Blog Entry

Our ballots for the top 16 teams of all time

Posted on: February 21, 2012 2:10 pm
Edited on: February 22, 2012 12:45 pm
John Wooden's 1973 UCLA team, above, and his '68 squad were in the top three of every ballot. (AP)

By Gary Parrish

In March, the CBS Sports Network will air one big show in four parts, on two nights, on the best 16 college basketball teams in history.

They asked me to submit a ballot.

They asked Jeff Borzello, Jeff Goodman and Matt Norlander to do the same.

After a whole lot research and subsequent debate on Twitter, we finally filed our lists. Lots of you asked to see them. We decided to let you. So take a look and tell us what you think. And don't forget the the best team in this sport doesn't always win the national championship because that fact of life is reflected in our ballots. Teams in italics did not win national titles.

Kentucky in 1995-96 was absolutely ridiculous. (AP)
----- Gary Parrish's Ballot -----
  1. 1968 UCLA
  2. 1996 Kentucky
  3. 1973 UCLA
  4. 1982 North Carolina
  5. 1976 Indiana
  6. 2008 Kansas
  7. 2009 North Carolina
  8. 1991 UNLV
  9. 1999 Duke
  10. 1992 Duke
  11. 2005 North Carolina
  12. 2007 Florida
  13. 1956 San Francisco
  14. 1957 North Carolina
  15. 1974 North Carolina State
  16. 2000 Cincinnati

----- Jeff Goodman's Ballot -----

  1. 1968 UCLA
  2. 1973 UCLA
  3. 1976 Indiana
  4. 1956 San Francisco
  5. 1982 North Carolina
  6. 1996 Kentucky
  7. 1992 Duke
  8. 1990 UNLV
  9. 1974 North Carolina State
  10. 1984 Georgetown
  11. 1979 Michigan State
  12. 1960 Ohio State
  13. 1967 UCLA
  14. 2007 Florida
  15. 2005 North Carolina
  16. 2009 North Carolina
The longer we go without a team going buzzer to buzzer without a loss, the better 1975-76 Indiana looks for being the last team to accomplish the feat. (AP)
----- Jeff Borzello's Ballot -----
  1. 1968 UCLA
  2. 1973 UCLA
  3. 1976 Indiana
  4. 1956 San Francisco
  5. 1996 Kentucky
  6. 1972 UCLA
  7. 1991 UNLV
  8. 1982 North Carolina
  9. 1992 Duke
  10. 1974 North Carolina State
  11. 1990 UNLV
  12. 1967 UCLA
  13. 1954 Kentucky
  14. 1957 North Carolina
  15. 1984 Georgetown
  16. 1960 Ohio State

----- Matt Norlander's Ballot -----

  1. 1973 UCLA
  2. 1996 Kentucky
  3. 1968 UCLA
  4. 1976 Indiana
  5. 1982 North Carolina
  6. 1956 San Francisco
  7. 1992 Duke
  8. 2005 North Carolina
  9. 1974 N.C. State
  10. 1957 North Carolina
  11. 1991 UNLV
  12. 2001 Duke
  13. 2007 Florida
  14. 1984 Georgetown
  15. 1999 Duke
  16. 2008 Kansas

CBS Sports Network will be celebrating the 16 greatest college basketball teams of all time in the upcoming, four-part series, "16." Our CBS Sports panel of experts has voted, and on March 19 and 20, you'll be able to see which teams make up our list. You can help us celebrate your favorite team by sending us your tweets -- use the hashtag #CBS16 -- or leave your comments below. Then, look for your content as we'll work to incorporate the best submissions into the series.

You can also chime in on Facebook: Eye on College Basketball or


Since: Jan 2, 2007
Posted on: March 6, 2012 10:09 pm

Our ballots for the top 16 teams of all time

While I don't want to chime in with my list since everybody else is going to, I do have a thing or two to offer.

First, there should be at least two separate lists.  You have to distinguish between pre- and post-shot clock era.  If you don't make a separation there, then consider before and after the arrival of three-point line line.  It's two completely different worlds and you can't compare them.  It would be like comparing the teams in Major League Baseball from before and after the color line was broken by Jackie Robinson.

Second, we may want to consider separating the teams that have had to navigate at least a 64-team field with those that didn't.  You have to realize that teams like the '68 UCLA team had to win only two games to get to the Final Four.  It's just not the same when the '82 North Carolina team had to get through four games to make the Final Four.  With all due respect to Coach Wooden and the UCLA dynasty, they really didn't play a ton of teams that had close to the amount of talent they did.

Remember, in the early 1970s there were barely 200 teams playing division I b-ball.  Today we have almost 350 and the rosters are bigger than they were then.  I enjoy the exercise of comparing old and new, but it's comparing apples and oranges. 

Since: Jan 7, 2007
Posted on: March 6, 2012 10:02 pm

Our ballots for the top 16 teams of all time

The 1992 Duke team had to pay the refs off to beat IU in the Final 4.  IU still almost won that game even with the paid off refs.

