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: Mar 19, 2010
Posted on: February 21, 2012 8:25 pm

Our ballots for the top 16 teams of all-time

xequte...When you get a little further up in years sometimes your dates get a might fuzzy. But if you really have to be totally anonimous it makes no diff if you're a writer or smarta$$ or what. Just sayin'...the Houston team was tremendous, the Jordan/Worthy NC teams. This is a bull$hit for copy story anyway dummie, these guys get paid on the # of hits they get on a story. And I guess we all gave it up didn't we? If you're such a friggin authority & take so much effort to use the google bar, who are your favorite closet teams? Closet, oh $hit don't use that word. I tried to send you a private message, but the page wouldn't prompt correctly, so I'll just tell you up front, go ***k yourself. 

Since: Jul 18, 2007
Posted on: February 21, 2012 8:12 pm

Our ballots for the top 16 teams of all-time

As a dedicated Tarheel fan, they could have put a few more John Wooden teams high on that list.  Never seen such great players that were so unselfish on a team.

Since: Jul 18, 2007
Posted on: February 21, 2012 7:57 pm

Our ballots for the top 16 teams of all-time

If the '74 NC St, considered by A LOT of people to be one of the biggest upsets in NCAA History, possibly be ranked above Phi Slama Jama??? 

Since: Mar 14, 2008
Posted on: February 21, 2012 7:49 pm

Our ballots for the top 16 teams of all-time

The ONLY time all four #1 seeds made it to the Final Four was in 2008 when Kansas won it all.  In this era of kids departing early for the NBA, Kansas should be highly considered as the best all time for their era.  
What is "their era"?

I think Kansas is a great program. But, i'd call an era the last 25 years. Duke and UNC have done a lot in the last 25. If Pitino hadn't left UK, who knows.

Now you might have meant the one and done era. But, still....

I know the best teams don't always win it all, but the problem I have giving this "era" to Kansas is the fact that besides 08, the best KU teams that come to mind left the tourny too early.

Since: Feb 21, 2012
Posted on: February 21, 2012 7:33 pm

Our ballots for the top 16 teams of all-time

Some decent lists.  I am too young to have seen any of the 1960s or 1970s teams.  I agree with some others that 2008 Kansas is a little bit of a stretch.  I think both 97 & 98 Kansas were better than the 2008 version.  I think that 2008 team was the 3rd best team in the final four (behind Memphis & UNC), they just happened to get hot at the right time - let's not forget they barely squeeked by Steph Curry & Davidson in the Regional Final by a mere 3 pts!  A couple teams I might throw in there - 2000 Michigan State, 2005 Illinois (the best passing team I have ever seen) and 1993 Michigan (yah the Fab 5 were flawed and made plenty of mistakes, but to do what they did as freshman & sophmores will never be duplicated).

Since: Aug 5, 2008
Posted on: February 21, 2012 7:03 pm

Our ballots for the top 16 teams of all-time

the '91 UNLV was really good. some of the other teams listed i am too young to have watched play or remember.

Since: Jul 26, 2011
Posted on: February 21, 2012 6:57 pm

Our ballots for the top 16 teams of all-time

'91 UNLV gets my vote. No question. Last team to enter the NCAA tourney without a loss. Had they not run into (and overlooked) a Duke team they beat by 30 points in the title game the year before they probably would've defended their 1990 national championship. They still ended up 34-1. Entering the Final Four at 34-0 they beat their opponents by an average of 27.5 points per game and averaged a ridiculous 98.3 points per game.  Larry Johnson, Stacey Augmon, and Greg Anthony were all drafted within the first 12 picks of the NBA draft after that year.  Anderson Hunt was the Final Four MVP the year before.  That team was flat out unbelievable.

Since: Jul 26, 2007
Posted on: February 21, 2012 6:55 pm

There should be at least 3 KU teams on this list

Gary Parrish is not the only columnist that should be embarassed by his top 16.  The 2008 KU team won a championship but in the article it mentions that not being a requisite for inclusion.  Shame on you Gary.  They were a very good team, maybe top 25 all time, but certainly not top 10.  With the '08 'hawks off the list we can start adding KU teams who are deserving. The Kansas Jayhawk teams as mantioned in a few other posts from 1951-52 with Clyde Lovellette and Dean Smith as well as the Wilt Chamberlain team in 1956-57 should both be on this list.  Completely omitted by everyone up to this point (shame on you all) are the 1985-86 Jayhawks with Danny Manning, Greg Dreiling, Cedric Hunter, Ron Kellog, Calvin Thompson, Archie Marshall, Mark Turgoen and Chris Piper (lost to Duke in the Final Four) and the 1996-97 team that lost to eventual champion Arizona (Miles Simon, Jason Terry) in the regional final with Paul Pierce, Raef LaFrentz, Jacque Vaughn, Scot Pollard, Jerrod Haase, Billy Thomas, Ryan Robertson, TJ Pugh,  and BJ Williams.  How you make a top 15 (or so) all time list without even considering either of those two teams is completely beyond me.

Since: Jun 25, 2010
Posted on: February 21, 2012 6:43 pm

Our ballots for the top 16 teams of all-time

I remember watching the 1975 and 1976 Indiana Hoosiers on a black and white TV and they were awesome. But, it's hard to compare from generation to generation, because the style of play and the athleticism of the players has changed so much. Still, in comparison to their competition, that was the best team I ever saw.

A team that is quick to be forgotten is the 2004-2005 University of Illinois Fighting Illini, who went 37-2. They were nearly undefeated for the entire season, except for two shots. With a 29-0 record, they finished the regular season at Ohio State and lost by one point on a buzzer beater by Matt Sylvester. He rims that shot out, and the Illini are undefeated going into the national championship game against North Carolina. Although they lost by five, it was a late three by Luther Head that rimmed out. Instead of Illinois taking the lead in the final seconds, NC finished off the scoring with free throws. Two shots go the other way, and that team, led by Dee Brown and Deron Williams could have run the table for a 39-0 season that would definitely be considered one of the greatest seasons ever. Instead, they are barely remembered as a truly great team.

Since: Mar 14, 2011
Posted on: February 21, 2012 6:33 pm

Our ballots for the top 16 teams of all-time

Embarassed HOYAS

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