College basketball schools 3-0 in football: Having great seasons on the gridiron is a rarity for hoops blue bloods

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uncmascotcfbcbb College basketball schools 3-0 in football: Having great seasons on the gridiron is a rarity for hoops blue bloods

It’s been a fun September for college football as unquestioned programs known for their basketball prowess opened their seasons undefeated on the gridiron. Duke, Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, Syracuse and UCLA — schools that have won 40 national titles in men’s basketball — are a combined 18-0 through the first three weeks of the football season.

Neat, right?

Check this out. In more than 100 years of college football, those six traditional basketball powerhouses have never — until now — all started 3-0 in the same season.

Chances are some football teams will have better seasons than their basketball counterparts this school year. If you’re wondering when the last time that happened to each of these schools, you’ve come to the right place.

These ring powers were the best in football last season

Kentucky: 2021-2022

Yes, we don’t have to go back a year to find a basketball powerhouse being bested by its football brethren for the first time. It was close, but Wildcats football went 10-3 (.769 winning percentage) last season, beating only John Calipari’s Kentucky basketball team and losing to — you guessed it — Kentucky (26-8, .765) then-No. 15th-ranked St. Peter’s in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Had Kentucky won one more game — even if it had lost to the state’s little brother Murray State in the second round — UK would have finished worst with a .771 winning percentage. But, that didn’t happen. Hence, Kentucky tops the list.

Kentucky football is the next most recent event in the best UK hoops: you guessed it. 2020. Although Mark Stoops’ team went 5-6 (.455), the 2020-21 UK basketball season ensured football was good. Kentucky went an infamous 9-16 (.360), the program’s worst single-season winning percentage since 1926-27, and UK finished below .500 for only the second time in the NCAA Tournament era (since 1939).

In Kentucky football’s first season in 1916, the football program finished with a higher winning percentage than the men’s basketball program only 14 times. As you can see, this is the lowest number of all on our list.

Indiana: 2020-21

For official purposes, the most recent academic year in which IU football won a higher percentage of its games than IU men’s basketball was 2020-21. But those two teams didn’t play full seasons; The football team played eight times (6-2, .750), while men’s hoops played 27 games (infectious or not, with an unquestionably poor 12-15 record and .444 winning percentage).

Before 2020-21, you have to go back to 2010-11, when IU football was 5-7 (1-7 in the Big Ten, .417 overall), but still beat Indiana in a 12-20 (.375) campaign under Tom Crane. . It was the last of Green’s three sub-.500 teams since the firing of Kelvin Sampson in the late 2000s.

IU football and basketball have been played since 1900. The Hoosiers football team has won a higher percentage of its games in the same season than the men’s basketball team 30 times — 21 times before the 1950s.

North Carolina: 2020-21

Well, maybe it’s not so rare. Three of the seven schools have seen football one-up men’s hoops in the past two years. Mack Brown returned to coaching six years later and immediately made North Carolina interesting on the football field. In his second season, the Tar Heels went 8-4 (.667), ranked 18th in the nation and made the Orange Bowl. As it happens, almost no one knows, but UNC is beginning its final season under Roy Williams. Carolina basketball went 18-11 (.621) on the season as Ol’ Roy’s sent it, losing in the first round of March Madness for the first time in his career. North Carolina was ranked No. 34 at the end of that regular season KenPom.com.

Had UNC continued Williams’ streak, the Tar Heels would have finished with a higher winning percentage that academic year, but still: UNC football surpassed men’s basketball in winning percentage in 2019.

Proving it will always be a basketball school, UNC tapped into its blueblood powers and made a memorable run to the 2021 national title game in Hubert Davis’ first season leading the Tar Heels. Meanwhile, North Carolina’s football team went 6-7 in 2021.

They have played football and basketball at UNC since 1910. In 27 instances — 17 prior to 1950 — basketball was better, record-wise, than football.

Syracuse: 2018-19

An outstanding season for the Orange under current coach Dino Babers came four years ago, when SU ​​went 10-3 and was ranked No. 15 in the AP rankings, its first season ranked since 2001. In men’s basketball, the 2018-19 Syracuse Orange went 20-14 (.588) and lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament as the No. 8 seed.

