Top 10 College Basketball Teams that Have Declined the Most as of 2024

College basketball is unlike any other sport. The landscape of college basketball is constantly changing, and in the era of NIL, that's no different. Some teams will rise, and others will fall.

College basketball is remembered for the iconic moments in March. These are the teams that were once considered tournament threats and would make a deep run, but now they have fallen hard.

Perhaps one day they can return to their former glory days, but for now, they are stuck in the dark.
The Top Ten
1 Louisville Cardinals

I don't know if I've ever seen a program crash and burn like Louisville has. The early 2010s were peak Louisville basketball. They even won a National Championship in 2013. However, they were forced to vacate 123 wins, including the National Championship, due to a sex scandal involving a program assistant paying for strippers for the players and prospects over a span from 2010 to 2014. The university self-imposed a postseason ban in 2015-16 during the pending investigation. Rick Pitino was eventually charged with a Level 1 violation for failing to ensure recruiting activities were compliant with NCAA rules. He was fired in 2017 prior to the start of the season.

They would hire Chris Mack, who was solid at Xavier, but he was largely considered meh by the fanbase and was fired in 2022 after yet another NCAA investigation. He was supposed to clean the slate for the program, and ultimately the messy ending made it worse. Their current coach has been a disaster. Kenny Payne was supposed to be the solution and bring the team back to respectability. He had it all: history with the program as a former player and a top recruiter for Kentucky during their run of dominance. Yet, he was 4-28 last year with just a 2-18 mark in the ACC. Losses included an exhibition to Division II Lenoir-Rhyne and losses to Bellarmine, Wright State, Appalachian State, and Lipscomb. Calling it abysmal would be an understatement.

A bad coaching hire has brought this team to literally rock bottom. Any player who has talent is transferring out. The situation is so dire it's hard to even fathom how you could possibly come back from it. Surely, Louisville expected growing pains, but I don't think they expected it to be this bad.

2 Indiana Hoosiers Hailing from Muncie, Indiana, the Ball State Cardinals are the athletic teams of Ball State University. They compete in the Mid-American Conference (MAC) and offer a variety of sports, including men's basketball and women's volleyball. The team's colors are cardinal and white, and their mascot is named... read more

Indiana used to have one of the most talented and prestigious programs in college basketball history. The Bob Knight era was the golden age of Indiana Basketball. Bob Knight was a respected coach, even if he was a hothead and had a short fuse. Things got ugly when Knight was involved in a physical altercation with an IU student allegedly, and he was basically forced to resign after the 1999-2000 season.

Mike Davis was pretty forgettable despite a surprise run to the National Championship in 2002, where they fell to Maryland. Then, they hired Kelvin Sampson, who committed an NCAA violation involving the recruiting of Eric Gordon, so Sampson was out. Tom Crean slowly tried to rebuild the program. His first year was a 6-25 season, but to be fair, the program was put on probation for their previous scandal, which set them back years. He was eventually able to get Indiana back on the map, but could never go far in March.

Archie Miller was supposed to resurrect the team, and he focused on in-state recruiting, yet failed to make any noise in the tournament and was fired after the 2021 season. Their current coach is Mike Woodson, who has been relatively okay but has been carried by talent and hasn't been great at recruiting, so fans are starting to lose patience. He seems more worried about recruiting rankings than recruiting to win games. And underutilizing NIL money is causing the fanbase to become restless and demand a coaching change.

3 Georgetown Hoyas

Georgetown used to be a competitive team in the Big East. But things have gone downhill quickly, and I can't even come up with any other reason why other than bad coaching hires. John Thompson III led the team for a long time, including a Final 4 Run in 2006-07. They were on the wrong side of history in 2013 as Florida Gulf Coast beat #2 seeded Georgetown in the First Round, in just their second season of tournament eligibility. It was this moment that ultimately broke Georgetown's basketball program, and it's clear they still haven't recovered since.

John Thompson III was respectable in his own right, but by the end, he had stayed there too long, past his expiration date. Immediately after that, they would hire Patrick Ewing, who was a disaster of a hire. They wanted to rejuvenate fan interest with their most well-known alumni, and it didn't work. It's an elusive trap to fall into. Hiring former players to coach rarely works out. Patrick Ewing was just clueless.

Sure, he won a Big East Tournament title, which was very fluky and probably the worst thing that could've happened for them because he earned an extension because of it when everybody else saw the writing on the wall. The next two years were the equivalent of rock bottom. In 2021-22, they were 6-25 and 0-19 in Big East play. 2022-23 wasn't any better, with a 7-25 record and 2-18 in conference play. He was finally fired, but the damage was already done.

Ed Cooley is respectable enough, but it's going to be more than a one-year turnaround.

