The state with the most total NCAA Division I men’s basketball victories all-time is tied for 10th in total national championships among the 50 states. That rules out California, North Carolina and Indiana.
It’s the Empire State—New York.
And that shouldn’t necessarily be a huge surprise. New York has 22 active DI programs, which ranks third nationally, behind only California (26) and Texas (24). Plus, the math adds up if you think about the state’s location on the East Coast. The area was settled before most of the 50 states, leading to deeper histories with schools in New York.
Here are the 50 states, ranked by their total number of DI men’s basketball victories. Only wins at the DI level of active DI programs were counted in this list. The data includes games through the end of the 2021-22 season.
1. New York — 24,569 wins
As mentioned at the top, the state of New York is one of three states with at least 20 DI programs and 14 of them have at least 1,000 wins in program history: Army, Canisius, Colgate, Columbia, Cornell, Fordham, Iona, LIU , Manhattan, Niagara, St. Bonaventure, St. Francis, St. John’s and Syracuse.
New York is more than just New York City, and while Syracuse or St. John’s is likely the first program in the state that college basketball fans think of, there are a lot more than just those two.
2. California — 22,152 wins
Even though California has a national-high 26 DI programs, many of them are relatively new to the DI level. UC San Diego (two seasons of DI experience), Cal Baptist (four years), Cal State Bakersfield (12 years), UC Davis (15 years), UC Riverside (21 years), Cal Poly (28 years), Sacramento State ( 31 years) and Cal State Northridge (32 years) are somewhere between a newborn and a millennial in their DI lifespan.
Cal, Stanford, UCLA and USC have rich, 100-plus-year histories but not all of the state’s 26 DI programs can say the same.
3. Texas — 20,020 wins
Based on its sheer geographic size and population, it’s no surprise to see Texas in the top three.
But eight of those programs have been competing at the DI level for 40 years or less, which means that while Baylor, Rice, SMU, Texas A&M, TCU and Texas have more than 100 years of DI competition to their names, more than a third of the DI programs in the state have less than half of that.
4. Pennsylvania — 19,558 wins
Pennsylvania is tied for fifth nationally with 14 DI programs, so between the Big 5 in Philadelphia, the Pittsburgh schools and Penn State — plus the rest — there’s a lot of wins in the Keystone State and maybe more than you realized.
5. Ohio — 16,978 wins
Ohio has as many DI programs as Florida (8,410 wins entering the 2022-23 season) and Illinois (12,168 wins), yet Ohio has significantly more wins than both states and as many national championships as Florida and Illinois combined.
6. North Carolina — 16,328 wins
Despite a rich basketball tradition, North Carolina’s average lifetime wins per school is lower than one might think: roughly 907.
But with 18 DI programs, including Duke, North Carolina, NC State and Wake Forest, there’s a lot of talent and a lot of national championships in this state.
7. Virginia — 12,202 wins
Virginia is one of two states with 14 DI programs, along with Pennsylvania, but Pennsylvania has more than 7,000 more wins.
8. Illinois — 12,168 wins
The 13 DI programs in Illinois have combined for just one national championship — can you name which school won it? The answer is at the end of this article — but their collective win total ranks eighth nationally.
9. Indiana — 11,826 wins
The Hoosier State is synonymous with basketball, between the movie “Hoosiers,” many of the country’s largest high school basketball gyms being located in the state and Indiana University’s five men’s basketball national championships.
While Indiana is just ninth on this list, it ranks tied for 13th nationally in number of DI programs with 10, so pound-for-pound, its schools have an average of roughly 1,183 wins per school.
10. Tennessee — 11,007 wins
Tennessee has two more DI programs than Indiana but ranks one spot behind. That’s because schools like Belmont, Lipscomb and UT Martin have spent 30 or fewer years at the highest level of college basketball.
11. Louisiana — 9,511 wins
LSU (1,624 wins at the time this data was collected) is responsible for roughly 17 percent of the state’s DI wins.
12. Kentucky — 9,470 wins
Two states that are each home to an SEC school, Kentucky and Louisiana, have a narrow margin between their DI win totals but Louisiana leapfrogged Kentucky during the 2020-21 season, in part because of the Kentucky Wildcats’ nine-win season.
13. South Carolina — 8,974 wins
South Carolina is one of three states with 12 DI programs, along with Louisiana and Tennessee, but it has the fewest total wins of those states.
14. Florida — 8,410 wins
The fact that Florida’s DI men’s basketball programs have a collective win total that ranks 14th nationally is one of the bigger surprises from this study. With 13 DI schools, that’s an average of roughly 647 wins per program.
But here’s why — the state only has one school that has played DI men’s basketball for at least 100 years, which is the Florida Gators, who completed their 100th DI season in 2021.
15. Michigan — 7,970 wins
The state of Michigan has just seven DI programs but when two of those schools — Michigan State and Michigan — have combined to win three national titles, that’s enough to keep Michigan ranked in the top 15 nationally.
16. New Jersey — 7,816 wins
New Jersey is one of two states with eight DI programs, along with Massachusetts, which gives the Garden State’s DI programs an average of 977 wins per school.
17. Utah — 7,188 wins
There are only six DI programs in Utah but three of them — BYU, Utah and Utah State — have each won more than 1,600 games, which does some serious heavy lifting for the state’s win total.
18. Alabama — 7,131 wins
While the football-crazy state ranks 18th in total men’s basketball wins, its wins-per-school average is among the lowest nationally at roughly 713 per school.
