Asleep at Wheel: NCAA Picks Do Disservice to Its Own Crown Jewel
Do we need an Amber Alert for Adrian Dantley, Tom Gola, Jim McDaniels, Cazzie Russell, etc., etc., etc.? How could anyone forget the footprint (size-22) Bob Lanier left on the game? The NCAA, exhibiting all the expertise of voters claiming they can't provide identification, unveiled some stunning error-prone lists of top NCAA Tournament moments, players and teams over the last 75 years. Were relatives of Shelvin Mack and Keith Smart on the nominating panel for such amateurish choices? The NCAA, apparently incapable of discerning what comprises a "moment" rather than an entire game, should go back to focusing on vital task of shedding Indian nicknames from as many schools as possible.
An NCAA probe needs to be conducted regarding who spiked the beverage at the governing body's Christimas party (holiday gathering for the pc crowd). The most glaring omission among impact players failing to receive a "present" is Bob Pettit, who averaged 30.5 points in six outings with LSU in 1953 and 1954. Pettit is perhaps the most consistent big scorer in NCAA playoff annals with a single-digit differential between his high game (36 points) and low contest (27). Pettit is shunned in favor of a well-known player such as Clyde Drexler, who scored more than 17 points in only one of 11 NCAA playoff games for Houston from 1981 through 1983.
Prior to the state of Pennsylvania filing an antitrust lawsuit over harsh sanctions, NCAA president Mark Emmert ran off like a scared rabbit when Penn State Hall of Famer Franco Harris confronted him about the Nittany Lion penalties for a football documentary. Emmert and his NCAA staff also need to find a hiding place for some of their views regarding the history of the NCAA basketball tourney.
For instance, it is delusional for the NCAA to shun numerous luminaries in favor of Tom Thacker, a nice versatile player for Cincinnati teams participating in three consecutive NCAA championship contests. But Thacker committed a toxic total of 13 turnovers (with only four assists) in two Final Four games in 1963 after scoring only two points in 1962 national semifinals and shooting a paltry 8-of-28 from the floor at 1961 Final Four. If you seek a mite higher level of authoritative perspective on the most magical moments and premier players in playoff history, check out the following links:
"It would be hard to pick a team over the 1968 team," Wooden said. "I will say it would be the most difficult team to prepare for and play against offensively and defensively. It created so many problems. It had such great balance.
"We had the big center (Lew Alcindor before he changed his name to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar), who is the most valuable player of all time. Mike Warren was a three-year starter who may have been the most intelligent floor leader ever, going eight complete games once without a turnover. Lucius Allen was a very physical, talented individual who was extremely quick. Lynn Shackleford was a great shooter out of the corner who didn't allow defenses to sag on Jabbar. Mike Lynn didn't have power, but he had as fine a pair of hands around the boards as I have ever seen."
The roster for UCLA's 1968 national champion included six players with double-digit season scoring averages, but senior forward Edgar Lacey dropped off the team with an 11.9-point average following a dispute with Wooden after a highly-publicized mid-season defeat against Houston before 52,693 fans at the Astrodome. Lacey, assigned to defend Cougars star Elvin Hayes early in the game, was annoyed with Wooden for singling him out following Hayes' 29-point first-half outburst. Lacey, the leading rebounder for the Bruins' 1965 NCAA titlist when he was an All-Tournament team selection, missed the 1966-67 campaign because of a fractured left kneecap. Houston, entering the tourney undefeated, lost in the national semifinals against UCLA (101-69) when Hayes, averaging 37.6 points per game entering the Final Four, was restricted to 10 as the Bruins neutralized him by employing a "diamond-and-one" defense with Lynn Shackelford assigned to cover Hayes.
Any lineup blessed with Alcindor's inside artistry will be one of the greatest. The following all-time Top 20 team rankings assembled by CollegeHoopedia.com claim UCLA supplied five of the six best squads in history:
1. UCLA '68 (29-1 record)
Coach: John Wooden (20th of 27 seasons with Bruins).
