Now that we have exhausted all of the major conference tournaments (sorry Conference USA but you have one team, so you didn’t qualify) as a source of March Madness history, it is time to turn our attention to the NCAA Tournament in the first installment of what I have decided to call, in an impromptu burst of creativity, March Madness History.
This will be a fun series for me to research and write, however, because I can relive the glory days of Indiana basketball — that wonderful time when a 1-17 conference record would have been deemed a complete impossibility. As this year proved, however, even the most incomprehensible collapse of a once proud program is possible with the perfect storm of catastrophic player departures and recruiting scandals. All of us IU fans are clinging to the optimism that it was just a one year blip and that Tom Crean will have us back competitive again next year.
Because, you see, while the IU program took a big hit this season, the IU tradition is still alive and strong; and the reason for that is IU’s splendid history of NCAA Tournament excellence. No, Indiana has not been a great tournament team over the past 15 years (except for that awesome 2002 run), but between 1973 and 1993 there were few teams who could match IU in postseason success. The table below, which lists the schools with the most NCAA Mens Basketball Championships, is proof positive of this.
Let’s get to the table and then analyze a bit. First, a few relevant NCAA Tournament links (some of which have not been posted yet, but will be), especially if you are planning on attending any of the tournament games this year:
- 2009 NCAA Mens Tournament Dates and Site Breakdown
- 2009 NCAA Womens Tournament Dates and Site Breakdown
- NCAA Mens Basketball Tournament History: Past Champions, Final Four participants, Final Four locations by year, and interesting tournament tidbits
- NCAA Tournament All-Time MOPs: Mens and Womens Basketball Tournament Most Outstanding Player Winners
- NCAA Womens Basketball Tournament Champions
- StubHub Tickets: 2009 NCAA Mens Tournament Tickets
- StubHub Tickets: 2009 NCAA Womens Tournament Tickets
The following table provides an ordered list of NCAA Champions in mens college basketball from most to least. It includes the number of titles for each school that has won at least one, and the years in which those titles were captured. I actually included this table at the bottom of a previous post, but figured it deserved its own. Here you go:
NCAA Champions - Mens Basketball
|School||Number of NCAA Titles||Years|
|UCLA||11||1964, 1965, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1995|
|Kentucky||7||1948, 1949, 1951, 1958, 1978, 1996, 1998|
|Indiana||5||1940, 1953, 1976, 1981, 1987|
|North Carolina||5||1957, 1982, 1993, 2005, 2009|
|Duke||3||1991, 1992, 2001|
|Kansas||3||1952, 1988, 2008|
|Michigan State||2||1979, 2000|
|N.C. State||2||1974, 1983|
|Oklahoma State||2||1945, 1946|
|San Francisco||2||1955, 1956|
|Texas Western (UTEP)||1||1966|
Obviously, for me, the best part about this NCAA Champions table is the school in third place: Indiana. The Hoosiers have won as many titles as the rest of the Big 10 combined. The Big 10 needs to get a move on or it could get shut out this decade. Michigan State closed the 90s by winning the 1999-2000 championship, but it has been bupkus ever since for the conference.
North Carolina actually has a pretty good shot to tie the Hoosiers with their fifth championship if the Tar Heels can D up in the tournament. They certainly have the talent to win it all and will likely enter the 2009 NCAA Tournament as the #1 overall seed.
We know one thing: Kentucky won’t be adding to their total any time soon.
UCLA obviously has the most impressive historical resume of any school in the country — by a long shot. And the Bruins have reached three straight Final Fours, but have been unable to close the deal. It appears that UCLA is not good enough to make the Final Four this year, but stranger things have certainly happened. It still boggles my mind to look at their dominance in the 60s and early 70s. Just an amazing run, led by native Hoosier (but collegiate Boilermaker) John Wooden.
Kansas joined the rarified air of 3-time NCAA Champions with their title last year. UConn, Louisville, and Michigan State all have two, but could stretch that number to three in this year’s tournament. I think there is a good chance that San Francisco will be sitting on their two titles for a long, long time in the future…
Out of the NCAA Champions in the Top 6, Indiana is obviously the furthest away from claiming another title based on our performance this season. However, Hoosier fans can take solace in that fact that each of the five other schools has dealt with periods of turmoil and struggle to rebound and become national powers once again. If Indiana is to hang a sixth banner in Assembly Hall, it will have to follow a similar path.
Hopefully Tom Crean is leading us on a path to do just that.
Update: Get ready for this year’s NCAA Tournament with our March Madness 2010 preview post.