GREATEST TEAMS IN
1980 Louisville Cardinals
The 33-3 Cardinals were led by Guard Darrell Griffith (22.9 pts., 4.8 reb.) and Forward Derek Smith (14.8 pts., 8.3 reb.). Griffith disappeared in the early rounds of the NCAA Tournament and Louisville barely squeaked by, defeating Kansas State and Texas A&M in overtime. Griffith came back with a vengeance in the Final Four, however, scoring 34 against Iowa in an 80-72 NCAA Semifinal victory and 23 against UCLA in a 59-54 NCAA Championship victory.
1981 Arizona State Sun Devils
The 1981 Arizona State Sun Devils went 24-4, but lost to Kansas 88-71 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The Sun Devils were led by guard Byron Scott (16.6 pts., 3.8 reb.) outside and center Alton Lister (15.4 pts., 9.7 reb.) inside.
1981 BYU Cougars
The 25-7 Cougars lost to Virgina 74-60 in the East Regional Finals of the NCAA Tournament. The Cougars were led by the outside game of point guard Danny Ainge (24.4 pts., 4.8 reb., 4 ast.) and the inside game of 6'10' forward Fred Roberts (18.8 pts., 8 reb.).
1981 DePaul Blue Demons
The 27-2 Blue Demons entered the NCAA Tournament ranked number one in the nation for the second year in a row and lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament for the second year in a row. In 1982, DePaul would lose in the first round of the NCAA Tournament for a third year in a row. The 1981 Blue Demons were led by 6'7' junior power forward Mark Aguirre (23 pts., 8.6 reb., 4.5 ast.), who could score inside and outside, and 6'10' sophomore center Terry Cummings (13 pts., 9 reb.).
1981 Indiana Hoosiers
The 26-9 Hoosiers started the season 7-5, but they got better every week. In the NCAA Tournament, Indiana beat their opponents by an average of more than 22 points per game. The Hoosiers had a balanced attack. They were led by sophomore point guard Isiah Thomas (16.0 pts., 3.1 reb., 5.8 ast.), who could shoot from the outside or drive to the basket and score inside or pass to the open man. Shooting guard Randy Wittman (10.4 pts., 2.3 reb.) and forward Ted Kitchel (9.2 pts., 3.3 reb.) could hit the jumper. Center Ray Tolbert (12.2 pts., 6.4 reb.) and forward Landon Turner (9.5 pts., 3.7 reb.) provided the inside punch. Thomas was named the most outstanding player of the NCAA Tournament after scoring 23 points and having five assists in the Hoosiers' 63-50 win over North Carolina in the NCAA Championship game.
1981 Virginia Cavaliers
At seven feet, four inches, Ralph Sampson was a force to be reckoned with in college basketball. Unfortunately for Sampson, he played for Virginia in the ACC at a time when North Carolina had overwhelming talent and dominated the conference. In 1981, the Cavaliers managed a 29-4 record. Sampson averaged 17.7 points, 11.5 rebounds and 3.1 blocked shots per game. His inside game was complimented by the outside shooting of senior Guard Jeff Lamp (18.2 pts., 4.7 reb.). Although the Cavaliers beat North Carolina twice in the regular season, North Carolina beat the Cavs in the semifinals of the NCAA tournament.
1982 Georgetown Hoyas
The 30-7 Hoyas lost to North Carolina by one point in the NCAA Championship. The Hoyas were led by shooting guard Eric 'Sleepy' Floyd (16.7 pts., 2.7 ast.) and Freshman center Patrick Ewing (12.7 pts. 7.5 reb.).
1982 Missouri Tigers
The 1982 Missouri Tigers went 27-4, but lost to Houston 79-78 in the Sweet Sixteen. The Tigers were led by forward Ricky Frazier (16.1 pts., 6.5 reb.), guard Jon Sundvold (12.2 pts., 2.1 reb.) and center Steve Stipanovich (11.6 pts., 8.0 reb.).
