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AP to publish first all-time college basketball ranking

NIT San Francisco Loyola 1949

The Associated Press will rank the nation’s all-time top men’s college basketball programs for the first time, as tabulated from its more than 1,100 weekly polls of top basketball teams over the past 68 years.

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This photo, from the close of the first season of the AP poll, shows San Francisco center Joe McNamee going up for a rebound in the final game of the National Invitation basketball tournament at Madison Square Garden, New York, March 19, 1949. (AP Photo/Marty Lederhandler)
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Villanova’s Kris Jenkins makes the game-winning three-point shot during the most recent NCAA college basketball championship in Houston, April 4, 2016. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

The all-time ranking will be released on March 29. It will be based on key criteria including total poll appearances.

The programs on the Top 100 list range from the first-ever team ranked No. 1 in an AP poll, St. Louis, to teams that haven’t been in the poll for generations, including Seattle (last appearance: Jan. 3, 1967), St. Bonaventure (Jan. 19, 1971) and Duquesne (Feb. 8, 1972).

“Long before March Madness, there was the AP college basketball poll, and it has continued for nearly seven decades,” said Barry Bedlan, AP’s sports products manager. “It’s the long tradition of the AP poll that provides basis for this list of the top programs.”

The all-time ranking will be released to customers at 12 p.m. ET on March 29 and posted on AP’s college basketball site, AP will also provide analysis and additional details. 

Leading up to its all-time ranking, AP will name its annual women’s All-America team on March 27 and men’s All-America team on March 28. Both the men’s and women’s Player of the Year and Coach of the Year will be named on March 30 at each Final Four venue: the men’s at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, and the women’s at the American Airlines Center in Dallas.

The AP Top 25 is the longest running basketball poll of its kind. The Associated Press began its college basketball poll on Jan. 18, 1949, with 20 teams. During the same season, AP named its first-ever men’s All-America team. Teams in this week’s AP Top 25 that also appeared in that first-ever poll were Kentucky (No. 2 in the first poll), Villanova (No. 9), Butler (No. 12), Cincinnati (No. 13) and Baylor (No. 18).

The AP Top 25 is determined by a simple points system based on how each voter ranks college basketball’s best teams. A team receives 25 points for each first place vote, 24 for second place and so on through to the 25th team, which receives one point. The rankings are set by listing the teams’ point totals from highest to lowest. The mathematical formula is the same as the one used for the AP Top 25 for college football and women’s basketball, as well as the AP Pro 32 rankings for the NFL.

A panel of 64 sports writers and broadcasters from around the country votes on the men’s poll weekly, while a 33-member panel votes on the women’s poll. All of the voters have an extensive background in covering college basketball. The same panels select the AP men’s and women’s Player of the Year and Coach of the Year awards.

Follow the poll and related sports coverage on Facebook and Twitter.


For media inquiries:
Lauren Easton
Director of Media Relations
The Associated Press

For sponsorship or revenue opportunities:
Barry Bedlan
Deputy Director of Sports Products
The Associated Press

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