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Jim O'Connell | The Associated Press | March 29, 2017

AP releases Top 100 programs based on poll

  The Kentucky Wildcats have earned the most points in the AP Top 25 since its inception in 1949.

It all started in 1949 with Saint Louis on top. And 68 years later, The Associated Press college basketball poll has ranked a total of 200 schools through more than 1,100 polls — 59 at No. 1.

There have been plenty of changes over the years to how teams are ranked, just as there have been broader changes in the sport itself as hoops evolved from an older style to the amazing performances of today's players, showcased through the flashy made-for-TV drama of the NCAA Tournament.

Now, for the first time, the AP is using that data to go past the Top 25 of the moment and ask: what are the top 100 programs of all-time? To determine that, the AP reviewed the weekly polls and counted appearances (1 point) to mark consistency and No. 1 rankings (2 points) to acknowledge elite programs. The results don't factor in national championships because the AP doesn't release a poll after the NCAA Tournament. Still, the teams at the top are a who's who of college basketball royalty.

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Starting with Kentucky, the all-time No. 1 with appearances in 75.4 percent of all polls and 124 No. 1 rankings.

The distinction is no surprise to Joe B. Hall, who coached Kentucky to its fifth title in 1978 and was an assistant under the legendary Adolph Rupp, eventually succeeding the "Baron of the Bluegrass" in 1973.

"Credit goes to coach Rupp for starting the fever with two straight titles in the 1940s and four overall during a time when all of the programs were beginning to develop," said Hall, who took the Wildcats to three Final Fours in 12 years. "The fact that he laid such a solid foundation, and that four of us have followed him and won championships indicates how he built a program that has endured over time."

The next top teams are North Carolina, Duke and UCLA — the only schools to be ranked at the top for more than 100 weeks. In the 1960s and 70s, the Bruins could have gotten mail addressed to "No. 1."

Kansas, Indiana, Louisville, Arizona, Syracuse and Cincinnati round out a top 10 that includes only schools that have won national championships.

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Programs similar to Kentucky, where Hall said tradition and pressure to succeed gave motivation to keep going.

"It infused me with the spirit to work harder," Hall said. "Coaches feed off it and players feed off of it. I don't know what the secret is, but success breeds success and the coaches that have been here, from (Rick) Pitino to Tubby (Smith) and (John) Calipari have enhanced the program and brought it up to the times."

The AP poll started with 20 teams, then was reduced to 10 midway through the 1960-61 season. It returned to a Top 20 for 1968-69, then expanded to 25 teams starting in 1989-90. The first preseason poll was done before the 1961-62 season.

The poll has always been a guide for which teams deserve national attention, giving fans fodder to talk about where their schools fit in the pecking order of college hoops. It may not have always been correct top to bottom, but it has always been there.

Team Confidential: Best of the Madness

Some notable names and numbers from the AP All-Time Top 100:

NO. 1 ... OR NOT: UCLA has spent the most weeks at No. 1 (134) ahead of Duke (129), Kentucky (124) and North Carolina (110). No. 17 Maryland has the distinction of being the highest-ranked team never to have been at No. 1.

OUT OF IT: The only school to ever be ranked No. 1 and not finish in the top 100 is Indiana State. The Sycamores rose to the top of poll for four weeks in 1978-79 behind a forward named Larry Bird.

CONFERENCE CALL: Using current conference alignments the Atlantic Coast Conference led the top 10 with four schools — North Carolina (2), Duke (3), Louisville (7), Syracuse (9). Expanded to the top 20 and the Big Ten pulls in front with six — Indiana (6), Illinois (11), Ohio State (12), Michigan State (13), Michigan (14), Maryland (17). The ACC picked up one school in the second 10 — Notre Dame (18).

IN A ROW: The record for consecutive polls ranked is 221 by UCLA from 1966-80. The current longest streak is Kansas at 161, a run that started Feb. 3, 2009. Arizona is next with 97 followed by Villanova at 73, Virginia (64) and North Carolina (62).

CENTURY MARK: There was a tie for 100th between Jacksonville and Mississippi.

ONE SPOT: 14 schools have appeared in a total of one poll, including Army, Boise State, Bucknell, Cleveland State, Iona, Kent State, Lamar, Maryland-Eastern Shore, Missouri State, Northeastern, Old Dominion, Pepperdine, Texas State and Wayne State.

SO SOON: Florida State was ranked 25th in the 1993-94 preseason poll. The Seminoles didn't play the first week of the season but they dropped out and were replaced at No. 25 by Wisconsin. When told his team had fallen from the rankings, coach Pat Kennedy said: "Well we did have a lousy week of practice."

THE BIG JUMP: Kansas recorded the biggest jump-in in poll history in 1989-90. The Jayhawks were unranked in the preseason Top 25 but wins over No. 2 LSU, No. 1 UNLV and No. 25 St. John's in the Preseason NIT had them at No. 4 in the first regular season poll. After five weeks at No. 2, Kansas was ranked No. 1.

1 Kentucky 1,111
2 North Carolina 1,098
3 Duke 1,032
4 UCLA 957
5 Kansas 857
6 Indiana 662
7 Louisville 627
8 Arizona 594
9 Syracuse 581
10 Cincinnati 500
11 Illinois 479
12 Ohio State 453
13 Michigan State 434
14 Michigan 423
15 Georgetown 421
16 Connecticut 402
17 Maryland 400
18 Notre Dame 382
19 Villanova 372
20 Oklahoma 371
21 Marquette 366
21 North Carolina State 366
23 Iowa 343
24 Purdue 339
25 UNLV 321
26 Memphis 307
27 St. John's 306
27 Florida 306
29 Missouri 300
30 Alabama 297
31 Arkansas 289
32 Virginia 283
33 Wake Forest 281
34 Oklahoma State 271
35 Pittsburgh 264
36 Texas 255
37 Wisconsin 250
38 Tennessee 243
39 Utah 239
40 Stanford 232
41 Gonzaga 230
42 West Virginia 229
43 Minnesota 226
44 Kansas State 224
45 Georgia Tech 213
46 Vanderbilt 204
47 LSU 198
48 San Francisco 191
49 DePaul 186
50 USC 174
51 Temple 169
52 Washington 154
53 Xavier 153
53 Iowa State 153
55 New Mexico 149
56 Houston 148
57 Providence 143
58 Mississippi State 140
58 Wichita State 140
60 Bradley 138
60 Oregon State 138
62 South Carolina 135
63 BYU 129
64 Florida State 127
65 Clemson 125
66 Oregon 123
67 Butler 121
68 Massachusetts 118
69 Saint Louis 115
69 La Salle 115
71 Baylor 113
72 Seton Hall 112
73 Western Kentucky 111
74 Boston College 110
75 Texas A&M 105
76 Dayton 98
77 California 97
78 Duquesne 95
79 Arizona State 94
80 Auburn 90
81 Holy Cross 89
82 Creighton 83
83 St. Bonaventure 82
83 Tulsa 82
85 Penn 78
86 SMU 77
87 Miami (FL) 75
88 George Washington 74
89 Davidson 71
90 Oklahoma City 69
91 Saint Joseph's 68
92 Georgia 66
92 San Diego State 66
94 Seattle 65
95 New Mexico State 64
96 Long Beach State 60
96 UTEP 60
98 Loyola Chicago 57
99 Virginia Tech 50
100 Jacksonville 49
100 Mississippi 49

This article was written by Jim O'Connell from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to


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