Key Players: C Lew Alcindor (26.2 ppg, 16.5 rpg, 61.3 FG%); G Lucius Allen (15.1 ppg, 6 rpg); G Mike Warren (12.1 ppg, 3.7 rpg); F Lynn Shackelford (10.7 ppg, 5 rpg, 84.8 FT%); F Mike Lynn (10.3 ppg, 5.2 rpg); G Ken Heitz (5.3 ppg); F Jim Nielsen (4.6 ppg, 3.3 rpg); G Bill Sweek (3.6 ppg).
Only Defeat: At Houston (2-point margin).
Summary: UCLA almost lost its season opener on the road when Purdue, Wooden's alma mater, opened its new arena. But the Bruins "Sweeked" past the Boilermakers, 73-71, on backup guard Bill Sweek's 24-footer in the closing seconds after future All-American guard Rick Mount missed the front end of a one-and-one free-throw opportunity.
2. UCLA '67 (30-0)
Coach: John Wooden (19th of 27 seasons with Bruins).
Key Players: C Lew Alcindor (29 ppg, 15.5 rpg, 66.7 FG%); G Lucius Allen (15.5 ppg, 5.8 rpg); G Mike Warren (12.7 ppg, 4.5 rpg); F Lynn Shackelford (11.4 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 82.1 FT%); F-G Ken Heitz (6.1 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 50.6 FG%); G Bill Sweek (4.7 ppg, 2.8 rpg); F-C Jim Nielsen (4.6 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 51.9 FG%); G Don Saffer (2.9 ppg).
Summary: Lew Alcindor scored 56 points in his varsity debut against Southern California. Alcindor's opening-game outburst was topped just once all season--by his school-record 61 against Washington State. He finished his sophomore season ranked among the top seven in the country in field-goal shooting (first at 66.7%), scoring (second at 29 points per game) and rebounding (seventh at 15.5 per game). His scoring average is still the highest in Pac-12 Conference history. The Bruins, starting four sophomores and one junior, won the national championship by a record average of 23.75 points. They won 26 of their 30 games by at least 15 points with the only contest in doubt being a 40-35 overtime triumph at Southern California in mid-season.
3. UCLA '69 (29-1)
Coach: John Wooden (21st of 27 seasons with Bruins).
Key Players: C Lew Alcindor (24 ppg, 14.7 rpg, 63.5 FG%); F Curtis Rowe (12.9 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 50.2 FG%); G John Vallely (11 ppg, 3.3 rpg); F Sidney Wicks (7.5 ppg, 5.1 rpg); F Lynn Shackelford (7 ppg, 4 rpg); G Ken Heitz (6.5 ppg, 2.3 rpg); G Bill Sweek (6.3 ppg, 50.6 FG%); C Steve Patterson (5 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 52.7 FG%).
Only Defeat: At Southern California (2).
Summary: Southern California ended UCLA's 41-game winning streak, 46-44. It was one of only two defeats for the Bruins during Lew Alcindor's three-year varsity career with both of the setbacks by two points. Alcindor, climaxing a streak when he became the only individual to earn three consecutive Final Four Most Outstanding Player awards, collected 37 points and 20 rebounds in his final college game, a victory against Purdue (92-72).
4. UCLA '72 (30-0)
Coach: John Wooden (24th of 27 seasons with Bruins).
Key Players: C Bill Walton (21.1 ppg, 15.5 rpg, 64 FG%); G Henry Bibby (15.7 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 80.6 FT%); F Keith Wilkes (13.5 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 53.1 FG%); F Larry Farmer (10.7 ppg, 5.5 rpg); G Greg Lee (8.7 ppg, 82.4 FT%); F Larry Hollyfield (7.3 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 51.4 FG%); C Swen Nater (6.7 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 53.5 FG%); G Tommy Curtis (4.1 ppg); G Andy Hill (2.7 ppg); F Vince Carson (2.4 ppg, 2.6 rpg).
