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.
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.
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: