The best college basketball teams of the decade is a debate that can take forever to hash out, depending on how you define best. When people think of best their first thought is probably always going to be championships. Although that is a great indicator, should that be the only measuring stick to judge the quality of a team and the lasting impression it left on a decade?
When considering an elite program, there should be many factors taken into account, from wins to teams capturing the hearts of fans through adversity, and everything in-between. That said, here at Dime I created a list of the top 10 NCAA basketball teams of the past decade. So sit back and try doing your best Dick Vitale impersonation, because it’s about to go down, baby!
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10. St. Joseph’s – 2003-2004
St. Joseph’s legendary run in the 2003-2004 season was one of the most memorable moments in college basketball. This team was led by two NBA-level guards in Jameer Nelson, who later became the National Player of the Year, and Delonte West. Led by two elite guards, St. Joseph’s went 27-0 during the regular season and made it to the Elite Eight. This team was definitely a team to remember, finishing the regular season with the nation’s No. 1 ranking and eventually being named by Sports Illustrated as the best single-season team of the decade. This team was a part of one of the greatest second half comebacks in college basketball history.
They’d go on to lose in the final seconds to Oklahoma State in a regional final, but even before both Nelson and West became first-round picks, the Hawks’ legacy was secured.
9. Duke – 2003-2004
Led by the leadership of Chris Duhon and Luol Deng, this Duke team returned to the Final Four for the 10th time in 19 years. Deng emerged as the team’s best defender, and J.J. Redick became the squad’s biggest scorer, dropping in nearly 16 points a game as the Blue Devils went 31-6. Despite making it to the Final Four, they would lose to the eventual national champs from UConn by one point after blowing a late lead. Even though they lost, this one of the best teams Mike Krzyzewski had in the last 10 years, with future NBA players like Shelden Williams, Shavlik Randolph and Daniel Ewing to go along with the aforementioned names.
8. UConn – 2003-2004
This Connecticut Huskies team had one of the biggest frontlines to date with Emeka Okafor, Hilton Armstrong, Josh Boone and Charlie Villanueva. They were dominant, deep and super talented, and had experience to boot. Okafor was, without a doubt, the best big man in college basketball, and one of the most dominant of the past decade.