College basketball has been an evolving sport ever since the game was created. From the termination of dunking to the added three-point line, the game has constantly been progressing. This, of course, is due to some of the games greatest talents dominating so much that the NCAA had no choice but to alter the rules. This top ten list considers factors such as the era in which the game was being played in, the stars and coaches of the championship teams, and in some cases the political influences that some of these teams and players achieved off the court.
10. 1995-1996 Kentucky Wildcats
Known as the “Untouchables” for their dominant performances in one of the most competitive eras of all college basketball, Rick Pitino’s team cruised to greatness with a phenomenal record of 34-2. Led by star players Antoine Walker and Tony Delk, the Wildcats won their NCAA tournament games by an average of 21 points. During the regular season, the Wildcats dropped one of their two losses to the Umass Minutemen, coached by the living legend John Calipari, and arguably the best player in the country at the time, Marcus Camby. The Wildcats avenged this loss in the final four by handing Camby and co. an 81-74 loss before defeating Syracuse 76-67 in the national final.
9. 1973-1974 NC State Wolfpack
The Wolfpack could not be ignored on this list, as they were the first team to stop UCLA‘s incredible run of eight straight titles. Led by star players David Thompson and Tommy Burleson, along with legendary head coach Norm Sloan, the Wolfpack shocked the world and defeated Wooden and his Bruins with a final score of 80-77 in double overtime in the final four before stomping on Marquette in the championship game to finish the season with a 30-1 record. Their only loss that season came at UCLA during the regular season where UCLA beatdown the Wolfpack with a final score of 84-66. No one imagined that NC State could re-write the script when it counted.
8. 1956-1957 North Carolina Tar Heels
After leaving St. Johns in 1952, head coach Frank Mcguire came to Chapel Hill to rebuild this program and recreate the in-state rivalry with NC State. While focusing on recruiting players from his home state of New York, Mcguire built one of the most dominant cohesive teams to step foot on the hardwood. Led by senior Lennie Rosenbluth, ACC player of the year and his counterparts Tommy Kearns and Pete Brennan, first and second All-ACC team respectively, the Tar Heels finished the season with a perfect record of 32-0. To top that, they defeated Wilt Chamberlain, arguably the best player of all time, and the rest of his Kansas powerhouse in triple overtime 54-53, with the game going down as one of the best championships ever played. And to top that, Lennie Rosenbluth had fouled out of the game with one minute and 45 seconds still to go in regulation. Prevailing through that inked this teams’ mark in history forever.
7. 1966-1967 UCLA Bruins
In Lew Alcindor’s freshmen season, his impact was felt right out of the gates. With a 29 point 16 rebound performance in the opening game against in-state rival USC, his greatness was only getting started. With only three games being decided by less than ten points, coach John Wooden put together one of the finest groups ever to play the game, led by Alcindor and Wooden, this team he no troubles in reaching a perfect season of 30-0. By winning their NCAA tournament games by a combined 95 points, it was safe to say this team dismantled any team that tried to step in their way of being perfect.
6. 1954-1955 San Francisco Dons
With two NBA Hall of Famers in Bill Russell and K.C Jones, with Russell being arguably the best defensive player the game has ever seen; Bill Russell and K.C Jones put San Francisco on the map. Led by coach Phil Woolpert, the Dons put together a marvelous season ending with a 28-1 record. After defeating La Salle in the National Championship 77-63, with La Salle only managing to score seven second-half points, the Dons inked their mark into history finishing the season on a 26 game win streak. This was just the beginning.
#. 1965-1966 Texas Western Miners (UTEP)
Widely recognized for their historical significance with regards to the game of basketball, the Miners also happened to be one of the most talented teams to ever step foot on the hardwood. When Don Haskins, coach of the Miners, sent out five African-Americans to challenge Adolph Rupp and his all-white Kentucky team, Haskins was simply giving his team the best chance to win. The political influence comes after the fact that this team was just really good. Led by star guard Bobby Joe Hill, the Miners posted an incredible record of 28-1, with their lone loss being a two-point deficit coming at Seattle in front of one of the most hostile crowds in the nation at the time. With a final score of 72-65 over Adolph Rupp, Pat Riley, and the all-mighty Wildcats, the Miners would forever be known as not only the team that changed the game but also one of the best groups to ever take the floor.
4. 1967-1968 UCLA Bruins
Of course Lew Alcindor and John Wooden weren’t going to only make only one appearance on this list. Their encore to their first run together was even better. With a 29-1 record, this was arguably the best season ever played by a one-loss team. The Bruins were on an incredible 47 game win streak before they lost, “the game of the century,” to Elvin Hayes and his dominant Houston Cougars team 71-69 in front of 55,000 fans, the most an NCAA regular season game had ever seen in attendance up to that point. Not to worry, Alcindor avenged the loss in the final four by dismantling the Cougars with a final score of 101-69 before destroying North Carolina in the championship with a score of 78-55. There was a reason UCLA won eight straight titles.
3. 1955-1956 San Francisco Dons
The Dons made their second appearance on this list because like UCLA, their encore was even better than the bar they previously. With Woolpert, Russell, and Jones leading the pack, the Dons outdid their previous season by going undefeated with a record of 29-0. Not only were they the first team in the NCAA era to go undefeated, they did so without K.C Jones through the course of the tournament, who was ruled ineligible by the NCAA. Outside of Russell and Jones, the next highest scorer on the averaged no more than seven points a game. If anything was learned by this run, it was Russell’s greatness and incredibly, there would only be more to come. After being drafted first by the Boston Celtics, he went on to win 11 NBA championships in 13 seasons.
2. 1971-1972 UCLA Bruins
While John Wooden was still the head coach of the dominant Bruins, it was now Bill Waltons’s time to shine. As a freshman, he averaged 21 points and 16 rebounds; it was safe to say the massive void Alcindor had left the team with was filled. Wooden and Walton led the team to a perfect 30-0 record, with Walton receiving accolades such as USBWA College Player of the Year, Naismith College Player of the Year, and of course the Adolph Rupp Trophy. 30-0 with an average score of 95-64, this UCLA team cemented themselves as one of, if not the best team ever to step foot on the hardwood. One two times during this dominant season saw UCLA only winning by single digits. One of those games came in the National Championship, where UCLA took down the Florida State Seminoles 81-76.
1. 1975-1976 Indiana Hoosiers
Starting off with a bang, Hall of Fame coach Bob Knight and his Hoosier’s dominated national powerhouse UCLA in the season opener 84-64. Led by star players Kent Benson, Scott May, and Bob Wilkerson, Knight got the best out of his players by his uncanny coaching prowess. He yelled, screamed, broke chairs, but most importantly got the most out of his players who respected his unorthodox style. In the NCAA tournament, Knight’s team won by an average of 13 points. In the national semifinal, they took down UCLA again 65-51 before dismantling Michigan in the final 86-68. After taking down UCLA twice, Knight and his Hoosier’s cemented themselves on top amongst the best teams of all times.