Coming in at number 9 in FanWide’s Top 10 College Basketball Rankings is the Arizona Wildcats. While the Wildcats have not won a national championship since 1997, they have had a lot recent success. Ever since Arizona hired Sean Miller as the head coach in 2009, the Wildcats have seen an uptick in tournament appearances and regular season wins. Not only has Miller been able to drastically improve Arizona’s winning percentage, he has also had a lot of success recruiting the top high school basketball players. Former top recruits and current NBA stars such as Deandre Ayton, Stanley Johnson, Lauri Markkanen, and Aaron Gordon have helped stabilize and improve an Arizona Basketball program on the rise. With a top-3 overall recruiting class (which includes top point guard Nico Mannion) for 2019, the Arizona Wildcats future looks very bright. Because of Arizona’s recent success and their massive fanbase, the Wildcats place 9th in FanWide’s Top 10 College Basketball Team Rankings.
FanWide’s #10 College Basketball team is the Wisconsin Badgers! Few programs can combine historical greatness and present success the same way Wisconsin can. Though the team has not won a National Championship since 1941, the Badgers are a consistent threat in the always-competitive Big Ten conference, year in and year out. Even more impressive, however, is the unwavering commitment of Badgers fans, who are always there to support their team. Top 10 finishes in the categories of fan clubs, recent tournament wins, attendance, and aggregate social media followers earned the Wisconsin Badgers the #10 spot among FanWide’s Top 10 College Basketball Teams.
Teams were evaluated in 8 different categories (visit this blog post to see the methodology):
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)
Although a majority of this organization’s success has been focused on the past five years, there is a great amount of historical value to the Warriors franchise. A majority of current Warriors fans are younger NBA fans who are attracted to the extreme levels of success the team is having yet many are blind to the fact that many legends have once represented Golden State. Wilt Chamberlain, Rick Barry, Nate Thurmond, Chris Mullin, Mitch Richmond, Tim Hardaway, Chris Webber, Baron Davis, Monta Ellis, David Lee, Jason Richardson, and Bernard King are only some of the names that have represented the Warriors. Currently, their roster is stacked out with Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala, and Demarcus Cousins. It is hard to find an organization that has had as much talent as the Warriors throughout history. Let’s get into the nitty gritty on how the Golden State Warriors took home the crown in FanWide’s Top Ten NBA Teams ranking.
Korean Warriors Fan Club watch party. Photo courtesy of KPIX CBS SF Bay Area.
When will their fire and power ever dissolve? Every year they manage to maintain their reputation of being one of the most threatening teams across the league. They are the San Antonio Spurs. It is easily agreed upon that the Spurs have built the steadiest and most successful NBA franchise over the past 20 years. Starting with David Robinson and Robert Horry, then transitioning to the Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili phase, then Kawhi Leonard, and now DeMar DeRozan, the talent never seems to end. The man behind the plan that has gifted the Spurs the immense amount of success they have had in the past 20 years is head coach Gregg Poppovich. With all of this, and more, the Spurs were able to land the #2 spot on FanWide’s Top Ten NBA Teams rankings. Let’s find out more about how the Spurs got second.
Spurs watch party at the AT&T Center. Photo courtesy of San Antonio Magazine.
This organization has been flat out killing it recently. With record of 65-17 last year, and finishing first in the Western Conference in the regular season, their hot streak seemed to carry over into this year. Still need a hint to who it is? Fear the Beard. The Houston Rockets are #3 on FanWide’s Top Ten NBA Teams ranking. Coming off his MVP season, James Harden has been leading the charge for the Rockets. They currently pose one of the biggest threats to making a strong push in the playoffs and possibly winning the Finals. Nevertheless, the success of the Houston Rockets franchise does not start with James Harden. Many big names have put on a Rockets jersey such as Dikembe Mutombo, Robert Horry, Kenny “the Jet” Smith, Charles Barkley, Tracy McGrady, Yao Ming, Clyde Drexler, Moses Malone, and of course Hakeem “the Dream” Olajuwon. The list goes on and on with legendary Rockets players. They all contributed greatness to the organization, hence placing the Rockets 3rd in FanWide’s Top Ten NBA Teams ranking.
