A Look Back: 1976 Indiana Hoosiers
“A Look Back”: legends of sport, great teams, heated rivalries, and amazing games of the past.
The Kentucky Wildcats are on the verge of greatness this season. The Wildcats are 34-0 going into the NCAA Tournament, and they are the 4th team since 1977 to enter the NCAA Tournament undefeated. All of those teams were upset at some point in the tournament. Kentucky looks to be the best team in the nation right now, but we will have to see if they can compete with the best of the best. In honor of all the hype surrounding Kentucky, I thought I would take A Look Back on the last team that went undefeated.
The Indiana Hoosiers, coached by Bob Knight, had fell short of the 1975 national championship game, and they started off hot to open the 1975-1976 season. The Hoosiers began their preseason playing against the Soviet National Team. The Soviet team won the gold medal in 1972 and 2 of their stars were still on the team. The Hoosiers won in convincing fashion 94-78 over the Soviets, which proved that they were among one of the top teams in the world.
The Hoosiers played UCLA in their first regular season game and won 84-64. The Hoosiers made some college basketball history that night because it was one of the first few games to air at 11PM for maximum national television viewing.
The Hoosiers entered the NCAA Tournament undefeated, and the battle had just begun. They began the tournament playing against St. Johns and won easily 90-70.
In the Sweet Sixteen, they played against No. 7 Alabama. Indiana won by the final score of 74-69. The Hoosiers were led by Scott May who scored 25 points and added 16 rebounds. May hit a jumper with less than 2:00 remaining in the game to give the Hoosiers the lead and eventually the victory. .
The Hoosiers played Marquette in the Elite 8 and won 65-56. No. 2 ranked Marquette was 27-2 on the season, and played the Hoosiers tough. This same Marquette team would go on to win the National Championship the following season.
The Indiana Hoosiers once again faced off against the UCLA Bruins. This Final Four match-up was another lopsided match-up favoring the Hoosiers. Indiana went on to win 65-51 behind 19 rebounds from their star guard Bobby Wilkerson.
Indiana then went on the face the Michigan Wolverines in the National Championship game. The Hoosiers were down by 6 at half, and they lost Bobby Wilkerson with a concussion. But The Hoosiers won the game 86-68 behind the play of Scott May who scored 26 points. Indiana finished a perfect 32-0, and no team since has gone undefeated.
As I previously stated, the reason for this A Look Back is because of the Kentucky Wildcats who are currently 34-0 entering the NCAA Tournament. The only team that will beat Kentucky, is Kentucky. I do not see any team that could beat Kentucky except for possibly Arizona or Duke, but Iowa State could be an interesting match-up. I look for Kentucky to finish out the season 40-0 unless they find a way to beat themselves.
Photo: Indiana Athletics