When people think of college basketball, the Final Four comes to mind and for good reason. College basketball’s national semifinals and championship game generally have television ratings that are on par with the NBA Finals. For example, in 2017, game five of the NBA Finals was watched by 25 million people while 23 million saw college basketball’s marquee contest.
Although that event plus big-name teams like Duke, Kansas and UCLA serve as the face of the sport, 350 universities from throughout the country have NCAA Division I basketball teams, and nearly all of them enter the season with a path to the national title awaiting them. Of course, the odds are better for some than others, but the path is there for almost all should their teams be good enough.
These schools are pretty evenly spread throughout the country, and the 50 most-populated metropolitan areas are all home to at least one.
In 2000, three states were without Division I basketball squads, but two were removed from that list in the first decade of the 21st century. The University of North Dakota, North Dakota State University, University of South Dakota and South Dakota State University now all sponsor Division I basketball teams.
The one still without Division I basketball is Alaska. Both the University of Alaska Anchorage and University of Alaska Fairbanks are home to Division II teams instead. However, both do sponsor Division I ice hockey squads, both of whom receive higher attendances and more media interest than their basketball teams.
Five universities are the only ones in their respective states to offer Division I basketball: University of Hawaii, University of Wyoming, University of Minnesota, University of Vermont and University of Maine. Meanwhile, the states with the most Division I basketball teams are California (24), Texas (23) and New York (22).