Notre Dame Basketball Ranked #18 Program of All-Time

The AP rolled out a fun list of their top 100 college basketball programs of all-time yesterday and Notre Dame found itself firmly in the top 25 at #18.   The Irish come in one spot ahead of Villanova and one spot below Maryland.

Here is the methodology they used:

To determine the all-time Top 100, the AP formula counted poll appearances (one point each) to mark consistency and No. 1 rankings (two points each) to acknowledge elite programs. Keep in mind that AP doesn’t release a poll after the NCAA Tournament, so eventual national champions are not factored into these rankings. Instead, this list focuses more on those programs that consistently appear in the poll and/or at the top during the regular seasons.

Notre Dame’s best and worst decades shouldn’t surprise anyone.  The AP listed the glory days of 1970’s when Notre Dame appeared in 72.6% of the polls as its best decade and the dark days of the 1990’s when Notre Dame appeared in two polls.  Total.  In an entire freaking decade.   That stat kind of makes one appreciate Mike Brey just a little bit more.

Because of some lean years in the beginning of the 2010’s, that best decade distinction is probably safe baring a really remarkable run here over the final few years of the decade by Brey and company.

One interesting note the AP listed, however, was that of all of the top 25 teams in this poll, Notre Dame has the longest drought for a season where they have been ranked wire to wire.  The last time Notre Dame spent every week of the season in the AP Poll was 1985-86.  This season Notre Dame started the year off unranked and didn’t find their way into the top 25 until the 5th poll of the season.  The Irish also temporarily fell out of the rankings following their mid-season funk before landing at #14 in the final AP rankings of the season.

Assuming Bonzie Colson comes back next season as most expect, could Notre Dame change that statistic next season?  Even with the pending transfer of Matt Ryan, Notre Dame would have a core of Colson and Matt Farrell assuming their big man doesn’t leave for the NBA along with a good complimentary cast.  If Notre Dame starts the season ranked, there will be a good chance for them to change that next year.

Just a couple other things that stood out.

  • Louisville has only been ranked #1 by the AP two times in their history.  Since the poll doesn’t come out following the NCAA Tournament that doesn’t take into account championships but that is still a surprising statistic.
  • Purdue has never been ranked #1 and comes in ranked six spots below the Irish at #24.
  • The old Big East is well represented in the poll with Syracuse (#9), Cincinnati (#10), Georgetown (#15), UConn (#16), Villanova (#19), and Marquette (#21).

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  1. I did not observe the finest officials in the ND vs WVU contest as I remember it. Colson will play in the NBA.

  2. The Brey team that took KY down to the wire in the Elite 8 was the best all around ND team I’ve ever seen. That was a really good group of players and the team chemistry was unreal. I actually really miss watching their games.

    1. I guess I’m older because I believe the teams with Austin Carr, Sid Catlett, and Jones were one of the best teams of all time, nation-wide. They should have won two NCAA’s and a couple of NIT’s when the NIT was a big tourney. I really think, talent-wise, they matched up with any of Bobby Knight’s or John Wooden’s teams. Much better than any of Digger’s teams, as well. A different coach would have made the difference. It’s a matter of geography–you had to be there…

    2. I don’t know how that squat 2 years ago ranks against the squads in the 70’s since that was before my time. But that 2015 run was incredible, and disappointing as well. Had they made one more play (or one stop) I really believe they had a legit shot at their first NC. I think they would have matched well against Wisconsin and they had already beaten Duke 3 times that year. It was so close.

    3. you are right Chris that team played so hard and had the best chemistry of any team the irish had!! and I go all the way back to the AUSTIN CARR DAYS!! NO other team handled every tough situation and came out ahead like they did!!! THE KENTUCKY GAME STILL HAUNTS US, STILL HURTS!!

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