How the Algorithm Works

The definitive, mathematical verdict of ranking the bluest of the blue bloods


Every College Basketball fan has heard the question asked countless times: Which program is truly the greatest of all time? Now, at blueranks.com, we’ve set out to answer this question once and for all, taking the opinions of fans just like you to get, with the help of a little bit of math, a scientific and objective answer to this age-old question.

The approach is actually quite simple. Teams receive points every year they make to the NCAA Tournament, earning more points the further they advance in the tournament. It’s up to you how many points to give the teams -- if the team that wins the National Championship gets 100 points, how many points should the Runner Up get? The Semifinalists? What about the teams that only made it to the Second Round?

On top of this, we use a “Nostalgia Factor”. This number -- a decimal between 0 and 1 -- is our way of comparing old tournament success to more recent success. The greater the Nostalgia Factor, the more older tournament success counts in the rankings. For example, a Nostalgia Factor of 0.9 means that if Virginia gets 100 points for the 2019 Championship, Villanova gets 90 points for the 2018 Championship, North Carolina gets 81 points for the 2017 Championship (100 × 0.9 2, since this was 2 seasons ago), and so on.

Based on 6 point-values for each round and a Nostalgia Factor, each school receives a total score by adding up the points they earned in each year, with the school holding the highest total score taking the crown as the best program of all time.


To recap...

The algorithm has three goals:

-- help each fan objectively and mathematically capture his/her personal feelings towards various March Madness accomplishments,

-- rank all college programs' overall historical success based on each fan's personal feelings,

-- rank all college programs' overall historical success based on the collective opinions from all fans (and construct the most authoritative ranking of all NCAA basketball programs).


The algorithm takes two sets of inputs from each fan:

-- his/her feeling on the different level of March Madness accomplishment relative to a National Championship,

-- his/her feeling on the relative importance of past accomplishments relative to those of today.


To see for yourself, create your own rankings using our algorithm. Also, be sure to check out the community rankings , which compiles the inputs of every fan who's visited our page in order to arrive at a single set of rankings.