Thanks to Rick Pitino, Louisville is one of the most consistent programs out there.  How did we get here?  Let’s take a look.

REWIND:  Louisville was floundering into irrelevance as the recruiting game passed Denny by. Louisville turned to Rick Pitino for a shot in the arm. He too learned the recruiting game was much different from when he left. In fact, Rick was almost one and done U when he got started. The only problem? Kids COULD go pro out of high school. Telfair, Amir Johnson, Donta Smith, and others committed only to disappear without a minute played. Hell, we lost the first kid ever to Europe (Jeremy Tyler), so Louisville lost a few top recruits. Strategy changed – go for the kids in the 25-50 range it seemed. Build the base, land a few 5 star kids when you can.

Here are some numbers to show how Louisville compares to top programs once Louisville “returned” to glory with Louisville’s first final four since 1986. Some things to explain first…

I give prestige scores to three buckets; Total Season, Conference League/Tourney Championships, and NCAA Performance.

  • Total season (worth 30%): Essentially wins and losses. Make a number, gross up by 1.30.
  • Conference League & Tourney Scores (30%); Gross league champ number up by 1.16 and league tourney champs by 1.14. League champs worth slightly more since more work to achieve.
  • NCAA Tourney (worth 40%): Worth more since College basketball has a “what have you done for me lately IN MARCH” culture. Each round worth slightly more as you advance, and take a small amount away if you don’t qualify for the tourney.

Most of the columns are self-explanatory, but here are a few that might not be;

  • RR: ranking the 10 programs 1-10 of who had the best recruiting classes.
  • AVG RR: The actually numerical average of the class for that time span. If a team didn’t show up in what was available to me in team rankings (some went to 25, some to 35) – I gave them a ranking of #35.  Might be generous but I kept it consistent for all programs, so I’ll get over it. I do include the actual recruiting rankings at the bottom. I used ITV because I had trouble finding a deep list of team rankings.
  • CCH: means conference champs
  • CTCH: Conference tourney champs.

PRESTIGE SCORING:  Each of the three buckets yield a prestige score.  Check the far right. Those added together make a total score (blue column). Those light blue highlights in prestige point out the TOP THREE performers in each bucket.  In one, there were 2 tied for 3rd, so I highlighted both for third place.

I then sort each time period by total score to rank programs in 2 time frames.

  • 2005-2015: Longer time frame to see how UL has done since its return to glory.
  • 2011-2015: checking in on most recent 5 years which recruits are watching the most of since they are kids and have a short program assessment window.


  • Funny how Louisville is tops in Conference and NCAA prestige, not in season prestige.  That tells us something about coaches methods…doesn’t it?
  • Kansas LIVES off of the Big12.  Their conference prestige is off the charts.  NCAA prestige…Buehler?
  • Kentucky has obviously made a big jump up since Calipari has arrived.
  • Check those recruiting class ranks.  You can see how teams finish above, at, or below expectations based on class rankings.
  • Draw your own conclusions.  This graph was drawn up to have some fun seeing how the top dog has been lately in College basketball.  Louisville ranks VERY well.

Satisfaction Guarantee:  If I made a slight mistake, I will return your blog subscription fees.

Below is the recruiting rankings chart I rolled up into the 2005-2015 and 2011-2015 charts.

RR 2005-2015

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Former D1 Player and Coach. Life long fan of the Cardinals. CR makes movies, takes photos, co-host of "The Crunch Zone" Podcast, and can be heard on ESPN680 Wednesday 7-8:30am. Follow on Twitter, Instagram, and Vine (CrumsRevenge).

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