March Madness: Colleges with the most Final Four appearances

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In the first 75 seasons of Duke basketball, the Blue Devils made it to the Final Four just four times. None of those trips resulted in national championships. Then, in 1980, Mike Krzyzewski was hired as the program's head coach, vaulting Duke into the upper echelon of elite college basketball programs.

In the ensuing 35 years, he's led the program to an incredible five national titles in 12 trips to the Final Four, most recently in 2015 when the Blue Devils beat Wisconsin for the national championship. Only seven programs have made at least 10 Final Four appearances from 1939 (the first year of the NCAA Tournament) to 2015. With March Madness in full swing, PointAfter sorted through the record books to find the college basketball programs with the most Final Fours.

There have been 27 programs with at least four appearances, and we'll count them down until we get to the true blue bloods of the sport. In the event of ties, schools with the most recent appearance in the Final Four were ranked higher on the list.

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March Madness - Schools with most Final 4 appearances
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March Madness: Colleges with the most Final Four appearances

27. Kansas State 

Final Four appearances: 4
NCAA Tournament championships: 0
Most recent Final Four: 1964

The Wildcats' Final Four drought nearly came to the end in 2010. That year, Kansas State advanced to the Elite Eight thanks in large part to the play of guards Jacob Pullen and Denis Clemente. The team was knocked out by Butler, who went on to the national title game.

 (Bo Rader/Wichita Eagle/TNS via Getty Images)

26. UNLV

Final Four appearances: 4
NCAA Tournament championships: 1 (1990)
Most recent Final Four: 1991

Under Hall of Fame coach Jerry Tarkanian, UNLV enjoyed its greatest success in program history. The program made the tournament each year from 1983 to 1991, capped by a national championship in 1991. The following year, the Runnin' Rebels advanced to the Final Four with a 34-0 record before falling to Duke in the national semifinals.

(AP Photo/David Becker)

25. Utah

Final Four appearances: 4
NCAA Tournament championships: 1 (1944)
Most recent Final Four: 1998

The Utes won their lone championship in 1944 by beating Dartmouth 42-40 in overtime. More recently, Utah advanced to the national title game in 1998, led by future first-round draft picks Andre Miller and Michael Doleac.

(Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images)

24. Arizona 

Final Four appearances: 4
NCAA Tournament championships: 1 (1997)
Most recent Final Four: 2001

From 1939 to 1983, Arizona made just three tournament appearances. The hiring of Lute Olson prior to the 1983-1984 season quickly changed the program's fortunes, with the Wildcats making 25 consecutive appearances from 1985 to 2009. That run peaked in with the 1997 team that won the program's lone national championship and featured Miles Simon, Mike Bibby and Jason Terry.

(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

23. Oklahoma 

Final Four appearances: 4
NCAA Tournament championships: 0
Most recent Final Four: 2002

Before he became a pariah in the college basketball scene as a result of his many recruiting violations, Kelvin Sampson turned Oklahoma into a national powerhouse. His 10-year career with the Sooners peaked in 2002, when the team lost to Indiana in the national semifinals. That Final Four run was the program's first since 1988 and second since 1947.

(AP Photo/Brandon Dill)

22. LSU 

Final Four appearances: 4
NCAA Tournament championships: 0
Most recent Final Four: 2006

After a pair of Final Four runs in the 1980s, the Tigers returned in 2006 led by sophomore Glen Davis and a pair of freshmen in Tyrus Thomas and Tasmin Mitchell. Their run ended with a loss to UCLA, and in two trips to the Big Dance since (2009 and 2015), LSU has failed to make it past the second round.

(AP Photo/John Bazemore)

21. Villanova

Final Four appearances: 4
NCAA Tournament championships: 1 (1985)
Most recent Final Four: 2009

Villanova stakes a claim to perhaps the greatest upset in college basketball history. In 1985, the Wildcats won the title as a No. 8 seed — the lowest-seeded champion in tournament history — by upsetting a Georgetown team that featured future Hall of Famer Patrick Ewing.

(AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

20. Wisconsin 

Final Four appearances: 4
NCAA Tournament championships: 1 (1941)
Most recent Final Four: 2015

Outside of their national championship in 1941, the Badgers suffered through lean times during the 20th century. The program made just two tournament appearances from 1942 to 1995 before hiring Dick Bennett away from Green Bay. In six seasons, Bennett led Wisconsin to the tournament three times, highlighted by a Final Four appearance in 2000.

The Badgers wouldn't return to the Final Four until making back-to-back appearances in 2014 and 2015 under Bo Ryan. Each trip ended in heartbreak — Wisconsin lost in the semifinals to Kentucky in 2014, then in the championship game to Duke in 2015.

(Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

19. Houston 

Final Four appearances: 5
NCAA Tournament championships: 0
Most recent Final Four: 1984

The Houston basketball program peaked from 1982 to 1984, when Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler headlined the "Phi Slama Jama" teams. During that run, the Cougars amassed a combined record of 88-16 and made the Final Four each year. Houston made it to the championship game in 1983 and 1984 but lost each time to North Carolina State and Georgetown, respectively.

(Photo by Alex Menendez/Getty Images)

18. Illinois 

Final Four appearances: 5
NCAA Tournament championships: 0
Most recent Final Four: 2005

Illinois has made just two Final Four appearances since 1952, most recently in 2005. During that run, the Fighting Illini erased a 14-point deficit in the final three minutes against Arizona in the Elite Eight in a stunning comeback led by Deron Williams and Luther Head. The team went on to lose, 75-70, in the title game against North Carolina.

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

17. Georgetown

Final Four appearances: 5
NCAA Tournament championships: 1 (1984)
Most recent Final Four: 2007

In Patrick Ewing's four-year college career, the Hoyas made it to the Final Four three times, a run highlighted by a national championship in 1984. Georgetown ended its 23-year Final Four drought in 2007 with a team that had future first-round picks Jeff Green and Roy Hibbert.

(Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

16. Syracuse 

Final Four appearances: 5
NCAA Tournament championships: 1 (2003)
Most recent Final Four: 2013

Syracuse has made one Final Four appearance in each of the past five decades, four of which came under current head coach Jim Boeheim. The program's lone tournament championship came in 2003 when the team was carried by freshman forward Carmelo Anthony.

 (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

15. Florida

Final Four appearances: 5
NCAA Tournament championships: 2 (2006, 2007)
Most recent Final Four: 2014

In the 19 seasons the team was coached by Billy Donovan, Florida made the tournament 14 times, with seven Elite Eights, four Final Fours and back-to-back national championships in 2006 and 2007. Those teams were headlined by future first-round picks Corey Brewer, Joakim Noah and Al Horford and had a combined 68-11 record.

(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

14. UConn

Final Four appearances: 5
NCAA Tournament championships: 4 (1999, 2004, 2011, 2014)
Most recent Final Four: 2014*

With four national titles in five Final Four trips, the Huskies have taken advantage of their opportunities. Guard play paved the way for UConn's two most recent championships, first with Kemba Walker in 2011 and then with Shabazz Napier in 2014.

*Note: Connecticut and Florida each last made the Final Four in 2014. UConn's second-most recent appearance (2011) was more recent than Florida's (2007), so the Huskies won the tiebreaker.

 (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

13. Cincinnati 

Final Four appearances: 6
NCAA Tournament championships: 2 (1961, 1962)
Most recent Final Four: 1992

The Bearcats made five consecutive Final Four appearances from 1959 to 1963, the first two of which came with future Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson leading the charge. Though both of The Big O's trips to the Final Four ended in disappointment, Cincinnati won back-to-back titles in 1961 and 1962.

 (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

12. Arkansas 

Final Four appearances: 6
NCAA Tournament championships: 2 (1961, 1962)
Most recent Final Four: 1992

The Bearcats made five consecutive Final Four appearances from 1959 to 1963, the first two of which came with future Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson leading the charge. Though both of The Big O's trips to the Final Four ended in disappointment, Cincinnati won back-to-back titles in 1961 and 1962.

 (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

11. Oklahoma State 

Final Four appearances: 6
NCAA Tournament championships: 2 (1961, 1962)
Most recent Final Four: 1992

The Bearcats made five consecutive Final Four appearances from 1959 to 1963, the first two of which came with future Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson leading the charge. Though both of The Big O's trips to the Final Four ended in disappointment, Cincinnati won back-to-back titles in 1961 and 1962.

(Photo by David K Purdy/Getty Images)

10. Michigan 

Final Four appearances: 7
NCAA Tournament championships: 1 (1989)
Most recent Final Four: 2013

Despite winning a national title in 1989, the Wolverines' back-to-back Final Four trips in 1992 and 1993 are arguably the most celebrated seasons in program history. Each of those runs was led by the "Fab Five" recruiting class, featuring Chris Webber, Jalen Rose and Juwan Howard. More recently, Michigan advanced to the national championship game in 2013, where the team lost to Louisville.

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

9. Indiana 

Final Four appearances: 8
NCAA Tournament championships: 5 (1940, 1953, 1976, 1981, 1987)
Most recent Final Four: 2002

Indiana enjoyed a run of excellence under fiery head coach Bob Knight. In 29 seasons under Knight, the Hoosiers won three national championships, including a perfect 32-0 record during the 1975-1976 season. The program's most recent trip came in 2002, when Indiana lost to Maryland in the title game.

