All-Time March Madness Timeline  |  Players  |  Teams  |  Moments

As part of the celebration of the 75th Final Four, the top 15 All-Time March Madness Players, the single best Team, and the outstanding Moment in tournament history were honored April 5 at the 2013 Men’s Final Four in Atlanta:

KAREEM ABDUL-JABBAR :: UCLA LARRY BIRD :: Indiana State BILL BRADLEY :: Princeton

Two-time player of the year (1967, ‘69), three-time First Team All-American (1967–69), played on three champion teams (1967-69), honored as Most Outstanding Player in the NCAA tournament three times (1967-69), and became the first Naismith College Player of the Year in 1969.

Originally signed to play for coach Bob Knight at Indiana in 1974, but he dropped out after 24 days, saying he was overwhelmed by the size of the school. Played AAU basketball for Hancock Construction and, after that year, enrolled at Indiana State. Averaged 30.3 ppg and 13.3 rpg.

Attended Princeton because of school’s record of preparing students for government or foreign services work. A former U.S. Senator from N.J., he holds several Ivy League career records, including total and average points (1,253/29.83), and free throws made and attempted (409/468).

Career   Tournament   Career   Tournament   Career   Tournament
26.4 Points 25.3   30.3 Points 27.2   30.2 Points 33.7
15.5 Rebounds 16.8   13.3 Rebounds 13.4   12.1 Rebounds 12.0
N/A Blocks N/A   N/A Blocks N/A   N/A Blocks N/A
N/A Steals N/A   N/A Steals N/A   N/A Steals N/A
N/A Assists N/A   N/A Assists N/A   N/A Assists N/A

 

PATRICK EWING :: Georgetown GRANT HILL :: Duke EARVIN JOHNSON :: Michigan State

Developed habit of wearing a short sleeved T-shirt underneath his sleeveless jersey, starting a fashion trend that lasts to this day. Georgetown reached the championship game of the NCAA tournament three out of four years. Named the Naismith College Player of the Year in 1985.

Averaged 14.9 points and 6.0 rebounds per game, while hitting 53 percent of his shots and 70 percent of his free throws in his four seasons. Also was the player who passed the ball to Christian Laettner to set up his dramatic winning shot against Kentucky in the 1992 East Regional final.

Initially did not aspire to play professionally, focusing instead on his dream to become a TV commentator. Still, he was part of the most-watched game in college basketball history. In 1979, Johnson and Michigan State defeated Larry Bird and Indiana State 75–64 for the NCAA title.

Career   Tournament   Career   Tournament   Career   Tournament
15.3 Points 14.2   14.9 Points 13.5   17.8 Points 17.1
9.2 Rebounds 8.0   6.0 Rebounds 6.7   7.6 Rebounds 8.0
N/A Blocks N/A   1.0 Blocks 1.2   N/A Blocks N/A
N/A Steals N/A   1.7 Steals 2.0   N/A Steals N/A
N/A Assists N/A   3.6 Assists 4.3   N/A Assists N/A

 

MICHAEL JORDAN :: North Carolina CHRISTIAN LAETTNER :: Duke JERRY LUCAS :: Ohio State

Made game-winning shot in the 1982 NCAA championship game against Georgetown, which was led by Patrick Ewing. Jordan later described this shot as the major turning point in his career. Also won gold for the U.S. in 1984 Olympics. Selected as Naismith College Player of the Year in 1984.

Known for last-second, turn-around, game-winning shot in Duke's dramatic 104–103 victory against Kentucky in the 1992 East Regional Final, Only player in history to start in four consecutive Final Fours. Owns the record for most tournament games (23, out of a maximum possible of 24).

Raised eyebrows by insisting on an academic scholarship. Highly intelligent, Lucas cherished education more than playing basketball. He became the only player ever to record a '30-30 ', 33 points and 30 rebounds in a single tournament game, against Kentucky in 1961.

Career   Tournament   Career   Tournament   Career   Tournament
17.4 Points 16.5   16.6 Points 17.7   24.3 Points 22.2
5.0 Rebounds 4.2   7.8 Rebounds 7.3   17.2 Rebounds 16.4
N/A Blocks N/A   1.0 Blocks 0.9   N/A Blocks N/A
N/A Steals N/A   1.6 Steals 1.4   N/A Steals N/A
2.06 * Assists 2.06 *   1.8 Assists 1.7   N/A Assists N/A
* -- 1984 only

 

DANNY MANNING :: Kansas HAKEEM OLAJUWON :: Houston OSCAR ROBERTSON :: Cincinnati

Kansas' all-time leading scorer and rebounder, racking up 2,951 points and 1,187 boards in illustrious four-year career. Named the Naismith College Player of the Year in 1988. As an assistant coach in 2008 and player in 1988, was on the floor for KU's past two national championships.

