The best 64 teams in NCAA tournament history

March Madness as we now know it didn’t begin until 1985, when the NCAA tournament was expanded to 64 teams. With the new, symmetrical bracket, tournament pools became a springtime staple at the workplace, interest in the three-week event grew and college basketball completed a slow shift from a regional sport into a national power, one that began in 1979 with the championship game between Magic Johnson and Larry Bird.

Sixty-four teams created the most level-playing field the tournament had ever seen, removing byes and regional cakewalks and making the first four days of the eventĀ  the most unpredictable, action-packed of the sports year.

Which teams have thrived most since March turned mad? We ranked the top 64 of the 64-team era to find out. (All stats since 1985 unless otherwise mentioned.)

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The Big Lead