Before 2018, the last time Syracuse soccer won as high a percentage of its games as men’s hoops: 2001, otherwise known as the season before Carmelo Anthony arrived on campus. Syracuse Hoops’ best player that season: Preston Shumpert. In football, James Mungro had 15 touchdowns for a team that won the Inside Bowl and was ranked 14th in the nation.

Syracuse is a basketball school, but it has a solid football history in addition to being known for its lacrosse success over the years. The school has fielded football and basketball teams since 1900. All but three seasons from 1952-69 saw football excel in 38 seasons.

UCLA: 2015-16

It has long been argued that UCLA is the greatest historical underachiever in football. The John Wooden dynasty certainly influenced it; UCLA’s blueblood status in hoops is due to Wooden’s 15-plus years in the ’60s and ’70s.

Seven years ago Jim Mora — now coaching in obscurity at UConn — seemed to be on his way to winning L.A.’s battle with USC, which was at an impasse (and still is). The Bruins were coming off back-to-back 10-3 seasons, then went 8-5 in 2015 as Josh Rosen threw for nearly 3,700 yards. UCLA basketball under third-year coach Steve Alford had a busy academic year missing its first NCAA tournament appearance. The Bruins went 15-17 (.469) and had an uncharacteristically uncharacteristic season in Westwood. Still, 2015 marked the third time in four years that soccer claimed a more successful season than men’s hoops.

Truth be told, no blueblood is better served by its football peers than UCLA. Since 1928, when UCLA adopted football, boys on the gridiron have won a higher percentage of their games 39 times than men’s basketball. Thanks Mick Cronin turned the ship around.

Duke: 1994-95

In researching this, I found something incredible. Well, Duke only had two seasons after Mike Krzyzewski got things going in the mid-80s. There was the Covid year, 2020-21, in which Duke missed the NCAAs for the first time in a generation — and then there’s the infamous ’94-95 campaign, when Coach K pulled out due to health issues. That year was the most recent example of Duke being better at football than basketball. Incredibly, in football terms, Duke was in the first season of a five-year run under Fred Goldsmith. It went 8-4 in 1994, but get this: The ’94 Duke season was the only team with more than five wins in the 22-year span from 1990-2012.

Historical incompetence. If 1994 wasn’t an aberration, you’d have to go back to 1982, Krzyzewski’s third year of work.

They began playing varsity football at Duke in 1922, almost two decades after basketball. The Blue Devils football team has finished a season better than Duke hoops 27 times, all but five of those years before 1957.

Kansas: 1981-82

You have to figure that’s been a long time for Kansas, but 41 years doesn’t even leave room for a one-year freak. Could this be greater evidence that Kansas has the biggest disparity between its basketball and football teams than any other power conference program with both sports? (Note: Kansas has made every NCAA tournament since 1990 and missed just one since 1984.)

Forty-one years ago, Kansas was playing in the Big 8. Dan Fambrough is in his third year of a four-year tenure at KU football, leading the Jayhawks to an 8-4 mark (.667). Kansas lost to Mississippi State 10-0 in the Hall of Fame Classic that year. On the hardwood, KU went 13-14 (.481) during Ted Owens’ 19-year tenure as coach.

Kansas’ magical 2007 season — in which he led the Joyhawks to a 12-1 record and an Orange Bowl appearance — led to a better percentage than… amazingly, no. KU’s football team had a .923 winning percentage that season. But that same academic year Bills coach Mario Chalmers, Darrell Arthur, Brandon Rush and Co. had a memorable overtime NCAA Tournament title game victory over Memphis. The win improved Kansas to 37-3, giving them a .925 winning percentage — not out of KU football.

They have been playing both sports since 1901 in Lawrence, Kansas. KU football beat the odds here, winning in winning percentage 24 times in the last 120 years. Sixteen of those 24 years came before 1950. Kansas basketball is there for a reason Considered the best home court advantage everIn the game.

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