In an objective “prestige” rating system of NCAA Division I men’s basketball programs since the start of the 1984-85 season (when the NCAA tournament expanded to 64 teams), ESPN.com this week ranked Oklahoma No. 12.
Assigning point values for various successes and failures (for example, one point for a 20-win season, five points for a 30-win season, minus-three points for a losing season, etc.) and for individual player honors (five points for an AP first-team All-American, three points for a second-team All-American, etc.), the Web site calculated the Sooners’ point total at 221 for the past 24 seasons. That figure ranked ahead of every Big 12 program with the exception of Kansas, which finished with a No. 3 ranking.
ESPN.com had the following to say about OU:
Positives: 10 conference titles (four regular season, six tourney); 20 20-win seasons; four 30-win seasons; 19 NCAA berths; five No. 1 seeds (the fifth most since 1984-85); two Final Fours; six All-Americans; win over 4th-ranked Arizona in 1999; zero losing seasons.
Negatives: lost to 13th-seeded Louisiana-Lafayette in 1992, lost to 13th-seeded Manhattan in 1995, lost to 13th-seeded Indiana State in 2001.
Did you know? Despite not having a national title banner hanging from their rafters, the Sooners are ranked this high due to consistency. They never had a losing season in the last 24 years, and they won at least 20 games 20 times. Reasonable NCAA tournament success (five No. 1 seeds, two Final Fours and a title game appearance) puts OU in the top dozen.
The only programs finishing ahead of Oklahoma in the ranking were No. 1 Duke, No. 2 North Carolina, No. 3 Kansas, No. 4 Kentucky, No. 5 Arizona, No. 6 Connecticut, No. 7 UCLA, No. 8 UNLV, No. 9 Syracuse, No. 10 Georgetown and No. 11 Michigan State.
Big 12 programs ranked in the following manner: No. 3 Kansas, No. 12 Oklahoma, No. 18 Texas, No. 32 Oklahoma State, No. 37 Missouri, No. 57 Iowa State, No. 90 Texas Tech, No. 124 Kansas State, No. 141 Nebraska, No. 174 Texas A&M, No. 219 Colorado and No. 266 Baylor.
ESPN.com’s Top 30 Prestige Ranking
(Big 12 programs italicized)
2. North Carolina
11. Michigan State
27. Ohio State
30. Murray State
Other Big 12 Programs
32. Oklahoma State
57. Iowa State
90. Texas Tech
124. Kansas State
174. Texas A&M