1982 North Carolina Tar Heels
The 32-2 Tar Heels won the NCAA Championship in 1982, beating Georgetown by the slimmest of margins with a Michael Jordan jump shot in the final seconds. The Tar Heels were led by Forward James Worthy (15.6 pts., 6.3 reb.), Center Sam Perkins (14.3 pts., 7.8 reb.) and Freshman Guard Michael Jordan (13.5 pts., 4.4 reb.). Despite having these three future pro stars, the Tar Heels played a slow, defense-oriented game. They averaged only 66.7 points per game and allowed only 55.4. Click here to read a detailed article about the 1982 Tar Heels.
1983 Houston Cougars
"Phi Slamma Jamma" was the nickname of the 31-3 Cougars. Houston had a number of powerful inside players who routinely made spectacular dunks. Center Akeem Olajuwon (13.9 pts., 11.4 reb.) came to the Cougars from Nigeria. His coach said that Olajuwan knew nothing about basketball and couldn't shoot when he arrived. Forwards Clyde "the glide" Drexler (15.9 pts., 8.8 reb.) and larry Micheaux (13.8 pts., 6.8 reb.) were the other members of the Phi Slamma Jamma fraternity. Their dunks were complimented with the outside shooting of Shooting Guard Michael Young (17.3 pts., 5.7 reb.), who led the team in scoring. The lack of a point guard and poor free throw shooting ultimately led to the Cougars' demise in the 1983 NCAA championship game. Click here to read a detailed article about the 1983 Houston Cougars.
1983 North Carolina State Wolfpack
The 26-10 NC State Wolfpack is one of the worst teams ever to win the NCAA Championship, and yet they beat one the greatest teams of all time to do it. In a defensive struggle, the Wolfpack beat Clyde Drexler's and Akeem Olajuwon's Houston Cougars 54-52, despite Olajuwon's 20 point, 18 rebound, 7 block performance. The Wolfpack was led by guards Derek Wittenburg (17.5 pts., 2.4 ast.) and Sidney Lowe (11.3 pts., 7.5 ast.) and forward/center Thurl Bailey (16.7 pts., 7.7 reb.).
1984 Auburn Tigers
The 1984 Auburn Tigers went 20-11 and lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Auburn was led by Chuck 'The Rifleman' Person (19.1 pts., 8 reb.), who could score inside and outside, and 'The Round Mound of Rebound,' Charles Barkley (15.1 pts., 9.5 reb.).
1984 Georgetown Hoyas
Georgetown went to the NCAA championship game in 1982, 1984 and 1985. They lost by one in 1982 and two in 1985. The Hoyas of 1984 went 34-3 and won the NCAA championship. The key to all this success was Center Patrick Ewing. In 1984, Ewing averaged 16.4 points, 10 rebounds and 3.6 blocked shots per game for the defense-oriented Hoyas. David Wingate complimented Ewing's inside game by scoring 11.2 points per game from the outside. The 1984 Hoyas were deep. They had nine players who averaged more than 12 minutes per game.
1984 Kentucky Wildcats
The 29-5 Kentucky Wildcats lost to eventual champion Georgetown in the Final Four, 53-40. The Wildcats were led by the twin towers: 6'11' Melvin Turpin (15.2 pts., 6.4 reb.) and 7'1' Sam Bowie (10.5 pts., 9.2 reb.). Forward Kenny Walker (12.4 pts., 5.9 reb.) was a third solid inside scorer. Jim Master (9.6 pts., 2.4 ast.) was the Wildcats best outside scoring threat.
1984 North Carolina Tar Heels
The 28-3 Tar Heels didn't make it to the final four in 1984, but it wasn't due to a lack of talent. Michael Jordan led the team with 19.6 points per game. Point Guard Kenny Smith (9.1 pts., 5 ast.) was an excellent ball handler and outside shooter who would find Jordan or great inside players Sam Perkins (17.6 pts., 9.6 reb.) and Brad Dauhgerty (10.5 pts., 5.6 reb.) for open shots.