Summary: UCLA won the national championship by an average of 18 points. Although the Bill Walton-led Bruins trailed Florida State by a season-high seven points in the first half and the final margin of the championship game was just five (81-76), the outcome never seemed in doubt. Excluding a six-point triumph at Oregon State, they won every other game by at least 13 points. Walton joined Oscar Robertson (Cincinnati '58) as the only players in history to be named national player of the year in their first season of varsity competition. UCLA set an NCAA single-season record for highest average scoring margin (30.3). Incredibly, the Bruins' average halftime margin (17.4) was greater than any other team over an entire game excluding North Carolina's 17.7.
5. Indiana '76 (32-0)
Coach: Bob Knight (5th of 29 seasons with Hoosiers).
Key Players: F Scott May (23.5 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 52.7 FG%); C Kent Benson (17.3 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 57.8 FG%); F Tom Abernethy (10 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 56.1 FG%); G Quinn Buckner (8.9 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 2 spg); G-F Bobby Wilkerson (7.8 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 5.3 apg); G Wayne Radford (4.7 ppg, 56.3 FG%); G Jim Crews (3.3 ppg, 85.7 FT%); G Jim Wisman (2.5 ppg); F Rich Valavicius (2.4 ppg).
Summary: Indiana tied North Carolina '57 for the all-time record for victories by an undefeated team (32-0). The Hoosiers' schedule was one of the most difficult of any NCAA kingpin. In 14 games outside the rigorous Big Ten, their opponents combined to win more than three-fourths of their games excluding the contests with Indiana. IU's Scott May and Kent Benson combined for 40.8 points and 16.5 rebounds per game for team winning national championship by an average of 13.2 points. The Hoosiers kept a perfect record intact despite trailing in the second half of three of their five tournament games, including Mideast Regional contests against Alabama and Marquette accounting for two of the 11 contests they won by single-digit margins. The closest result was a two- point triumph at Ohio State in their Big Ten Conference opener.
6. UCLA '73 (30-0)
Coach: John Wooden (25th of 27 seasons with Bruins).
Key Players: C Bill Walton (20.4 ppg, 16.9 rpg, 5.6 apg, 65 FG%); F Keith Wilkes (14.8 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 52.5 FG%); F Larry Farmer (12.2 ppg, 5 rpg, 51.1 FG%); G Larry Hollyfield (10.7 ppg, 2.9 rpg); G Tommy Curtis (6.4 ppg, 51.2 FG%); F Dave Meyers (4.9 ppg, 2.9 rpg); G Greg Lee (4.6 ppg); C Swen Nater (3.2 ppg, 3.3 rpg); G-F Pete Trgovich (3.1 ppg).
Summary: UCLA, spearheaded by center Bill Walton, became the first major college in history to compile back-to-back perfect-record seasons. "Walton might have been a better all-around player (than Lew Alcindor)," Wooden said. "If you were grading a player for every fundamental skill, Walton would rank the highest of any center who ever played." UCLA won the national championship by an average of 16 points. Walton, aided by Greg Lee's tourney-high 14 assists, erupted for a championship game-record 44 points in an 87-66 triumph over Memphis State in the final. It was UCLA's fifth title-game victory in seven years over a Final Four newcomer. Walton had been outscored by fellow center Steve Downing, 26-14, in a 70-59 victory against Indiana in the national semifinals. The Bruins won 26 of their 30 games by a double-digit margin with the closest results being six-point victories against league rivals Oregon State and Stanford.
7. North Carolina State '74 (30-1)
Coach: Norman Sloan (8th of 14 seasons with Wolfpack).