Rockets fans participating in a Red Rowdy at the Toyota Center. Photo courtesy of Fansided.
Where do I even start with this franchise? Do I cover the Michael Jordan era? Do I talk about Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler? Do I talk about the untapped potential they have on their team? The Chicago Bulls have been one of the most historically powerful franchises in the NBA. Let’s start at the beginning of the major success. In 1984, the Chicago Bulls decided to use their number 3 pick on a kid from UNC. This kid was Michael Jordan. The greatest basketball player of all time. Jordan went on to lead the Bulls to his historic 6 rings. With other strong teammates such as Ron Harper, Steve Kerr, Horace Grant, Dennis Rodman, and of course Scottie Pippen, the Bulls seemed unstoppable with Michael Jordan. After this streak of success faded, Derrick Rose was drafted in 2008 with the first overall pick. He carried the Bulls to a lot of success and even managed to win MVP in the 2011 season, making him the youngest player to win the MVP award. Currently, the Chicago Bulls are rebuilding and waiting for their next spark, yet their historical dominance allows them to place 4th in FanWide’s Top Ten NBA Teams ranking.
Road Watch Party at Real Time Sports Bar and Grill. Photo courtesy of NBA.com
“With the first pick in the 2003 NBA draft, the Cleveland Cavaliers select LeBron James”. This statement, delivered by David Stern (commissioner of the NBA at the time), changed everything for not only the Cavaliers, but the city of Cleveland as a whole. All the way up until 2010, LeBron was committed to the Cavs and made them into a team that was not only well respected, but also feared across the league. After the (first) departure of LeBron, the Cavs no longer seemed to hold the same amount of strength as they had in previous season; however, they hit the jackpot with the #1 pick in the 2011 draft with future All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving. Although Irving struggled to bring the Cavs success in his first few years, he reignited the team’s spirits and potential. When LeBron returned in 2014, the city was joyous and the passion to win was back. During all of LeBron’s next four years as a Cavalier, he carried them to 4 straight NBA Finals appearances. Their most notable performance was coming back from being down 3-1 in the Finals and winning. The city of Cleveland was then branded as “The Land” as it was the center of focus across the league. This season, the team is fresh and young and is led by young guard Collin Sexton who has nothing but success in his future. With all of this going on for the Cavs, it is clear as to why they rank 5th in FanWide’s Top Ten NBA Teams ranking.
Photo courtesy of the Cavaliers Grandmother Club
From the perspective of fans across all sports leagues, Boston is the common enemy. Not only does this opinion exist because of the constant success most of all the Boston teams have, but also because their fans are some of the most supportive and rowdy fans. In the NBA, the Boston Celtics have had extreme levels of success recently and historically. Legends such as Bill Russell, Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and many more have steeped the Celtics with historical moments. Additionally, Boston has not only the oldest active NBA team, but also the oldest overall NBA franchise, along with the New York Knicks, founded in 1946. Currently, under the guidance of head coach Brad Stevens, stars such as Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward, Al Horford, and Jayson Tatum lead the team to success. Let’s look at how the Celtics placed 6th in FanWide’s Top Ten NBA Team Rankings.
CelticsCon in Valencia, Spain. Photo courtesy of SB Nation.
Miami is by far one of the most active and passionate cities across the United States. On top of that, every season their home team, the Miami Heat, never fail to excite the fans and make strong pushes in the regular season. They struck gold in 2003 by drafting Dwyane Wade from Marquette with the 5th pick in the draft. Wade led the Heat, along with Shaquille O’Neal and others, to a title in the 2006 season. A few years later, LeBron James and Chris Bosh decided to join the Heat and led the team to four straight finals appearances, winning it in 2012 and 2013. In more recent years, the Miami Heat have had a strong roster with Justise Winslow and Goran Dragic. Lastly, Dwyane Wade’s farewell season is this year this has for sure brought a lot of attention to Miami as a legend is retiring soon. He even got invited to play in this year’s All-Star game. Without further or due, let’s look into how the Heat placed 7th in FanWide’s Top Ten NBA Team rankings.
Miami fans cheering at a playoff game. Photo courtesy of Eva Ritvo.