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2021 Top Men's D1 Basketball Schools

324 Colleges
$44,170 Avg Tuition & Fees*
66% Avg 4-Year Grad Rate*

Men's Division I Basketball BadgeWith all of the options student athletes have for higher education today, it can be tough to choose which direction to take. College Factual was founded, in part, to help students make the decision as to what would be the best school for them. Our Best Colleges for Division I Men's Basketball ranking is part of that endeavor.

Our analysis looked at 324 schools in the United States to determine which ones were the best for D1 Men's Basketball athletes. To come up with this ranking, we look at a number of factors that are all objective measurements. These factors include the school's overall quality as determined by our Best Colleges ranking and the athletic competitiveness of the school. Thus, in order to rank well, the school must offer a quality education in addition to having a great sports team.

Get more details on our ranking methodology.

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We've developed a number of other tools and rankings to help you make your college decision. Start by filtering this list by location and then explore our other rankings that feature schools great for different groups of students such as online students or returnings adults.

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Top Colleges in the U.S. for D1 Men's Basketball athletes

See which schools came out on top of our ranking:

#1

Duke University

Durham, North Carolina

Our 2021 rankings named Duke University the best school for D1 Men’s Basketball athletes working on their bachelor’s degree. Duke is located in Durham, North Carolina and, has a fairly large student population. In 2018-2019, this school awarded 2,303 bachelor’s degrees to qualified undergraduates.

The D1 Men’s Basketball team at Duke made $35,489,891 in revenue, while incurring $22,178,473 in expenses. Happily, this means that the team turned a profit of $13,311,418. The academic progress rate of the team is 958.

Students who start out at the school are likely to stick around. The freshman retention rate is 97%. Duke did well in our overall quality rankings, too. It placed #2 on our overall quality list.

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#2

Northwestern University

Evanston, Illinois

You’ll be in good company if you decide to attend Northwestern University. It ranked #2 on our 2021 Best Colleges for D1 Men’s Basketball athletes list. Northwestern is a large private not-for-profit school situated in Evanston, Illinois. It awarded 2,770 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The team at Northwestern took home $12,669,660 in revenue and paid out $10,646,711 in expenses in recent times. Happily, this means that the team turned a profit of $2,022,949. The team had a perfect academic progress rate of 1000.

The impressive student-to-faculty ratio of 6 to 1 means that students may have more opportunities to work more closely with their professors than they would at other schools. In addition to its great ranking here, Northwestern is in the top 1% of all schools on our overall quality list.

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#3

University of Kentucky

Lexington, Kentucky
Top 25% in Quality in the United States

A rank of #3 on our list means University of Kentucky is a great place for D1 Men’s Basketball athletes working on their bachelor’s degree. UK is located in Lexington, Kentucky and, has a large student population. In 2018-2019, this school awarded 5,535 bachelor’s degrees to qualified undergraduates.

The D1 Men’s Basketball team at UK made $38,829,651 in revenue, while incurring $20,202,558 in expenses. That boils down to a yearly profit of $18,627,093 for the sports team. The team members aren’t slouches in the classroom either, since the team academic progress rate is an excellent 994.

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#4

University of Kansas

Lawrence, Kansas
Top 15% in Quality in the United States

You’ll be in good company if you decide to attend University of Kansas. It ranked #4 on our 2021 Best Colleges for D1 Men’s Basketball athletes list. KU is located in Lawrence, Kansas and, has a large student population. In 2018-2019, this school awarded 4,536 bachelor’s degrees to qualified undergraduates.

The D1 Men’s Basketball team at KU made $18,974,009 in revenue, while incurring $12,547,439 in expenses. So, the team made money for the school, bringing in $6,426,570 in profit. The great academic progress rate of 984 shows that team members perform well in the classroom, too.

KU also claimed a spot on our overall quality list. It’s in the top 15% of all schools in this category.

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#5

University of Louisville

Louisville, Kentucky
Top 25% in Quality in the United States

You’ll be in good company if you decide to attend University of Louisville. It ranked #5 on our 2021 Best Colleges for D1 Men’s Basketball athletes list. UofL is located in Louisville, Kentucky and, has a large student population. In 2018-2019, this school awarded 3,155 bachelor’s degrees to qualified undergraduates.

