ESPN finally completed their "50 Best College Basketball Teams of the Last 50 Years" series. Here are the results:
|01||UNC||11||Mich. St.||20||Utah||31||Gonzaga||40||St. Johns|
|08||Syracuse||18||Temple||28||Murray St.||38||Kansas St.||48||LSU|
|09||UCONN||19||Memphis||29||Notre Dame||39||Weber St.||49||San Francisco|
|10||Arizona||20||Purdue||30||W. Kentucky||40||Florida||50||Boston College|
** Ties are sorted alphabetically. You may read the methodology here
Here is how the SEC stacked up as a conference, based on the ranking methodology:
01 Kentucky - 3rd 02 Arkansas - 25th 03 Missouri - 37th 04 Florida - 40th (tied) 05 Alabama - 47th 06 LSU - 48th 07 Tennessee - 55th **08 Vanderbilt - 68th** 09 Texas A&M - 104th (tied) 10 Mississippi St. - 121st (tied) 11 Auburn - 144th (tied) 12 South Carolina - 146th (tied) 13 Georgia - 171st 14 Mississippi - 234th
How does the above ranking align with your perception of Vanderbilt in the college basketball landscape? Share your thoughts below.
While a few of the names in the top 50 list ahead of Vanderbilt were surprising, I wasn’t shocked to see Vanderbilt around 68 (though I was hoping to find us near the bottom of the top 50, and thus profiled). I can’t find it now, but at one point I wrote about how tend to view the men’s basketball program as more "elite" historically than it is perhaps in reality. Until 2012, the team had only been to the SEC Tournament Championship game once, in 1951 (though they did take home the crown that season). Contrast that with baseball which has been extremely successful of late (and you’d have a hard time arguing against its elite status). Vanderbilt Football, while dismal in epic fashion since the 50’s (THOUGH IT’S ABSOLUTELY ON THE RIGHT TRACK UNDER COACH FRANKLIN, we’re just talking historically here), contributed to the legitimacy of Southern football, as the school established the SIAA and was the first Southern team to be deemed worthy enough to play against the mighty Yale Bulldogs (a 0–0 tie in 1910).
The last few years of basketball have certainly spoiled us. It will be interesting to see how the team absorbs the loss of so many upperclassmen (including three to the NBA). Personally, I think we’re going to be better than many expect.