Knight's 1975-76 Hoosiers were perfect
March 29, 1976 - Since the preseason, Indiana had been No. 1. Starting two All-Americans, forward Scott May and center Kent Benson, to go with Quinn Buckner, Tom Abernethy and Bobby Wilkerson, the Hoosiers won their first 31 games going into tonight's NCAA final in Philadelphia.
Yesterday, a day after winning its Final Four game over UCLA, Knight was modest, honest, comical and introspective when he met the media. Tonight, Indiana was seeking its third victory of the season over Big Ten rival Michigan, the first time in NCAA Tournament history that two teams from the same conference had met in the title game.
Things started out badly for Indiana when Wilkerson sustained an early concussion and played only two minutes. The beefy Wolverines took advantage of the absence of Wilkerson, a defensive ace, and grabbed a 35-29 halftime lead.
But Indiana rallied, shooting 60 percent from the floor in the second half. With May scoring a game-high 26 points and Benson 25, the Hoosiers rolled to an 86-68 victory. At 35, Knight had won his first national championship.
But even in his moment of triumph, the coach recalled the previous season. "Should have been two," he told a friend as he left the court.
In 1974-75, the Hoosiers were also undefeated going into the NCAA Tournament. However, they lost 92-90 to Kentucky in the Mideast Regional final.
The 1975-76 team is the last NCAA Division I team to finish the season undefeated.Odds 'n' Ends