March Madness: Top College Rivalries

Rivalry

March Madness is right around the corner. With it comes Selection Sunday, bracket contests, Cinderella upsets, and the Final Four. But it doesn’t always produce the best rivalry matchups, and that got us thinking:  what are some of the best rivalries in college basketball? Here are our favorite’s from around the office, but add your own rivalries below in the comments! And even if you are not a Division 1 Superstar, you can still check out these sports scholarships for non-athletes.

Duke vs. North Carolina
This is probably the most iconic rivalry in college basketball. Duke or UNC has won the ACC title in 13 of the past 15 years. Both programs have rich histories with legendary coaches. But what makes their rivalry so intense is the fact that the schools are only about 11 miles apart. Series total:  UNC 132, Duke 103.

Kentucky vs. Louisville
This is a great in-state rivalry between teams that typically only meet once or twice a year. That Rick Pitino used to coach Kentucky makes it even better. Losing Nerlens Noel seriously hurt Kentucky’s chances of making the NCAA tournament, so another Final Four matchup between these teams is unlikely. Series total:  Kentucky 30, Louisville 15.

Cincinnati vs. Xavier
Called the Crosstown Classic, this rivalry features two schools about 10 minutes apart in the same city.  In 2010, things got pretty ugly when tempers flared and players brawled near the end of the second half. Now they play the game on a neutral site. Series total: Cincinnati 46, Xavier 26.

Kansas vs. Missouri
Known as The Border War, this celebrated rivalry actually traced its origins to the Civil War. Even though the hatred continues, the two teams probably won’t meet again in the near future. Missouri left the Big 12 for the SEC in 2011. Series total: Kansas, 172, Missouri 95.

Indiana vs. Purdue
This rivalry isn’t quite as intense as it used to be, but tensions still run high between these schools. Indiana’s recent victory was the second against Purdue this year, though it still trails overall. Series total:  Purdue 112, Indiana 88.

Syracuse vs. Georgetown
The history of this rivalry includes some memorable moments, but one really started the whole thing. In 1980, the two teams met for the final game at Syracuse’s Manley Field House. Syracuse was ranked #2 and had a 57-game home court winning streak going, but Georgetown stunned them with a 52-50 upset. When the game ended, Georgetown coach John Thompson grabbed a microphone and announced, ““Manley Field House is officially closed.” And so it began. Series total: Syracuse 48, Georgetown 39.

Michigan, Michigan State, Wisconsin, & Ohio State
These teams make for a great combination of rivalries in the Big 10. Ohio State vs. Michigan State is especially intense, since those two teams have dominated the conference in reason years. But with all four programs in the top-20 and two in the top-10 this year, the Big 10 Championship should be exciting to watch.

Gonzaga vs. St. Mary’s
This rivalry is just starting to heat up. Gonzaga used to dominate the West Coast Conference, but in recent years St. Mary’s has become a genuine threat. Since 2009, they’ve each won the WCC title twice. St. Mary’s has lost both meetings this year, though.