• Jim Sukup

9 Schools, 45 Championships - And Other Numbers

INDIANAPOLIS – A total of just nine schools have combined to win 45 NCAA championships. That’s 55% of the 82 NCAA tournaments played through 2021. These schools have each won at least 3, and as many as 11 (UCLA) of those championships. Of course, you know their names. In descending order, from most to fewest, they are UCLA, Kentucky, North Carolina, Indiana, Duke, Connecticut, Kansas, Louisville, and Villanova.

 

These nine schools posted three NCAA tournament championships in the 1940s, five in the 1950s, five in the 1960s, seven in the 1970s, seven in the 1980s, seven more in the 1990s, six in the 2000s, and nine in the 2010s. Indiana is the furthest removed of the from its last championship, having gone a whopping 35 years since its last trophy in 1987. UCLA is the only other school whose last title was pre-2000, that being in 1995. Kansas’ last championship was in 2008, with the remaining six schools all earning titles in the 20-teens.

 

The list given below shows the schools with at least three NCAA championships and the years in which they won those titles.

 

9 Top Schools, Number of Championships, and Championship Years

UCLA 11 Championships (1964-1965, 1967-1973, 1975, 1995)

Kentucky 8 Championships (1948, 1949, 1951, 1958, 1978, 1996, 1998, 2012)

N. Carolina 6 Championships (1957, 1982, 1993, 2005, 2009, 2017)

Indiana 5 Championships (1940, 1953, 1976, 1981, 1987)

Duke 5 Championships (1991, 1992, 2001, 2010, 2015)

Connecticut 4 Championships (1999, 2004, 2011, 2014)

Kansas 3 Championships (1952, 1988, 2008)

Louisville 3 Championships (1980, 1986, 2013)

Villanova 3 Championships (1985, 2016, 2018)

 

The won-lost breakdowns of each school against the other eight schools in all games (including NCAA tournament games), in NCAA tournament games, and the overall series record against the other eight schools, along with their respective winning percentages, are given in the tables below. The series record gives the composite record against each school. For example, UCLA’s 3-4-1 series record against the other eight schools means it has a winning overall record against three of the schools, a losing record against four, and is tied with one school. Schools that played each other in NCAA championship games are noted. All records are through the 2020-2021 season.

 

UCLA: 50-52 (.490) overall and 3-4-1 (.438) series record

UCLA vs: In all Games - In all NCAA Tournament Games

Kentucky - 7-8 - 1-2 Won 1975 NCAA Championship

North Carolina 3-10 - 1-1 Won 1968 NCAA Championship

Indiana 6-6 - 2-2

Duke 6-10 - 1-2 Won 1964 NCAA Championship

Connecticut 1-0 - 1-0

Kansas 10-8 - 5-0

Louisville 15-7 - 4-1 Lost 1980 NCAA Championship

Villanova 2-3 1-1 Won 1971 NCAA Championship

Total - 50-52 (.490) - 16-9 (.640)


Kentucky: 135-99 (.577) overall and 6-2 (.750) series record

Kentucky vs: In all Games - In NCAA Tournament Games

UCLA 8-7 - 2-1 Lost 1975 NCAA Championship

North Carolina 16-25 - 1-3

Indiana 32-25 - 3-2

Duke 12-10 - 3-2 Won 1978 NCAA Championship

Connecticut 1-4 - 0-3 Lost 2014 NCAA Championship

Kansas 23-10 - 2-1 Won 2012 NCAA Championship

Louisville 37-17 - 4-2

Villanova 6-1 - 2-1

Total - 135-99 (.577) - 17-15 (.531)


North Carolina: 220-160 (.579) overall and 7-1 (.875) series record

N. Carolina vs: In All Games - In NCAA Tournament Games

UCLA 10-3 - 1-1 Lost 1968 NCAA Championship

Kentucky 25-16 - 3-1

Indiana 6-9 - 1-2 Lost 1981 NCAA Championship

Duke 141-114 - 0-0

Connecticut 5-1 - 1-0

Kansas 6-5 - 2-4 Won 1957 NCAA Championship

Louisville 16-7 - 3-1

Villanova 11-5 - 5-2 Lost 2016 NCAA Championship

Total - 220-160 (.579) - 16-11 (.593)


Indiana: 67-75 (.472) overall and 3-4-1 (.438) series record

Indiana vs: In All Games - In NCAA Tournament Games

UCLA 6-6 2-2

Kentucky 25-32 2-3

North Carolina 9-6 2-1 Won 1981 NCAA Championship

Duke 3-7 2-1

Connecticut 3-6 0-1

Kansas 8-6 2-2 Won 1940 & 1953 NCAA Championships

Louisville 11-9 - 1-0

Villanova 2-3 - 0-1

Total - 67-75 (.472) 11-11 (.500)


