More colleges participate in men’s basketball than any other sport. Because of this, with more than 1,000 men’s basketball teams currently competing in the NCAA, college basketball is one of the most competitive sports at any level. Still, among these 1,000+ teams lie a handful of programs that always seem to perform at a level above the rest. In college basketball, continued success is partially reliant on consistently landing talented high school players. As a result, team popularity and fan engagement are closely related to victories on the court. Nevertheless, there are always some teams which remain popular, no matter how well their season is going. FanWide is using its own fan engagement data alongside traditional measures of success to quantify program popularity. Read below to get an inside look at how FanWide is cultivating a top ten list that uses its proprietary fan data to rank teams based on more than just production on the field.
Top 10 (Check back here periodically to see the updated list)
Fan Clubs (FanWide):
As the world’s #1 fan club network, the number of fan clubs listed on FanWide’s website is an indicator of the number of groups of passionate, devoted fans who have joined together in support of their team. NCAA basketball fan clubs can meet anywhere or support any team, but they all have one thing in common: they provide an excellent opportunity for fans to cheer on their team together. You can find a local fan club for your team or school by visiting the FanWide website.
National Championships (All Time):
Championship banners fly forever. That’s why it’s important to consider all of a team’s National Championship wins. National titles increase a program’s exposure and appeal, providing winning teams with national attention. It is also important to consider historical success; traditionally great programs such as UCLA and Indiana are built on past National Championship success. National titles are a critical part of a program’s past, present, and future. They are instrumental in determining the top NCAA basketball teams.
NCAA Tournament Wins (Last 10 Years):
Not every popular team can win a National Championship. Many great teams have consistently made deep tournament runs, only to fall short of the end goal. These successes cannot go unnoticed, as they still leave a lasting impact on fans. All tournament wins are great achievements, making it important to consider all recent tournament success, even when it doesn’t end in a National Championship.
Regular Season Wins (Last 10 Years):
FanWide measured regular season wins in the top 10 rankings in order to credit teams that consistently show up in conference play, earning them high tournament seeds and national rankings. While tournament success gets the most screen time, it’s called March Madness for a reason. Upsets happen, and this metric rewards teams that have seen recent success leading up to the “Big Dance.”
NBA Lottery Picks (Last 10 Years)
In the NBA, the order of the top 14 draft picks is determined by a draft lottery. Hence, these 14 picks are called “lottery picks.” FanWide measured the number of players from each college team to be taken with lottery picks in the last 10 years as a measure of star power and projectable talent. Aside from their effect on the team while in college, players drafted early in the NBA draft are likely to retain the popularity of their college program as they are seen by a broader audience. In a sport that sees just 10 players on the court at one time, one star could have a major impact on a college program and its legacy.
One of the most important contributors to the outcome of sports games is fan attendance. In college, the effect of a good atmosphere is amplified. Fan attendance is an indicator of the size of a program, the popularity of the team, and the intensity of their gameday atmosphere. Attendance was an essential metric in the quantification of popularity and success. It is important to note that stadium size was not considered in this metric. While some teams were limited by capacity in this ranking, total attendance was taken as the most important aspect of fan engagement and attendance.
Aggregate Social Media Followers:
College basketball teams are using social media as a way to interact with their fans across the nation. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter allow for teams to increase fan interest and promote team events. Fanwide accounted for the total amount of Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook likes in this ranking.
One of the most important constants in successful college basketball teams is stability. Consistently recruiting the top high school players in the country and developing these players is essential for establishing a winning culture. This all starts with the coaching staff. FanWide used the current coach tenure for each NCAA team as a way to determine the stability and success of each team.
FanWide collected data for each team in the Big Ten, Big East, ACC, Big 12, SEC, and PAC 12 along with various other top teams from smaller conferences before ranking the teams based on their data. Each team’s ranking in each category was added up; the ten lowest combined scores make up FanWide’s top 10! By collecting data across each of these categories, we ensured that the rankings are based on success on and off the court.
Stay tuned for the release of FanWide’s Top 10 College Basketball Teams!
Follow the rankings on social media: @FanWide and #topcollegeteam