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CINCINNATI - ESPN is counting down the best 50 college basketball programs in the last 50 years, and both Xavier and the University of Cincinnati made the list.
ESPN used a points system based off of successful trips into the NCAA tournament, conference tournaments, winning percentage, NBA-bound players and subtractions for sanctions or vacated games.
Based on their points system, ESPN ranked UC as the 24th best program in the last 50 years, and Xavier as the 34th best program. ESPN also named Ohio State as the 15th best team.
ESPN noted UC's success of the previous century, with two Final Fours, one championship game appearance, numerous conference titles (24) and several All-Americans and NBA drafted players (four top-10 picks). UC is the unfortunate ranking of this system since the 50 years deadline comes just after the Bearcats had reached four straight Final Fours.
ESPN also deducted points for sanctions over the years, as well as their lack of recent success.
Here is the ESPN 50 in 50 UC starting five:
Coach: Bob Huggins (1990-2005)
G – Nick Van Exel (1991-93)
G – Steve Logan (1998-2002)
F – Ron Bonham (1961-64)
F – Danny Fortson (1994-97)
C – Kenyon Martin (1996-2000)
Top options off the bench:
Tom Thacker (1960-63)
Pat Cummings (1974-79)
George Wilson (1961-64)
ESPN's best UC teams of the last 50 years:
1962-63 (26-2, NCAA runner-up)
1991-92 (29-5, NCAA national semifinals)
1999-2000 (29-4, NCAA second round)
ESPN's ranking of Xavier at 34th came mostly due to their recent success, with 13 regular season title conferences since 1990, nine conference tournament titles, their two Elite Eights in the last decade, as well as numerous trips into the NCAA tournament in 11 out of the last 12 years.
But Xavier's mid 1900s teams weren't good, and received subtractions for having a losing record 15 out of the first 20 years of ESPN's study, and their lack of an NCAA Tournament birth until 1983.
Here is the ESPN 50 in 50 starting five for XU:
Coach: Skip Prosser
G – Byron Larkin (1984-88)
G – Romain Sato (2000-04)
F – Tyrone Hill (1986-90)
F – James Posey (1996-99)
F – David West (1999-2003)
Top options off the bench:
Brian Grant (1990-94)
Tu Holloway (2008-12)
Jordan Crawford (2009-10)
Xavier's best teams the last 50 years, according to ESPN:
1989-90 (28-5, NCAA Sweet 16)
2002-03 (26-6, NCAA second round)
2007-08 (30-7, NCAA Elite Eight)
ESPN's countdown continues. You can find the latest rankings of the best teams in the last 50 years at http://espn.go.com/blog/collegebasketballnation/tag/_/name/50-in-50-series .
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