Helped Houston reach back-to-back title games; lost to NC State on a last-second tip-in in 1983 and Patrick Ewing-led Georgetown in '84. Was '83 tournament MOP even though he played for runner-up. Hakeem is, to date, the last player from losing side to be granted the honor.

Amazing 33.8 ppg average is the third-best in NCAA history. In three seasons, Cincinnait was 79–9, including two Final Four appearances. A three-time First Team All-American (1958–60). Two-time USBWA College Player of the Year in 1959 and '60. No. 12 retired by Cincinnati.

Career   Tournament   Career   Tournament   Career   Tournament
20.1 Points 20.5   13.3 Points 15.1   33.8 Points 32.4
8.1 Rebounds 7.3   10.7 Rebounds 10.2   15.2 Rebounds 13.1
1.4 Blocks 1.3   N/A Blocks N/A   N/A Blocks N/A
1.6 Steals 1.5   N/A Steals N/A   N/A Steals N/A
2.3 Assists 1.4   N/A Assists N/A   N/A Assists N/A

 

BILL RUSSELL :: San Francisco BILL WALTON :: UCLA JERRY WEST :: West Virginia

Perhaps most impressive of accomplishments is the fact that he is one of only five players to average 20 points and 20 rebounds per game during career. Through the 2005 NCAA tournament, he held Final Four game record for rebounds with 27 against Iowa in 1956.

The "Big Redhead" first made his name playing for John Wooden's dominant UCLA Bruins in the early '70s, winning three consecutive player of the year awards, while leading the Bruins to two national titles. In the 1973 title game, he was 21 of 22 from the field en route to 44 points.

Totaled 2,309 points and 1,240 rebounds. Averaged 24.8 points per game and 13.3 rebounds. Led West Virginia to the 1959 NCAA championship game, where the Mountaineers lost a heartbreaker to Cal 71-70. Was named the NCAA tournament's Most Outstanding Player in 1959.

Career   Tournament   Career   Tournament   Career   Tournament
20.7 Points 23.2   20.3 Points 21.2   24.8 Points 30.6
20.3 Rebounds N/A   15.7 Rebounds 14.7   13.3 Rebounds 13.8
N/A Blocks N/A   N/A Blocks N/A   N/A Blocks N/A
N/A Steals N/A   N/A Steals N/A   N/A Steals N/A
N/A Assists N/A   N/A Assists N/A   N/A Assists N/A

 

 

If what's past is prologue, then college basketball fans should have seen it coming. Indiana was 31-1 in 1974-75, losing to Kentucky in the Mideast Regional finals. The next season the Hoosiers returned starters Scott May, Quinn Buckner, Bobby Wilkerson and Kent Benson.

Indiana tipped off the season with a made-for-TV game against UCLA and thumped the Bruins 84-64, then finished the Big Ten season undefeated (18-0). The Hoosiers rolled through the Midwest Regional, winning three games by an average of 11.3 points.

In the Final Four, Indiana again beat UCLA and then whipped Michigan for the national championship to cap its 32-0 season -- which remains the last undefeated season in Division I men's basketball.

The 1975-76 Indiana Hoosiers: DI men's basketball's last undefeated team
Indiana Athletics
1975-76 INDIANA HOOSIERS (32-0)
NO. NAME POS. CLASS   NCAA TOURNAMENT RESULTS
33 Tom Abernathy F Senior   MIDEAST REGIONAL
25 Bob Bender G Freshman   • Indiana 90, St. John’s 70
54 Kent Benson C Junior   • Indiana 74, Alabama 69
21 Quinn Buckner G Senior   • Indiana 65, Marquette 56
45 Jim Crews G Senior   FINAL FOUR
31 Scott Eells F Freshman   • Indiana 65, UCLA 51
32 Mark Haymore F/C Sophomore   • Indiana 86, Michigan 68
42 Scott May F Senior    
22 Wayne Radford G/F Sophomore    
43 Jim Roberson F/C Freshman    
34 Rich Valavicius F Freshman    
20 Bob Wilkerson G/F Senior    
23 Jim Wisman G Sophomore    
Coaches: Bobby Knight, Harold Andreas, Bob Donewald, Bob Weltlich

 

 

Christian Laettner holds several NCAA tournament records, including games (23), points (407), free throws made (142) and free throw attempts (167). He also played in four consecutive Final Fours and won two national championships (1991, '92). However, the mention of Laettner's name conjures up one image: The Shot.

In the 1992 East Regional final at Spectrum in Philadelphia, Kentucky led 103-102 with 2.1 seconds remaining. Duke inbounded the ball at the baseline, as Grant Hill hurled a three-quarters court pass to Christian Laettner, who caught the ball at the free-throw line. Laettner took one dribble to his right, spun left and shot.

In a game that featured five lead changes in the last 31.5 seconds, Laettner finished 10-for-10 from the field and 10-for-10 from the free-throw line for 31 points. The Blue Devils went on to defeat Michigan 71-51 in the national championship game to become the first team since UCLA (1967-73) to win consecutive titles.