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50 in 50 rankings: No. 3 Kentucky

8/24/2012

Editor's note: Using a point system devised by the ESPN Stats & Information department, ESPN.com is counting down the 50 most successful programs of the past 50 years. A running list of the top 50 can be found here. For an explanation of the scoring system, read our intro. If you disagree with the order -- and we're sure you do -- re-arrange our Top 25 here. Oh, and if your team didn't crack the top 50, click here to see where they rank among their peers.

3. Kentucky (841 points)

Positives: Winners of four national titles during the years of our study, the Wildcats have been a top-six team in every decade of our scoring system. In the John Calipari era, the Cats are the top-ranked program with 103 points in the past three seasons. In the past 20 seasons, Kentucky has the second-most points (428), trailing only Duke (441).

Negatives: Lost 17 points because of NCAA sanctions in 1988-89 and 1975-76. Didn’t reach the Final Four in a 12-season stretch between 1999 and 2010. And just one Final Four from 1979-1992.

Fun fact: Kentucky has 26 conference titles, the most of any team over the past 50 years.

Rank by the decade

1962-69: 97 (4th)

1970-79: 180 (2nd)

1980-89: 134 (6th)

1990-99: 215 (2nd)

2000-present: 214 (4th)

50 in 50 starting five (1962-present)

G – Kyle Macy (1977-80)

F – Jamal Mashburn (1990-93)

F – Jack Givens (1974-78)

F – Anthony Davis (2011-12)

C – Dan Issel (1967-70)

Top options off the bench

Kenny Walker (1982-86)

Tony Delk (1992-96)

Cotton Nash (1961-64)

50 in 50 coach: Adolph Rupp (1930-72)

Best teams (1962-present)

1977-78 (30-2, NCAA national champions)

1995-96 (34-2, NCAA national champions)

2011-12 (38-2, NCAA national champions)

--Ryan Feldman and Brett Edgerton contributed to this post.