1985 Duke Blue Devils
The 1985 Duke Blue Devils went 23-8, but lost a heartbreaker to Boston College in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, 74-73. Duke was led by guard Johnny Dawkins (18.8 pts., 4.5 reb., 5.0 ast.), who could score from anywhere, and center Mark Alarie (15.9 pts., 5.1 reb.) inside.
1985 Georgetown Hoyas
The 1985 Georgetown Hoyas went 35-3, but were upset by Villanova in the NCAA Championship 66-64. The Hoyas were dominant in 1985. They led college basketball in win-loss percentage, scoring margin, rebound margin and defense. The Hoyas were led by Patrick Ewing (14.6 pts., 9.2 reb.) and Bill Martin (12.3 pts., 6.2 reb.) inside and David Wingate (12.4 pts., 3.6 reb., 3.2 ast.) and Reggie Wiliams (11.9 pts., 5.7 reb., 2.4 ast.) outside.
1985 Kansas Jayhawks
The 1985 Kansas Jayhawks went 26-8, losing to Auburn 66-64 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The Jayhawks were led by outside shooters Calvin Thompson (13.7 pts., 4.5 reb., 2.9 ast.) and Ron Kellogg (17.6 pts., 4.9 reb., 2.6 ast.) and inside powerhouses Danny Manning (14.6 pts., 7.6 reb., 3.2 ast.) and Greg Dreiling (13.1 pts., 6.9 reb.).
1985 Louisiana Tech Bulldogs
The 1985 Louisiana Tech Bulldogs went 29-3, but lost to Oklahoma 86-84 in overtime in the Sweet Sixteen. The Bulldogs were led by power forward Karl Malone (16.5 pts., 9.0 reb.), but four other Bulldogs averaged double figures in scoring: point guard Wayne Smith (10.2 pts., 5.4 ast.), swingman Robert Godbolt (10.1 pts., 5.3 reb.), center Willie Simmons (10 pts., 5.4 reb.) and forward Willie Bland (11.8 pts., 4.8 reb. in 22 mpg).
1985 North Carolina Tar Heels
Despite losing Michael Jordan and Sam Perkins to the NBA draft in 1984, the 1985 Tar Heels were a very good team. The Tar Heels went 27-9, losing to eventual champion Villanova 56-44 in the Regional Finals of the NCAA Touranment. The 1985 North Carolina Tar Heels were led by center Brad Daugherty (17.3 pts., 9.7 reb.) and guards Kenny Smith (12.3 pts., 6.5 ast.) and Steve Hale (10.6 pts., 5.1 ast.).
1985 North Carolina State Wolfpack
The 1985 North Carolina State Wolfpack went 27-9, losing to St. Johns 69-60 in the Regional Finals of the NCAA Tournament. The Wolfpack was led by big man Lorenzo Charles (18.1 pts., 6.4 reb.) and 5'7" point guard Spud Webb (11.1 pts., 5.3 ast.).
1985 Oklahoma Sooners
The 31-6 Oklahoma Sooners lost a heartbreaker to Memphis State in the Regional Finals, 63-61. The Sooners were led by Wayman Tisdale (25.2 pts., 10.2 reb.) and Darryl Kennedy (15.7 pts., 8.3 reb.) inside and Tim McCalister (13.1 pts., 3.4 reb.) outside.
1985 St. Johns Redmen
The 31-4 Redmen lost to Patrick Ewing and the defending NCAA Champion Georgetown Hoyas in the Final Four. The Redmen were led by National Player of the Year Chris Mullin (19.8 pts., 4.8 reb.), whose great outside shooting was complimented by the inside game of forward Walter Berry (17 pts., 8.7 reb.) and 7'0' center Bill Wennington (12.5 pts., 6.4 reb.).
