March Madness is the best time of year for basketball fans. Sixty-four teams battle each other in the big dance with one common goal of winning the National Championship. However, it’s obvious that some teams are at a clear advantage over others because of the loads of talent on its roster. This year, the Duke Blue Devils stand out as one of the most talented teams the college game has seen in a very long time. It would almost be a shame, or a waste of extraordinary talent, if they didn’t win it all. While that hasn’t happened to Duke (yet), it has certainly occured with other equally (if not more) talented teams in the past. Below are some of the most talent-filled and dominant college basketball teams that failed to win the NCAA Tournament (in no particular order).
2014-’15 Kentucky WildcatsImage via votemycollege.com
The 2014-’15 Kentucky Wildcats had one of the most stacked rosters in college basketball history. A handful of players on the team went to the NBA after the season including Karl-Anthony Towns, Devin Booker, Willey Cauley-Stein, Trey Lyles, and Dakari Johnson. Many people beleived that this team could compete with some NBA teams and even beat the worst team in the NBA which, at that time, was the Philadelphia 76ers. The Wildcats went undefeated in the regular season and had no sign of slowing down in the tournament. But the Cats fell just short after losing to the Frank Kaminsky-Sam Dekker-led Wisconsin Badgers in the Final Four. There may never be a college team with this much talent again.
2013-’14 Kansas JayhawksImage via USA TODAY
It’s crazy to think that two of the most electrifying young talents in the NBA–Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid–were once teammates at Kansas University. The dynamic Rock-Chalk duo dominated the regular season and were both projected to be top-3 picks in the NBA draft. However, after Embiid suffered a season-ending injury in the Big 12 tournament, the Jayhawks’ performance was hindered in the big dance. They lost in the second-round, but people can only imagine how far they would’ve gone had Embiid not been injured.
2009-’10 Kentucky Wildcats
The 2009-’10 Kentucky Wildcats featured some of the most-gifted athletes that are still dominating the NBA today including John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, and Eric Bledsoe. They also had Patrick Patterson and Daniel Orton, who joined the others in the first-round of the following NBA draft. The team entered the tournament with a 29-2 record. It shocked the entire basketball world when the team lost in the Elite Eight to West Virginia, which had no future NBA players on its roster.
2013-’14 Syracuse Orange
The 2013-’14 Syracuse Orange are an unpopular option when regarding the most talented teams to never win the NCAA tournament. However, people don’t realize how dominant this squad was. The Orange, led by talented-scorer C.J. Fair as well as Tyler Ennis–an unselfish point guard with incredible court vision–won its first 25 games of the season. The unbelievable streak included a breathtaking 91-89 overtime win over the Duke Blue Devils. The team suffered its first loss of the season against Boston College, then had a rough end of the season due to its stacked schedule. However, the Orange still had plenty of momentum entering the NCAA tournament. As a #3 seed, Syracuse was upset by the #11 Dayton Flyers in the third-round of the tournament.
1992-’93 Michigan Wolverines
The famous Michigan “Fab Five,” which included stars Chris Webber and Jalen Rose, had one of the best stories in college basketball history. The dominant Wolverines squad was so close to winning the big dance before Webber infamously called a timeout with none remaining, which resulted in a technical foul for Michigan, squandering its championship hopes. North Carolina won the title, and Webber’s late-game action is still regarded today as one of the biggest mental mistakes a player has ever made.
2007-’08 UCLA Bruins
The UCLA Bruins once had one of its most stacked rosters since the John Wooden era, as the team included pieces inluding Russell Westbrook, Kevin Love, Darren Collison, and Luc Mbah a Moute. Love was actually considered the best talent on the team since he was a five-star freshman recruit dominating the competition as soon as he arrived. Westbrook had been developed throughout his time at the school and had become an athletic force with a very high IQ for the game. The Bruins won the Pac-10 Tournament, but just fell short of the chance to compete for a National Championship after losing in the Final Four to Memphis.