Illinois Basketball Finishes No. 33 In ESPN Countdown Of Most Successful Programs

Mar 29, 2012; Champaign, IL, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini new head coach John Groce at a press conference announcing his hire at Assembly Hall. Mandatory Credit: Bradley Leeb-US PRESSWIRE

The Illini have one of the top 50 basketball programs of the last 50 years.

The Illinois Fighting Illini rank No. 33 on ESPN's list of the top 50 college basketball programs of the last 50 seasons.

ESPN established a scoring system to evaluate college basketball programs over that time period, and the Illini finished ahead of schools like Missouri, Florida and NC State.

Positives: 12 regular-season conference titles; two Final Fours; 25 NCAA tournament appearances; six consensus All-Americans.

Negatives: Lost 22 points due to NCAA sanctions; no conference titles of any kind from 1964-83; have advanced past Sweet 16 just twice since 1990.

The Illini ranked 332nd during the 1970s, but bounced back to finish in the top 20 during the 1980s. After a 99th-place finish in the 1990s, the Illini once again rebounded to crack the top 20 during the 2000s.

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