July 25, 2008
TUCSON, Ariz. - The University of Arizona men's basketball program has been among the elite in college basketball for more than a generation and now there are numbers to prove it.
Arizona was ranked fifth nationally in ESPN's Prestige Rankings, which according to the network, is a numerical method of ranking the best NCAA Division I men's college basketball programs since the start of the 1984-85 season. The rankings were based on numerous criteria, including NCAA Tournament performances, conference championships, All-Americans and 20-win seasons.
Arizona amassed 338 points to rank fifth in the poll. Joining the Cats in the top five were Duke (538), North Carolina (454), Kansas (450) and Kentucky (378).
Since 1984-85, Arizona is the only school in the country to have appeared in every NCAA Tournament, has 22 20-win seasons and appeared in four Final Fours. According to ESPN, Arizona and Duke are the only schools from major conferences to reach double figures for conference championships and NCAA Tournament automatic bids since 1984-85.
ESPN's Prestige Rankings Top 10 1. Duke 538; 2. North Carolina 454; 3. Kansas 450; 4. Kentucky 378; 5. ARIZONA 338; 6. Connecticut 292; 7. UCLA 272; 8. UNLV 239; 9. Syracuse 238; 10. Georgetown 230.