Game’s blue­bloods still lead the­way

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Ralph D. Russo

The pro­grams that bleed blue have dom­i­nated when it comes to be­ing No. 1 in The As­so­ci­ated Press col­lege bas­ket­ball poll — though the shades of the color have var­ied.

UCLA has been the most fre­quent No. 1 in the AP rank­ing with 134 ap­pear­ances at the top, mostly thanks to coach JohnWooden’s un­matched dy­nasty on the 1960s and 1970s. Next come Duke ( 129), Ken­tucky ( 124), North Carolina ( 110) and Kansas ( 65).

The As­so­ci­ated Press has been rank­ing the best pro­grams in col­lege bas­ket­ball since Jan­uary 1949. Over 68 years and more than 1,100 polls, a to­tal of 59 schools have been ranked No. 1, start­ing with Saint Louis. The Bil­likens wear blue.

Maybe it was a sign of things to come.

Wooden had been coach­ing at UCLA for 15 years, suc­cess­ful butwith­outwin­ning a na­tional ti­tle. That changed in the 1963- 64, when the Bru­ins went 30- 0 and won the NCAA Tour­na­ment. It­was the first of 10 cham­pi­onships in a 12- year span for UCLA.

The Bru­in­swere a reg­u­lar fix­ture atop the AP rank­ings dur­ing UCLA’s era of dom­i­nance. Three of those cham­pi­onships (’ 67, ’ 68 and ’ 69) were­won­with LewAl­cin­dor, nowKa­reem Ab­dulJab­bar. Bill Wal­ton played cen­ter on the ’ 72 and ’ 73 ti­tle teams.

“While our prac­ticeswere the most de­mand­ing en­deav­ors that I’ve ever been a part of, so phys­i­cally, emo­tion­ally, men­tally and psy­cho­log­i­cally tax­ing, there is al­ways the sense of joy, of cel­e­bra­tion and of peo­ple hav­ing fun play­ing a sim­ple game,” Wal­ton wrote on his web­site in a trib­ute to Wooden. The As­so­ci­ated Press has been rank­ing the best teams in col­lege bas­ket­ball since Jan­uary 1949. A to­tal of 200 schools have been ranked, and 59 of them have been ranked No. 1 ( Saint Louis was the first No. 1). To de­ter­mine the all- time Top 100, the AP for­mula counted poll ap­pear­ances to mark con­sis­tency and No. 1 rank­ings ( two points each) to ac­knowl­edge elite pro­grams: 1. Ken­tucky ( 1,111 points) 2. North Carolina ( 1,098) 3. Duke ( 1,032) 4. UCLA ( 957) 5. Kansas ( 857) 6. In­di­ana ( 662) 7. Louisville ( 627) 8. Ari­zona ( 594) 9. Syra­cuse ( 581) 10. Cincinnati ( 500)

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