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Best All-Time College Basketball Team

A single individual's statistics are easily measured. It is less easy, but still eminently possible, to compare those stats to those of other players. For instance, when trying to name the best NBA guard of the early 2000s, the answer has to be Kobe Bryant. Statistically superior, Bryant was, along with Shaquille O'Neal, the centerpiece of the 2000, 2001, and 2002 NBA title teams. However, answering which team was the best is far more difficult since the Spurs also won titles in 1999, 2003, and 2005.

This point extends to college basketball as well; choosing the top NCAA b-ball squad in history is extremely difficult. Furthermore, it is almost completely subjective so anyone is free to disagree. That said, there are some standards which very, very few teams meet and that can set a valid threshold for choice. These are, briefly, that the choice must be fairly recent (since the game has changed so dramatically from 1980 on), must have had NBA level talent at several positions, and, lastly, lashed itself powerfully to the mind of its audience in an enduring fashion. Ultimately, while there have been many great teams, the group that fits this description best is the 1995-1996 Kentucky Wildcats "Untouchables."

The 1996 Untouchables, who won the National Title, were the most talented group of players ever to play college basketball. Nine players on the roster would eventually play in the NBA including All-Star Antoine Walker. In addition to Walker, the team also featured Derek Anderson and Ron Mercer (whose all-star potential was derailed by injuries), and future NBA role players Tony Delk, Walter McCarthy, Nazr Mohammad, Mark Pope, Jeff Sheppard, and Wayne Turner. Furthermore, the group was coached by future Hall of Famer Rick Pitino. All of these factors contributed to a 34-2 regular season run (including 16-0 in the SEC) and a National Title after comfortable wins over Massachussets in the Final Four and Syracuse in the Title Game.

UK vs. UT at Rupp arena.
UK vs. UT at Rupp arena.
Thanks to LP Quilts on flickr.com for the picture .

There are any number of other teams that could lay claim to the title of "Best All-Time"; so what makes the Untouchables special? The 2005 and 2006 Florida repeat title teams were exceptional and featured NBA talent in Al Horford, Joakim Noah, and Corey Brewer. The 1982 North Carolina title team had both James Worthy and Michael Jordan and the list goes on.

Shaq Action Shot
Shaq Action Shot

However, the 1996 UK Wildcat "Untouchables" were unique because of both the talent (three All Star level players), the depth (six additional NBA talents as role players), and the mystique that resulted from their dominant run to the title. So, i pick the '96 Kentucky Wildcats as the top all-time college basketball team.

Best All-Time.com named the 1981 - 1982 UNC Tarheels (Jordan/Worthy) as the best all time college basketball team.


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