Cats Among the Top at Being Number One

The Arizona Wildcats closed out 2013 as the top-ranked college basketball team in the country.  The December 30th rankings represent the Cats’ 4th consecutive week at number one in the polls.

Being ranked number one is familiar territory for the U of A faithful.  Over the course of ranking history, the Cats have spent a total of 33 weeks at the top.  This puts the Cats in really good company, placing them ninth of all time for number of weeks at number one. The top 10 list for total weeks ranked number one in the nation is as follows:

1-  UCLA                 134 weeks
2-  Duke                  127 weeks
3-  North Carolina   111 weeks
4-  Kentucky             93 weeks
5-  Kansas                57 weeks
6-  Indiana                54 weeks
7-  Cincinnati            45 weeks
8-  Ohio State           37 weeks
9-  ARIZONA      33 weeks
10- UNLV                 32 weeks

Many of these programs attained the top ranking while under one legendary coach.  UCLA’s staggering numbers are almost exclusively attributed to John Wooden.  Indiana’s tenure at the top was largely under Bobby Knight.  Cincinnati was a formidable program under Bob Huggins.  UNLV was there during Jerry Tarkanian’s reign.  None of these programs have spent any appreciable time at number one after their iconic coaches left.

The U of A is proving to be an exception.  Lute Olsen took the program from obscurity to national prominence. Sean Miller now has the program poised to be a perennial powerhouse and, over time, the Cats will undoubtedly climb the all-time list while also hoisting more championship banners from the rafters at McKale Center.