1985 UNLV Runnin' Rebels
The 28-4 UNLV Runnin' Rebels lost to Kentucky 64-61 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The Rebels were led by Richie Adams (15.8 pts., 7.9 reb.) and Armon Gilliam (11 pts., 6.8 reb.) inside and Anthony Jones (13 pts., 4.4 reb., 3.4 ast.) and Freddie Banks (11.7 pts., 2.2 reb., 5.8 ast.) outside.
1985 Villanova Wildcats
The 1985 Villanova Wildcats went 25-10, but shocked the world by beating Patrick Ewing and Georgetown to win the NCAA Championship after losing twice to Georgetown in the regular season. The Wildcats shot an unbelievable 78.6 percent from the field in the Championship Game and still won by only two points, 66-64. Villanova was led by center Ed Pickney (15.6 pts., 8.9 reb.), swingman Dwayne McClain (14.8 pts., 4.1 reb.) and power forward Harold Pressley (12.0 pts., 7.9 reb.).
1986 Duke Blue Devils
The 37-3 Blue Devils lost the NCAA Championship game to Louisville, 72-69. Duke was led by senior guard Johnny Dawkins, who averaged 20.2 points per game. Forwards Mark Alarie (17.2 pts., 6.2 reb.) and David Henderson (14.2 pts., 4.8 reb.) provided inside support. The center was future star Danny Ferry (5.9 pts., 5.5 reb.).
1986 Kansas Jayhawks
The 35-4 Kansas Jayhawks were an awesome team, but they lost to Duke in the Final Four, 71-67. In 1988, a much worse Jayhawks team won the NCAA Championship. The 1986 Kansas team had size and strength under the basket with Danny Manning (16.7 pts., 6.3 reb.) and 7'1' Greg Dreiling (11.6 pts., 6.7 reb.), terrific outside shooting with Ron Kellogg (15.9 pts., 3.4 reb., 2.8 ast.) and Calvin Thompson (13.4 pts., 4.5 reb., 3.0 ast.) and an outstanding point guard, Cedric Hunter (9.1 pts., 3.6 reb., 7.1 ast.). If the three-pointer existed in 1986, Kansas would have been NCAA Champs.
1986 Louisville Cardinals
The 32-7 NCAA Champion Cardinals played a very difficult schedule. During the regular season, they played number two Kansas twice, number three Kentucky, number four St. Johns, number nine Syracuse, number 12 Memphis State three times and number 16 Indiana. Five of Louisville's seven losses came against these ranked teams. By the time of the NCAA Tournament, the Cardinals were playing their best basketball of the season. The Cardinals had a balanced attack. All five starters averaged more than 10 points per game. Forward Billy Thompson (14.9 pts. and freshman center 'Never Nervous' Pervis Ellison (13.1 pts., 8.2 reb.) led the inside above-the-rim attack, Milt Wagner was a slashing, driving guard who averaged 14.8 points and guard Jeff Hall (10.3 pts.) was an outstanding outside shooter.
1986 Navy Midshipmen
The 30-5 Midshipmen lost to Duke in the East Regional Finals of the NCAA Tournament, 71-50. The Midshipmen were led by 7'1' center David Robinson (22.7 pts., 13 reb.) and 6'7' power forward Vernon Butler (16.4 pts., 7.4 reb.) inside and 6'6' guard Kylor Whitaker (13 pts., 4.6 ast.) outside.
1987 Indiana Hoosiers
The 30-4 Hoosiers won the NCAA Championship on a last second shot by point guard Keith Smart (11.2 pts., 3.2 ast.). The Hoosiers were led by three-point shooter Steve Alford (22 pts., 3.6 ast.), who shot 53 percent from behind the arc and 88.9 percent from the free throw line.