Key Players: F David Thompson (26 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 54.7 FG%); C Tom Burleson (18.1 ppg, 12.2 rpg, 51.6 FG%); G Monte Towe (12.8 ppg, 51.7 FG%, 3.8 apg, 81.1 FT%); G Moe Rivers (12.1 ppg, 2.9 rpg); F Phil Spence (6 ppg, 6.3 rpg); F Tim Stoddard (5.5 ppg, 4.5 rpg); F Steve Nuce (4.4 ppg, 3.2 rpg); F Greg Hawkins (2.8 ppg); G Mark Moeller (2.7 ppg, 91.3 FT%).
Only Defeat: UCLA at St. Louis (18).
Summary: North Carolina State, unbeaten in 27 games the previous season when it was ineligible to participate in the national tournament because of an NCAA probation, defeated Marquette in the championship game (76-64). The final in N.C. State's home state at Greensboro was anticlimatic after the Wolfpack avenged an 18-point loss to UCLA earlier in the season on a neutral court (St. Louis) by ending the Bruins' 38-game playoff winning streak (80-77 in double overtime). N.C. State erased an 11-point deficit midway through the second half and a seven-point deficit in the second extra session behind David Thompson's 28 points and 10 rebounds to halt UCLA's string of seven consecutive NCAA championships. Thompson became the only undergraduate non-center to average more than 23 points per game for a national champion (26 ppg). N.C. State traveled a thorny path during the season to the NCAA title, defeating nine teams that, at the time, were ranked among the nation's top five.
8. Indiana '75 (31-1)
Coach: Bob Knight (4th of 29 seasons with Hoosiers).
Key Players: F Steve Green (16.6 ppg, 58.2 FG%); F Scott May (16.3 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 51 FG%); C Kent Benson (15 ppg, 8.9 rpg, 54.1 FG%); G Quinn Buckner (11.8 ppg, 3.8 rpg); F Tom Abernethy (4.2 ppg, 3 rpg, 52.6 FG%).
Only Defeat: Kentucky in Mideast Regional final (2).
Summary: Indiana's Bob Knight had one of the all-time greatest coaching staffs. His four assistants all eventually became head coaches for at least two different major colleges - Dave Bliss, Bob Donewald, Mike Krzyzewski and Bob Weltlich. The Hoosiers, undefeated entering the tourney (29-0), lost the Mideast Regional final against Kentucky (92-90) despite Kent Benson's 33 points and tourney-high 23 rebounds. Knight said he made a mistake by playing an offensive player (John Laskowski) substantially more minutes (33 to 3) than defensive standout Tom Abernethy. Kentucky guards Jimmy Dan Conner and Mike Flynn combined to outscore Indiana counterparts Quinn Buckner and Bobby Wilkerson, 39-22. It was IU's only setback in a 68-game stretch from March 15, 1974, until December 1, 1976.
9. Georgetown '84 (34-3)
Coach: John Thompson (12th of 27 seasons with Hoyas).
Key Players: C Patrick Ewing (16.4 ppg, 10 rpg, 3.6 bpg, 65.8 FG%); G-F David Wingate (11.2 ppg, 3.6 rpg); G Michael Jackson (10.1 ppg, 4.4 apg, 50.9 FG%); G-F Reggie Williams (9.1 ppg, 3.5 rpg); F Bill Martin (8.9 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 50.9 FG%); F Michael Graham (4.9 ppg, 4 rpg, 56.1 FG%); G Horace Broadnax (4.8 ppg, 85.3 FG%); G Gene Smith (3.7 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 1.9 spg, 51.1 FG%); G Fred Brown (3.2 ppg, 2.6 rpg); C-F Ralph Dalton (2.8 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 56.9 FG%).
Only Defeats: At DePaul (2), Villanova (2 in 2OT), and St. John's (4).