UofL brought in $42,759,248 while tallying up $19,180,078 in expenses for its D1 Men’s Basketball team. Thus, the team actually made $23,579,170, which isn’t bad at all. The great academic progress rate of 994 shows that team members perform well in the classroom, too.

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#6

Villanova University

Villanova, Pennsylvania
Top 5% in Quality in the United States

Villanova University landed the #6 spot on the 2021 Best Colleges for Division I Men’s Basketball ranking. Located in Villanova, Pennsylvania, the fairly large private not-for-profit school awarded 2,240 diplomas to qualified bachelor’s degree students in 2018-2019.

The D1 Men’s Basketball team at Villanova brought home $14,428,932 in revenue in a single year. With a perfect academic progress rate of 1000, the team is showing that they know how to hit the books, too.

The school has an excellent freshman retention rate of 95%, which means students like the school well enough to return for a second year. As a testament to the quality of education it offers, Villanova also is in the top 5% of our overall quality ranking.

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#7

Vanderbilt University

Nashville, Tennessee

Vanderbilt University did quite well in the 2021 Best Colleges for Division I Men’s Basketball ranking, coming in at #7. Nashville, Tennessee is the setting for this fairly large institution of higher learning. The private not-for-profit school handed out bachelor’s degrees to 2,280 students in 2018-2019.

The team at Vanderbilt took home $10,876,435 in revenue and paid out $9,901,818 in expenses in recent times. Happily, this means that the team turned a profit of $974,617. The great academic progress rate of 989 shows that team members perform well in the classroom, too.

The student-to-faculty ratio of 7 to 1 is a sign that students will have more opportunities to engage with their professors one-on-one. In addition to its great ranking here, Vanderbilt is in the top 5% of all schools on our overall quality list.

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Top 10% in Quality in the United States

Southern Methodist University did quite well in the 2021 Best Colleges for Division I Men’s Basketball ranking, coming in at #8. SMU is located in Dallas, Texas and, has a fairly large student population. In 2018-2019, this school awarded 1,942 bachelor’s degrees to qualified undergraduates.

On the financial side of things, the D1 Men’s Basketball team at SMU made $7,590,481 in revenue. The academic progress rate of the team is 975.

Students who start out at the school are likely to stick around. The freshman retention rate is 91%. On top of its placing in this ranking, SMU also did well on our overall quality list. It’s in the top 10% of all schools reviewed in this analysis.

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#9

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Top 5% in Quality in the United States

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill landed the #9 spot on the 2021 Best Colleges for Division I Men’s Basketball ranking. Chapel Hill, North Carolina is the setting for this large institution of higher learning. The public school handed out bachelor’s degrees to 6,076 students in 2018-2019.

The D1 Men’s Basketball team at UNC Chapel Hill made $27,076,307 in revenue, while incurring $11,204,115 in expenses. That boils down to a yearly profit of $15,872,192 for the sports team. The academic progress rate of the team is 971.

Students who start out at the school are likely to stick around. The freshman retention rate is 96%. In addition to its great ranking here, UNC Chapel Hill is in the top 5% of all schools on our overall quality list.

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#10

University of Arizona

Tucson, Arizona
Top 25% in Quality in the United States

University of Arizona did quite well in the 2021 Best Colleges for Division I Men’s Basketball ranking, coming in at #10. Located in Tucson, Arizona, the large public school awarded 8,231 diplomas to qualified bachelor’s degree students in 2018-2019.

The team at University of Arizona took home $22,437,254 in revenue and paid out $10,383,630 in expenses in recent times. Happily, this means that the team turned a profit of $12,053,624. The team has a great academic progress rate of 980, signifying that team members care about their grades.

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#11

University of Miami

Coral Gables, Florida
Top 10% in Quality in the United States

University of Miami did quite well in the 2021 Best Colleges for Division I Men’s Basketball ranking, coming in at #11. U Miami is located in Coral Gables, Florida and, has a fairly large student population. In 2018-2019, this school awarded 3,118 bachelor’s degrees to qualified undergraduates.