1987 Iowa Hawkeyes
The 30-5 Iowa Hawkeyes were ranked number one in the nation at one point during the 1987 season, but they placed third in the Big Ten behind NCAA Champion Indiana and Purdue, and they lost to number one UNLV in the Regional Finals of the NCAA Tournament, 84-81. The Hawkeyes were led by five future NBA players: swingman Roy Marble (14.9 pts., 5.1 reb., 2.8 ast.), point guard B.J. Armstrong (12.4 pts., 4.2 ast., 52% 3FG), shooting guard Kevin Gamble (11.9 pts., 4.5 reb.), 7'0' center Brad Lohaus (11.3 pts., 7.7 reb.) and power forward Ed Horton (7.8 pts., 5.6 reb.). Off the bench, Iowa had guard Jeff Moe (11.1 pts., 44% 3FG), Gerry Wright (6.4 pts., 4.3 reb.), a future CBA star nicknamed Sir Jamalot for his spectacular dunks, and future NBA player Bill Jones (3.7 pts., 2.2 reb.).
1987 Providence Friars
The 1987 Providence Friars went 25-9, but surprised everyone by making it to the Final Four. The Friars were coached by the legendary Rick Pitino. In the first year of the three-pointer, Providence shot more per game than anyone. The Friars were led by guard Billy Donovan (20.6 pts., 3.0 reb., 7.1 ast.), guard Delray Brooks (14.4 pts., 3.9 reb., 2.6 ast.) and swingman Ernie 'Pop' Lewis (11.8 pts., 4.2 reb., 2.6 ast.) from the outside, and big men David Kipfer (11.7 pts., 5.3 reb.) and Steve Wright (7.9 pts., 4.8 reb.) inside.
1987 Syracuse Orangemen
The 31-7 Orangemen lost the 1987 NCAA Championship to Indiana on a last second shot, but were definitely the more talented team. The Orangemen were led by Point Guard Sherman Douglas (17.3 pts., 7.6 ast.), Center Rony Seikaly (15.1 pts., 8.2 reb.) and Power Forward Derrick Coleman (11.9 pts., 8.8 reb.). All of their starters scored an average of at least 10 points per game.
1987 UNLV Runnin' Rebels
The 37-2 Runnin' Rebels were an awesome team. They ended up being upset by Indiana in the Final Four. The Runnin' Rebels fast break offense was led by inside scorer Armon Gilliam (23.2 pts., 9.3 reb.) and three point shooters Freddie Banks (19.5 pts., 2.5 reb.) and Gerald Paddio (13.1 pts., 4.3 reb.). Distributing the ball to these scorers was assist man Mark Wade, who averaged 10.7 assists per game.
1988 Arizona Wildcats
The 35-3 Wildcats lost to an awesome Oklahoma Sooners team 86-78 in the Final Four. The Wildcats were led by Forwards Sean Elliott (19.6 pts., 5.8 reb.) and Anthony Cook (13.9 pts., 7.1 reb.), Center Tom Tolbert (14.1 pts., 5.8 reb.), and awesome outside shooter Steve Kerr (12.6 pts., 4 ast.), who shot an incredible 57.3 percent from three-point range.
1988 Duke Blue Devils
The 25-7 Duke Blue Devils lost to Danny Manning and eventual NCAA Champion Kansas in the Final Four, 66-59. The Blue Devils were led by 6'10' center Danny Ferry (19.1 pts., 7.6 reb., 4.0 ast.), who could score inside and outside, rebound and make assists. Guards Kevin Strickland (16.1 pts., 4.5 reb.) and Quinn Snyder (8.3 pts., 5.7 ast.) and forward Robert Brickey (10.5 pts., 5.1 reb.) supported Ferry.
1988 Oklahoma Sooners
The 1988 Sooners had an incredible offense, outscoring opponents 102.8 to 81 per game. They hold the NCAA record for the most points scored in a season. The 35-4 Sooners scored more than 100 points 20 times and more than 150 points twice. They were led by Center Stacey King (22.3 pts., 8.5 reb.), Forward Harvey Grant (20.9 pts, 9.4 reb.), and Guard Mookie Blaylock (16.4 pts., 4.2 reb., 5.9 ast.), all three of whom were first round draft picks. In the NCAA championship game, the Sooners faced Danny Manning and the Kansas Jayhawks. The Sooners beat Kansas twice in the regular season. Danny Manning scored 31 points, had 18 rebounds and had five steals for Kansas. Manning's teammates shot 71 percent in the championship game. The Sooners lost. Click here for a detailed article on the 1988 Oklahoma Sooners.
