Did Michigan, Michigan State Land Among Top College Basketball Blue Bloods?

Did Michigan, Michigan State Land Among Top College Basketball Blue Bloods?
By Christopher Boan
Fact Checked by Michael Peters

Few states have been at the forefront of March Madness excellence quite like Michigan since the tournament expanded to 68 teams in 2011.

Between the Michigan Wolverines and Michigan State Spartans, the Great Lakes State has seen four Final Four appearances (two for each program) and two national runner-up finishes for the Wolverines.

Michigan has posted eight 20-win seasons since 2011, under coaches John Beilein and Juwan Howard, while the Spartans have been led by the steady hand of Tom Izzo.

It has been quite a stretch for the Spartans, with nine consecutive 20-win seasons between 2011 and 2020, along with Final Four appearances in 2015 and 2019.

The two Big Ten powers failed to bring home a national title during that stretch, , however, negatively impacting the programs’ stance nationally.

For the year ahead, Michigan sportsbooks see both schools in the middle of the pack when it comes to championship odds.

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College Basketball Betting Odds for Spartans, Wolverines in 2022-23

BetMGM Sportsbook MI gives the Wolverines +3500 odds of capturing the program’s first title since 1989, while the Spartans come in at +5000 to win it all.

For all their recent success, the two Michigan programs were not among six college basketball programs with enough success to be dubbed a "blue blood” program by our measurement.

Using 2012 as a starting point, GreatLakesStakes.com looked at various categories of college basketball success to determine a threshold a program must reach to be considered for "blue blood" status.

Points were awarded to each program in the following areas: Championship wins (10 per win), championship appearances (5 per appearance), Final Four appearances (4 per appearance), NCAA Tournament appearances (1 per appearance) and Top 25 recruiting classes (1 for each).

A program needed 35 points over the span of 2012 to 2022 to be considered a college basketball blue blood.

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College Basketball’s Current Breed of Elite

The Blue Bloods

🏀 North Carolina57
🏀 Villanova55
🏀 Kansas53
🏀 Kentucky51
🏀 Duke42
🏀 Louisville36

The Comfortably Upper Class

🏀 Michigan32
🏀 Gonzaga32
🏀 Virginia31
🏀 Baylor30
🏀 UConn28
🏀 Michigan State24
🏀 Wisconsin22
🏀 Syracuse19

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Why Michigan, Michigan State Didn’t Make the Cut

Both the Wolverines (32 points) and Spartans (24 points) came close to reaching the benchmark set for “blue blood” programs, but ultimately missed out due to their lack of title game success.

In the case of Michigan, the program’s relative lack of recruiting success, with five top-25 classes (as determined by 247 Sports rankings) between 2011 and 2022 kept it from reaching elite status.

For the Spartans, the lack of points from qualifying for a national title game (or winning a title), combined with the school scoring six out of 11 points for recruiting, resulted in them finishing among the next classification below “blue blood” in our rankings.

Though neither program is a current “blue blood,” there’s no denying the Spartans and Wolverines are among the most consistent programs in the country, scoring the same number of points for Final Fours as schools like Duke, Louisville, Syracuse, Gonzaga and Wisconsin.

Both programs will look to build on that history when they tip off their seasons against Purdue Fort Wayne (Michigan) and Northern Arizona (Michigan State) on Nov. 7.



Christopher Boan has covered sports and sports betting for more than seven years and has worked for publications such as ArizonaSports.com, the Tucson Weekly and the Green Valley News.

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