Who Has the Most NCAA Basketball Championships?

Find out which teams claim the most titles in men's and women's college basketball from the very first NCAA tournament in 1939 to today.
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Chloe Appleby
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Chloe Appleby is an associate writer for BestColleges. She contributes to both the News and Data teams, writing both higher education news stories and data reports for the site. She graduated from Davidson College with a BA in English and communicati...
Updated on April 10, 2024
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Lyss Welding is a higher education analyst and senior editor for BestColleges who specializes in translating massive data sets and finding statistics that matter to students. Lyss has worked in academic research, curriculum design, and program evalua...
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Data Summary

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    UCLA men's basketball and UConn women's basketball have each taken home 11 championship trophies, securing their positions as top winners in college basketball history.Note Reference [1], Note Reference [2]
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    UConn has won 17 NCAA college basketball championships, combining wins from the school's men's and women's programs.
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    In the 2023-2024 tournament, UConn's men's team took home the trophy for the sixth time in school history, and the South Carolina Gamecocks won for the third time in women's basketball history.Note Reference [1], Note Reference [2]
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    Both teams also won the men's and women's March Madness titles in 2023, respectively.Note Reference [1], Note Reference [2]
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    The lowest seed to win in March Madness history was Villanova's men's basketball team in 1985, which won as an eight seed.Note Reference [2]

The Big Dance, better known as March Madness, is one of the largest and most anticipated tournaments in all of college sports.

Whether you're a diehard Tar Heel or Bruin, here's all you need to know about tournament winners throughout the history of college basketball postseason championships.

Most Men's NCAA Basketball Championships

  • UCLA has won the most championships in the history of men's college basketball, with 11 wins since 1939. The Bruins have won 13% of the championships.Note Reference [2]
  • UConn has won six championships since the start of the tournament.Note Reference [2]
  • Kentucky has established itself as a historic powerhouse with eight championships to its name, followed by North Carolina with six wins.Note Reference [2]
  • The "Blue Bloods," including North Carolina, Duke, Kansas, and Kentucky, have won just over 27% of all the championships since 1939.Note Reference [2]
  • 36 different universities account for 85 years of championships.Note Reference [2]

Other Universities That Have Won Since 1939

Two-Time College Basketball Champions

  • Cincinnati: 1961 & 1962
  • Florida: 2006 & 2007
  • Louisville: 1980 & 1986
  • NC State: 1974 & 1983
  • Oklahoma State: 1945 & 1946
  • Michigan State: 1979 & 2000
  • San Francisco: 1955 & 1956

One-Time College Basketball Champions

  • Arizona: 1997
  • Arkansas: 1994
  • Baylor: 2021
  • UC Berkeley: 1959
  • Georgetown: 1984
  • Holy Cross: 1947
  • La Salle: 1954
  • Loyola Chicago: 1963
  • Marquette: 1977
  • Maryland: 2002
  • Michigan: 1989
  • Ohio State: 1960
  • Oregon: 1939
  • Stanford: 1942
  • Syracuse: 2003
  • UNLV: 1990
  • Utah: 1944
  • UTEP: 1966
  • Virginia: 2019
  • Wisconsin: 1941
  • Wyoming: 1943
Source: NCAANote Reference [2]

Did You Know...

Back in 1938, the first postseason tournament took place at Madison Square Garden in New York City, where two local New York universities, two universities from the East, and two universities from the West competed for the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) title.Note Reference [3]

Sound familiar? Now the NIT is a separate, slightly less prestigious tournament that teams compete in each year if they do not make the NCAA tournament.

The NCAA Tournament officially began in 1939, where eight men's teams competed for the title. That year, the Oregon Ducks became the first NCAA championship winners.

Most Women's NCAA Basketball Championships

  • UConn and Tennessee, with 11 and eight titles respectively, account for just under half of championships won since 1982.Note Reference [1]
  • The South Carolina Gamecocks secured their third championship in the 2023-2024 March Madness tournament.Note Reference [1]
  • The Stanford, Baylor, and South Carolina women's basketball programs have each won three championships in the 41 years since the start of the tournament.Note Reference [1]

Other Universities That Have Won Since 1982

Two-Time College Basketball Champions

  • Louisiana Tech: 1982 & 1988
  • Notre Dame: 2001 & 2018
  • South Carolina: 2017 & 2022
  • USC: 1983 & 1984

One-Time College Basketball Champions

  • Maryland: 2006
  • North Carolina: 1994
  • Old Dominion: 1985
  • Purdue: 1999
  • Texas: 1986
  • Texas A&M: 2011
  • Texas Tech: 1993
  • LSU: 2023
Source: NCAANote Reference [1]

Did You Know...

The NCAA began using the slogan March Madness to describe the women's tournament in the final months of 2021.Note Reference [4] The women's tournament officially began 40 years ago in 1982, and, ever since, women's college basketball has skyrocketed in popularity.

In the current NIL landscape, women's basketball ranks third for highest-compensated college athletes, receiving 12.6% of total nationwide NIL money.Note Reference [5]

The Most NCAA Basketball Championships Overall

So, who can claim to be the winningest college overall?

  • The programs at UConn have won 17 titles in total, making it the overall title holder by an nine-championship margin.Note Reference [1], Note Reference [2]
  • North Carolina has a combined total of seven titles, six of which coming from the men's program..Note Reference [1], Note Reference [2]
  • Baylor and Stanford claim four championships each. Three of each of their four titles were taken home by the women's teams.
  • All three of South Carolina's wins were gained by the school's women's team.

Did You Know...

A high school referee first used the term March Madness back in 1939, but in 1982, the NCAA tournament adopted the phrase. Women's teams played in their first-ever basketball championship tournament that same year.Note Reference [6]

March Madness has a long and complicated history. The tournament has expanded from eight teams all the way to 68 since 1939, and there are plans of expanding it further.Note Reference [7]

Lowest Seed to Win March Madness

Villanova's men's basketball team, entering the tournament as an eight seed, was the lowest seed to win March Madness in 1985, 66-64 over Georgetown.Note Reference [2]


  1. DI Women's Basketball Championship History, The National Collegiate Athletic Association. Accessed April 2024. (back to footnote 1 in content ⤶)
  2. Men's Final Four Records Book, The National Collegiate Athletic Association. Accessed April 2024. (back to footnote 2 in content ⤶)
  3. How the NCAA Overtook Its Rival, The NIT, Sports History Weekly. March 24, 2019. (back to footnote 3 in content ⤶)
  4. Thames, Alanis. N.C.A.A. to Use 'March Madness' Slogan for Women's Basketball, Too, The New York Times. Sept. 29, 2021. (back to footnote 4 in content ⤶)
  5. Balasaygun, Kaitlin. In the college sports pay era, female athletes are emerging as big economic winners, CNBC. October 15, 2022. (back to footnote 5 in content ⤶)
  6. Wilco, Daniel. March Madness History- The Ultimate Guide, The National Collegiate Athletic Association. Jan. 4, 2022. (back to footnote 6 in content ⤶)
  7. Dobbertean, Chris. Reimagining College Basketball's Postseason, Blogging the Bracket. Jan. 20, 2023. (back to footnote 7 in content ⤶)