While there are various sources of entertainment provided for us to pass our time in the form of movies, music videos, sitcoms, video games or even concerts and festivals, one can safely say that sports is one of the most popular source of entertainment. The excitement, the adrenaline rush, the anticipation and unpredictability makes it one of the most loved medium of escaping from reality for some time, be it in the form of a video game or a live match. There are several sports that have a vast number of fan following all around the world. The most popular being Football with 4 billion fans across the world followed by Cricket with 2.5 billion fans. But one particular sport we will be discussing about in this article is Basketball which is ranked 7th as the most popular sport in the world with estimated 825 million fans. In this article we shall read about Back to back NCAA Basketball Champions
Basketball was invented by James Naismith, a Canadian teacher, in the late 19th century. It soon became popular because of it’s simplicity like football since not many equipments were needed to play the sport other than two baskets and a ball. It still remains popular to this date with many major leagues being formed such as NBA, FIBA, BCLA etc, as well as college basketball leagues such as UCAA, UCBL, UCLAA etc.
The NCAA is one of the most popular basketball tournaments with the college teams giving their best to win the championship. While winning the championship once is commendable, there are select few teams that can proudly claim that they have won back-to-back titles.
- Oklahoma A&M (1945 & 1946) – The Oklahoma A&M (now known as Oklahoma state) were the first college team to win back-to-back NCAA title. Also known as the Aggies, their first appearance was in the 1945 NCAA tournament. They first defeated Utah and Arkansas and then defeated NYU by 49-45 in the title game emerging as the champions. Head Coach Henry Iba’s team was led by Bob Kurland who gave 22 point performance earning him ‘Outstanding Player’ title.
The following year proved just as successful for the Aggies, as they won the national title for the consecutive year defeating California by 52-35 in the semi-finals and then North Carolina by 43-40 in the title give. The team was again led by Bob Kurland who once again won the ‘Outstanding Player Award’ for second straight season.
- Kentucky (1948 & 1949) – The second college team to win NCAA Championship title for two consecutive years was The University of Kentucky, also known as the Wildcats. Led by team captain Alex Groza under legendary coach Adolph Rupp, the Wildcats defeated Columbia in the first round by 76-53 en-route to the final four where they defeated Holy Cross by 60-54 and then finally won the championship by defeating Baylor by 58-42.
In the 1949 NCAA Tournament, the Wildcats defeated Villanova in the first round by
85-72, then Illinois by 76-47 in the final four before finally defeating the back to back national champions Oklahoma A&M by 46-36.
- San Francisco (1955 & 1956) – The 1955 San Francisco Dons were coached by Phil Woolpert and led by team captain Bill Russell, who would later on bring 11 NBA titles for Boston Celtics. The Dons first beat Oregon State in the Regional Finals by 57-56, Colorado in the final four by 62-50 and lastly La Salle by 77-63 in the final game earning their first National Title.
In the next season as well the Dons remained undefeated for the second consecutive
year. The team, once again led by Bill Russell, defeated Utah in the first round by
92-77, SMU in the final four by 86-68 and won the National Championship Game by
defeating Iowa by 83-71.
- Cincinnati (1961 & 1962) – In 1961 the Cincinnati Bearcats became the fourth team to win back to back UCAA Championship. Led by team captain Bob Wiesenhahn under coach Ed Jucker, the team defeated Kansas State by 69-64 in the region finals, Utah by 82-67 in the final four and won the championship game by defeating in-state rival Ohio State by 70-65.
The following season, led by co-captains Bob Wiesenhahn and Carl Bouldin first
beat Colorado by 73-46 in the regional finals, then UCLA in the final four by 72-70
and became defending champions by defeating Ohio State in the final match by
- UCLA (1964 & 1965) – The year 1964 was marked as the start of something incredible that had never occured in the history of NCAA Championship. The UCLA Bruins not only won their first back to back championship in the year 1964-1965, they also remained undefeated for seven consecutive years from 1967-1973. Under head coach John Wooden, the Bruins defeated San Francisco in the regional finals by 76-72, Kansas State in the final four and won the championship by earning 98 points against Duke’s 83.
The following year, they defeated San Francisco in the regional finals by 101-93, Wichita State in the final four by 108-89 and were crowned as the defending champions by defeating Michigan by 91-80.
Although they missed the 1966 NCAA championship, they created history by remaining as the defending champions for seven years. They have 88 straight wins in their name and also a likely unbreakable record in the history of Men’s NCAA Basketball Tournament.
- Duke (1991 & 1992) – In 1991, the Duke Blue Devils won their second National Championship and became the defending champions in the following season, earning them a win for two consecutive years. Under their head coach Mike Kryzyzewski, the team defeated St. John in the regional finals by 78-61, UNLV in the semi finals by 79-77 and won the national title by defeating Kansas by 72-65.
The following season, led by MOP Bobby Hurley they defeated Kentucky in the regional finals by very close 104-103, Indiana in the final four by 81-78 and remained as the defending champions by defeating Michigan by 71-51.
- Florida (2006 & 2007) – The most recent consecutive wins belong to The University of Florida. Coached by Billy Donovan, the team raced through the tournament defeating Memphis by 50-45 in the regional finals, LSU in the final four by 59-45 and winning the university’s first national championship by defeating UCLA by 57-73.
The following season, the Gators were aiming to repeat as national champions. They knocked off Kansas in the regional finals by 68-55, UCLA in final four by 76-66 and became the first team in 15 years to win two consecutive national titles by defeating Ohio State by 84-75.