1988 Kansas Jayhawks
The 27-11 NCAA Champion Jayhawks were led by dominating center Danny Manning (24.8 pts., 9 reb.). Swingman Milt Newton (11.6 pts., 5 reb.) kept defenses honest with great outside shooting.
1989 Georgetown Hoyas
The 29-5 Georgetown Hoyas lost to Duke 85-77 in the Regional Finals of the NCAA Tournament. The Hoyas were led by shooting guard Charles Smith (18.7 pts., 5.1 ast.) and swingman Jaren Jackson (12.3 pts., 5.2 reb.) outside and 6'10' Alonzo Mourning (13.2 pts., 7.3 reb., 5 blk.) and 7'2' backup Diekembe Mutombo (3.9 pts., 3.3 reb., 2.3 blk. in 11.3 min.) inside.
1989 Illinois Fighting Illini
The 31-5 Fighting Illini were dubbed the Flying Illini in 1989. They outscored their opponents by an average of 86.4 to 73.6 per game. In what was probably the best year ever for the Big Ten, Illinois suffered all five of their losses at the hands of other Big Ten teams, including an 83-81 loss to Michigan in the Final Four. The Illini were led by Guards Nick Anderson (18.0 pts., 7.9 reb.) and Kendall Gill (15.4 pts., 2.9 reb.) and Forwards Kenny Battle (16.6 pts., 4.8 reb.) and Lowell Hamilton (13.6 pts., 5.7 reb.).
1989 Indiana Hoosiers
In 1989, two Big Ten teams, Illinois and Michigan, went to the Final Four, and Michigan won the NCAA Championship. However, it was the 27-8 Indiana Hoosiers, after starting 8-6, that went 17-1 in the Big Ten and won the Big Ten Championship. The Hoosiers only Big Ten loss was to Illinois on a last second shot. The Hoosiers didn't fare as well in the NCAA Tournament, losing to eventual runner-up Seton Hall, 78-65 in the third round. The Hoosiers were led by the spectacular outside shooting of guards Jay Edwards (20 pts., 4.3 reb., 3.7 ast., 44.8% 3FG) and Joe Hillman (12.6 pts., 3.4 reb., 3.9 ast., 58.1% 3FG) and the inside play of Eric Anderson (11.9 pts., 6.1 reb.) and Todd Jadlow (10.6 pts., 5.1 reb.).
1989 Michigan Wolverines
The 30-7 Wolverines fired their coach right before the start of the NCAA Tournament. He had announced he would be coaching at another school the following season. Steve Fisher, an Assistant Coach, took the reins led the team to the NCAA Championship. The 1989 Michigan team had four future NBA first round draft picks: Glen Rice (25.6 pts., 6.3 reb.), Rumeal Robinson (14.9 pts., 6.3 ast.), Loy Vaught (12.6 pts., 8.0 reb.) and Terry Mills (11.6 pts., 5.9 reb.). Rice scored 184 points and hit 27 three-pointers in the six NCAA Tournament games. He was named most valuable player of the Final Four.
1989 Seton Hall Pirates
The 31-7 Seton Hall Pirates lost the NCAA Championship to Michigan 80-79 in overtime. The Pirates were led by guards John Morton (17.3 pts., 3.4 reb., 2.5 ast., 42% 3FG) and Gerald Greene (9.1 pts., 5.1 ast., 43% 3FG), swingman Andrew Gaze (13.6 pts., 4.5 reb., 2.9 ast., 43% 3FG), and inside men Ramon Ramos (11.9 pts., 7.6 reb.) and Daryll Walker (11.5 pts., 7.2 reb.) .