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OT: The Greatest College Basketball Programs Ever

Discussion in 'George Mason Basketball' started by Pablo, Nov 19, 2020.

  1. Pablo

    Pablo Hall of Famer

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    "45. Saint Joseph's
    Record since 1938-39: 1,360-930 | Regular-season titles: 23
    NCAA Tournaments: 21 | Final Fours: 1
    Weeks ranked: 66 | Top-60 NBA picks: 21
    POINTS: 470.6

    Philadelphia is one of the city hotbeds of college basketball, so it's no surprise to see Saint Joe's place easily in these rankings. The Hawk Will Never Die is not just a mascot motto, it's a creed on Hawk Hill. SJU made the 1961 Final Four under the guidance of Hall of Famer Jack Ramsay. The history starts there, but the 2003-04 season is the pinnacle. Phil Martelli's team ran the regular-season table and entered the 2004 tournament with a 27-1 record and the No. 1 seed in the East. (Its lone loss came to the school above: Xavier.) Jameer Nelson and Delonte West parlayed the magical run to first-round-draft-pick status that same season; Nelson was the national player of the year as well. That team was one of the best stories of college basketball in the 2000s, and it was one win away (losing by two to Oklahoma State in a classic Elite Eight game) from becoming truly indelible nationally.

    Hagan Arena has given the Hawks a solid homecourt advantage of the years, as the school rightfully allocates a healthy percentage of its seats to the students. Martelli (444 wins) is the best coach in school history, but the work of Bill Ferguson (309-208) and Ramsay (234-72) was critical to getting SJU to qualify for this list. Every other Philly team is destined to play in the shadow of Villanova these days, but the city's love of basketball -- and college basketball -- shines through, as you'll soon see Saint Joe's has some intra-city Big 5 competition placed higher on this.

    49. Dayton
    Record since 1938-39: 1,423-894 | Regular-season titles: 6
    NCAA Tournaments: 18 | Final Fours: 1
    Weeks ranked: 114 | Top-60 NBA picks: 22
    POINTS: 456.4

    Flyers fans never got to see what their team could have done in the 2020 NCAA Tournament, but they can take this as a small consolation prize. Dayton's become synonymous with the NCAA Tournament because the campus has been the sole host site for the First Four. UD's got three NIT titles to its name (1962, 1968, 2010) and made the Final Four in 1967. But that win total (1,423) is key. An average of 17.6 wins annually for the Flyers, who came to prominence first under Tom Blackburn (1946-1964), then kept pace until 1989 with Don Donoher. The two men combined for 789 wins in that span.

    Dayton had another day in the sun with its 2014 Elite Eight run under Archie Miller, and then of course the 2019-20 season with NPOY Obi Topping guiding the Flyers to a 29-2 finish and what would have likely been the school's first No. 1 seed. Toppin is the only consensus All-American in the tournament era, but Roosevelt Chapman deserves a mention here. He left UD with 2,233 points and had a 41-point game in the 1984 NCAA tourney that ended with another Elite Eight appearance. The Dayton community is passionately dedicated to its hoops, and this ranking is fitting. It's also good for a basketball-first league like the current Atlantic 10 -- Dayton's showing here is the highest for the conference. "

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