With the announcement that the Kansas Jayhawks were the second most successful program in college basketball since 2009, the suspense is gone as to what the top program has been.
If you missed that announcement, you can catch up with that bracket here. Also, here is the updated bracket that shows the field so far. At this point, we know what the top seed will be so let’s not hide it anymore.
Today's bracket completes my sweet sixteen teams and I will be revealing the #1, #8, #9 and #16 teams overall. Since we know what the top team is, let's just reveal them now.
#1 KENTUCKY WILDCATS (77)
Say what you will about the SEC Conference, Kentucky got more points in the NCAA Tournament section (38) than nine of the teams in the top 16 got altogether.
Calipari can boast of a National title in 2012, a NCAA runner-up in 2014 and two other Final Fours in 2011 and 2015. The Wildcats also had two Elite Eight appearances in 2010 and 2017. You can call this underachieving, but Calipari has gotten results in Lexington and to expect more than what he has done is ridiculous.
Calipari had also cleaned up in the SEC with 5 outright conference titles and 5 conference tournaments. This is with the #10 team Florida in the same conference. Only the ACC and the Big 10 had more teams in my Sweet 16, but as I pointed out, Louisville has been in the ACC for less than half of my time frame. The Big 12 and the PAC-12 were one seeding leagues.
#16 SYRACUSE ORANGE (28)
It seems to show a lack of respect to the Orange that a team with two Final Fours (2013, 2016) would end up as a #16 seed. This actually was a tie between UConn and Syracuse, but the two titles by the Huskies got them a little better seed,
In addition to the Final Fours, the Orange have an Elite Eight in 2012 and a Sweet 16 in 2010. The Syracuse joined the ACC after the 2013 season, so technically this gives the ACC four teams. Syracuse did have a Final Four as an ACC member in 2016 but have not won a conference title or a tournament since joining. Only 6 of the Orange's 28 points have come as an ACC member.
#8 MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS (36)
As expected, Sparty would have to make an appearance in the Sweet 16 rankings, although I figured they would be a bit higher. The Spartans have two Final Fours in 2010 and 2015 and an Elite Eight in 2014. The Spartans also have a pair of Sweet 16 appearances (2012, 2013). The Spartans got the bulk of their points (24) in the NCAA Tournament section.
You can argue that the Spartans would be higher but were held back by the tough conference as the Spartans have just two regular conference titles (2010, 2012) and three conference tournament titles (2012, 2014, 2016).
#9 OHIO STATE BUCKEYES (36)
The Buckeyes compiled all of their points before the 2014 season, so if Ohio State would have done anything over the past four years, they would have been much higher. Ohio State has a Final Four (2012), an Elite Eight (2013), and a pair of Sweet 16 appearances (2010, 2011).
It's been a gradual decline for the Buckeyes as they have not made the NCAA Tournament in the last two years and are just 38-29 over the last two seasons and just 18-18 in the Big 10.
There you are. The final bracket in my top 16 programs since 2009 project. Here is a look at the bracket we just finished.
I do want to provide one disclaimer. I did not have any idea as to how this would turn out when I started. I figured that Kentucky would be one of the top teams, but I was a little shocked by the ranking of Kansas and Gonzaga.
You can argue that the ACC kept their teams down a bit, but it is hard to judge fully with Louisville and Syracuse along for just part of the ride. Their most success occurred outside the ACC so you would need to do this in a few years when they just have the ACC resume and not the previous conference.
Just to leave everyone with something to argue about, here is the full bracket in all its glory.