LEXINGTON, Ky. – College basketball is now in conference play. Ten years ago the decade kicked off with Duke and Butler battling for a national title and ended with Virginia winning it all a year after missing out. While Duke and Virginia are two great teams, they were not the top team of the 2010s.
That honor goes to the 2011-12 Kentucky Wildcats. The Associated Press asked its Top 25 voters to decide which team reigned supreme and the 26-member media panel chose the Cats. The top five teams of the decade are:
- 2011-12 Kentucky Wildcats
- 2017-18 Villanova Wildcats
- 2018-19 Virginia Cavaliers
- 2014-15 Duke Blue Devils
- 2016-17 North Carolina Tar Heels
John Calipari’s current team is good as their number 17 ranking proves, but it was the 2011-12 squad featuring freshmen Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, and Marquis Teague that proved to be the best of the decade. That year, the Cats won 38 games, tieing an NCAA record and won the National Championship in New Orleans beating Kansas 67-59. The team also featured future NBA draft picks Terrence Jones, Doron Lamb, and Darius Miller.
The Wildcats received the most votes for the all-decade team, appearing on 21 ballots.
Jay Wright’s 2017-18 Villanova Wildcats took care of nearly every team they faced. National player of the year Jalen Brunson led the team and Villanova won all six of its NCAA Tournament games by double digits and beat Michigan by 17 in the title game.
Coming in third on the list is Tony Bennett’s 2018-19 Virginia Cavaliers with the ultimate redemption story. A year before, the Cavs were knocked out in the first round of the NCAA Tournament by Maryland-Baltimore County, becoming the first No. 1 seed to lose to a No. 16. Fast forward a year and with the help of Kyle Guy, De’Andre Hunter, and Ty Jerome, the Cavaliers won their first national championship by beating Texas Tech in overtime 63-62.
It wouldn’t be a top-five if the Duke Blue Devils weren’t listed. The 2014-15 team featured a stellar group of recruits including Jahlil Okafor, Justise Winslow, Tyus Jones, and Grayson Allen. The team made it to yet another Final Four and another title game facing Wisconsin up in Indianapolis. There Duke would win its fifth national title.