…of the Decade

It’s hard to believe but we’re not finished with the first decade of this century, at least as far as college basketball goes. So I’ll be the first to put together the teams and coaches of the aughts. I’ll use a breakdown of final fours, title games and championships to determine who’s been the best over the past ten years.

Here are the pertinent stats:

Final Fours:
UNC – 4
Florida – 3
Michigan State – 3
UCLA – 3
Kansas – 3
Connecticut – 2
Duke – 2
Maryland – 2

Title Games:
Florida – 3
UNC – 2
Kansas – 2
Michigan State – 2

Titles:
Florida – 2
UNC – 2
Michigan State – 1
Connecticut – 1
Duke – 1
Maryland – 1
Syracuse – 1
Kansas – 1

Here’s how the conferences break down:
Final Fours:
ACC – 9
Big 10 – 8
Big 12 – 6
Big East – 5
Pac 10 – 4
SEC – 4
Conference USA – 3

Title Games:
ACC – 5
Big 10 – 5
SEC – 3
Big East – 2
Pac 10 – 2
Big 12 – 2

Titles:
ACC – 4
Big East – 2
SEC – 2
Big 10 – 1
Big 12 – 1

And for Coaches:
Roy Williams – 5 Final Fours (3 UNC, 2 KU), 2 titles
Billy Donovan – 3 Final Fours, 2 titles
Tom Izzo – 3 Final Fours, 1 title
Ben Howland – 3 Final Fours
Mike Krzyzewski – 2 Final Fours, 1 title
Gary Williams – 2 Final Fours, 1 title
Jim Calhoun – 2 Final Fours, 1 title

Just using stats, it’s hard to argue with Roy Williams and UNC as being the coach and team of the decade, though the reality is probably different. Williams is definitely the coach of the decade having spent half the decade in the Final Four and playing in three title games with two different schools. But the team is harder to define.

You can’t connect the 2000 Matt Doherty-coached Tar Heels with the Roy Williams teams of the later years. UCLA went three years in a row to the Final Four but never won it all (and only made one title game). Florida won back-to-back titles but certainly weren’t the same team that lost to Michigan State in 2000. Maryland played in back-to-back Final Fours but no one would argue that they are the best team of this decade.

I guess in the end there is no answer. No team was the dominant one throughout the decade. Duke probably won more games than anyone else but they could never put together the tournament runs to justify their mentioning. Florida and UNC had long gaps between their Final Four successes, UCLA never dominated and neither did Michigan State.

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