Here’s why Syracuse basketball is the 8th best program of all time

Nov 30, 2021; Syracuse, New York, USA; Indiana Hoosiers forward Trayce Jackson-Davis (23) shoots the ball as Syracuse Orange center Jesse Edwards (14) and forward Jimmy Boeheim (0) defend during the first half at the Carrier Dome. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

If you take a scan of college basketball on Twitter, you may come across a handle of @CBKReport. Day after day, you can find some sort of college basketball rankings list on there: best college basketball coaches, top recruiting classes of all-time, best winning percentage against Top 25 teams.

Who knows the scientific research that goes into building these lists? It’s fun to debate.

Recently, there was a list of the All-Time College Basketball Tier List:

So, this list has Syracuse somewhere between the sixth best program of all-time and the 12th best. But, let’s take it a step further and see (un)exactly how Syracuse stacks up.

Now, usually we reserve the DDD (Dumbed-Down Dagostino) Index for breaking down the Orange’s chances of making the NCAA Tournament. But, we blow the dust off the index and break it out for this exercise, using the following criteria to determine where Syracuse falls on the Tier 2 list:

  • All-time winning percentage
  • NCAA Tournament wins
  • Final Four appearances
  • National Championships
  • Total number of players in NBA

We’ll go category by category. As always, each team will be ranked in each category, one through seven. If a team is the best in a category, it gets one point. If it’s the worst, it gets seven points. The team with the lowest point total (like golf) wins.

Without further adieu, let’s get “scientific”:

  • All-Time Winning Percentage – We went with winning percentage instead of total wins because there is a large separation between total number of games played between some of the schools. Syracuse actually owns the best winning percentage (.684) among the bunch…and for good measure, also has the most total wins.
  • NCAA Tournament Wins – The group ranges from 76 wins to 58. Syracuse was tied for third (with Michigan State) on that list with 70 wins.
  • Final Four Appearances – Even with three Final Four appearances in the last 19 years, the Orange’s six trips to the Final Four ranks just fifth among the group. Louisville and Michigan State each had 10 appearances. Indiana (eight) and even Villanova (seven) finished ahead of Syracuse.
  • National Championships – This category hurts Syracuse. With just one championship, Syracuse tied Arizona with the fewest titles. Indiana has won five titles to lead the way, followed closely by UConn’s four.
  • Number of Players in NBA – Syracuse has sent 55 players to the NBA in its history, 10 behind the leader in the group (Indiana), but 18 more than UConn.

Here are your final standings in the DDD:

  1. Louisville – 10
  2. Indiana – 16
  3. Syracuse – 19
  4. Villanova – 19
  5. Michigan State – 21
  6. Arizona – 25
  7. UConn – 26

» Related: Buddy Boeheim is in a good spot with the Detroit Pistons

Some food for thought on the results:

  • Louisville stands above the rest which, on the surface, seems a bit surprising. Nothing in its recent stretch other than the vacated 2013 NCAA Championship (which we counted in this exercise…take THAT, NCAA!) would suggest that they would be the cream of the crop.
  • Indiana makes sense as one of the better programs, given the success of the Bob Knight era. Same goes for Michigan State with Tom Izzo, making it a little surprising the Spartans finished fifth in this exercise.
  • Honestly, it is surprising that Syracuse isn’t a little lower on the list. With just the one championship, the Orange’s resume feels a little light. But, if recent performance is any indication, even when Syracuse seems to have a mediocre team, it has proven to be a force in March when it matters most.
  • The last decade at Villanova has propelled them to a new level. They will miss Jay Wright.
  • What Jim Calhoun built at UConn was nothing short of special. But, he built that program from scratch, which hurts the overall picture for the Huskies.
  • Lute Olsen’s tenure at Arizona was successful. But, recent troubles have brought that program down some, too.

Based on this “fool proof” test, it seems Syracuse is pretty much right in the middle of this second tier of all-time college basketball programs.

Factoring in the five Blue Bloods, Syracuse is tied for the eighth-best college basketball program in history. Not. Too. Shabby.

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About Matt Dagostino 115 Articles
Matt currently works as an on-air talent and producer for Turner Sports in Atlanta, where he is from. Among his responsibilities are voicing over highlights for,,, and He has also served as an associate producer for TNT’s coverage of the NBA Playoffs and TBS’s coverage of the MLB Postseason. Matt also has experience as a minor league baseball play-by-play announcer and as a PA announcer in D-I college athletics. Matt graduated from Syracuse University in 2005.