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The 25 Best College Basketball Programs Since 1985, Scored By NCAA Tournament Bracket Rules

The 2015 NCAA Tournament officially wrapped up Monday night, and Duke claimed its fifth national championship - all of which have come under head coach Mike Krzyzewski. The Blue Devils, who have now won titles in 1991, 1992, 2001, 2010 and 2015, are certainly one of the most successful programs of the modern college basketball era. But are they the best of the best? 

We've gone through every NCAA Tournament since 1984-1985 - the year the field expanded to 64 teams - to determine which programs deserve to be considered among the best. We've used common NCAA Tournament pool scoring to determine our rankings. Here's how it's broken out:

Round of 64 (or earlier) loss: 0 points
Round of 32 loss: 10 points
Sweet 16 loss: 20 points
Elite Eight loss: 40 points
Final Four loss: 80 points
National Title Game loss: 160 points
National Championship: 320 points

First, we'll start with programs ranked 25 through 11. The most surprising inclusion? Butler, which racked up almost all of its points during championship game runs in 2010 and 2011. The group also features a number of traditional powerhouses, including Memphis, Georgetown, Villanova, Indiana and UCLA. Wisconsin also jumped into the rankings after its title game run this past year.

25. Georgia Tech - 380 points
24. Butler - 400 points
23. Illinois - 440 points
22. Memphis - 450 points
21. Oklahoma - 490 points
20. Wisconsin - 500 points
19. Georgetown - 510 points
18. Ohio State - 530 points
T-16. Villanova - 590 points
T-16. UNLV - 590 points
15. Maryland - 600 points
14. Arkansas - 710 points
13. Indiana - 750 points
12. UCLA - 910 points
11. Michigan - 970 points

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10. Syracuse - 1,020 Points

While detractors will bring up Syracuse's 1991 loss to Richmond as a 2-seed, or the famous Taylor Coppenrath game in 2005, Jim Boeheim's Orange has been one of the most consistent tournament teams in the 64-team era. In that time frame, Syracuse has missed the tournament just six times, and has won an average of 1.92 games per tournament, making them regulars in the second weekend. Boeheim has also reached a Final Four in each of the last four decades, and of course, captured the 2003 championship behind Carmelo Anthony, Gerry McNamara, and Hakim Warrick. If not for Keith Smart's shot in 1987, the late foul-out of John Wallace in 1996, and the loss of the team's starting center to injury (2010) and academic issues (2012), Syracuse would be incredibly high on the list, which is always a source of frustration for Orange fans. However, Boeheim's team is almost always a contender come March, and most would sign up for that.

9. Arizona - 1,030 Points

Arizona was one of college basketball's top programs under Lute Olson, and the Wildcats are working their way back to the top of the sport with Sean Miller at the helm. Olson broke through in 1994 with a Final Four berth, and won the whole thing in 1997 with Mike Bibby, Michael Dickerson, and Jason Terry on the roster. Arizona made another run to the championship game in 2001, when they lost to Duke, who we'll get to later on, as you'd expect. After some lean years, as far as deep tournament runs go, Miller has made Arizona a second weekend staple. Since 2011, Miller's team has made a Sweet 16 and three Elite Eights. Arizona jumped Syracuse this year, and with the talent that he continues to bring on the roster, we expect the Wildcats to continue to climb this list.

T-7. Louisville - 1,120 Points

Louisville has had just two coaches during the modern NCAA Tournament era, and both are among the best coaches of all time: Denny Crum, and Rick Pitino. In the second year of the 64-team tournament, Crum led Louisville to the program's second national title with a three-point win over Duke in the final. 27 years later, Pitino got the Cardinals back to the promised land, winning a title with a stacked team that featured Gorgui Dieng and Russ Smith. It isn't all about titles for Louisville, however. Under Pitino, the Cardinals have made a number of deep runs, including two additional Final Fours (2005, 2012), and three more Elite Eights (2008, 2009, 2015). 