The D1 Men’s Basketball team at U Miami made $9,988,284 in revenue, while incurring $8,895,333 in expenses. So, the team made money for the school, bringing in $1,092,951 in profit.

With a freshman retention rate of 91%, the school does an excellent job of retaining its students. On top of its placing in this ranking, U Miami also did well on our overall quality list. It’s in the top 10% of all schools reviewed in this analysis.

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#12

Baylor University

Waco, Texas
Top 10% in Quality in the United States

Baylor University ranked #12 on this year’s Best Colleges for Division I Men’s Basketball list. Baylor is a fairly large private not-for-profit school situated in Waco, Texas. It awarded 3,798 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

On the financial side of things, the D1 Men’s Basketball team at Baylor made $9,860,432 in revenue. The academic progress rate of the team is 972.

With a freshman retention rate of 90%, the school does an excellent job of retaining its students. In addition to its great ranking here, Baylor is in the top 10% of all schools on our overall quality list.

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#13

Gonzaga University

Spokane, Washington
Top 10% in Quality in the United States

Gonzaga University landed the #13 spot on the 2021 Best Colleges for Division I Men’s Basketball ranking. Gonzaga is a private not-for-profit institution located in Spokane, Washington. The school has a medium-sized population, and it awarded 1,441 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The team at Gonzaga took home $16,147,924 in revenue and paid out $10,496,251 in expenses in recent times. Happily, this means that the team turned a profit of $5,651,673. The great academic progress rate of 990 shows that team members perform well in the classroom, too.

Students who start out at the school are likely to stick around. The freshman retention rate is 94%. Gonzaga also claimed a spot on our overall quality list. It’s in the top 10% of all schools in this category.

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#14

University of California - Los Angeles

Los Angeles, California
Top 5% in Quality in the United States

University of California - Los Angeles did quite well in the 2021 Best Colleges for Division I Men’s Basketball ranking, coming in at #14. UCLA is a large public school situated in Los Angeles, California. It awarded 9,069 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

On the financial side of things, the D1 Men’s Basketball team at UCLA made $11,959,355 in revenue. The academic progress rate of the team is 945.

With a freshman retention rate of 97%, the school does an excellent job of retaining its students. On top of its placing in this ranking, UCLA also did well on our overall quality list. It’s in the top 5% of all schools reviewed in this analysis.

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#15

Syracuse University

Syracuse, New York
Top 10% in Quality in the United States

Syracuse University ranked #15 on this year’s Best Colleges for Division I Men’s Basketball list. Syracuse is a private not-for-profit institution located in Syracuse, New York. The school has a large population, and it awarded 4,101 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The D1 Men’s Basketball team at Syracuse made $34,567,071 in revenue, while incurring $14,845,555 in expenses. So, the team made money for the school, bringing in $19,721,516 in profit. The academic progress rate of the team is 970.

The school has an excellent freshman retention rate of 91%, which means students like the school well enough to return for a second year. Syracuse excels when it comes to quality. It’s ranked in the top 10% of all schools on our overall quality list.

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#16

University of Florida

Gainesville, Florida
Top 5% in Quality in the United States

With a ranking of #16, University of Florida did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges for Division I Men’s Basketball ranking. UF is located in Gainesville, Florida and, has a large student population. In 2018-2019, this school awarded 9,663 bachelor’s degrees to qualified undergraduates.

The team at UF took home $11,943,413 in revenue and paid out $9,317,385 in expenses in recent times. So, the team made money for the school, bringing in $2,626,028 in profit. The team has a respectable academic progress rate of 968.

With a freshman retention rate of 96%, the school does an excellent job of retaining its students. In addition to its great ranking here, UF is in the top 5% of all schools on our overall quality list.

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#17

University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor, Michigan
Top 5% in Quality in the United States

University of Michigan - Ann Arbor did quite well in the 2021 Best Colleges for Division I Men’s Basketball ranking, coming in at #17. Ann Arbor, Michigan is the setting for this large institution of higher learning. The public school handed out bachelor’s degrees to 7,815 students in 2018-2019.

U-M brought in $21,114,322 while tallying up $9,874,360 in expenses for its D1 Men’s Basketball team. Happily, this means that the team turned a profit of $11,239,962.

