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Top 100 Programs Series: A Brief Explanation

This week, James has been working hard on the Top 100 Programs in NCAA Division 1 women's basketball series.

So far we've unveiled two portions of the list, #41-70 and #71-100. We've noticed there's been some discussion about the list, not only on Swish Appeal but across the interwebs and social media. In order to clarify the rankings, here is some criteria that James used while placing the programs in their respective slot:

1.  Strength of teams
2.  Attendance
3.  Recruiting
4.  NCAA tournament visits
5.  WNIT tournament visits (obviously, not contributing as much)
6.  Benchmark wins (30, 20)
7.  Debits for losing seasons
8.  Conference titles
9.  All-American selections
10.  WNBA Top Five Draft Picks    

As you can see, a top program is way more than the best team on the court, it encompasses the entirety of the program. To maintain a top-notch athletic department, and therefore a top-notch women's basketball program, there is a lot that goes into the process off the court. It's key to keep this in mind when you peruse the lists, as wins and losses don't tell the whole story.

Further, it's also key to remember this list is not an all-time list and can fluctuate from year to year (see 2010's list here). The rankings are based on recent history. As James explained Monday, "it is meant to measure quality over a "relevant" period of time.  A championship earned last year should be a lot more relevant than one earned a decade ago."

One last thing to remember is the list is also not a preseason rankings list. This is not a guide to who will be in the 2012 tournament, who will win a specific match up this season or anything of the like. It's about the program as a whole.

As always, we welcome your comments and critiques of where we've ranked your favorite program, but of course want you to engaged in well-informed and thoughtful discussion. If you have more to say than a comment, please consider writing your own fan post to rep your team of choice. Nate helped re-introduce Swish Appeal's features this spring which might be of help if you're venturing into the world of fan posting for the first time.

The series continues Wednesday with teams 26-40. Teams 11-25 will be revealed Thursday, and Friday will highlight the top 10 programs in NCAA Division 1 women's basketball.