 (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

8. Michigan State

Final Four appearances: 8
NCAA Tournament championships: 5 (1940, 1953, 1976, 1981, 1987)
Most recent Final Four: 2002

Indiana enjoyed a run of excellence under fiery head coach Bob Knight. In 29 seasons under Knight, the Hoosiers won three national championships, including a perfect 32-0 record during the 1975-1976 season. The program's most recent trip came in 2002, when Indiana lost to Maryland in the title game.

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

7. Louisville 

Final Four appearances: 10
NCAA Tournament championships: 3 (1980, 1986, 2013)
Most recent Final Four: 2013

Louisville enjoyed great success in the 30 years under head coach Denny Crum from 1971 to 2001. The Cardinals won two national titles during that time, with six trips to the Final Four. The program has enjoyed a resurgence under Rick Pitino, who led the team to a national championship in 2013.

(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

6. Ohio State 

Final Four appearances: 10

NCAA Tournament championships: 3 (1980, 1986, 2013)
Most recent Final Four: 2013

Louisville enjoyed great success in the 30 years under head coach Denny Crum from 1971 to 2001. The Cardinals won two national titles during that time, with six trips to the Final Four. The program has enjoyed a resurgence under Rick Pitino, who led the team to a national championship in 2013.

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

5. Kansas

Final Four appearances: 14
NCAA Tournament championships: 3 (1952, 1988, 2008)
Most recent Final Four: 2012

The first head coach of Kansas men's basketball was the inventor of the sport itself — Dr. James Naismith. Though Naismith didn't lead the Jayhawks to much success, he laid the groundwork for one of the most dominant programs in college basketball history.

In 14 Final Four appearances, Kansas advanced to nine national title games with three wins, most recently in 2008. That team won the championship thanks in large part to a game-tying three-pointer from Mario Chalmers in the final seconds of the national championship game against Memphis.

 (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)

4. Duke

Final Four appearances: 16
NCAA Tournament championships: 5 (1991, 1992, 2001, 2010, 2015)
Most recent Final Four: 2015

As the head coach at Duke, Mike Krzyzewski has established himself as one of the greatest coaches in the history of college basketball. He is the only coach in the sport's history with over 1,000 wins, and his five national championships are the second-most behind only John Wooden.

Krzyzewski has led the Blue Devils to nine national title games, including three straight from 1990 to 1992. Under Coach K, Duke has never gone more than five seasons without reaching the Final Four.

(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

3. Kentucky 

Final Four appearances: 17
NCAA Tournament championships: 8 (1948, 1949, 1951, 1958, 1978, 1996, 1998, 2012)
Most recent Final Four: 2015

Four of Kentucky's eight national championships came under Hall of Fame coach Adolph Rupp. Rupp guided the Wildcats to six Final Four appearances from 1939 to 1972, and four different head coaches have each won a national championship since his departure — Joe B. Hall (1978), Rick Pitino (1996), Tubby Smith(1998) and John Calipari (2012).

Since Calipari took the helm in 2009, Kentucky has made four Final Four appearances and produced dozens of future NBA players, including John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Anthony Davis and Karl-Anthony Towns.

 (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

2. UCLA

Final Four appearances: 18
NCAA Tournament championships: 11 (1964, 1965, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1995)
Most recent Final Four: 2008

Under legendary head coach John Wooden, UCLA had one of the most dominant dynasties in college sports history. The Bruins won 10 national championships in 12 years and featured several all-time great players, including Lew Alcindor, Bill Walton and Jamaal Wilkes.

Since Wooden's final season in 1975, UCLA has made six Final Four appearances, including three straight from 2006 to 2008 under Ben Howland. During that run, the Bruins featured future NBA players Russell Westbrook, Kevin Love and Darren Collison.

(Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images)

1. North Carolina

Final Four appearances: 18
NCAA Tournament championships: 5 (1957, 1982, 1993, 2005, 2009)
Most recent Final Four: 2009

Though UCLA has more than double the national titles North Carolina has, the Tar Heels stand toe-to-toe with the Bruins in Final Four appearances. The program made 11 of its 18 Final Fours under Hall of Famer Dean Smith, who coached the team from 1961 to 1997 with two national championships.

Current head coach Roy Williams took over in 2003 and has taken the Tar Heels to three Final Fours and two national titles, most recently in 2009. North Carolina has had many all-time greats in its storied history, including Michael Jordan, James Worthy and Antawn Jamison.

(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

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