Blog Entry

CBS 16: Why winning a title is mandatory

Posted on: March 6, 2012 4:12 pm
Edited on: March 6, 2012 5:10 pm
Patrick Ewing and Georgetown were dominant in 1985, but its loss to Villanova separates it from greatness. (US Presswire)

By Jeff Goodman

You can't be elite without a ring. 

That was my take when putting together my list of the Top 16 teams in the history of college basketball. 

There were some terrific teams that didn't cut down the nets. UNLV in 1991 immediately comes to mind. The defending national champs returned just about everyone and became the first school since Indiana State in 1979 to enter the NCAA without a blemish. But that group -- which was ultra-talented with Larry Johnson, Stacey Augmon, Greg Anthony and Anderson Hunt -- isn't worthy of a spot on the CBS16 because it couldn't get past Duke in the national semifinals. 

Ditto for the 1975 Indiana team that was shocked by Kentucky in the regional title game. The Hoosiers went into that one at 31-0, but didn't have a healthy Scott May and couldn't get past the Wildcats. 

Patrick Ewing's Georgetown team in 1985 was dominant. The Hoyas were the clear-cut favorites after winning the national title the previous year, but wound up being upset by eighth-seeded Villanova. How about the Phil Slamma Jamma Houston group in 1983 that had Clyde Drexler and Hakeem Ojajuwon, but lost to N.C. State in the national title game?

All phenomenal teams, but none belong in this exclusive club because winning the national title should be a prerequisite to being included on the CBS16. 

We're talking about the best of the best -- and that means you've got to hang a banner in order to justify this honor. I don't care how talented the team was, or what they did in the regular-season. If you didn't perform when it mattered most, you just aren't worthy. 

That's why John Wooden's UCLA teams in 1967, 1968 and 1973 all made the cut. They hung banners. Ditto for Indiana's 1976 squad, the last team to run the table. 

I even went with Florida's team in 2007 over that UNLV team back in 1991. 

It sounds nuts because the Runnin' Rebels had more talent and were superior in the regular-season, but what's ultimately meaningful is how they fared when it was all on the line. 

The Gators won the national championship. UNLV, which stomped on opponents throughout the season, did not. The Runnin' Rebels lost to Duke, 79-77, in the Final Four. 

Regular-season success certainly has its value, but let's face it: People remember who climbed the ladder and cut down the nets. 

Those are the ones that belong on the CBS 16. 


-- Transcendence is key in being the best

-- The case against modern-era teams

-- Our ballots for the top 16 teams of all time

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.

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Category: NCAAB

Since: Dec 8, 2006
Posted on: March 8, 2012 1:38 pm

CBS 16: Why winning a title is mandatory

Of course, I can also understand why a CBS paid writer would feel the way this guy does.  The tournament will become obsolete because instead of making it about a real championship they are about making a whole ton of money with this model.

Since: Dec 8, 2006
Posted on: March 8, 2012 1:15 pm

CBS 16: Why winning a title is mandatory

The NCAA Tournament, while exciting and fun, is in no way a measure of the best team in the nation. I am growing to despise the tournament because the best teams, increasingly, are not meeting in the championship or even making the final four. If VCU had been in any power conference they would not have even made the tournament last year.  Instead, they play in a terrible conference and get the benefit of being an underdog when they make the tournament.  Where the big dogs like Kansas, Duke, Kentucky, Syracuse, UNC always have all the pressure resting on their shoulders. The tournament is a fluke.  You have to get lucky to win. Only one time have all four number one seeds made the final four.  That is pathetic.  I know people love the tournament, but it is sort of disatisfying.  I now care most about winning the conference because that is the real test and the real grind of the College Basketball Season.  I think it is a tournament best played at the beginning of the season.  We need some other way to determine the REAL champion.  I would actually even approve of a BCS sort of system where teams square off in a 7 game series.  I would take UNLV in the best of 7 vs. Duke the year the Blue Devils knocked them off their lofty undefeated perch. I don't have all the answers, but I no longer care about how my team does in the tournament. Sure, I'll be happy if they win, but it is meaningless if they do. Anybody can go on a run, just ask VCU.

Since: Jan 18, 2012
Posted on: March 8, 2012 8:38 am

CBS 16: Why winning a title is mandatory

"Regular-season success certainly has its value, but let's face it: People remember who climbed the ladder and cut down the nets." You admitted yourself you remember the Runnin Rebs and the 1975 Hoosier team. I recall the Fab Five and the Webber timeout or the Phi Slama Jama(the Houston Cougars from 1982-84 for those who just want the 90's to present day). So we do remember the great teams that didn't win it all!

Since: Feb 27, 2010
Posted on: March 8, 2012 4:28 am

CBS 16: Why winning a title is mandatory

Who calls you Pro?

@CBS> This kids entry was scored as a 123? For what? Content? You must be joking. ANYONE who would suggest that the best collegiate basketball teams and players are from 1990 and beyond is simply ignorant. Not stupid...ignorant...please understand the distinction before someone has a hissy fit.

UNLV, in their heyday with Tark at the helm was a joke. THAt team could've beaten some NBA teams. Of course Tark's legacy is a bit, umm, tainted due to the program's problems and "look the other way" practices, but the Runnin' Rebs were unbelievable.

The Wooden era was before my time, but the type of dominance they recorded and the hall of fame talent on those teams makes them easy to respect. Other teams and players...Larry Bird and Magic...outstanding college players who would be as amazing in today's game. Jordan? As great as he was as a college player, he BECAME Michael Jordan when he played with the Bulls. The UNC Jordan would absolutely be a relevant player today. And yes, I know I am touching on hall of fame talent, but the game has not changed so dramatically once the teams were fully integrated. Pre-integration, you might wonder how those teams would fare against today's athletes...but after that, the amazing teams and players would continue to be amazing when competing against teams of "today"...meaning the teams from 1990 and beyond for you, they call me Pro.

You could take the 1987 Indiana team and match them up against the Huskies of last year. Who wins? Who knows...but it would have been a competitive game.

Unfortunately, this series of articles is really NOTHING but's not reporting. How can anyone determine who would win between Syracuse 2003 and Syracuse 2012? You can't. Wooden's team versus Tark's Runnin' Rebs? You can't. This whole series is just a stir the pot "what if" piece better discussed between friends at the sports bar watching a game. Who was the greatest boxer? Running back? Pitcher? Thoroughbred? Stock car driver? Nobody will agree on ANY one person for ANY of these questions. Other than Dolphins fans, who believes the undefeated Dolphins were the greatest team in NFL history? See? Why argue it?

I'm going to guess 64 points...

Since: Sep 10, 2006
Posted on: March 8, 2012 12:59 am

CBS 16: Why winning a title is mandatory

I agree Sparx....the Hank Gathers and Bo Kimble storyline was great....Man what could have been...I remember "LIKE IT WAS YESTERDAY" Bo Kimble shooting those free throws left handed in honor of his lost buddy and teammate Hank Gathers....Lets also not forget what could have been with Len Bias....We maybe talking about him as the best player ever rather than Jordan....Was David Thompsons NC State teams even mentioned in this article

Since: Aug 14, 2007
Posted on: March 8, 2012 12:02 am

CBS 16: Why winning a title is mandatory

@ They call me pro.

I'll excuse you because you did admit you were young. But, allow me to retort for us old dudes. 

If you only go back to 1990, you're only going back 22 years, and what's the point? Your ranking 16 teams out of 22. You also leave out some great players on some memorable teams.

Michael Jordan. UNC '82
Magic Johnson Mich St. '79
Bill Walton UCLA '73
Lew Alcindor (aka Kareem Abdul Jabbar) UCLA '67

1990 was the year I got hooked on the NCAA, by the way. It was the year of Loyola, Bo Kimble and the late Hank Gathers. 

Since: Mar 17, 2009
Posted on: March 7, 2012 10:59 pm

CBS 16: Why winning a title is mandatory

Yea, basketball only started when you got facial's all about you.

Put some of those highly disciplined, technically sound teams of yesterday against the teams of today and you would be surprised how often the old time teams would win.  It's hard to dunk when 5 men are actually playing defense.  It's hard to shake the defense when you carry the ball and the referee actually calls a carry.  Today has more flash and speed, yesterday had more discipline and fundamentals.  I'd say the yesterday teams would win 60% of the time.

Give me Kevin McHale over Blake Griffin anyday!    

Since: Mar 17, 2009
Posted on: March 7, 2012 10:52 pm

CBS 16: Why winning a title is mandatory

He mentioned the 76 IU team not once, but twice.  Yes they were great, Bob Knight is God, Indiana grows the world's best corn, now is that enough?

Since: Mar 17, 2009
Posted on: March 7, 2012 10:50 pm

CBS 16: Why winning a title is mandatory

It was yesterday you dork.  First time in my life I heard someone use "feels like yesterday" about an event that was only 2 tourney's ago.

Seemed like he was talking about the Ali - Frazier fights. 

Since: Sep 10, 2006
Posted on: March 7, 2012 10:29 pm

CBS 16: Why winning a title is mandatory

this is just a dumb article.....Saying that UNLV team is not an elite team is stupid....what about the Fab 5....They may be the best starting 5 ever....anyone can get hot and win the tourney doesnt make a great losing team and less great....come on we have had teams like Butler and VCU in the final four...what about the 37-2 98-99 Blue Devils....lost 2 total games by a total of waht 6 points but 1 game was too a great Uconn team in the National Championship...4 players of that Duke team were first round top 15 picks...they were an elite team....Its like saying Dan Marino is not an elite QB beacuse he never won a superbowl...just stupid...come on CBS do better than this please...IF CBS was smart they would find someone off these comment sections to write articles for them cause I read more logical thoughts here than in the actual article...

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