Summary: Georgetown became the first Eastern school in 30 years to win an NCAA title. Ewing, the Hoyas' leading scorer on the season, tied the all-time low scoring total for a Final Four Most Outstanding Player with 18 points in two games (fifth on the team), but he was the key component in Georgetown's suffocating defense. The Hoyas led the nation in field-goal percentage defense (39.5 percent) and exhibited their tenacity in the national semifinals when they harassed Kentucky into shooting a dismal 9.1 percent in the second half (3 of 33) en route to a 53-40 victory. Georgetown's Michael Jackson, a 6-1 guard averaging 1.4 rebounds per game entering the Final Four, retrieved 10 missed shots against Kentucky's formidable frontline to help the Hoyas overcome a seven-point halftime deficit in the national semifinals.
10. North Carolina '82 (32-2)
Coach: Dean Smith (21st of 36 seasons with Tar Heels).
Key Players: F James Worthy (15.6 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 57.3 FG%); C Sam Perkins (14.3 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 1.7 bpg, 57.8 FG%); G Michael Jordan (13.5 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 53.4 FG%); F Matt Doherty (9.3 ppg, 3 rpg, 51.9 FG%); G Jimmy Black (7.6 ppg, 6.3 apg, 1.7 spg, 51.3 FG%); G Jim Braddock (1.9 ppg, 83.3 FT%); F Chris Brust (1.7 ppg, 62.2 FG%); G Buzz Peterson (1.2 ppg).
Only Defeats: Wake Forest (7) and at Virginia (16).
Summary: Freshman guard Michael Jordan swished a 16-foot jumper from the left side with 16 seconds remaining to provide the title contest's final points as North Carolina edged Georgetown, 63-62. Georgetown guard Fred Brown's errant pass directly to Tar Heels forward James Worthy prevented the Hoyas from attempting a potential game-winning shot in the closing seconds. Worthy, the Final Four Most Outstanding Player, hit 20 of 27 field-goal attempts in two Final Four games. He scored a career-high 28 points in the championship game. Jordan's heroics came after an inauspicious playoff debut when he collected six points, one rebound, no assists and no steals in 37 minutes of a 52-50 opening-round victory against James Madison in the East Regional.
11. Kentucky '54 (25-0)
Coach: Adolph Rupp (23rd of 41 seasons with Wildcats).
Key Players: F-C Cliff Hagan (24 ppg, 13.5 rpg); G Frank Ramsey (19.6 ppg, 8.8 rpg); F Lou Tsioropoulos (14.5 ppg, 9.6 rpg); F-G Billy Evans (8.4 ppg, 7.2 rpg); G Gayle Rose (6.7 ppg); F-C Phil Grawemeyer (5.9 ppg, 6.1 rpg); G Linville Puckett (5.1 ppg, 2.2 rpg).
Summary: After a one-year schedule boycott, UK's undefeated squad (25-0) declined a bid to the NCAA playoffs because its three fifth-year (postgraduate) stars - Cliff Hagan, Frank Ramsey and Lou Tsioropoulos - were ineligible. The Wildcats defeated national champion-to-be La Salle by 13 points in the UK Invitation Tournament final on their way to being ranked 1st by AP and 2nd by UPI. They had just two games tighter than a 12-point decision (77-71 over Xavier and 63-56 over LSU). Sandwiched between those two contests were 16 victories by an average margin of 33.7 points. Kentucky, coached by Adolph Rupp, finished among the top 10 in team offense and won at least 25 games for the eighth consecutive season in which it participated (barred from playing in 1952-53 as the result of an NCAA ruling regarding improper payments to players). Hagan and Ramsey combined for 43.6 points per game and either one or both of them led the Wildcats in scoring in each of their 25 contests.
12. UNLV '91 (34-1)
Coach: Jerry Tarkanian (18th of 19 seasons with Rebels).
Key Players: F Larry Johnson (22.7 ppg, 10.9 rpg, 3 apg, 2.1 spg, 66.2 FG%, 81.8 FT%); G Anderson Hunt (17.2 ppg, 2.9 apg, 39.9 3FG%); F Stacey Augmon (16.5 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 3.6 apg, 2.2 spg, 58.7 FG%); G Greg Anthony (11.6 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 8.9 apg, 2.4 spg, 39.5 3FG%); C George Ackles (8.2 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 2.2 bpg, 53.9 FG%); F Evric Gray (6.8 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 42.9 3FG%); C Elmore Spencer (6.4 ppg, 4 rpg, 2.5 bpg, 52.2 FG%).
