Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

Two tough: Here are the teams who made back-to-back NCAA title games … and how they fared

Chris Webber et. al.
Chris Webber et. al.
Photo: AP

Back in ancient times — you know, the ’60s and ’70s — UCLA won the damn NCAA title every year and twice on Sundays. The modern era (since the brackets expanded in 1985) has seen more parity, and the number of repeat champions has been slim. Most people can name the two teams that have done it: Duke in 1991-92 and Florida in 2006-07. But there are five other programs that also made two title tilts in a row but didn’t win both. Two teams lost the championship, and then avenged it the next year; one team won it, but couldn’t repeat; and two others lost both appearances.

Advertisement

Two of the most storied programs of the modern era — and its fiercest rivals — lead the way here. Duke (1990-91) and North Carolina (2016-17) turned bitter disappointment into the ultimate victory. The Blue Devils were led over the bridge of sighs against UNLV in 1990 — run out of the gym by 30 — but then famously ruined the Runnin’ Rebs’ bid for the perfect season in a Final Four redux en route to a title over Kansas.

Arkansas and their “40 minutes of Hell” won it all in 1994, but went down to Ed O’Bannon, Tyus Edny and those UCLA Bruins who won their only title of the March Madness era in 1995 (the poor dears).

And woe is Michigan’s Fab Five in 1992-93 losing to Duke and North Carolina (featuring Chris Webber’s infamous non-timeout) and Butler in 2010-11 losing to Duke and UConn (featuring arguably the most hideous final game of all time).

But there is also an unspoken wild card here, and if this particular team came to mind, check out this article to confirm your suspicions:

Deputy Editor, Deadspin. Author, "One Lucky Fan: From Bleachers to Box Seats, Chasing the Ultimate Sports Dream to Visit All 123 MLB, NBA, NFL & NHL Teams." Earthwalker.