It’s that time of the year again: March Madness. What better way to kick it off than reflect back on My Ultimate List which is:
“MARC JAMES TOP TEN GREATEST COLLEGE BASKETBALL TEAMS OF ALL TIME”:
10. 1974 N.C. State Wolfpack: David Thompson: arguably “The Greatest ACC Basketball Player Ever” led the Wolfpack to an epic 30-1 season with an upset of Bill Walton & UCLA in the Final Four. The Pack went on to win the National Championship against Marquette, 76-64.
9. 1956 San Francisco Dons: First team ever to go an entire season undefeated finishing 29-0 led by the Most Successful Basketball Player Ever in terms of Most Championships Hall of Famer Bill Russell.
8. 1968 UCLA Bruins: One of John Wooden’s finest with Lew Alcindor as the man later to be known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. All five starters averaged double digits throughout the season.
7. 1985 Georgetown Hoyas: Patrick Ewing, the National Player of the Year, led the Defending National Champions to their 3rd Final Four & National Championship appearance in 4 seasons. He finished his illustrious Georgetown career with a 35-2 season, but were stunned by 8th seeded Villanova, 66-64 . The most staggering statistic is that Ewing and the Hoyas lost two National Title Games in ’82 (to UNC) &’85 by a combined total of THREE points. Could’ve been the one of The Greatest Dynasties in College Basketball History had they won 3 National Championships in Four years.
6. 1972 UClA Bruins: Once again, the “Wizard of Westwood” John Wooden set the standard on Greatness with a PERFECT season with The Grateful Dead Red Head Bill Walton.
5. 1992 Duke Blue Devils: Christian Laettner leads the Defending National Champions to Back-To-Back titles en route to winning the National Player of the Year. Laettner capped off a career what most consider to be “The Greatest Player in College Basketball History”. Bobby Hurley & Grant Hill were instrumental in giving Mike Krysewski his first ever National Titles with a Monumental Upset (SEE #1) of UNLV in the 1991 Final Four.
4. 1982 North Carolina Tarheels: A freshman from Wilmington, NC, by the name of Michael Jordan hit the game winning shot against Patrick Ewing & Georgetown to give Dean Smith his first ever National Championship. The Heels also had future NBA stars James Worthy & Sam Perkins. An errant pass by Georgetown’s “Downtown” Freddie Brown to Worthy sealed it for the Heels.
3. 1996 Kentucky Wildcats: SIX Future NBA Players comprised of Antoine Walker, Tony Delk, Walter McCarty, Derek Anderson, Ron Mercer, & Mark Pope gives Rick Pitino his first and only National Championship. The Cats had an astounding margin of victory of 21 points in the NCAA Tournament,
2. 1976 Indiana Hoosiers: The “General” Bob Knight wins his first of three National Titles at IU. National Player of the Year (& Future father of UNC Tarheel 2005 National Champion Sean May) Scott May, Quinn Buckner, & Kent Benson are the last team to go UNDEFEATED. This remarkable achievement will probably NEVER be attained.
1. 1991 UNLV Runnin’ Rebels: Last, but definitely, NOT least, “The GREATEST TEAM in College Basketball History”. Period. Exclamation Point! I know this particular team didn’t actually win it all this season, but future Charlotte Hornet-to-be Larry Johnson, Anderson Hunt, Greg Anthony, & Stacey Augmon won 46 games in a row (Yeah, who was the last team to win 46 games in a row, huh?) dating back to the previous season en route to the 1990 national Championship smack-down of Duke 103-73. It took a near perfect game by Bobby Hurley, Christian Laettner, & Grant Hill to pull off the 79-77 Monumental Upset of the Rebels.
Considering Duke got beat by 30 points in The Biggest Blow-out in NCAA History, and followed that up the next two years winning Back-to-Back National Titles beating both UNLV & “The Fab Five” in the Championship game, who better than Hurley to ask the question I’ve always wanted to know. When Hurley came on our show “The Drive” with me & Taylor Zarzour this week, I asked him who would win a hypothetical match-up between ’91 Vegas & “The Fab 5″ of Michigan ’93. Hurley responded: “It’s NOT EVEN close…Vegas would’ve beaten them easily…If the Fab Five stayed until their Senior year, they (UNLV) still would’ve beaten them. Vegas was the closest thing to an NBA team.” I REST MY CASE!