4 Michigan Wolverines The Michigan Wolverines comprise 27 varsity sports teams at the University of Michigan. These teams compete in the NCAA's Division I and in the Big Ten Conference in all sports except women's water polo, which competes in the NCAA inter-divisional Collegiate Water Polo Association.

Remember when Michigan used to be a respectable name in college basketball? John Beilein led the program for most of the 2010s, and the Wolverines experienced moderate success in the tournament. Since hiring Juwan Howard, though, the Wolverines have failed to live up to expectations. What has his legacy been so far? Punching a Wisconsin assistant coach in a postgame handshake line? Or losing to a Cinderella UCLA team when you were one of the top teams in the country?

The Wolverines have fallen from relevance in 2023, being just 3-13 in the Big 10 and 8-19 overall. It's been a disastrous season in Ann Arbor. Hunter Dickinson is an excellent player, and he walked away from this team in the offseason to join Kansas. He was the top name in the transfer portal, and wouldn't you know it, he's an All-American at Kansas and in contention for the Naismith Player of the Year Award. You can tell just how much they miss Hunter Dickinson now.

Considering Juwan Howard already has one incident of punching an opposing team's assistant coach, he has to be on thin ice. I'm willing to bet the fanbase will soon be begging for John Beilein to come back, if they aren't already. At least you have football.

5 West Virginia Mountaineers The West Virginia Mountaineers are the athletic teams that represent the West Virginia University in Morgantown, West Virginia. The Mountaineers have been part of the Big 12 conference since 2012.

West Virginia has always been a scrappy team. No matter what the circumstances, whether they were good or bad, this team was a real chore to win against. A few years ago, they were notorious for their defense and ability to press, which earned them the nickname "Press Virginia." Beating those teams in Morgantown was always a tall task. A lot of their success can be credited to their longtime coach, Bob Huggins, who was one of the best coaches in the college landscape and was recently inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, justifiably so.

Unfortunately, Bob Huggins got into some trouble. He used a homophobic slur and anti-Catholic sentiment when talking about Xavier fans (Huggins previously coached at Cincinnati, which was a longtime rival of Xavier) on the Bill Cunningham show, which caused massive uproar. The worst came later when he was arrested for drunk driving with a BAC over twice the legal limit. He resigned from WVU, although he claimed he didn't, to try and get his old job back. This unfortunately caused a lot of players to leave WVU and enter the transfer portal.

A 9-17 record and a 4-9 mark in the conference is a damning testament to just how far this team has fallen. It's honestly quite sad how a legendary coach went out like that. Things may be dire for now, but I imagine in a few years' time, West Virginia will return to respectability in the Big 12 again.

6 Oklahoma St. Cowboys Hailing from Oklahoma State University–Stillwater, the Cowboys compete in the NCAA Division I and are members of the Big 12 Conference. The school has earned numerous wrestling championships and has a well-regarded football program. The colors are orange and black.

The downfall of Oklahoma State Basketball is a phenomenon that should be studied. I remember a time when the unique Gallagher Iba Arena was rocking. At its best, it's one of the top environments in the Big 12 landscape, and it was notoriously difficult to win there. When Marcus Smart played for OSU, they were an absolute thorn in the side for anyone, including Kansas. The last time they were really good was about 20 years ago when they made a Final 4 run. Since then, however, they've merely been average to above average. Cade Cunningham was able to lead a solid OSU team to a 4 seed in the tournament until they lost to Oregon State. Then, right after that, the program faced one of the biggest setbacks when the NCAA declared OSU ineligible for the postseason. They got away with being eligible for the 2021 postseason due to an appeal but were unsuccessful in avoiding a penalty entirely.

Lamont Evans, an assistant coach at OSU, was arrested in connection with that FBI investigation in college basketball a few years ago. The NCAA punished OSU over a former senior on the team receiving $300, which was deemed as an "improper benefit." This was all right before the NIL era started, too, so this was a big no-no in the eyes of the NCAA. In the aftermath of that scandal, OSU has been forced to reduce scholarships and limit official visits, phone calls, etc., involving recruiting. That has played a part in their downfall, and with how abysmal they look now, I imagine Boynton will be on the hot seat for the 2024 season.

7 Villanova Wildcats

Villanova was once a powerhouse. They won two National Championships in a span of three seasons under Jay Wright. The 2016 run was one of the most dominant runs according to analytics, where they beat several powerhouse opponents including Kansas, Oklahoma, Miami, and North Carolina. The 2018 run was arguably just as impressive. They had a bunch of NBA talent throughout their rosters in both years, including Josh Hart, Donte DiVincenzo, Jalen Brunson, Saddiq Bey, Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, and Collin Gillespie.

