|The defending champion 1990-91 UNLV Running Rebels led by Greg Anthony (above) could not repeat. (Getty Images)|
Coulda Shoulda Wouldas are phenomenal teams that should have won the title if they would have done something different or if opponents could have shriveled at the sight of the team's success. The NCAA tournament is filled with stories like these. In 75 years of March Madness: Top 10 Champs That Never Were we count down teams with a combined 89.6 winning percentage that may have gone undefeated, won the title the year before, had a starting five that resembled an NBA lineup or were just destined to win an NCAA national championship but eventually fell to an unsuspecting underdog team.
1. '90-'91 UNLV
“Devoured, dominated and demolished” is what the 90-91 No.1 UNLV team did to regular season competition according to Duke NBA alum Grant Hill. Armed with Larry Johnson, Greg Anthony, Stacey Augmon and Anderson Hunt, the defending national champion Running Rebels went undefeated in the regular season while outscoring opponents by 27 points per game. Their 45-game win streak ended in the Final Four against Duke, a team they had beaten by 30 points in the championship game the previous year. This time, Duke was ready for the athletic Rebels and kept the game close to pull out a 79-77 win and go on to win the national championship.
Wilt Chamberlain (Kansas), Jerry West (West Virginia) and Oscar Robertson (Cincinnati) are regarded as among the best to ever play the game of professional basketball. Yet, the trio could not garner the elusive NCAA national title. Chamberlain was named most outstanding player in a triple overtime loss to UNC, West was also named MOP in a one-point defeat to Cal. Robertson went to the Final Four twice but never advanced to the national championship in his collegiate career. Their failed attempts at titles tell the story of how difficult it is to win the tournament.
3. '82-'83 Houston
Hakeem Olajuwon's game was so on-point that he was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player even though he was on the losing team. That explains just how much the high-flying duo of Olajuwon, Clyde Drexler and the rest of Houston's Phi Slamma Jamma were expected to win the title. But coach Jim Valvano and the NC State Wolfpack had something different in mind. Thanks to a last-second desperation shot, No. 1 Houston fell to underdog No. 6 NC State.
4. '84-'85 Georgetown
With a returning core of David Wingate, Mark Jackson, Reggie Williams and Patrick Ewing the Hoyas were poised to win a second-straight national championship. However, an almost perfect game of 79 percent shooting by Villanova stopped Georgetown in its tracks and ended Ewing's college career on a low note in the greatest upset in NCAA history.
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5. '74-'75 Indiana
After going undefeated in the regular season, it seemed like No. 1 Indiana would coast into its preordained title of national champions. That was until star player Scott May broke his arm late in the season. His game never quite returned and the Hoosiers lost to the Kentucky Wildcats 92-90 in the Elite Eight. The next season the Hoosiers went on another undefeated run to win the national championship. Some still say the '74-'75 Hoosiers were better.
6. '83-'84 North Carolina
With an all-star cast of Sam Perkins, Kenny Smith, Brad Daugherty and arguably the best player to ever play the game, Michael Jordan, the Tar Heels were 27-2 heading into the tournament. Their storybook season came to an end in the Sweet 16 against a tough defending Indiana Hoosiers team that held Jordan to a pedestrian 13 points. That, combined with a 27-point offensive spike by Indiana's Steve Alford, proved insurmountable for North Carolina as it fell 72-68.
7. '65-'66 Kentucky
This game is mostly remembered for Texas Western's groundbreaking moment of having the first all-black starting five to win an NCAA championship. That moment often overshadows just how good the Miners' opponent, Kentucky, was. The Wildcats came into the tournament as favorites, losing only one game in the regular season while scoring an average of 88 points.
8. '73-'74 Maryland
With phenomenal talent like Tom McMillen, John Lucas, Len Elmore and Moe Howard running the floor, the Terrapins had a winning percent of 82 that season. Yet, you had to win the ACC tournament in order to make it to the national tournament. The Terrapins came up short against No.1 NC State and David Thompson in an offensive shootout. Due to NCAA rules, which were changed the next season, a loss in the ACC title game meant Maryland couldn't continue on to the NCAA tournament.
9. '73-'74 UCLA
UCLA centered its offense around three-time college player of the year Bill Walton, who had won back-to-back national championships on the way to an 88-game win streak. With talent like that in the paint, a tournament matchup game against NC State seemed like a given win. However, the Final Four home-court advantage of playing in North Carolina and Wolfpack leader David Thompson was enough to put NC State over the top and send the Bruins packing.
10. '87-'88 Oklahoma
That season the No.1 Sooners averaged 102 points a game and scored in triple digits 20 times to carry them to the title game against Kansas. However, all those points were not enough to defeat No. 6 Kansas and its floor general, Danny Manning. Manning scored 31 points to defeat the Sooners 83-79 for the national championship.