Only Defeat: Duke in NCAA Tournament national semifinals (2).
Summary: Defending champion UNLV, the first team to enter the NCAA Tournament undefeated since Indiana State in 1979, was upset by Duke in the national semifinals. Still, the Rebels will go down as one of the greatest teams in history if only because they're the only squad to have at least four teammates score a minimum of 1,500 points - Stacey Augmon (2,011), Greg Anthony (1,738), Anderson Hunt (1,632) and Larry Johnson (1,617). They accounted for four of the six-man All-Big West Conference first-team picks.
13. San Francisco '56 (29-0)
Coach: Phil Woolpert (6th of nine seasons with Dons).
Key Players: C Bill Russell (20.6 ppg, 21 rpg, 51.3 FG%); G K.C. Jones (9.8 ppg, 5.2 rpg); G Hal Perry (9.1 ppg, 2 rpg); F Carl Boldt (8.6 ppg, 5 rpg); F Mike Farmer (8.4 ppg, 7.8 rpg); G Gene Brown (7.1 ppg, 4.4 rpg); F Mike Preaseau (4.1 ppg, 3.1 rpg); G Warren Baxter (2.2 ppg).
Summary: USF won the national championship by an average of 14 points after winning all but two of its regular-season games by double-digit margins. Bill Russell became the only player to grab more than 41 rebounds at a Final Four (50) and more than 21 in a championship game (Final Four-record 27 against Iowa). K.C. Jones was ineligible for the playoffs because he had played one game two years earlier before an appendectomy ended his season, but USF still became the first undefeated champion in NCAA history (29-0/coached by Phil Woolpert).
14. Ohio State '60 (25-3)
Coach: Fred Taylor (2nd of 18 seasons with Buckeyes).
Key Players: C Jerry Lucas (26.3 ppg, 16.4 rpg, 63.7 FG%); G Larry Siegfried (13.3 ppg, 3.8 rpg); G Mel Nowell (13.1 ppg, 2.6 rpg); F John Havlicek (12.2 ppg, 7.3 rpg); F Joe Roberts (11 ppg, 6.9 rpg); F Richard Furry (5.1 ppg, 3.3 rpg); F-G Bob Knight (3.7 ppg, 2 rpg); C Howard Nourse (3.1 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 51.1 FG%); G Gary Gearhart (2.6 ppg); G Richie Hoyt (2.5 ppg).
Only Defeats: At Utah (5), at Kentucky (3), and at Indiana (16).
Summary: Sophomore Jerry Lucas had the largest-ever margin over the national runner-up in field-goal shooting. Lucas hit 63.7% of his shots compared to 57.6% for Cincinnati's Paul Hogue. The Buckeyes became the only NCAA titlist to win all of their tournament games by more than 15 points. Lucas and OSU's four other starters - sophomores John Havlicek and Mel Nowell, senior Joe Roberts and junior Larry Siegfried - were all high school centers. They each scored in double figures in the NCAA final before eventually playing at least two seasons in the NBA or ABA or both.
15. Duke '92 (34-2)
Coach: Mike Krzyzewski (12th of first 33 seasons with Blue Devils).
Key Players: C Christian Laettner (21.5 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 2.1 spg, 57.5 FG%, 81.5 FT%, 55.7 3FG%); G Thomas Hill (14.6 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 53.4 FG%, 40.7 3FG%); F-G Grant Hill (14 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 4.1 apg, 61.1 FG%); G Bobby Hurley (13.2 ppg, 7.6 apg, 42.1 3FG%); F Brian Davis (11.2 ppg, 4.5 rpg); F Antonio Lang (6.4 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 56.2 FG%); C Cherokee Parks (5 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 57.1 FG%); G Marty Clark (2.9 ppg, 54.1 FG%); C Erik Meek (2.5 ppg, 57.9 FG%).
