This hasn’t been the best year for college basketball’s blue bloods. Kentucky had its first losing record since 1989. Duke is missing the NCAA field for the first time since 1995. North Carolina has been unranked all year, and the only reason Kansas has avoided a similar fate is how weak the Big 12 has been in general.
It’s weird, sure, but being nowhere near championship contention is nothing new for some of the winningest programs in college basketball history. Here are the teams with the most all-time wins who have never won an NCAA Tournament. Initially, this was going to be a look at teams with the most all-time wins who haven’t won in the tournament’s modern era, whether you consider that to start in 1979 with the introduction of seeds, or 1985, when the field expanded to 64… but that only means two teams not here would’ve been here — Utah (won in 1944) and Cincinnati (won in 1961 and 1962).
Will any of these historically excellent teams finally break through and win it all at the Big Dance this year? Maybe. The list does include one team that’s been near the top of the rankings… but it also includes more who won’t be in the tournament, and one, Penn, that didn’t even play this season.
This is half of the teams in the top 10 all-time in Division I men’s college basketball victories — all without an NCAA championship.