NCAA

The Ultimate Men's NCAA Tournament Bracket: Who is the best team of all-time? Play-in Round

The Ultimate Men's NCAA Tournament Bracket: Who is the best team of all-time? Play-in Round

The Play-in Round has concluded, here is the latest bracket.

There's no March Madness this year. No brackets, no Cinderella stories and certainly no national champion. 

That doesn't mean, though, that we can't use this time to wisely pick the best Men's NCAA Tournament team of all-time. 

There have been several memorable teams throughout the course of the 80-plus year history of the NCAA Tournament. The UCLA teams of the 1960s and 1970s before, after and during Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Houston's Phi Slama Jama in the 1980s, UNLV in the early 1990s and many more; they all were phenomenal. Some won championships, some did not.

But which iconic team is the best? No one will know for certain because they'll never lace up on the same court together. So the fairest and undoubtedly best way to determine a champion is to create a bracket. And to let the fans vote. 

How it works:

Twenty teams were selected for the ultimate tournament bracket. Teams that had multi-year runs or championships were lumped together for simplicity's sake if the team's make-up was relatively similar. There also could not be more than two teams from the same year in consideration. 

Notable recent teams with dominant rosters and performances from the 2000s were included. Those teams were given a bump over some other all-time great champions from the past 20 years compare to historically good squads. 

Teams were ranked No. 1 through 20 based on their performances, players and coach. Teams moved up an additional ranking spot if they won a championship (or two). 

Voting for the play-in will take place on NBCSWashington's Twitter on Monday, April 6 for 24 hours. The subsequent rounds will be on Wednesday, April 8; Friday, April 10; Monday, April 13 and the championship on Wednesday, April 15.

Teams will advance to the next round based on seeding. 

ULTIMATE NCAA TOURNAMENT BRACKET

#1 UCLA Bruins (1967-69)
#16 Houston Cougars (1967-68) vs. #17 Kansas Jayhawks (2007-08)

#8 Kentucky Wildcats (2012) 
#9 UCLA Bruins (1964-65)

 

#4 San Francisco Dons (1955-56) 
#13 Virginia Cavaliers (2019) vs. #20 Maryland Terrapins (2001-02)

#5 Villanova Wildcats (2018)
#12 Indiana Hoosiers (1975-76)


 
#3 UCLA Bruins (1972-73)
#14 Loyola Marymount (1990) vs. #19 Kentucky Wildcats (2010)

#6 Duke Blue Devils (1991-92) 
#11 Ohio State Buckeyes (1960-61)

 

#7 Houston Cougars (1982-84) 
#10 Kentucky Wildcats (2015) 

#2 UNLV Running Rebels (1990-91)
#15 Georgetown Hoyas (1984-85) vs. #18 North Carolina Tar Heels (2016-17)

PLAY-IN ROUND

#13 Virginia Cavaliers (2019) vs. #20 Maryland Terrapins (2001-02)

2019 Virginia Cavaliers (35-3, 16-2 ACC) - National Championship, ACC Regular Season Champion

Top Players: DeAndre Hunter, Kyle Guy, Ty Jerome
Head Coach: Tony Bennett
Wrap: Fresh off the biggest upset in NCAA Tournament history as the first No. 1 seed to lose to a No. 16 seed, the Cavaliers got redemption by winning the 2019 title. Their three NBA first-rounders returned and rolled through a loaded ACC and won a championship off their stifling defense. 

2001-02 Maryland Terrapins (57-15, 25-7 ACC Combined) - National Championship, ACC Regular Season Champion, 2 Final Fours

Top Players: Juan Dixon, Lonny Baxter, Steve Blake
Head Coach: Gary Williams
Wrap: The 2001 and 2002 Terps were easily the best two seasons in Maryland's history. In back-to-back seasons they made the Final Four, with the second resulting in a national championship. As the game and tournament have grown, that is not easy to do. Williams did it in two seasons with another talent-filled ACC. 


#14 Loyola Marymount (1990) vs. #19 Kentucky Wildcats (2010)

1990 Loyola Marymount (26-6, 13-1 WCC) - Elite Eight, WCC Regular Season Champion

Top Players: Bo Kimble, Jeff Fryer, Hank Gathers
Head Coach: Paul Westhead
Wrap: Loyola Marymount is known for the best offenses ever in college basketball. The Lions, led by future NBA first-round pick Bo Kimble, averaged 122.4 points per game on the season and was a must-see fixture in the tournament. They dropped 149 points, an NCAA Tournament record, against Michigan, but would go on to lose to the eventual champion UNLV 131-101 in the Elite Eight. 

