Saturday, September 20, 2014
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NCAA honors top players, moments and teams in men's basketball championship history

In honor of the upcoming 75th NCAA men's basketball championship, a panel of experts convened by the NCAA has selected the top players, moments and teams in tournament history.

NCAA honors top players, moments and teams in men's basketball championship history

Christian Laettner´s buzzer-beating shot for Duke against Kentucky in the 1992 NCAA Tournament at the Spectrum is still one of the best-known moments in college basketball history. (Inquirer file photo)
Christian Laettner's buzzer-beating shot for Duke against Kentucky in the 1992 NCAA Tournament at the Spectrum is still one of the best-known moments in college basketball history. (Inquirer file photo)

In honor of the upcoming 75th NCAA men's basketball championship, a panel of experts convened by the NCAA has selected the top players, moments and teams in tournament history.

You'll find all of the honorees below, with those featuring local ties in bold. If I missed any local connections, let me know and I'll highlight them.

And in case you're wondering how this was put together, here's the official explanation from the NCAA:

From a pool of more than 100 former players, NCAA staff analyzed statistical data compiled exclusively from performances in NCAA tournament games [e.g., points, rebounds, field goals, free throws, three-pointers (since 1987), assists, steals, blocks] to determine the 75 player finalists. 

The lists were compiled and researched by the NCAA’s basketball and statistics staffs, which consulted with the NCAA’s media partners and selected members of the United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA). 


The Top 75 Players (listed alphabetically by school):

Miles Simon, Arizona
Sean Elliott, Arizona
Corliss Williamson, Arkansas
Shelvin Mack, Butler
Darrall Imhoff, California

Oscar Robertson, Cincinnati
Paul Hogue, Cincinnati
Tom Thacker, Cincinnati

Emeka Okafor, Connecticut
Kemba Walker, Connecticut
Richard Hamilton, Connecticut

Bobby Hurley, Duke
Danny Ferry, Duke
Christian Laettner, Duke
Grant Hill, Duke
Johnny Dawkins, Duke
Shane Battier, Duke

Joakim Noah, Florida
Patrick Ewing, Georgetown
Kenny Anderson, Georgia Tech
George Kaftan, Holy Cross

Clyde Drexler, Houston
Elvin Hayes, Houston
Hakeem Olajuwon, Houston

Keith Smart, Indiana
Isaiah Thomas, Indiana
Kent Benson, Indiana
Scott May, Indiana
Steve Alford, Indiana

Larry Bird, Indiana State
Artis Gilmore, Jacksonville

Clyde Lovellette, Kansas
Wilt Chamberlain, Kansas
Danny Manning, Kansas

Anthony Davis, Kentucky
Dan Issel, Kentucky
Jack Givens, Kentucky
Tony Delk, Kentucky

Darrell Griffith, Louisville
Pervis Ellison, Louisville
Butch Lee, Marquette
Juan Dixon, Maryland

Glen Rice, Michigan
Earvin "Magic" Johnson, Michigan State
Mateen Cleaves, Michigan State
David Robinson, Navy
David Thompson, N.C. State

Lennie Rosenbluth, North Carolina
Michael Jordan, North Carolina
Antawn Jamison, North Carolina
James Worthy, North Carolina
Sean May, North Carolina
Tyler Hansbrough, North Carolina

Austin Carr, Notre Dame
Jerry Lucas, Ohio State
Bob Kurland Oklahoma A&M (now known as Oklahoma State)
Bill Bradley, Princeton

Bill Russell,  San Francisco
Elgin Baylor, Seattle
Chris Mullin,  St. John's
Carmelo Anthony, Syracuse
Bobby Joe Hill, Texas Western (now known as UTEP)

Gail Goodrich, UCLA
Jamaal Wilkes, UCLA
Sidney Wicks, UCLA
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, UCLA
Walt Hazzard UCLA
Bill Walton, UCLA

Stacey Augmon, UNLV
Larry Johnson, UNLV
Arnie Ferrin, Utah
Ed Pinckney, Villanova

Ralph Sampson Virginia
Jerry West West Virginia
Ken Sailors Wyoming


The Top 35 Greatest Moments (in order by year)

