UK Men's Basketball

Kentucky No. 1 in Associated Press all-time rankings

What Calipari and UK's players had to say after loss to UNC

Coach Calipari took no credit away from UNC, but said his team deserves a lot of praise for hanging with the Tar Heels despite being in a lot of foul trouble. Kentucky's season ended with a 75-73 loss in the Elite 8 round on Sunday.
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Coach Calipari took no credit away from UNC, but said his team deserves a lot of praise for hanging with the Tar Heels despite being in a lot of foul trouble. Kentucky's season ended with a 75-73 loss in the Elite 8 round on Sunday.

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 (one point) to mark consistency and No. 1 rankings (two 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.

It starts 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 legendary coach 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.

They are 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 might not have always been correct top to bottom, but it has always been there.

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 that 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.

The Associated Press all-time top 100

Rank

Team

Points

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 (Fla.)

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

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