ND was a very strong program in the early days of the sport.  Basketball was very strong in the Midwest.  Even small colleges in Indiana had good teams*. 
*In the late teens, DePauw defeated the Irish ten times in a row and Wabash whipped us nine consecutive times.

Through the 60’s most of the Catholic Colleges in the U.S. had very competitive teams^.

^Schools like Duquesne, Niagara, St. Bonaventure, Manhattan, Fordham, St. Louis, and Holy Cross were nationally ranked many times.

Before there was an NCAA Tournament (1939) to crown a champion, Bill Schroeder founded the Helms Foundation, in 1936, to retroactively choose the top teams.  He assembled a panel of experts to assist him with this task.  The Irish were considered to be the top team in the country in both 1927 and 1936.  Bill and I were great friends when I lived in Los Angeles, from 1980 until he passed away in 1987.  We met because he was also a noted Baseball Historian and I was the President of the 7,000 member Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) to which Bill belonged.  He was a fine man.

ND Men’s Basketball, 4/11/13

ND Men’s Basketball, 4/11/13

ND Men’s Basketball, 4/11/13ND Men’s Basketball, 4/11/13

Another interesting rating poll was created by Patrick Premo, a Professor at St. Bonaventure, to retroactively rank teams.  His system was similar to the Saragin Rating Scale you see today.  The first wire service poll did not begin until the 1948-49 season.  In the Premo Power Poll, Iowa (2-0-1) edged out Geneva (1-0) as the best team for the 1892-93 season.

The Irish appeared in the Premo Power Poll for 1907-08 (8th); 1908-09 (7th); 1910-11 (8th); 1911-12 (7th); 1912-13 (12th); 1914-15 (8th); 1925-26 (2nd); 1926-27 (1st); 1927-28 (6th); 1928-29 (15th); 1929-30 (17th); 1931-32 (2nd); 1932-33 (15th); 1933-34 (7th); 1935-36 (2nd); and 1936-37 (2nd).

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