Only Defeats: At North Carolina (2) and Wake Forest (4).
Summary: Christian Laettner hit a dramatic decisive last-second shot against Kentucky in overtime after receiving a long inbounds pass in the East Regional final. The game is acknowledged as one of the most suspenseful in NCAA history. Laettner became the NCAA Tournament's all-time leading scorer and teammate Bobby Hurley became the tourney's all-time leader in assists as the Blue Devils became the first school since UCLA (1967-73) to repeat as national champion. Hurley took up the slack with 26 points when Laettner was limited to eight points in an 81-78 decision over Indiana in the national semifinals. Laettner closed out his college career with a game-high 19 points in the championship game against Michigan, which became the only school ever to lead an NCAA final at halftime and end up losing the game by at least 20 points. Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski did the unthinkable and temporarily passed UCLA legend John Wooden (47-10, .8246) for the top spot in all-time NCAA playoff winning percentage (minimum of 20 games). Hurley was selected Final Four Most Outstanding Player although dissenters believed that Duke teammate Grant Hill deserved the honor instead. In the two Final Four games, Hill had more field goals than Hurley (14 to 10), outshot him from the floor (61% to 41.7), blocked more shots (5 to 0), outrebounded him (16 to 3) and accumulated just as many assists (11 each). Moreover, Hurley's 3 of 12 field-goal shooting in the final against Michigan was the worst marksmanship from the floor for a Final Four Most Outstanding Player in a championship game since Elgin Baylor of runner-up Seattle went 9 of 32 against Kentucky in 1958. It was the second consecutive year for the Final Four Most Outstanding Player to come from Duke and manage just three baskets and shoot less than 50 percent from the floor in the title game. In 1991, Laettner hit 3 of 8 field-goal attempts against Kansas. Duke became the 18th NCAA Tournament champion to win at least two playoff games by fewer than six points when the Blue Devils edged Kentucky (104-103 in overtime) and Indiana (81-78 in national semifinals).
16. Houston '83 (31-3)
Coach: Guy Lewis (27th of 30 seasons with Cougars).
Key Players: F-G Michael Young (17.3 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 51.3 FG%); F Clyde Drexler (15.9 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 53.6 FG%); C Hakeem Olajuwon (13.9 ppg, 11.4 rpg, 61.1 FG%); F Larry Micheaux 13.8 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 58.8 FG%); F-G Benny Anders (5.9 ppg); G Alvin Franklin (4.8 ppg); G David Rose (3.5 ppg); G Reid Gettys (3.4 ppg, 54.8 FG%).
Only Defeats: At Syracuse (5), Virginia at Tokyo (9) and North Carolina State in NCAA Tournament final (2). Summary: Hakeem Olajuwon, who collected 41 points and 40 rebounds (tourney-high 22 vs. Louisville and 18 vs. N.C. State) for national runner-up Houston in two Final Four games, is the only Final Four Most Outstanding Player since 1972 not to play for the championship team. Swingman Clyde Drexler set a SWC record with 11 steals against Syracuse.
17. UCLA '64 (30-0)
Coach: John Wooden (16th of 27 seasons with Bruins).
Key Players: G Gail Goodrich (21.5 ppg, 5.2 rpg); G Walt Hazzard (18.6 ppg, 4.7 rpg); F Jack Hirsch (14 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 52.8 FG%); F Keith Erickson (10.7 ppg, 9.1 rpg); C Fred Slaughter (7.9 ppg, 8.1 rpg); F-G Kenny Washington (6.1 ppg, 4.2 rpg); C Doug McIntosh (3.6 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 51.9 FG%).
