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Love it or hate it, the best team doesn’t always win the championship in college basketball.

That’s the nature of the NCAA tournament beast. A great team can have an off night. An OK team can play out of its mind. In a single elimination bracket, crazy stuff happens.

On the flip side, more teams have a chance to win the title than perhaps in any other sport. That’s pretty cool.

Still, don’t tell that to these guys. Here are the best teams since 2000 not to win a national championship:

* 2016-17 Gonzaga

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Gonzaga Confidential: Bulldogs ready for Final Four

Gonzaga was considered an underdog to win the title in 2016-17 because … well, it’s Gonzaga. The Team That Never Made a Final Four.

But the 2017 tournament changed things. Gonzaga was stacked. The pieces fit, too. Here’s how loaded the Bulldogs were: Zach Collins, who was drafted in the NBA lottery this summer, finished seventh on the team in minutes. Seventh! He averaged 23 points and 14 rebounds per 40 minutes. Gonzaga had so much frontcourt talent that playing time was scarce.

Przemek Karnowski will go down as one of the greatest characters in the history of college hoops. And he was a darn good player. Nigel Williams-Goss was one of the top point guards in the country, posting 17 points and five dimes per game.

The 37-2 Bulldogs didn’t win the title. But they finally broke into the Final Four and finished as the No. 1 team in KenPom despite their season-ending loss to North Carolina in the title game. Gonzaga had the best defense in America and a Top 15 offense, too. This team was no fluke. It was one of the best we’ve seen in a while.

* 2014-15 Kentucky

Take this collection of talent against any in the history of college basketball — really, strip away the 2000 caveat on this list — and you’d like your chances.

The names on the 2014-15 Kentucky squad speak for themselves.

Karl-Anthony Towns. Willie Cauley-Stein. Devin Booker. Andrew Harrison. Aaron Harrison. Trey Lyles. Tyler Ulis. None of those guys averaged more than 26 minutes per game. Yet the Wildcats still went 38-1.

Ulis was the seventh man on that Kentucky squad. When he took the reins the next year as the starting point guard, he was the SEC Player of the Year. Towns and Booker are on the verge of becoming NBA All-Stars. UK finished with the No. 6 offense and the No. 1 defense in 2014-15. So, yeah, they were pretty loaded. Perhaps it was even unprecedented how loaded they were.

Still, for all of those positives, they still lost to the next team on this list.   

* 2014-15 Wisconsin

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2015 Naismith Award: Wisconsin’s Frank Kaminsky

That season, Kentucky had outrageous talent with some experience sprinkled in. Wisconsin was super talented and super experienced. 

Frank Kaminsky won the Naismith as a senior, averaging 19 points and eight boards. Sam Dekker blossomed into one of the best, most versatile players in America. Nigel Hayes was the perfect third option. Bronson Koenig — who would become the Badgers’ star as an upperclassman — finished fourth in scoring.

But what really tells you how good this Wisconsin team was? Ethan Happ, who might be a preseason All-American this year, redshirted. The tales of Kaminsky-Happ practice battles are legendary. Based on what we’ve seen of both players, that doesn’t feel like lip service.

The Badgers would go on to lose to Duke in the championship game. But their greatness can’t be overstated.

* 2014-15 Arizona