ESPN all-time rankings: Indiana No. 5

  • 10/05/2009 1:32 pm in

espn100509The ESPN College Basketball Encyclopedia is out this week and tucked on page 1196 is a computer based ranking of the top programs of all-time. The formula, composed by Jeff Sagarin, looks at wins and losses, scoring margin and an additional ranking that combines the first two factors.

The Big Ten placed five programs in the top ten: Indiana (5), Illinois (6), Purdue (8), Ohio State (9) and Iowa (10). And the four programs ahead of IU are, in order: Kentucky, UCLA, Kansas and North Carolina.

It’s hard to justify this formula as the best way to determine all-time greatness, but they did accurately peg what I perceive to be the top five. After that, Illinois ahead of Duke seems to throw up a red flag as does having Michigan State all the way down at No. 15.

From what I’ve been told, the book, which is 1,232 pages, is a must-have for college basketball fans. It’s packed with just about every pertinent fact from the game’s history: tournament brackets, polls, team histories and of course, these rankings. Update your Christmas lists accordingly.

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  • Hardwood83

    Top 5 are hard to argue with- but ILLINOIS? puh-leaz! Top 20, sure, 15 maybe. But no way is that a top 10 all-time program. 0 NC, not even dominant in their conference. The formula failed here.

  • GFDave

    Its one way to look at things, but it didn't give extra weight to NCAA or NIT titles. Also, pUKe has all those wins back in the day against SEC teams that used basketball as a way of keeping football players in shape. ACC and B10 strength of schedule weightings would favor teams in those leagues.

    But it doesn't really matter as I think there is broad consensus that pUKe, UCLA, NC, Duke, Kansas and IU are the premier programs historically. A list of powers that have emerged over recent decades would include Louisville, UCONN, Georgetown, and MSU. OSU has a solid history as well.

  • triple

    This list represents a purely statistical point of view and there is nothing wrong with that. In doing so it places no more value on a national championship game than it does upon a game between the same two teams during the regular season. I love the fact that it illustrates that the Big Ten is THE power house conference, ignoring occassional fluctuations.

    That said, not many people are going to be fooled into believing that stats alone define greatness. Put another way, how many Duke or MSU fans would trade in their NCAA crowns to move ahead of Illinois or Purdue on this list?

  • Casey

    Even after taking off my candy striped glasses I am amazed that PU comes in at 8. Wow. Michigan State at 15?

  • MillaRed

    Iowa? Did something happen in the 40s, 50s, 60s I am not aware of?

    I mean….Iowa?

  • hoosierodi

    They were always really good in the 60's. Not so good recently, but ever see the movie Glory Road. Texas Western plays them in the season and it said they were ranked 2nd or 3rd so who knows.

  • I assume the logos on the image go in order of the ranking? So is Kansas ahead of UNC? Just a minor clarification requested, because I want to legitimize the ACC-Big Ten challenge using all-time greatness, and not the debacle of the past 10+ years.

  • You're correct. I updated my listing accordingly. I had UNC and Kansas flip-flopped.

  • BFowler

    Iowa at differnt times was ranked number 1 when BJ Armstrong was there. They made an elite 8 run in '87 (losing to UNLV). They entered 1989 as the #1 team in the land. Dr. Tom was a great coach.

  • dale11

    Off topic but I saw USA today's college basketball preview today. They picked Purdue getting beat in the Final Four to Michigan State and picked IU 10th in the big 10.

  • GFDave

    I remember IU surgically dissecting his famous press. I never could figure out why Davis kept using it because Knight just destroyed his press. Otherwise I agree that Davis was a good coach. Maybe stubborn, but good.

  • Name

    The thing that strikes me the most is that UCLA is not number 1….you need no formula or math problem to tell you that wooden was amazing and that their run of championships puts them as best of all time.

  • MarcusGresham

    I know that book will be at the top of my Christmas list. I have the football version and I read the entire thing, thinking the whole time, “When do they do this for basketball, too?”

  • MarcusGresham

    So UK is rated #1? Were they ranking teams in order of number of probations?

  • Indiana, UCLA, Kentucky, Kansas, Duke, North Carolina
    These are most storied elite programs ever doesn't matter what order you put them in any other program doesn't really compare.

  • Indiana, UCLA, Kentucky, Kansas, Duke, North Carolina
    These are most storied elite programs ever doesn't matter what order you put them in any other program doesn't really compare.