It’s been a long time since Oregon beat Ohio State in the first tournament final in 1939. Who has racked up the most NCAA Tournament wins in the years that have followed?

They’re referred to as the blue bloods of college basketball for a reason.

They’ve dominated for long stretches and regrouped from down seasons quickly. Without them, the NCAA Tournament just doesn’t seem the same.

The UCLA Bruins, as a result of their dynastic run under John Wooden through the 1960s and ‘70s, have won the most national championships with 11.

It’s been a long time since Oregon beat Ohio State in the first tournament final in Evanston near Chicago in 1939. But which illustrious men’s basketball programs can lay claim to the most NCAA Tournament wins?

Here are the rankings:

1. 133, North Carolina (1941-2024)

Though Duke has a higher winning percentage in the tourney and UCLA has won more titles, the Tar Heels have won the most tournament games. Of course, four of their six titles have come after the tourney expanded to 64 teams in 1985 (beating Gonzaga, Michigan State, Illinois and Michigan). Roy Williams (three), Dean Smith (two; over Georgetown in 1982 and Michigan in 1993) and Frank McGuire have coached the team to the NCAA Division I national championship game wins. UNC also has six runner-up finishes.

Michael Jordan and Dean Smith
North Carolina guard Michael Jordan, left, and Tar Heels coach Dean Smith are shown at a news conference in Chapel Hill, N.C. (AP Photo, File)

2. 130, *Kentucky (1942-2023)

Adolph Rupp put the Wildcats on the map in 1948, guiding the program to its first NCAA men’s basketball championship over Baylor in New York. Kentucky has also won a lot of tournament games and NCAA championships under Joe B. Hall (1978), Rick Pitino (1996), Tubby Smith (1998) and John Calipari (2012).

3. 121, Duke (1955-2024)

NCAA Tournament appearances were the norm under Mike Krzyzewski, who led the Blue Devils to all five of their March Madness title runs after taking over in 1981 (beating Arizona, Butler, Wisconsin, Michigan and Kansas). So considering the program’s more recent rise to prominence, it’s pretty impressive that it already has the third most Final Four appearances (17) behind only North Carolina (21) and UCLA (18).

4. 113, *Kansas (1940-2024)

Clyde Lovellette winning the Most Outstanding Player with 141 points in 1952. Larry Brown and Danny Manning marching to a long-awaited title game in 1988. Mario Chalmers’ heroics in an OT win over Derrick Rose and Memphis in San Antonio, Texas, in 2008. Bill Self becoming a national champion again with a 72-69 win over North Carolina in 2022. It’s been a good run for Jayhawks basketball teams.

5. 110, *UCLA (1950-2023)

The Bruins went a ridiculous 335-22 overall from 1964 to 1975. They claimed 10 national titles over that span, including an NCAA-record seven in a row. That’s a good way to rack up men’s basketball tournament wins in a hurry. UCLA added its most recent championship with a win over Arkansas in the 1995 final.

6. 73, Michigan State (1957-2024)

With Magic Johnson leading the way, Michigan State won the title for the first time in 1979. Tom Izzo guided the Spartans to another championship in 2000 with a team that included Charlie Bell, Mateen Cleaves and Morris Peterson. Izzo seems to always have his teams ready to play in March, racking up a 55-24 record in the tournament.

The Best of the Rest

  • 69, *UConn, 1951-2024
  • 68, Indiana, 1940-2023
  • 67, Villanova, 1939-2022
  • 66, *Syracuse, 1957-2021
  • 61, *Louisville, 1951-2017

(*Does not include vacated appearances)

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