Duke: 173-184 (.485 ) overall and 6-2 (.750) series record

Duke vs: Games - NCAA Tournament Games

UCLA 10-6 2-1 Lost 1964 NCAA Championship

Kentucky 10-12 2-3 Lost 1978 NCAA Championship

N. Carolina 114-141 0-0

Indiana 7-3 1-2

Connecticut 6-4 3-2 Lost 1999 NCAA Championship

Kansas 8-5 3-3 Won 1991 NCAA Championship

Louisville 11-9 0-2 Lost 1986 NCAA Championship

Villanova 7-4 2-2

Total - 173-184 (.485) 13-15 (.464)


Connecticut 52-67 (.437) overall and 2-6 (.250) series record

Connecticut vs: Games - NCAA Tournament Games

UCLA 0-1 0-1

Kentucky 4-1 - 3-0 Won 2014 NCAA Championship

N. Carolina 1-5 - 0-1

Indiana 6-3 - 1-0

Duke 4-6 2-3 Won 1999 NCAA Championship

Kansas 0-3 0-1

Louisville 6-11 - 0-0

Villanova 31-37 1-0

Total - 52-67 (.437) 7-6 (.538)


Kansas 47-65 (.420) overall and 3-5 (.375) series record

Kansas vs: Games - NCAA Tournament Games

UCLA 8-10 0-5

Kentucky 10-23 1-2 Lost 2012 NCAA Championship

N. Carolina 5-6 4-2 Lost 1957 NCAA Championship

Indiana 6-8 2-2 Lost 1940 & 1953 NCAA Championships

Duke 5-8 3-3 Lost 1991 NCAA Championship

Connecticut 3-0 1-0

Louisville 6-5 1-0

Villanova 4-5 1-2

Total - 47-65 (.420) 13-16 (.448)


Louisville 75-111 (.403) overall and 2-6 (.250) series record

Louisville vs: Games - NCAA Tournament Games

UCLA 7-15 1-4 Won 1980 NCAA Championship

Kentucky 17-37 2-4

N. Carolina 7-16 1-3

Indiana 9-11 0-1

Duke 9-11 - 2-0 Won 1986 NCAA Championship

Connecticut 11-6 0-0

Kansas 5-6 0-1

Villanova 10-9 1-0

Total - 75-111 (.403) 7-13 (.350)


Villanova 67-73 (.479) overall and 4-4 (.500) series record

Villanova vs: Games - NCAA Tournament Games

UCLA 3-2 1-1 Lost 1971 NCAA Championship

Kentucky 1-6 1-2

N. Carolina 5-11 - 2-5 Won 2016 NCAA Championship

Indiana 3-2 1-0

Duke 4-7 2-2

Connecticut 37-31 0-1

Kansas 5-4 2-1

Louisville 9-10 0-1

Total - 67-73 (.479) 9-13 (.409)

 

While the numbers speak for themselves, there are a few facts that should be pointed out. Only Kentucky and North Carolina have overall and winning series records in both categories. Duke has a losing overall record but a winning series record, and Villanova has a losing overall record and a .500 series record against the schools in question. The other five schools have losing records in overall and series records.


When these schools played each other in NCAA tournament games, UCLA, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Connecticut have winning records, Indiana is at .500, and the other four have losing records.

 

These schools have played 16 NCAA championship games against each other. Indiana, Louisville, and Connecticut are undefeated when they played other teams in this group in championship games. Indiana won 1940 and 1953 championship games against Kansas and against North Carolina in 1981. Louisville won the 1980 championship against UCLA and against North Carolina in 2016. UConn won the 1999 championship against Duke and in 2014 against Kentucky. UCLA is the only other school with a winning record against the other eight in championship games, winning in 1964 (Duke), 1968 (North Carolina), 1971 (Villanova), 1975 (Kentucky), and losing in 1980 (Louisville). Kentucky (2-2 against the others in championship games) and Villanova (1-1) are at .500, while the remaining three have losing records. North Carolina is 1-3, Duke is 1-4, and Kansas is 0-5 against the other eight in championship games. The most surprising of the latter three may be Duke, as the Blue Devils have won five overall championships since 1991. However, three of Duke’s losses in championship games occurred before 1991, against UCLA (1964), Kentucky (1978), and 1986 (Louisville).

 

Because they are in the same conference (and thus are almost always placed in different regions), the two teams in this group that have played the most overall games against each other have never met in the NCAA tournament. The Blue Devils and Tar Heels have played in the same NCAA tournament 36 times, and have yet to meet in it. Through 2021, North Carolina held a commanding 141-114 record against Duke, but Duke had a 49-46 record against UNC under Mike Krzyzewski, and the last 100 meetings (excluding 2022) were a 50-50 split. The only other schools herein that had not played each other in the NCAA tournament were UConn and Louisville.

 

Will these nine schools continue to dominate the tournament? That remains to be seen. However, consider that since 2000, just six schools have produced a new NCAA champion: Maryland in 2002, Syracuse in 2003, Florida in 2006 (repeated in 2007), Virginia in 2019, and Baylor in 2021. If history is any indication, these nine schools will be in the NCAA championship hunt many more times.


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