The Kentucky Wildcats are one of the last programs standing of the blue bloods of college basketball.
ESPN tweeted this earlier today:
This is the 2nd time since 1985 that only one of the four "blueblood" schools (Duke, KU, UK, UNC) made the Sweet Sixteen. (Duke in '06).
— ESPN College BBall (@ESPNCBB) March 26, 2014
Unfortunately for ESPN, they forgot about the UCLA Bruins, who are also in the Sweet 16 this weekend. Possibly, due to the Twitter rules for character limits, they left out the Indiana Hoosiers. The Hoosiers, of course, didn’t make the NCAA or NIT this year. Tom Crean went as far as turning down an invitation to play in the CBI. He’ll be run out of Bloomington in a few seasons if they don’t start winning again.
Staying home will be the Kansas Jayhawks, Duke Blue Devils, and the North Carolina Tar Heels. These are the five schools that people think of first when it comes to college basketball and historic programs. However, UCLA lags behind the other four when it comes to all-time wins in college basketball through the end of the 2012-13 season–mostly due to some lean years in the 1990s and early 2000s.
If ESPN’s definition of blue bloods is 2,000 wins or more in college basketball, UCLA would not meet the requirements. As a matter of fact, the next team to hit 2,000 wins will likely be the Syracuse Orange.
Once one starts to do some digging and it turns out that there are not four blue bloods but six.
They’re the elite of the elite, the kind of programs who blend historical success and influence with sheer cultural force, and thus maintain the highest set of expectations each and every season. Those expectations are simple, even singular: Win the national championship. Anything less, even in this diffuse modern era of the sport, is unacceptable.
For these programs, it’s championship or bust.