2010 Kentucky Wildcats (35-3, 14-2 SEC) - Elite Eight, SEC Regular Season Champion, SEC Tournament Champion

Top Players: John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Patrick Peterson, Eric Bledsoe
Head Coach: John Calipari
Wrap: In John Calipari's first season with the Wildcats, he quickly returned Kentucky to a national powerhouse. With John Wall as the face of the team, Kentucky started off 19-0 and was a freight train of young talent. Eventually, they were upended by West Virginia in the Elite Eight, but there is no denying the talent. 


#15 Georgetown Hoyas (1984-85) vs. #18 North Carolina Tar Heels (2016-17)

1984-85 Georgetown Hoyas (69-6, 28-4 Big East Combined) - National Champion, 2 Final Fours, 2 Big East Tournament Championships, Big East Regular Season Champion

Top Players: Patrick Ewing, David Wingate, Michael Jackson, Reggie Williams
Head Coach: John Thompson II
Wrap: Georgetown was only eight points away from a perfect season in 1984. Four NBA stars made them one of the roughest, toughest and baddest teams in all of the country and Patrick Ewing was at the forefront with 16 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks a game. In the championship, they ended the Phi Slama Jama era of Houston basketball. The next season they made the championship game again.

2016-17 North Carolina Tar Heels (66-14, 28-8 ACC Combined) - National Champion, Runner up, ACC Tournament Champion, 2x ACC Regular Season Champion

Top Players: Justin Jackson, Joel Berry II, Kennedy Meeks
Head Coach: Roy Williams
Wrap: Despite losing the championship on a buzzer-beater and Brice Johnson, going to the NBA after the 2016 season, UNC put it all together again in 2017. In an era of one-and-done, Williams put together a masterful core of four-year players that had them as the class of the sport.


#16 Houston Cougars (1967-68) vs. #17 Kansas Jayhawks (2007-08)

1967-68 Houston Cougars (58-6, Independent Combined) - 2 Final Fours

Top Players: Elvin Hayes, Don Chaney, Ken Spain
Head Coach: Guy Lewis
Wrap: There were few teams in the late 1960s and early 1970s to beat the UCLA Bruins and the Elvin Hayes-led Cougars were one of them. Houston toppled UCLA in "The Game of the Century" in 1968 as the first nationally televised regular-season game.  But in the rematch during the tournament, they lost to the Bruins and also lost in the third-place game.

2007-08 Kansas Jayhawks (70–8, 27–5 Big 12 Combined) - National Champion, 2 Elite Eights, 2 Big 12 Tournament Championships, 2 Big12 Regular Season Championships

Top Players: Darrell Arthur, Mario Chalmers, Brandon Rush
Head Coach: Bill Self
Wrap: Kansas made history in 2008 by becoming the first team to ever win 37 games in a season. In the tournament, they rolled through some fan-favorites, including Steph Curry's Davidson team, Tyler Hansbrough's North Carolina team and Derrick Rose's Memphis team.

Four-star 2021 SF Benny Williams commits to Syracuse over Maryland and Georgetown

Four-star 2021 SF Benny Williams commits to Syracuse over Maryland and Georgetown

The Syracuse men's basketball program picked up its first commit of the 2021 class on Thursday and it came at the expense of the two big local schools. 

Four-star prospect Benny Williams committed to the Orange on Thursday, the small forward announced on Twitter. 247Sports was the first to break the news.

Williams, a consensus top 60 recruit in the 2021 class, chose Syracuse over Maryland, Georgetown and Miami. The small forward is ranked the 47th overall player in the 2021 class by 247Sports and 53rd by ESPN.

Missing on Williams is a crushing blow for the Terps, as the forward would have been the second four-star to commit to Maryland in the 2021 class, joining power forward Julian Reese. The Hoyas have yet to land a commitment for the 2021 recruiting cycle.

"I'm excited to play for coach [Jim] Boeheim in front of the best fans in the country in the greatest arena in college basketball," Williams said in his commitment video.

The 6-foot-8 forward, who plays his high school ball at St. Andrew's Episcopal in Potomac, Md., had taken two unofficial visits to Syracuse prior to committing, according to 247Sports. 

Syracuse's culture and the legacy of the basketball program were two things that specifically stood out to the junior when he visited the school.

"I picked them because of the relationship we built going back two years ago, especially coach Red [Autry] and with coach [Jim] Boeheim," Williams told 247Sports. "I think I can come in and impact the program right away and hopefully lead them to a national championship."

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The 7 best point guards in Maryland basketball history

The 7 best point guards in Maryland basketball history

Maryland basketball is no stranger to success at the point guard position. Throughout the history of the program, numerous primary ball handlers have put up big scoring totals, created highlight plays and led their team to greatness.

