These teams were dominant, but none were able to win it all in the NCAA Tournament.
The best team doesnât always win the NCAA Tournament. Many of greatest rosters ever assembled failed to cut down the nets in the one-and-done, single-elimination Madness of March. These are the 15 best teams that never won the NCAA Tournament.
1. 1991 UNLV Runninâ Rebels
(34â1, 18â0 Big West)
Coach Jerry Tarkanian
Lost to Duke, 79â77, in Final Four
Vegas was the undisputed, undefeated heavyweight champion of the world in college basketball before falling to Duke in a rematch of the 1990 title game, in which the Runninâ Rebels humiliated the Blue Devils, 103â73. With three 1991 NBA Lottery picks â national player of the year forward Larry Johnson (No. 1 overall), wingman Stacey Augmon (No. 9) and point guard Greg Anthony (No. 12) â and the reigning Final Four MOP in Anderson Hunt, UNLV was as intimidating as it was dominant.
2. 1975 Indiana Hoosiers
(31â1, 18â0 Big Ten)
Coach Bob Knight
Lost to Kentucky, 92â90, in Elite Eight
Bob Knight and Joe B. Hall nearly went to blows during a 98â74 IU win over UK in December 1974. The Hoosiers were riding a 34-game winning streak heading into their rematch with the Wildcats in the NCAA Tournament. But without a full strength Scott May â who scored two points due to a broken arm, after scoring 25 in the first meeting â undefeated Indiana fell to Kentucky, a team that went on to lose the national title to UCLA in John Woodenâs final game.
3. 1983 Houston Cougars
(31â3, 16â0 Southwest)
Coach Guy Lewis
Lost to NC State, 54â52, in NCAA title game
Texasâ tallest fraternity, âPhi Slama Jamaâ was led by a pair of future Hall of Famers in shot-swatting big man Akeem Olajuwon and high-flying Clyde âthe Glideâ Drexler. The middle of three straight Final Four appearances and first of two national title game runner-up finishes was the most painful, as NC State pulled off one of the greatest Cinderella upsets in Big Dance history.
4. 1985 Georgetown Hoyas
(35â3, 14â2 Big East)
Coach John Thompson
Lost to Villanova, 66â64, in NCAA title game
The Patrick Ewing-led Hoyas were runner-up to North Carolina in 1982, national champs in 1984 and heavily favored to repeat as champs in 1985. But the overwhelming edge in talent for Ewing, Reggie Williams, David Wingate and Co. was no match for the magical shooting night of Rollie Massiminoâs Wildcats, who shot 22-of-28 from the field to beat âHoya Paranoiaâ on April Foolsâ Day.
5. 1984 North Carolina Tar Heels
(28â3, 14â0 ACC)
Coach Dean Smith
Lost to Indiana, 72â68, in Sweet 16
On paper, this was Dean Smithâs most talented team, on the court and on the bench. National player of the year Michael Jordan, Sam Perkins, Brad Daugherty and freshman Kenny Smith headlined a loaded roster, while Roy Williams, Bill Guthridge and Eddie Fogler served as assistants coaches for a group of Tar Heels that couldnât even make it to the Final Four.
6. 1993 Michigan Wolverines
(31â5, 15â3 Big Ten)
Coach Steve Fisher
Lost to North Carolina, 77â71, in NCAA title game
The sophomore season of the Fab Five â Chris Webber, Juwan Howard, Jalen Rose, Jimmy King and Ray Jackson â produced the same (since vacated) results as their freshman campaign. Michigan marched all the way to the national title game with their signature baggy shorts, black socks and swagger, only to lose to ACC power UNC, after losing to Duke in the championship game the season before.
7. 1997 Kansas Jayhawks
(34â2, 15â1 Big 12)
Coach Roy Williams
Lost to Arizona, 85â82, in Sweet 16
KU had it all, with NBA size down low in Raef LaFrentz and Scot Pollard, clutch shooters in Paul Pierce, Jerod Haase and Billy Thomas, and steady point guard play from Jacque Vaughn and Ryan Robertson. But Roy Williamsâ Jayhawks could not close the deal against Miles Simon, Mike Bibby and eventual champion Arizona.
8. 1973 NC State Wolfpack
(27â0, 12â0 ACC)
Coach Norm Sloan
Banned from postseason play
David Thompson and Tommy Burleson led NC State to an undefeated regular season but were unable to go dancing after being banned from postseason play due to NCAA sanctions. When the ban was lifted, the 1973-74 Wolfpack went 30â1 cut down the nets following a national championship.
9. 1974 UCLA Bruins
(26â4, 12â2 Pac-8)
Coach John Wooden
Lost to NC State, 80â77 in 2OT, in Final Four
The next-to-last team coach by the Wizard of Westwood ended UCLAâs streak of seven consecutive NCAA titles. Despite being led by Bill Walton and Jamaal Wilkes, the Bruins were unable to outlast NC State in double-overtime in the Final Four.
10. 1954 Kentucky Wildcats
(25â0, 14â0 SEC)
Coach Adolph Rupp
Elected not to participate
Coach Adolph Rupp chose to take a stand against the NCAA by keeping the unbeaten Wildcats out of the Tournament after Frank Ramsey, Cliff Hagan and Lou Tsioropoulos were ruled ineligible due to a graduation rule that is no longer in place.
11. 1999 Duke Blue Devils
(37â2, 16â0 ACC)
Coach Mike Krzyzewski
Lost to Connecticut, 77â74, in NCAA title game
One of Coach Kâs most talented teams was anchored by No. 1 overall pick Elton Brand, sharpshooting senior Trajan Langdon, point guard William Avery and athletic freak frosh Corey Maggette â all of whom went in the top 14 of the 1999 NBA Draft.
12. 1962 Ohio State Buckeyes
(26â2, 13â1 Big Ten)
Coach Fred Taylor
Lost to Cincinnati, 71â59, in NCAA title game
Jerry Lucas and John Havlicek are two of the greatest players in Ohio State history, playing in three consecutive NCAA title games â losing the last two trips as a heavy favorite against in-state rival Cincinnati.
13. 1957 Kansas Jayhawks
(24â3, 11â1 Big Seven)
Coach Dick Harp
Lost to North Carolina, 54â53 in 3OT, in NCAA title game
Kansasâ Wilt Chamberlain was unable to follow in the championship footsteps of San Franciscoâs Bill Russell â who led the Dons to titles in 1955 and 1956. The Stilt lost in triple-overtime in what old timers have called the greatest game ever played.
14. 1963 Cincinnati Bearcats
(26â2, 11â1 Missouri Valley)
Coach Ed Jucker
Lost to Loyola-Chicago, 60â58, in NCAA title game
In their fifth straight Final Four appearance, the Bearcats were aiming for a three-peat before the term existed. But back-to-back champion Cincinnati was shocked by underdog Loyola-Chicago in the final.
15. 1979 Indiana State Sycamores
(33â1, 16â0 Missouri Valley)
Coach Bill Hodges
Lost to Michigan State, 75â64, in NCAA title game
The Legend of Larry Bird sprouted from the Sycamores undefeated 33â0 run to the NCAA title game, where Bird vs. Magic made the contest the highest rated college basketball game in history.