Since: Jul 11, 2008
Posted on: March 1, 2012 1:09 am

Our ballots for the top 16 teams of all time

You gotta rename this mess.  Call it the Modern Era or the NCAA Tourney Era.  Too many great teams prior to the 1950's are being dishonored or just plain Dissed by your collective short memory. 

Can't be an All-time list if you can't go back further than the NCAA Era... 
The great Bradley teams of the 1950's.  The George Mikan led DePaul teams of the 1940's.  The Eddie Hickey coached 1942-43 "All American Team" at Creighton.  The Oklahoma A&M National Champion Teams of the 1940's.  The undefeated Tommy Mills coached Creighton teams of 1918 & 1919, Champions of the West.  Too many others to note. 

You're just presumptuous young men who don't know history.

Since: Oct 9, 2006
Posted on: February 28, 2012 3:55 am

Our ballots for the top 16 teams of all time

Couple of things before a real top-16 is listed:

**CANNOT include teams that didnt win the title that year. I mean, do I really have o say this?
**teams that won back-to-back titles deserve higher rankings (but not over the truly legendary teams)
**no idea why the 68 UCLA team is ranked by everyone instead of the 69 team, which had Sidney Wicks & Curtis Rowe. Both teams lost only 1 game. Hmmm
**hard to include teams before the Alcindor era, as the game was just played sooooo differently then--so I wont here

1- 68/69 UCLA
2- 73 UCLA
5- 92 DUKE
7- 90 UNLV
9- 74 NC STATE
12- 71/95 UCLA
15- 08 KANSAS

Since: Nov 16, 2008
Posted on: February 24, 2012 2:34 pm

Our ballots for the top 16 teams of all time

What are you smoking? The shot clock was practically invented to eliminate the game killing insanity of North Carolina's BORING four corner NONOFFENSE. Dean Smith was LUCKY to win the 2 Voodoo titles in New Orleans. I still remember (in horror) to listening to the radio  of the UNC-Duke game(?) 4-0 at half time before the shot clock. Dean Smith was awfully good at not scoring, yeah baby. It was NC, not the other teams playing stall ball.

Since: Nov 16, 2008
Posted on: February 24, 2012 1:22 pm

Our ballots for the top 16 teams of all time

How can you not list the 1978 UK Championship Team? Goose Givens would have broken Walton's record if Joe B. Hall had left him in. They only lost 3 games and were not pressed in the tourney as only Mich St. with Johnson and Kelser got close. There is a definite bias against UK. UK has 7 National Championships and UNC has 5 including 2 in New Orleans with voodoo wins ( Mich calls a time out it does not have ['There is gambling in this establishment!"] and Georgetown throws the ball to the other side in the last seconds) plus it takes UNC 3 overtimes to win in 1957, but it gets that team and one of the voodoo teams on the list plus 2005 and UK has 1 listed! Did not even add the undefeated 1954 UK team. Then Duke gets mentioned 3 times when it has only won 4 NC! Its 1992 team needed 2 overtimes to win by one point when Laettner hit all his shots even though he should have been ejected for a flagrant foul stomping on Timberlake. Nothing to see here folks just move along, no ACC bias here.

Since: Jan 25, 2009
Posted on: February 24, 2012 2:22 am

Our ballots for the top 16 teams of all time

If the refs would have made the correct call on Greg Anthony, gets the and one, and doesn't foul out, is 1991 UNLV the #1 on everybody's list?

Since: Jun 5, 2007
Posted on: February 23, 2012 9:14 am

Our ballots for the top 16 teams of all time

This ballot was generated from the article stating that old school teams will always be better than new teams because the players leave before their four years of eligibility.  However, the gators win back to back national championships with the same 5 starters as juniors and then seniors.  However, they get put below teams that didn't even win the national championship or they get snubbed completely as in the case of Borzello.  A team that wins back to back in the modern era should be on the list and a little higher than 12th, especially because they did it the old school way in the modern era.   However, since Florida isn't a traditional basketball school a la Kentucky, UCLA, NC and DUKE et al, they don't get the respect they deserve.

Since: Feb 23, 2008
Posted on: February 22, 2012 2:37 pm

Our ballots for the top 16 teams of all time

The same team got blown out one year earlier in the Final Four by Kansas. 2009 Carolina was good, but both 2008 Kansas and 2008 Memphis were better.

Since: Nov 10, 2006
Posted on: February 22, 2012 2:34 pm

Our ballots for the top 16 teams of all time

I'll admit I'm a homer and that its hard to argue with most of these teams.  But before adding teams that weren't good enough to win it all (although I do recognize what happened with Cincinnati after losing Kenyon Martin in 2000) or weren't eligible for whatever reason, I would submit the Louisville Cardinals' first championship team in 1980.  The team was 33-3 and had four future pros in POY Darrell Griffith, Jerry Eaves, Rodney McCray, and Derek Smith (Nolan's dad).  Wiley Brown was the fifth starter and part of the remaining nucleus- minus Griff but adding Scooter McCray (who was injured early in the 79-80 season)- that also appeared in Final Fours in 1982 and 1983.  

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