Following the 2022 season, Jay Wright announced his retirement, and Kyle Neptune was named the new head coach. So far, his tenure has been very mediocre. The Wildcats went from a Final Four team in 2022 to just 17-17 in 2023. They did land some talented players in the transfer portal for the 2023-24 season, yet so far, they haven't been the same vintage team they once were. As of now, they're still hovering around .500, well behind teams like UConn, Marquette, and Creighton.

8 Wichita State Shockers The Wichita State Shockers are the athletic teams that represent Wichita State University. They compete in the NCAA Division I as members of the American Athletic Conference.

Remember the name Wichita State? They were a bit of a powerhouse in the early 2010s. They made a Final Four run and had an undefeated season the following year. During Gregg Marshall's tenure, the Shockers were a formidable force to be reckoned with. This was a team you wanted no part of if you were unfortunate enough to encounter them in your bracket. He had a "Play Angry" mentality that his teams embraced, and at their best, they were a tough out in March. At Charles Koch Arena, where they call home, the Shockers were also a tough team to beat.

However, he resigned in November 2020 following allegations of physical and verbal abuse against former players that came to light. Interim coach Isaac Brown would lead the team to the NCAA tournament, where they would lose in the first four play-in games. Since then, the Shockers haven't made the tournament. After two seasons of disappointing results, he was fired. They have hired Paul Mills to replace him. Mills had led Oral Roberts to tournament success in the past few seasons. While he has tournament success in his past, he will have to recruit more talent to help take WSU back to its golden age.

9 Missouri Tigers The Missouri Tigers athletics programs include the extramural and intramural sports teams of the University of Missouri, located in Columbia, Missouri, United States.

I remember a time when Missouri basketball was good. The Border War rivalry with Kansas used to be exciting. Growing up, I hated Mizzou. But when these two teams played, it was normally must-watch television. The Tigers were a solid bunch under Norm Stewart and Quin Snyder. The 2008-09 and 2011-12 teams were peak Missouri basketball. The final Border War game against Kansas was incredible. That Tigers team was destined to be a tough out in March. Unfortunately for the Tigers, they were on the wrong side of history as a #15 seed Norfolk State knocked them out in the round of 64. Since then, they've been pretty mediocre. They might be competitive every now and then, but overall, they are nowhere close to the level they were during their heyday. They have failed to do much of anything in the SEC, and the Border War, which was once one of the top rivalries in college sports, has unfortunately been pretty dormant. The few times these teams have played since 2012 have been pretty big Kansas wins for the most part.

The current Missouri team has been terrible, with an 8-18 mark through late February and 0-13 in SEC play. When you're worse than Vanderbilt, you have huge issues. Dennis Gates is basically Cuonzo Martin all over again, except worse. Try the Kim Anderson era. The Tigers have regressed in virtually every aspect, and Dennis Gates has to be on the hot seat if he can't rebuild this team back to respectability again. As a Kansas fan, seeing this program in shambles brings a smile to my face. Few things make me happier than seeing Missouri basketball at rock bottom.

10 UCLA Bruins
The Contenders
11 USC Trojans Officially known as the USC Trojans, this collegiate athletic program represents the University of Southern California. Based in Los Angeles, the program has garnered numerous national championships across multiple sports, including football and basketball. The team colors are cardinal and gold.
12 Oklahoma Sooners

Oklahoma used to be good at basketball. The late '90s and early 2000s were some pretty good years for them when Kelvin Sampson was their coach. Even the Lon Kruger days were still good. Remember Buddy Hield and that year they made the Final Four? That was an awesome year for them until they got the doors blown off by Villanova. Since that year, they've just been okay, mainly carried to relevance by Trae Young.

The Sooners now are just a middle-of-the-pack team and nowhere near the same as their glory years nearly 20 years ago. Porter Moser is their current coach, who led Loyola Chicago to a couple of NCAA tournament runs, including a Final Four. However, he has so far failed to meet those standards at Oklahoma.

Part of the problem is going from coaching in a conference like the Missouri Valley to a gauntlet like the Big 12 is a massive challenge to overcome. There are far fewer pushovers in the Big 12 than there are in the Missouri Valley conference. At this point, he should be starting to adjust to the Power 5. If he can't get this team to the playoffs again, it might be time to shorten his leash.

13 Notre Dame Fighting Irish The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are the athletic teams that represent the University of Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish participate in 23 National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I intercollegiate sports and in the NCAA's Division I in all sports, with many teams competing in the Atlantic Coast... read more
14 Temple Owls The Temple Owls football team represents Temple University in the sport of college football. The Temple Owls compete in the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision as a member of the American Athletic Conference.
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