In my November 15 blog, I ranked the top ten winningest coaches of the modern tourney era. Mike Krzyzewski was the clear leader over Roy Williams, not just in terms of win percentage but also Final Four trips and championships.
Now it’s time to break down the top 10 schools be their tourney records and results. In the coming weeks, I’ll also analyze the biggest over- and underachievers and post the overall top 25 schools.
So…if Coach K is the top tourney coach, it shouldn’t come as a shock that Duke sits atop the team ratings. Here are the top 10 winningest schools of the 64-team tourney era:
Duke has been the most successful tourney school for more than a decade. But their lead over the second-place school has never been so close. That’s what happens when you go 15-7 (.681) over the last eight dances, while your main rival, North Carolina, goes 26-5 (.839). Now the Blue Devils own just a .007 lead over the Tar Heels.
In fact, in the 20 tourneys between 1985 and 2004, Duke had reached the Elite Eight 11 times, made 10 Final Fours and earned three championships. Over those same 20 dances, the Tar Heels had nine Elite Eight trips, six Final Fours and just one crown. Since then, however, there’s been a dramatic reversal of fortune. Duke has just one run beyond the Sweet 16 (their 2010 championship), while North Carolina has six, as well as three Final Fours and two trophies.
Believe it or not, North Carolina’s winning percentage actually went down .001 from 2011. The team that saw the biggest increase was actually Kentucky. Even though their ranking didn’t improve, the Wildcats added .018 to their win rate. They also moved ahead of Duke for the second most Elite Eight appearances. And they joined the Blue Devils, Tar Heels and UConn as the only schools in the modern era with at least three championships.
The biggest percentage decliner? It wasn’t Duke. It was Michigan. With their first-round loss to 13 seed Ohio, the Wolverines lost .016 off their win rate—and dropped from seventh to ninth on the list of winningest tourney teams.