With a freshman retention rate of 97%, the school does an excellent job of retaining its students. U-M also claimed a spot on our overall quality list. It’s in the top 5% of all schools in this category.

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#18

University of Notre Dame

Notre Dame, Indiana

University of Notre Dame landed the #18 spot on the 2021 Best Colleges for Division I Men’s Basketball ranking. University of Notre Dame is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in Notre Dame, Indiana that handed out 2,642 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

Speaking financially, the D1 Men’s Basketball team at Notre Dame took home $4,153,208 in revenue. The team has a great academic progress rate of 989, signifying that team members care about their grades.

The school has an excellent freshman retention rate of 98%, which means students like the school well enough to return for a second year. In addition to its great ranking here, Notre Dame is in the top 1% of all schools on our overall quality list.

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#19

Purdue University - Main Campus

West Lafayette, Indiana
Top 5% in Quality in the United States

Purdue University - Main Campus ranked #19 on this year’s Best Colleges for Division I Men’s Basketball list. Located in West Lafayette, Indiana, the large public school handed out 7,568 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

Purdue brought in $18,017,191 while tallying up $9,604,624 in expenses for its D1 Men’s Basketball team. That boils down to a yearly profit of $8,412,567 for the sports team.

Students who start out at the school are likely to stick around. The freshman retention rate is 91%. Purdue also claimed a spot on our overall quality list. It’s in the top 5% of all schools in this category.

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#20

University of Wisconsin - Madison

Madison, Wisconsin
Top 5% in Quality in the United States

University of Wisconsin - Madison ranked #20 on this year’s Best Colleges for Division I Men’s Basketball list. Located in Madison, Wisconsin, the large public school awarded 8,915 diplomas to qualified bachelor’s degree students in 2018-2019.

UW - Madison brought in $21,701,868 while tallying up $8,548,485 in expenses for its D1 Men’s Basketball team. That boils down to a yearly profit of $13,153,383 for the sports team. The team members aren’t slouches in the classroom either, since the team academic progress rate is an excellent 990.

With a freshman retention rate of 95%, the school does an excellent job of retaining its students. In addition to its great ranking here, UW - Madison is in the top 5% of all schools on our overall quality list.

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#21

University of Southern California

Los Angeles, California
Top 5% in Quality in the United States

University of Southern California did quite well in the 2021 Best Colleges for Division I Men’s Basketball ranking, coming in at #21. Los Angeles, California is the setting for this large institution of higher learning. The private not-for-profit school handed out bachelor’s degrees to 5,337 students in 2018-2019.

The D1 Men’s Basketball team at USC brought home $6,275,440 in revenue in a single year. The team has a respectable academic progress rate of 967.

With a student-to-faculty ratio of 9 to 1, it’s easy to see that the school is committed to helping their undergraduates succeed. As a testament to the quality of education it offers, USC also is in the top 5% of our overall quality ranking.

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#22

Rice University

Houston, Texas

Rice University landed the #22 spot on the 2021 Best Colleges for Division I Men’s Basketball ranking. This medium-sized private not-for-profit school is located in Houston, Texas, and it awarded 1,228 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

On the financial side of things, the D1 Men’s Basketball team at Rice made $3,169,654 in revenue. The academic progress rate of the team is 959.

The school has an excellent freshman retention rate of 97%, which means students like the school well enough to return for a second year. In addition to its great ranking here, Rice is in the top 1% of all schools on our overall quality list.

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#23

Wake Forest University

Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Top 5% in Quality in the United States

Wake Forest University came in at #23 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges for Division I Men’s Basketball ranking. Located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, the medium-sized private not-for-profit school awarded 1,431 diplomas to qualified bachelor’s degree students in 2018-2019.

Wake Forest University brought in $9,148,670 while tallying up $8,805,630 in expenses for its D1 Men’s Basketball team. That boils down to a yearly profit of $343,040 for the sports team. The team has a respectable academic progress rate of 959.

With a freshman retention rate of 94%, the school does an excellent job of retaining its students. On top of its placing in this ranking, Wake Forest University also did well on our overall quality list. It’s in the top 5% of all schools reviewed in this analysis.