1939: Oregon wins first NCAA Tournament
1963: Loyola (Ill.) vs. Mississippi St.
1966: A win for Civil Rights (Texas Western beats Kentucky with the first ever all-African American starting lineup)

1973: Bill Walton leads UCLA Bruins to title
1974: N.C. State ends UCLA's undefeated run
1975: UCLA coach John Wooden goes out with 10th title
1976: Indiana wins national championship with perfect season

1977: Marquette's McGuire goes out on top
1979: Magic Johnson vs. Larry Bird
1981: Ainge's full-court drive leads BYU last second win
1981: U.S. Reed, Rolando Blackman and John Smith hit dramatic winning shots on the same day (Smith did so for Saint Joseph's against DePaul)

1982: Michael Jordan hits game-winner to lead North Carolina
1983: N.C. State's last second win over Houston
1985: Andre Turner hits winning shots in two different games for Memphis
1985: Villanova upsets Georgetown in the national championship game

1987: Indiana's Keith Smart shocks Syracuse
1989 Rumeal Robinson seals Michigan victory
1990: Loyola Marymount's Bo Kimble shoots lefty
1990: Connecticut's Tate George beats Clemson in final seconds
1990: Christian Laettner hits a dramatic winning shot (there would be another two years later)

1991: Richmond makes history, becoming the first ever 15-seed to beat a 2-seed
1991: Duke upsets UNLV in the Final Four
1992: Christian Laettner's most famous shot, beating Kentucky at the Spectrum at the buzzer

1995: Tyus Edney saves UCLA
1996: Mile High Madness: Syracuse beats Georgia in OT
1998: The Bryce Drew shot - Valpo upsets Ole Miss
1998: Connecticut's Richard Hamilton rips the hearts out of the Washington Huskies

1999: The nation meets Gonzaga
2001: Hampton Coach Steve Merfeld gets a lift after his 15-seed Pirates pulled off an upset
2005: Regional Finals for the ages
2006: George Mason reaches the Final Four

2008: Kansas comes back in closing minutes to win title
2010: Butler comes oh so close
2011: VCU goes from the First Four to the Final Four
2012: Two 15-over-2 upsets in the same day: Lehigh beats Duke and Norfolk State beats Missouri


The Top 25 Greatest Teams (in chronological order, with coach and regular-season recurd in parentheses)

1946-47 Holy Cross (Doggie Julian, 27-3)
1951-52 Kansas (Phog Allen, 28-3)
1955-56 San Francisco (Phil Woolpert, 29-0)
1956-57 North Carolina (Frank McGuire, 32-0)
1959-60 Ohio State (Fred Taylor, 25-3)

1966-67 UCLA (John Wooden, 30-0)
1967-68 UCLA (John Wooden, 29-1)
1968-69 UCLA (John Wooden, 29-1)
1971-72 UCLA (John Wooden, 30-0)
1972-73 UCLA (John Wooden, 30-0)

1973-74 N.C. State (Norm Sloan, 30-1)
1975-76 Indiana (Bobby Knight, 32-0)
1978-79 Michigan State (Jud Heathcote, 26-6)
1979-80 Louisville (Denny Crum, 33-3)1981-82 North Carolina (Dean Smith, 32-2)
1983-84 Georgetown (John Thompson, 34-3)

1989-90 UNLV (Jerry Tarkanian, 35-5)
1991-92 Duke (Mike Krzyzewski, 34-2)
1992-93 North Carolina (Dean Smith, 34-4)
1995-96 Kentucky (Rick Pitino, 34-2)
1996-97 Arizona (Lute Olson, 25-9)

2003-04 Connecticut (Jim Calhoun, 33-6)
2006-07 Florida (Billy Donovan, 35-5)
2008-09 North Carolina (Roy Williams, 34-4)
2011-12 Kentucky (John Calipari, 38-2) 

Jonathan Tannenwald Philly.com
About this blog
Soft Pretzel Logic is Philly.com's college sports blog, with a primary focus on the University of Pennsylvania. You'll also see coverage of the Big 5, other major college sports events in the region, and the annual Penn Relays track and field meet.

Reach Jonathan at jtannenwald@phillynews.com or 215-854-2330.

Jonathan Tannenwald Philly.com
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