T-7. Michigan State - 1,120 Points

The Spartans defeated Louisville in the Elite Eight to pull into a tie with the Cardinals on the list. Tom Izzo is a remarkable tournament coach, and while he only has one title to his name (2000), Izzo's teams consistently outplay their seeding. Since 2008, Michigan State has missed just one Sweet 16, in 2011 when the Spartans suffered a rare first round ouster to UCLA. Since 1999, Michigan State has reached nine Elite Eights and seven Final Fours, and made it to the title game in 2009. Michigan State falls short of the top six here because of the lack of additional national titles, and marginal success in the 1980s and early 1990', but in the last 16 years, few programs make noise in the tournament like Tom Izzo's Spartans. 

6. Florida - 1,160 Points

Florida missed the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2009, but the Gators are a legitimately elite program under Billy Donovan. The Gators' back-to-back national titles in 2006 and 2007 drive the high point total here, but the program's success from 2011-2014 certainly helps as well. Donovan also made a run to the 2000 title game early in Donovan's tenure, losing to the aforementioned Michigan State Spartans. Before Donovan, Florida's success in the Big Dance was spotty. The Gators only made the tournament five times from 1985-1999, but did gain some points for a 1987 Sweet 16 berth and a Final Four run in 1994 under Lon Kruger. However, it is Donovan's tremendous success in Gainesville that puts Florida just outside the top five. 

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5. Connecticut- 1,670 points

The Huskies didn't qualify for the 64-team field until 1990, but they crack the top five on the strength of their four national titles (1999, 2004, 2011 and 2014). Most notably, the last two titles came when the team received a No. 3 and a No. 7 seed, respectively. Under former head coach Jim Calhoun, UConn captured three national championships, reached four Final Fours and made five other appearances in the Elite Eight. Current head coach Kevin Ollie played for Calhoun in the early-90s, and he added to the program's legacy with last year's national title. 

4. Kansas- 1,750 points

The Jayhawks have a pair of national titles (1988, 2008) during the 64-team era and multiple near-misses. They lost title games in 1991, 2003 and 2012, and were knocked out in the semifinals in 1985, 1993 and 2002. They've also reached three additional Elite Eights. If this were the list for the top programs within their own conferences, the Jayhawks might be No. 1, as they've won 11 straight Big 12 regular season crowns. Whether it's been Larry Brown, Roy Williams or Bill Self at the helm, KU has been remarkably successful in the 64-team era.

3. North Carolina- 1,850 points

Three of North Carolina's five national championships have come since the tournament expanded in 1985. They won it all in 1993 under Dean Smith and in 2005 and 2009 under Smith's former assistant, Roy Williams. The program has reached nine total Final Fours in the 64-team era and lost in the Elite Eight on six different occasions. Only once in the past 30 years (1999) did UNC lose its opening game of the tournament. With the wealth of talent returning to Chapel Hill for the 2015-16 season, don't be surprised if the Tar Heels are one of the last teams during March Madness next year. 

2. Kentucky- 1,930 points

The Wildcats may have fallen short of a national championship this season, but their Final Four appearance put some more distance between them and third-place UNC. Kentucky owns three titles (1996, 1998 and 2012) since the tournament expanded to 64 teams.The program has been to four of the last five Final Fours, and eight in total since 1985. UK has had five head coaches while the tournament has been at 64 teams (hey, remember Billy Gillispie!) but the most successful ones have been Rick Pitino and John Calipari. Given Calipari's track record, expect the deep tournament runs to continue. 

1. Duke - 2,760 points

The Blue Devils bolstered their status as the top program of the 64-team era by winning the 2015 NCAA Tournament. Since 1985, the Blue Devils have reached nine title games and won five. Some recent tourney slip-ups (VCU 2007, Lehigh 2012, Mercer 2014) have done little to discredit the team that reached five straight Final Fours from 1988-92. Here's a crazy stat: if you took away Duke's last 11 seasons -- which include two national titles, an Elite Eight and four other Sweet 16 appearances) -- the Blue Devils would still have enough points to earn the No. 1 spot on this list. 

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