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#24

Michigan State University

East Lansing, Michigan
Top 10% in Quality in the United States

Michigan State University ranked #24 on this year’s Best Colleges for Division I Men’s Basketball list. East Lansing, Michigan is the setting for this large institution of higher learning. The public school handed out bachelor’s degrees to 8,997 students in 2018-2019.

The D1 Men’s Basketball team at Michigan State made $23,808,250 in revenue, while incurring $14,395,851 in expenses. That boils down to a yearly profit of $9,412,399 for the sports team. The team members aren’t slouches in the classroom either, since the team academic progress rate is an excellent 995.

Students who start out at the school are likely to stick around. The freshman retention rate is 91%. Michigan State also claimed a spot on our overall quality list. It’s in the top 10% of all schools in this category.

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#25

Florida State University

Tallahassee, Florida
Top 10% in Quality in the United States

Florida State University came in at #25 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges for Division I Men’s Basketball ranking. Florida State is a public institution located in Tallahassee, Florida. The school has a large population, and it awarded 9,688 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The D1 Men’s Basketball team at Florida State brought home $16,773,013 in revenue in a single year. The team members aren’t slouches in the classroom either, since the team academic progress rate is an excellent 985.

Students who start out at the school are likely to stick around. The freshman retention rate is 94%. On top of its placing in this ranking, Florida State also did well on our overall quality list. It’s in the top 10% of all schools reviewed in this analysis.

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Rest of the Top 15% Best Colleges for D1 Men's Basketball athletes

Not only did these schools make the top 49 list, but they also landed in the top 15% of this year’s ranking:

#26

University of Virginia - Main Campus

Charlottesville, Virginia
#27

University of South Carolina - Columbia

Columbia, South Carolina
#29

University of Maryland - College Park

College Park, Maryland
#30

Creighton University

Omaha, Nebraska
#31

University of Richmond

University of Richmond, Virginia
#33

Bucknell University

Lewisburg, Pennsylvania
#34

University of Oregon

Eugene, Oregon
#35

Indiana University - Bloomington

Bloomington, Indiana
#36

University of Vermont

Burlington, Vermont
#37

Texas Christian University

Fort Worth, Texas
#38

Marquette University

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
#40

University of Pittsburgh - Pittsburgh Campus

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
#41

University of Utah

Salt Lake City, Utah
#42

Seton Hall University

South Orange, New Jersey
#43

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

Minneapolis, Minnesota
#44

Belmont University

Nashville, Tennessee
#45

Virginia Tech

Blacksburg, Virginia
#46

University of Arkansas

Fayetteville, Arkansas
#47

Clemson University

Clemson, South Carolina
#48

Furman University

Greenville, South Carolina
#49

Providence College

Providence, Rhode Island

Honorable Mentions

These schools also performed well in our Best Colleges for Division I Men’s Basketball ranking:

Rank College Location
50 Elon University Elon, NC
51 Iowa State University Ames, IA
52 Lehigh University Bethlehem, PA
53 Stanford University Stanford, CA
54 University of Dayton Dayton, OH
55 University of Georgia Athens, GA
56 University of California - Berkeley Berkeley, CA
57 University of Denver Denver, CO
58 University of Connecticut Storrs, CT
59 Auburn University Auburn, AL
60 George Washington University Washington, DC
60 Princeton University Princeton, NJ
62 Virginia Commonwealth University Richmond, VA
62 Butler University Indianapolis, IN
64 Ohio State University - Main Campus Columbus, OH
Rank College Location
65 The University of Alabama Tuscaloosa, AL

More Rankings >

Notes and References

Footnotes

*Avg Tuition and Fees and Avg 4-Year Grad Rate are for the top 25 schools only.

References

  • The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a branch of the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) serves as the core of our data about colleges.
  • Revenue and expense information comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s Equity in Athletics Data Analysis (EADA) website.
  • The academic progress rate (APR) of each team was made available by the NCAA.
  • Some other college data, including much of the graduate earnings data, comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s (College Scorecard).
  • Information about the national average student loan default rate is from the U.S. Department of Education and refers to data about the 2016 borrower cohort tracking period for which the cohort default rate (CDR) was 10.1%.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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