There are more than 350 NCAA Division I basketball programs in America spread across almost all 50 states (more on that in a moment) and D.C. But what state has the most Division I basketball teams within its borders?
There are probably a few that jump to your mind immediately as possibilities, and I sincerely hope Alaska didn’t enter your thoughts. Not only is the state not even close to having the most Division I basketball teams, it’s the only one in the country with zero to its name. Otherwise, though, every other state and D.C. have at least one.
Make your guesses now or forever hold your peace, because it’s education time.
What State Has the Most Division I Basketball Teams?
1. California (26)
California Teams: California Baptist, Cal Poly, CSU Bakersfield, CSU Fullerton, CSU Northridge, Fresno State, Long Beach State, Loyola Marymount, Pacific, Pepperdine, Sacramento State, Saint Mary’s, San Diego, San Diego State, San Francisco, San Jose State, Santa Clara, Stanford, UC Berkeley (Cal), UC Davis, UC Irvine, UCLA, UC Riverside, UC Santa Barbara, UC San Diego, USC
California boasts the most Division I basketball teams of any state in America with 26, growing one larger this season with UC San Diego making the jump up Division II. It has four programs participating in the Pac-12 – Cal, Stanford, USC, and UCLA – and a number of teams in the Mountain West, Big West, WCC and more. In fact, 10 of the 11 teams in the Big West are in California, which alone is more than well over half of states.
If you’re looking for Division I basketball programs, you’ll find them in California.
2. Texas (24)
Texas Teams: Abilene Christian, Baylor, Houston, Houston Baptist, Incarnate Word, Lamar, North Texas, Prairie View A&M, Rice, Sam Houston State, SMU, Stephen F. Austin, Tarleton State, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, TCU, UTRGV, Texas Southern, Texas State, Texas Tech, UT-Arlington, UTEP, UTSA
The Lone Star State also added a new face to its Division I ranks this year with Tarleton State moving up with the big boys. Texas has four squads in the Big 12 – Texas, Texas Tech, Baylor, and TCU – and has roots down in the SEC, AAC, Southland and more. The state is a few teams behind California for the top spot, but there’s no question Texas has an appetite for college hoops.
3. New York (22)
New York Teams: Albany, Army, Binghamton, Buffalo, Canisius, Colgate, Columbia, Cornell, Fordham, Hofstra, Iona, LIU-Brooklyn, Manhattan, Marist, Niagara, Siena, St. Bonaventure, St. Francis (NY), St. John’s, Stony Brook, Syracuse, Wagner
New York doesn’t have a ton in the way of major programs – Syracuse in the ACC and St. John’s in the Big East are its only claims – but it makes up for it in competitors in the NEC, AmEast, MAAC and more. When you think New York, you probably don’t think college sports as its more of a pro-sports focused state. But you can’t argue with the amount of Division I basketball teams within its borders.
4. North Carolina (18)
North Carolina Teams: Appalachian State, Campbell, Charlotte, Davidson, Duke, East Carolina, Elon, Gardner-Webb, High Point, North Carolina, North Carolina A&T, North Carolina Central, North Carolina State, UNC-Asheville, UNC-Greensboro, UNC-Wilmington, Wake Forest, Western Carolina
The first three states on this list are all in the top four for population, so their placements make sense. This one makes sense because of how much North Carolina loves its basketball, especially college basketball.
You won’t find many states that love college hoops as much as NC does, and as such, there are tons of Division I basketball teams in the Tar Heel State. North Carolina is synonymous with the ACC, with Duke, UNC, NC State, and Wake Forest all calling the conference home, and it has a handful of teams competing across a range of leagues, including the SoCon, CAA, and AAC.
T-5. Pennsylvania / Virginia (14)
Pennsylvania Teams: Bucknell, Drexel, Duquesne, La Salle, Lafayette, Lehigh, Penn, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Robert Morris, St. Francis (PA), St. Joseph’s, Temple, Villanova
Pennsylvania comes in at a tie for fifth, with a good chunks of teams located around Philadelphia, a few in Pittsburgh, and stragglers sprinkled across the state. It has three teams competing in major conferences with Penn State in the Big Ten, Pittsburgh in the ACC, and Villanova in the Big East, contributing to confusion over whether PA is an Atlantic of Midwestern state. The Patriot League an A-10 also have strong holds on Pennsylvania, serving as the home to six of the state’s Division I basketball teams.
Virginia Teams: George Mason, Hampton, James Madison, Liberty, Longwood, Norfolk State, Old Dominion, Radford, Richmond, Virginia, VCU, VMI, Virginia Tech, William & Mary
Virginia has Virginia and Virginia Tech competing in the ACC and its major conference representatives, but programs like VCU, Richmond, George Mason, Old Dominion, and Norfolk State have made major national statements in college basketball within the last 15 years. The A-10, CAA, and MEAC are the other most popular conferences in the state.
T-7. Florida / Ohio / Illinois (13)
Three major conference teams headline in Florida, with Florida State and Miami in the ACC and Florida in the SEC. But the A-Sun has the strongest hold on Division I basketball teams in the Sunshine State, playing host to four Florida squads. The AAC and C-USA are popular, too.
Ohio Teams: Akron, Bowling Green, Cincinnati, Cleveland State, Dayton, Kent State, Miami (OH), Ohio, Ohio State, Toledo, Wright State, Xavier, Youngstown State
Ohio State and Xavier are the two major conference teams out of the state, in the Big Ten and Big East, respectively, but Cincinnati and Dayton have been serious players in the national conversation at times in their histories. The MAC is by far the dominant league in this state, with six teams calling the Mid-American home.
