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Where Does ESPN Rank Vanderbilt Basketball Over The Last 50 Years

Little kid in the bottom right: "OH THE HUMANITY"
Little kid in the bottom right: "OH THE HUMANITY"

ESPN finally completed their "50 Best College Basketball Teams of the Last 50 Years" series. Here are the results:

Rank Team Rank Team Rank Team Rank Team Rank Team
01 UNC 11 Mich. St. 20 Utah 31 Gonzaga 40 St. Johns
02 UCLA 12 Georgetown 22 Princeton 31 Oklahoma 40 St. Josephs
03 UK 13 Michigan 22 Penn 33 Illinois 43 NC State
04 Duke 14 UNLV 24 Cincinnati 34 Xavier 44 Davidson
05 Kansas 15 Ohio State 25 Arkansas 35 Houston 45 DePaul
06 Louisville 16 Villanova 26 Texas 36 BYU 46 UTEP
07 Indiana 17 Marquette 27 Maryland 37 Missouri 47 Alabama
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.