With the recent early losses in the NCAA Tournament once again by Georgetown, Gonzaga, and Notre Dame, it gave me the idea to come up with my list of the most overrated college basketball programs in NCAA Tournament History. So here goes the list, in alphabetical order.
Big Ten Conference since 1990 - The Big Ten is consistently considered the best or one of the best two or three conferences in college basketball. BAsed on who is in the league and how the league performs in the regular season every year, it's hard to argue against that. So if it's such a great conference, shouldn't a conference member be winning a National Championship once in a while? I don't think once every 4-5 years for an entire conference is unreasonable. Well as it turns out, the entire conference has only produced one NCAA Champion since the 1989-90 season. Michigan State is the lone winner in that era, way back in 2000 when Mateen Cleeves was annoying everyone. 1992 was a particularly strong year though, Michigan made it to the title game behind the transcendent Fab Five while Indiana and Ohio State were in the Final Four. An impressive season no less, but alas that is just one season. There was two or thre good years in the early 2000s, however as well. No Final Four team in 1990, 1991, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2008, and 2011. Not one Big Ten team even advanced past the round of 32 in 1995, 1996, 1997, and 2006 as the Big Ten combined a four-year combined record of 9-20. 2004 also proved to be a particularly embarrassing season with only three teams in the dance and two of them losing in the first round. The SEC and Pac 10/12, both often criticized as one of the worst if not the worst power six conferences, has eight national championships since the 1989-90 season: three from Kentucky, two from Florida, and one from Arkansas, UCLA, and Arizona.
Gonzaga - Five times they have entered the tournament as a #4 seed or higher. All five times they failed to advance past the Sweet 16. Three times they failed to make it past he second round. They have one Elite 8 appearance in 16 appearances. They have lost in the first weekend in four straight seasons, and 10 of the last 12.
Georgetown - Georgetown is the 31st winningest program in NCAA men's basketball history. The Hoyas have just one national championship. They have only been to the Final Four only five times, and just four times since World War II ended. Georgetown has only advanced to the Elite Eight twice since the world was unfortunately introduced to Glam Metal (aka Hair Metal) and just once since since the official downfall of music in the western hemisphere was cemented with the introduction of NSYNC to the United State. They just set an NCAA record for becoming the first team to lose in four straight seasons to a team seeded five or more spots lower than them. George Mason and VCU have as many Final Four Appearances in the post-John Thompson, Jr. era.
Mountain West Conference - Through the round of 64, the Mountain West had a lifetime record of 16-36 in the NCAA Tournament with zero Elite Eights, yet it gets hyped up as one of the most underrated conferences every year. Hype with empty results = overrated.
Notre Dame - One Sweet 16 since 1987, one Elite Eight since 1979, only one Final Four in it's entire history (1978). Did not even make the NCAA Tournament from 1991 to 2000! Been a top eight seed in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013. What did they produce those years? Six wins. In 2011, they were a #2 seed and proceeded to lose in the round of 32. In 1986, they were a #3 seed, lost in the round of 64. In 1981, they were a #2 seed, lost in the Sweet 16. In 1980, they were a #4 seed, lost in the second round.
Pittsburgh - Just one Final Four appearance, which came in 1941. #1 seed in 2009 and 2011, produced just one Sweet 16 and one Elite Eight. #2 seed in 1998 and 2003, produced one Sweet 16 and one round of 32 appearance. #3 seed in 1987, 2002, 2004, 2007, 2010. Two round of 32 appearances, three Sweet 16s. #5 seed in 2006, lost in round of 32. #6 seed in 1991, lost in round of 32. #8 seed in 1989, 2008, and 2013, failed to make it past the round of 64 twice.
Syracuse - Fifth winningest program all-time, NCAA record 42 consecutive winning seasons, founding member of the Big East which is annually considered one of the best if not the best conferences, located in the fertile recruiting ground of New York, largest on-site basketball arena in the country, has continuity with one of the winningest coaches in college basketball history, always has a very talented roster. All the tools there to be the very best of the best in the game every year. What has it produced? One National Championship. Only three title game appearances. Only four Final Fours. Eight Elite Eights, just five coming in the Boeheim era and only three since the typical current college aged student was born. Since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985, the Orange have lost in the first or second round in 11 of their 24 tournmanet appearances.
Texas - Texas is one of the richest colleges in the country, the University of Texas state school system has the largest endowment in the United States, Texas has it's wn TV network, Texas is a loaded state for basketball talent, Texas has gotten tons of talent ever since Rick Barnes has been there, 17th winningest basketball program in NCAA men's basketball history, great location in a nearly year-round warm weather climate. Just like Syracuse, infrastructure is there to be among the best of the best on an annual basis, yet they have done next to nothing with it. Three Final Fours with only one coming since the USA unleashed an atomic bomb on the world. Only four Elite Eights, just four since WWII and three since 1991. Only six Sweet 16s since Nirvana exploded on to the national music scene. In 14 NCAA Tournament appearances for Rick Barnes, he has lost in the first weekend nine times. Tom Penders, the coach before Rick Barnes who was the second best coach in program history, failed to advance past the Sweet 16 in six of his eight NCAA Tournament appearances.
Did I miss any teams or do you disagree? Feel free to discuss in the comments.