Summary: Undefeated UCLA won its first of 10 NCAA titles in 12 years, a stretch of dominance that many believe ranks among the greatest achievements in the history of competitive sports. The Bruins entered the season without a Final Four victory despite finishing in a final Top 20 wire-service poll eight times in the previous 14 years under coach John Wooden. Gail Goodrich, a 6-1 junior, became the shortest undergraduate to average more than 20 points per game for an NCAA titlist (21.5 ppg).
18. San Francisco '55 (28-1)
Coach: Phil Woolpert (5th of nine seasons with Dons).
Key Players: C Bill Russell (21.4 ppg, 20.5 rpg, 54.1 FG%); F Jerry Mullen (13.6 ppg, 7.1 rpg); G K.C. Jones (10.6 ppg, 5.1 rpg); G Hal Perry (6.9 ppg); F Stan Buchanan (5.2 ppg, 3.2 rpg); F Bob Wiebusch (3.6 ppg, 2.1 rpg).
Only Defeat: At UCLA (7).
Summary: Any time the ball neared USF's goal, Bill Russell was there to guide the ball through the net, grab the rebound and score or pass to a teammate. The first of San Francisco's back-to-back champions survived a scare in a West Regional and won by one point at Oregon State (57-56). The Beavers would have avenged a 26-point defeat earlier in the season against the Dons if they hadn't missed a last-second shot. A 60-34 verdict over Oregon State was the first of USF's 60 consecutive victories, the longest winning streak in major-college history until UCLA won 88 games in a row from 1971-74.
19. North Carolina '57 (32-0)
Coach: Frank McGuire (5th of nine seasons with Tar Heels).
Key Players: F Lennie Rosenbluth (28 ppg, 8.8 rpg); F Pete Brennan (14.7 ppg, 10.4 rpg); G Tommy Kearns (12.8 ppg, 3.1 rpg); C Joe Quigg (10.3 ppg, 8.6 rpg); G Bob Cunningham (7.2 ppg, 6.7 rpg).
Summary: An NCAA championship game frequently misconstrued as an enormous upset was Carolina's 54-53 triple-overtime victory against Wilt Chamberlain-led Kansas. After all, the Tar Heels were undefeated (32-0), winning 22 games by at least nine points, and their top three scorers wound up playing in the NBA albeit briefly - forwards Lennie Rosenbluth and Pete Brennan and guard Tommy Kearns. Rosenbluth was the team's leading scorer in 27 of its 32 contests, although the Heels won the NCAA final after he fouled out with 1:45 remaining in regulation.
20. Kentucky '49 (32-2)
Coach: Adolph Rupp (19th of 41 seasons with Wildcats).
Key Players: C Alex Groza (20.5 ppg); G Ralph Beard (10.9 ppg); F-C Wallace Jones (9.7 ppg); G-F Cliff Barker (7.3 ppg); F-G Dale Barnstable (6.1 ppg); F Jim Line (5.7 ppg, 84.3 FT%); F-G Walt Hirsch (4.6 ppg).
Only Defeats: Neutral courts vs. St. Louis (2-point margin) and Loyola of Chicago (11).
Summary: Despite returning seven of his top eight scorers from an NCAA titlist, UK coach Adolph Rupp experimented with the Wildcats' lineup until he achieved the chemistry he sought. Cliff Barker was moved from forward to guard and forward Dale Barnstable also played some guard. After an early-season defeat to St. Louis on a last-second tip-in, Kentucky won all of its games until bowing in the NIT to eventual finalist Loyola of Chicago. A couple of years later, Alex Groza, Ralph Beard and Barnstable admitted in sworn testimony that they accepted $1,500 in bribes to throw the NIT game against Loyola. There was also testimony that bribes from gamblers were accepted to shave points in other contests. Each received a suspended sentence in return for cooperating with federal officials and were banned by the NBA. Groza is the only player to appear at a minimum of two Final Fours and be the game-high scorer in every Final Four contest in which he competed.