When it comes to NCAA basketball, there are numerous levels of success. Winning a regular season conference title, winning a conference tournament, and being invited to the Big Dance are all plateaus of achievement that every programs strives for on a yearly basis.
And then, there’s the prize before the prize – making the Final Four.
The Final Four is college basketball’s version of the Super Bowl. Two days of the four best teams in the nation squaring off, one after another, until a champion of the sport is crowned.
Some programs are even measured in terms of the number of Final Four appearances they’ve made, as the nature of the NCAA Tournament alone makes it a difficult thing to do. Destiny’s underdogs and trap games lurk at every turn, and even the most seasoned and tournament-tested teams can be unexpectedly tripped up on the way.
But even with all that, some schools (we’re looking at you Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, and just about every other team with a primary blue color) manage to put together long-standing dynasties that find their way to tournament success year after year, and are a Vegas favorite to be a Final Four team every season.
Then there are programs who once had a taste of that prolonged success, but have fallen on hard times and been unable to even sniff a Final Four appearance, or even a deep tournament run. Here are five of those former dynasties who have kept fans waiting for years for their next trip to the ultimate two days of college hoops.
(For purposes of this piece, we are defining a “dynasty” as a team with a long streak of tournament appearances, a number of Final Four appearances, and at least one championship)