But for a program loaded with point guard talent, who are the best of the best? Here's a look at a few of top point guards to ever be a Terp.

Gene Shue (1951-54)

Shue ranks No. 22 on Maryland's all-time scoring list, and while he put up some impressive numbers during his time there, his most impressive work was how he put the program on the map. Before Shue took his spot at UMD, the team had suffered losing season after losing season. That all changed when the point guard arrived.

During his playing career, the Terps achieved their first 20-win season in program history, were nationally ranked and joined the ACC Conference. Thanks in large part to Shue, Maryland basketball began the journey toward national prominence. 

John Lucas (1972-76)

Earning All-American honors once is an impressive feat for most college players, Lucas did it three times during his career at Maryland. The point guard earned second-team honors for the 1973-74 season while playing alongside Tom McMillen and Len Elmore. The latter two would graduate leaving Lucas to shine on his own in the following year.

He did just that, earning First-Team All-American honors for the 1974-75 season. Lucas would do the same in 1975-76 for good measure. During that time he also led Maryland to an ACC regular-season title and an Elite Eight appearance.

Lucas currently ranks No. 6 all-time in scoring at Maryland with 2,015 points. He also ranks No. 4 in scoring average, totaling around 18.3 points per game during his career as a Terp. Lucas wasn't just a scorer, as he also could pass with the best of them as a point guard. His 514 assists in college put him fifth on Maryland's all-time list. Lucas would go on to have a solid NBA career as well after being selected No. 1 overall by the Rockets in the 1976 NBA Draft.

Keith Gatlin (1983-86, 1988)

Gatlin embodied the floor general spirit of a point guard during his time at Maryland. Though surpassed 1,000 points in college, his real brilliance was seen when he distributed the ball to others.

Len Bias and Adrian Branch ranked No. 3 and No. 5 on Maryland's scoring list, and that's largely due to Gatlin's ability to get them the ball and let them take over. Rather than force his own shots, Gatlin would find the open man and rack up assist totals. By the end of his Terrapin career, he had recorded 649 assists, good enough for third all-time in school history.

Steve Blake (1999-2003)

Blake, much like Gatlin, made his mark as a passer at Maryland. His 972 assists during his four-year college career are the highest mark in the history of the program and rank sixth all-time in NCAA basketball history.

Blake's brilliance was seen from day one, as he started from his freshman to senior year at Maryland. His ability to control the flow of the game was instrumental in the Terps 2002 National Championship run.

Greivis Vasquez (2006-10)

The roar at the Xfinity Center when Vasquez tells the crowd he has "Maryland Pride" is all you need to know about how great his collegiate career was. The point guard showed promise in his first two seasons but really stepped up his game during his junior and senior years.

In 2008-09, Vasquez led the Terrapins in almost every category on the stat sheet. The top spots for scoring, assists, rebounds, steals and minutes played all belonged to him. He followed that up with a senior year in which he scored close to 20 points per game and took home the Bob Cousy Award, given to the nation's best point guard. Vasquez currently ranks second all-time in points at Maryland with 2,171. 

Melo Trimble (2014-17)

Trimble is one of the most recent guards to find success at Maryland. Bursting onto the scene as a freshman, Trimble averaged 16.2 points per game during his first season of college ball. His following two seasons were just as exciting, as Trimble became the go-to weapon for the Terps offense. Before it was all said and done, Trimble surpassed 1,600 points and 400 assists during his three years at Maryland.

Numbers were great, but it was Trimble's heroic moments in the final seconds that he'll always be remembered for. Last-second game-winning shots against Wisconsin and Michigan State showed that there was no moment too big for No. 2. 

Anthony Cowan Jr. (2016-20)

When Trimble left for the pros it became Cowan's time to shine at Maryland, and he did just that. After a solid freshman year, Cowan continued to grow and improve each time out on the court. From his sophomore to senior year Cowan averaged 15.8, 15.6 and 16.3 points, respectively. He now sits seventh all-time in scoring at the University of Maryland

Cowan's biggest strengths, however, were his consistency and clutch. Maryland's newest 'Iron Man,' the point guard started 130 consecutive games during his four years as a Terp. No matter what was going on, everyone could rely on Cowan to be there and ready to make an impact. 

Clutch-wise, Cowan had a knack for stepping up in the big moments, especially during his senior season. A lethal three-point shooter, his performance on the road against Michigan State this past season showed everything there is to know about the Maryland native. With the Terps trailing late, Cowan knocked down two huge threes from way beyond the arc to take the lead and ice the game.

Moments like that helped Cowan bring a Big Ten banner to College Park. 

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