Heading into the 2016-17 college basketball season, there are nine teams trying to extend an NCAA Tournament streak of six appearances or more. You can split them into two tiers: Those with six consecutive NCAA Tournament berths, and those that have made it in for almost two decades or even more.
Arizona Wildcats: 6
Arizona, a national champion in 1997 and four-time Final Four participant (last in 2001), have made every tournament since 2011, all under Sean Miller, who is entering his 8th season with the Wildcats. They’ve been to the Elite Eight 3 times since he took over the head coach position, but never past that.
Cincinnati Bearcats: 6
The Bearcats have been coached by Mick Cronin for the last decade, which included four rough years in the Big East before taking a step in the right direction. During their six-tournament streak, the furthest they got was the Sweet Sixteen in 2012.
North Carolina Tar Heels: 6
The Tar Heels are entering year number 14 under Roy Williams, a two-time national champion with UNC and a runner-up last season. The only time North Carolina didn’t make the NCAA tournament since Williams arrived was in 2010, a year after their 2009 championship.
VCU Rams: 6
The Rams switched coaches after Shaka Smart left to Texas. Will Wade, previously at Chattanooga, took them to their sixth consecutive NCAA Tournament in his first year at the job. They lost in the second round to Oklahoma.
Gonzaga Bulldogs: 18
The rulers of the WCC, Mark Few has coached Gonzaga on 18 of their 19 NCAA Tournament appearances, making it every year since taking the job in 1999. That includes 7 Sweet Sixteen appearances, but never getting past that stage. They made it that far in 2015 and 2016.
Wisconsin Badgers: 18
Wisconsin replaced Bo Ryan with Greg Gard, and after some initial hiccups, it was if nothing has changed. Not that surprising considering he was an associate head coach since 2008. During the streak Wisconsin have made the Final Four three times, finishing as runners-up in 2015, losing to Duke. They made the Sweet Sixteen last season.
Michigan State Spartans – 19
Tom Izzo is entering his 22nd season as the head coach of Michigan State. After the first two seasons, both with an NIT postseason, Michigan State began a run of 19 consecutive years of dancing, which include 7 Final Four appearances and one national championship in 2000, the second in school history.
Duke Blue Devils: 21
Let’s put it this way: Since 1984, Duke have made every NCAA tournament except for the 1995 tournament, which ruined a streak that would have put Duke at the top of this list. Since their current streak began in 1996, Duke have won the NCAA Tournament 3 times (tied with Kentucky during that timespan) and made the Final Four two more times. Mike Krzyzewski, the man who is Duke basketball, is starting his 37th season.
Kansas Jayhawks: 27 NCAA Tournaments
It’s hard to say what’s more impressive, Kansas’ NCAA Tournament streak or their 12 consecutive Big 12 regular season titles under Bill Self. During their current tournament streak they’ve won the national title once (2008) and made the Final Four six times overall, the last in 2012.