19. Massachusetts — 6,925 wins
The Naismith Basketball Memorial Hall of Fame is in Massachusetts, a state where four of the eight DI programs have at least 1,000 wins.
20. Maryland — 6,587 wins
Maryland is the only state with nine DI programs. The Old Line State, however, has a pretty low average number of wins per program at roughly 732.
21. Washington — 6,041 wins
The five DI programs in the state of Washington have roughly 110 more wins per school, on average, than the four DI programs in Washington DC
22. Oklahoma – 5,736 wins
Oklahoma and Oklahoma State’s win totals were only separated by 25 wins at the time this data was compiled — 1,739 wins to 1,714, respectively.
23. Kansas — 5,688 wins
The Jayhawk State has the highest average win total per school — 1,896.
24. Connecticut — 5,528 wins
Connecticut ranks tied for fifth in total men’s basketball national championships but just inside the top 25 in total wins.
25. Mississippi — 5,275 wins
Ole Miss and Mississippi State have combined for roughly 54 percent of the state’s wins.
26. Iowa — 5,121 wins
Iowa’s four DI programs have an average of roughly 1,280 wins.
27. Georgia — 5,077 wins
The Peach State is one of three states with six DI programs, along with Mississippi and Utah, and Georgia has fewer wins than both.
28. Colorado — 4,892 wins
Colorado has only been a DI school for one more season than Colorado State and the Buffs have won 52 more games than the Rams at the time I compiled this data.
29. Oregon — 4,818 wins
Oregon and Oregon State have combined for 3,533 of the state’s wins.
30. Missouri — 4,718 wins
Three of Missouri’s five DI programs—Missouri State, Kansas City and SEMO—have each played 40 or fewer DI seasons.
31. Wisconsin — 4,584 wins
Marquette (1,683 wins) and Wisconsin (1,678 wins) are separated by just five wins and Marquette has played DI basketball for 19 fewer seasons.
32. Washington DC — 4,393 wins
How about Washington DC, which ranks ahead of 19 (!) states. There are just four DI programs in DC — American, George Washington, Georgetown and Howard — but the two with the name “George” as part of their name have won more than 3,000 games combined.
33. Arizona — 4,322 wins
Arizona and Arizona State have combined for 3,252 of the state’s wins.
34. Rhode Island — 4,076 wins
Even though Rhode Island ranks 34th nationally in terms of wins, its four DI programs have an average of just over 1,000 wins per school.
35. Arkansas — 3,569 wins
There are just five DI programs in Arkansas — the same number as Colorado, Missouri and Washington. However, the Natural State has fewer wins than the rest of them.
36. Nebraska — 3,302 wins
Creighton has nearly 100 more wins than Nebraska, even though the Huskers have been a DI school for 24 more seasons.
37. West Virginia — 3,278 wins
Think about this: West Virginia ranks 37th nationally even though it has just two DI programs.
38. New Mexico — 3,138 wins
Through the end of the 2021-22 season, New Mexico State had won 1,603 games, while rival New Mexico had won 1,535.
39. Idaho — 2,984 wins
The Idaho Vandals (1,362 wins) are responsible for almost 46 percent of the state’s DI wins.
40. Montana — 2,971 wins
At the time I collected this data, there was just a five-win difference between Montana (1,488) and Montana State (1,483).
41. Nevada — 2,149 wins
The state of Nevada only has two DI programs but they’ve both both pretty successful to different degrees. UNLV has won 68.8 percent of its games all-time, while Nevada’s winning percentage is 56.2 percent.
42. New Hampshire — 1,957 wins
Dartmouth is responsible for 1,328 of the state’s wins with New Hampshire chipping in the rest.
43. Minnesota — 1,700 wins
Until St. Thomas joined the DI ranks, the state of Minnesota only had one DI men’s basketball program (Minnesota). So its No. 43 ranking is fairly impressive all things considered.
44. Wyoming — 1,585 wins
Thanks to the Wyoming Cowboys — the state’s only DI program — Wyoming is one of four states in which the average all-time win total per school is at least 1,500 wins.
45. Delaware — 1,523 wins
The Delaware Fightin’ Blue Hens are responsible for almost two-thirds of the state’s wins with the Delaware State Hornets adding the rest.
46. Vermont — 988 wins
The Vermont Catamounts are the only DI program in the state and they’re arguably in the midst of their most successful run in program history, winning at least 20 games in 12 of the last 13 seasons, including five NCAA tournament berths.
While two of those tournament appearances were as a No. 16 seed, Vermont was a No. 13 seed in its last three NCAA tournament appearances, which means the Catamounts have a shot at making the second round of the tournament soon if they keep earning similar seeds.
47. North Dakota — 892 wins
North Dakota and South Dakota both have just two DI programs but North Dakota has more than double the amount of DI wins as its southern neighbor.
48. Maine — 816 wins
At Maine’s DI win percentage of roughly 44 percent, it’ll likely take between 12 and 14 seasons for the Black Bears to reach the 1,000-win mark.
49. Hawaii — 803 wins
Hawaii has 52 DI seasons in the books so there’s a chance that when you, your parents or your grandparents were born, the Rainbow Warriors weren’t yet a DI program.
50. South Dakota — 500 wins
South Dakota and South Dakota State have just a combined 26 years of DI experience, which isn’t a lot. The state doesn’t have enough programs or history to rank above any state except Alaska.
51. Alaska — 0 wins
There are no DI men’s basketball programs in Alaska.
Trivia answer: Loyola (Ill.) won the 1963 NCAA men’s basketball national championship. Here is the complete list of every champion.