NCAA Tournament: Which Team Has Won More Championships, UCLA or North Carolina?

The UNC Tar Heels and UCLA Bruins are two of the most storied programs in men’s college basketball.

North Carolina and California-Los Angeles, along with perhaps Duke, Kentucky, and Kansas, make up the list of “blue bloods” — aka the most prolific teams in history.

(Their colors also happen to be blue. So sorry, Indiana, but you don’t make the cut.)

Though it’s not John Wooden vs. Dean Smith — or Roy Williams for that matter — the Bruins-Heels Sweet 16 matchup in this year’s Men’s NCAA Tournament is still a game between two of the winningest programs ever to take the floor.

But which has actually won more championships?

UNC and UCLA are playing for a spot in this year’s Elite Eight

North Carolina entered the tournament as an eight seed and rolled over Marquette 95-63 in the East Regional’s 8-9 matchup. That set up the most-talked-about game of March thus far.

Complete with a Brady Manek ejection, a 25-point comeback in 10 minutes, and an overtime period, the Tar Heels held on to upset No. 1 seed Baylor 93-86.

UCLA was a four-seed in the East and squeaked by Akron 57-53 in the opening round. The Bruins then easily handled fifth-seeded St. Mary’s in the Round of 32, beating the Gaels 72-56.

Now the two teams face each other in the Sweet 16 with a matchup with either Purdue or the national-darling St. Peter’s Peacocks in the Elite Eight.

The Tar Heels and Bruins have won a combined 17 National Championships

Has UNC or UCLA won more men's college basketball championships?
Former coaches Dean Smith of North Carolina and John Wooden of UCLA. | G. N. Lowrance/Getty Images

The UNC basketball program is loaded with historic talent, both players and coaches alike. Dean Smith coached the Tar Heels for nearly 40 years, winning two national championships and inventing the four-corners offense.

He coached in 11 Final Fours and won titles in two different decades.

His 1982 championship-winning team featured James Worthy, Sam Perkins, and a freshman named Michael Jordan, who hit the game-winning jumper in the championship game.

His 1993 team beat Michigan’s Fab Five.

Smith’s former assistant Roy Williams took over in 2003 and won three more championships. The two combined to win five of UNC’s six titles.

But no program has won more than UCLA, and no coach has won more than John Wooden.

The Bruins have 11 national titles on their program resume, 10 of which came under Wooden. The Wizard of Westwood won 620 games over 27 seasons.

He won 10 National Championships in his final 12 years at the program’s helm, including seven in a row. The Bruins won 88 straight games and finished 30-0 four different seasons during that span.

Duke has five national championships. Carolina has six, and Kentucky has won eight. But nobody tops UCLA men’s basketball, and no one will ever break the records Wooden set during his time with the Bruins.

This year will be a stretch to make it 18

On paper, the Tar Heels have enough talent to reach the Final Four, but UNC showed massive bouts of inconsistency during the season.

On the flip side, the Bruins did reach the Final Four just last season, but on paper don’t have the same amount of NBA talent as teams like Carolina, Gonzaga, Duke, or Arizona.

It’s another meeting between two of the most storied programs in college basketball history.

And the winner of this latest chapter will move on to the Elite Eight and one game closer to putting yet another National Championship trophy in the case.

All statistics courtesy of NCAA.com.

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