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Who is your Favorite NFL Team's Counterpart in NCAA Basketball?

On the eve of College Basketball's biggest night, I had a thought pop into my head...If the Colts were a basketball team, who would they be? I started racking my brain, thinking of highly successful teams, with historical significance, that made a habit of playing late into the season each year. Then it became perfectly clear to me: Michigan State. Truth be told, I thought of them before their run to the Final Four this year, but I think they fit quite nicely with the Colts. Here's why:

  • Sustained success over a 10+ year period, both with Future HOF coaches
  • MSU has now made the Final Four 6 of the past 12 seasons, but only won 1 title (I'm sure most of us around here hope that stays at 1). The Colts have made the Playoffs 9 of past 10 seasons, but only have 1 championship.
  • Have won a championship in the past (MSU in '79, Colts in Super Bowl V).

Pretty good parallels there, huh? I couldn't help myself though, so I decided to go through each NFL team, and match them up historically with a College Basketball program. You'll see I broke them up into 4 different categories, based on how close I think the comparison is. I'm open to all suggestions, so please don't hesitate to tell me how wrong you think I am.

Best of the Best:

NFL Team NCAA Team Reasoning
Baltimore UNLV Won a single title in a blowout
Many "questions" about the players on team
A little success as of late, but nothing noteworthy
Buffalo Houston Made title game multiple years in a row without winning
Had much more success 20+ years ago
Never won a title despite multiple HOF players
Green Bay UCLA Two of most storied franchises in their league
Won multiple championships 40+ years ago, as well as a recent title in the '90s
Play in iconic venues
Houston Northwestern Only NFL team to never make the Playoffs
Only major NCAA program to never make NCAA Tournament
This was the easiest one to figure out
Indianapolis Michigan St Sustained Success over last 10+ years
Multiple Final Fours, compared with multiple playoff runs
Both Won Championship in 30+ years ago
Miami Indiana Last team in respective leagues to go Undefeated for a season
Had most success from '70s - '90s
Loyal fan bases waiting patiently for another title
NY Jets NC State One Championship each, both in huge upsets
Been a long time since last title, without many close calls
Overshadowed by other teams in their area
New England Duke Multiple Titles, including back-to-back
Not much success before HOF coaches came along
You either love them or hate them
Pittsburgh North Carolina Multiple Recent titles, as well as multiple historic titles
Franchises both at top of respective leagues
Seem to have "hiccup" years after winning titles
San Francisco Kentucky Multiple titles, most of them last generation
Recently have fallen on tough times (UK '09-10 excluded)
Two of most storied franchises in respective leagues

Pretty Good:

NFL Team NCAA Team Reasoning
Chicago Marquette Won a single title 25+ years ago
Very loyal fan bases
One year of recent success, but not much else
Denver Syracuse Lots of failures before finally winning a title
Very few losing seasons
Wearing of the Orange
Jacksonville Purdue High Expectations with few successful results
Play 2nd fiddle in their state
Always seem to play better with little expected of them
Kansas City Notre Dame Often overlooked historically, even though they are successful
Playoff/Tournament appearances lately, but no success
Fans anxiously waiting to breakthrough
Minnesota Illinois Most SB/Final 4 Appearances without winning title
Have a great year, followed by multiple mediocre years
NY Giants Arizona Year after year success with few bad years
Won a title recently unexpectedly, then lost when favored
Philadelphia Villanova Always in the hunt, can't win a title
Play in historically tough division/conference
In the same city
San Diego Gonzaga Came out of nowhere to become successful
Talked about every year as their "breakthrough" year, then fall on their face
St. Louis Arkansas Not much success before mid-late '90s
Got real good, real fast, winning a title, as well as losing a title game
Fell right back to earth afterwards
Washington Louisville Multiple titles in the '80s
Extremely large fan bases, who are very vocal

Not Awful:

NFL Team NCAA Team Reasoning
Arizona Indiana St. Not much success at all
One magical year to title game before losing
Atlanta Georgia Single SB/Final Four Appearance without title
Both overshadowed by Georgia Football
Cleveland San Francisco Most success came in the '50s
Nothing to cheer about for 40+ years
Dallas Kansas Multiple Championships, although different eras
Large fan bases across the country
Storied franchises in their league
Detroit LaSalle Winning titles in '50s
Being non-existent since then
Seattle Seton Hall Little success other than 1 title game appearance
SHU's lone title appearance was in Seattle
Tennessee Georgia Tech Always hovering around playoffs/tournament
One title game appearance
Tough to breakthrough in conference/division due to dominating team

Had No Idea:

NFL Team NCAA Team Reasoning
Carolina Memphis Recent Title game appearance, although Carolina's wasn't stripped
Home to really good BBQ
Cincinnati St. John's Most success in early '80s, but no title
Rarely put in a good position to win consistently
New Orleans Florida No success until very recently
Won a title after coming close a few years before
Oakland Georgetown Really good in the '80s
Not well liked by opponents, especially in the '80s
Tampa Bay Florida No success until very recently
Won a title in this decade
Yes, I know I repeated Florida. Sue me.