up finishes in 2010 and 2011. Since then, they just have a Sweet 16 finish, which was this season.

The Bulldogs have struggled in their transition from the Horizon League to the tougher Big East as they can not claim a conference or a tournament title since they entered the league after the 2011 season. This season was the first season in that past six that they had advanced past the opening weekend of the NCAA Tournament.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Second Round-Michigan vs Louisville Thomas Joseph-USA TODAY Sports


The Cardinals have a National Championship (2013) and a Final Four (2012) on their resume and another close call in the Elite Eight in 2015 so their presence this high is deserving. However, they can relate to the Wichita State Shockers in the fact they would be much higher on this list if not for Kentucky. Louisville had a Final Four loss to the Wildcats in 2012 and a Sweet 16 loss in 2014.

Also hampering the Cardinals ascent was the scandal-plagued 2016 season in which they skipped the NCAA Tournament. The Cardinals were a serious contender for at least a Final Four, if not another championship.

At this point, fans of the ACC will probably point to this as a sign of ACC dominance, as three of the top six teams are in the ACC, but not so fast. Louisville has been in the ACC for just the past three seasons and only 4 of their 41 points are as result of their ACC participation. The Cardinals were one of the top teams in the country before they joined the ACC and not as a result of being an ACC team.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Second Round-Wisconsin vs Villanova Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports


Villanova is a tough team to place as they have been a team that has vastly underperformed in the NCAA Tournament virtually every year except for 2016 when they won the national title. The Wildcats were a #1 or a #2 seed in the NCAA Tournament in five years but made it out of the opening weekend just once.

Villanova has been the class of the Big East and in my opinion, the Big East is an underrated conference. However, the NCAA performance of the team is what keeps the team as a double digit seed. Granted, the Wildcats had another Final Four in 2009, but for the purposes of my rating, that was out of the timeframe that I looked at.

We are now halfway through our look at the 16 most successful programs since 2009. Here is a look at today's bracket.