Illinois Teams: Bradley, Chicago State, DePaul, Eastern Illinois, Illinois, Illinois State, Loyola Chicago, Northern Illinois, Northwestern, Southern Illinois, SIU-Edwardsville, UIC, Western Illinois
Illinois has three representatives in major conferences: Illinois and Northwestern in the Big Ten and DePaul in the Big East. Otherwise, the Missouri Valley is popular home for Illinois-based teams, and Chicago State’s inclusion in the WAC means Illinois is a Western state now.
T-10. Louisiana / South Carolina / Tennessee (12)
Louisiana Teams: Grambling State, Louisiana Lafayette, Louisiana Monroe, LSU, Louisiana Tech, McNeese State, New Orleans, Nicholls State, Northwestern State, Southeastern Louisiana, Southern, Tulane
South Carolina Teams: College of Charleston, Charleston Southern, The Citadel, Clemson, Coastal Carolina, Furman, Presbyterian, South Carolina, South Carolina State, South Carolina Upstate, Winthrop, Wofford
Tennessee Teams: Austin Peay, Belmont, Chattanooga, ETSU, Lipscomb, Memphis, Middle Tennessee, Tennessee, Tennessee-Martin, Tennessee State, Tennessee Tech, Vanderbilt
T-13. Alabama / Indiana (10)
Alabama Teams: Alabama, Alabama A&M, Alabama State, Auburn, Jacksonville State, North Alabama, Samford, South Alabama, Troy, UAB
Indiana Teams: Ball State, Butler, Evansville, Indiana, Indiana State, IUPUI, Notre Dame, Purdue, Purdue Fort Wayne, Valparaiso
15. Maryland (9)
Maryland Teams: Coppin State, Loyola (MD), Maryland, Morgan State, Mount St. Mary’s, Navy, Towson, UMBC, UMES
T-16. Kentucky / Massachusetts / New Jersey (8)
Kentucky Teams: Bellarmine, Eastern Kentucky, Kentucky, Louisville, Morehead State, Murray State, Northern Kentucky, Western Kentucky
Massachusetts Teams: Boston College, Boston U, Harvard, Holy Cross, Massachusetts, Merrimack, Northeastern, UMass-Lowell
New Jersey Teams: Fairleigh Dickinson, Monmouth, NJIT, Princeton, Rider, Rutgers, Seton Hall, St. Peter’s
T-19. Connecticut / Georgia / Michigan / Utah (7)
Connecticut Teams: Central Connecticut State, Connecticut, Hartford, Fairfield, Quinnipiac, Sacred Heart, Yale
Georgia Teams: Georgia, Georgia Southern, Georgia State, Georgia Tech, Kennesaw State, Mercer, Savannah State
Michigan Teams: Central Michigan, Detroit Mercy, Eastern Michigan, Michigan, Michigan State, Oakland, Western Michigan
Utah Teams: BYU, Dixie State, Southern Utah, Utah, Utah State, Utah Valley, Weber State
23. Mississippi (6)
Mississippi Teams: Alcorn State, Jackson State, Mississippi, Mississippi State, Mississippi Valley State, Southern Miss
T-24. Arkansas / Colorado / Missouri / Washington (5)
Arkansas Teams: Arkansas, Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Arkansas State, Central Arkansas, Little Rock
Colorado Teams: Air Force, Colorado, Colorado State, Denver, Northern Colorado
Missouri Teams: Missouri, Missouri State, Saint Louis, Southeast Missouri State, UMKC
Washington Teams: Eastern Washington, Gonzaga, Seattle, Washington, Washington State
T-28. Arizona / D.C. / Iowa / Oklahoma / Oregon / Rhode Island / Wisconsin (4)
Arizona Teams: Arizona, Arizona State, Grand Canyon, Northern Arizona
D.C. Teams: American, George Washington, Georgetown, Howard
Iowa Teams: Drake, Iowa, Iowa State, Northern Iowa
Oklahoma Teams: Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Oral Roberts, Tulsa
Oregon Teams: Oregon, Oregon State, Portland, Portland State
Rhode Island Teams: Brown, Bryant, Providence, Rhode Island
Wisconsin Teams: Green Bay, Marquette, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
T-35. Idaho / Kansas / Nebraska (3)
Idaho Teams: Boise State, Idaho, Idaho State
Kansas Teams: Kansas, Kansas State, Wichita State
Nebraska Teams: Creighton, Nebraska, Omaha
T-38. Delaware / Montana / New Hampshire / New Mexico / Nevada / North Dakota / South Dakota / West Virginia (2)
Delaware Teams: Delaware, Delaware State
Montana Teams: Montana, Montana State
New Hampshire Teams: Dartmouth, New Hampshire
New Mexico Teams: New Mexico, New Mexico State
Nevada Teams: Nevada, UNLV
North Dakota Teams: North Dakota, North Dakota State
South Dakota Teams: South Dakota, South Dakota State
West Virginia Teams: Marshall, West Virginia
T-46. Hawaii / Maine / Minnesota / Vermont / Wyoming (1)
Hawaii Teams: Hawaii
Maine Teams: Maine
Minnesota Teams: Minnesota
Vermont Teams: Vermont
Wyoming Teams: Wyoming
51. Alaska (0)
Alaska Teams: Maybe one day