Has there been a more dominant program in college basketball history than the UCLA Bruins?
Sorry, stupid question. No school has been as historically good as the Bruins since John Wooden took over.
Boasting 11 national championships (including a run of seven in a row), 18 Final Fours, an 88-game win streak and four perfect seasons, the Bruins have made Westwood the capital of college hoops success.
In the illustrious history of the blue and gold, there have been a few moments that have surpassed all the rest. From building the greatest program in history to proving that the Bruins will never die, these moments have been the highlights in UCLA's dominance of the college world.
UCLA might not have actually won the "Game of the Century" against Houston in 1968, but the game itself was incredible.
The Houston Cougars (14-0) took down the Bruins (13-0), 71-69, after a mental error by All-American guard Mike Warren cost UCLA a chance to win the game.
UCLA almost won the first nationally televised game on a buzzer-beater, and if it had this game would have surely made the list.
UCLA had not been able to sustain serious success in the NCAA tournament since John Wooden left, but current head coach Ben Howland led the team to three straight Final Fours from 2006 to 2008.
With players like Arron Afflalo, Darren Collison, Jordan Farmar, Russell Westbrook and Kevin Love playing for Howland during those three years, the Bruins were one of the best teams in the country for back-to-back-to-back seasons.
This was a high point for UCLA since Wooden had retired, and at the time it looked like UCLA was back to dominate the college hoops scene once again.
The Bruins eventually slumped in the following years, but this was the pinnacle of success for the team without Wooden.
John Wooden is the best coach in college basketball history, and after his departure from Westwood it would have been easy for the Bruins to slip away into mediocrity.
However, the coaches that followed led the team to considerable success, compiling a 144-34 record over the next six seasons. Gene Bartow (52-9), Gary Cunningham (50-8) and Larry Brown (42-17) led the team to six straight seasons of quality basketball after Wooden left.
While the team didn't win it all during the six years after Wooden left, it did play at a high level, and remained on the national stage instead of falling apart.
Walt Hazzard is one of the greats when it comes to Bruins basketball.
He was the co-captain of UCLA's first national championship team and led the team in scoring in the title game. Hazzard was also named the Most Outstanding Player in the 1964 NCAA tournament when he led the Bruins to a championship.
Hazzard wasn't just a player for UCLA—he was also a coach.
Hired before the 1984-85 season, Hazzard coached for four years and finished with a record of 77-47 and an NIT championship.
Hazzard was a big part of UCLA basketball for years, and his No. 42 jersey was retired by the school.
John Wooden had been coaching at UCLA for 16 years before he finally put it all together for his first undefeated season.
During the 1963-64 season, the Bruins rolled over the college basketball world, going 30-0 and defeating Duke in the national championship game by a score of 98-83.
Led by Walt Hazzard, Gail Goodrich and Kenny Washington, the team took down the Blue Devils to finish the season undefeated and win the first national championship in school history.
The 1964 tournament was the first of back-to-back championships for the Bruins, and it sparked a stretch of 10 titles in 12 years.
Bill Walton was a beast. He was one of the greatest players to ever grace the college basketball world with his talents...and he was also a Bruin.
Averaging an incredible 20.3 points and 15.7 rebounds per game during his three years on the varsity team, he won three Naismith National Player of the Year awards during that time.
Walton helped lead UCLA to back-to-back undefeated seasons and championships, and he finished with a career record of 86-4 in Westwood.
You could make a case for Walton being the greatest Bruin in history, but I would argue that only one mans tops him....
Lew Alcindor, more commonly known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, was arguably the greatest Bruin to ever play the game.
The 7'2" Alcindor was unstoppable in college, averaging 26.4 points and 15.5 rebounds per game as he led the Bruins to three straight titles and went 88-2 with the Bruins.
The Naismith National Player of the Year award was not invented until Alcindor's final year at UCLA, and he won the award.
Alcindor was so dominant that he has been called the greatest player in March Madness history, and the day he committed to the Bruins was a great one in Westwood.
There has never been a streak in college basketball quite like UCLA's 88-game winning streak from 1971 to 1973.
Men's college basketball's longest winning streak was led by John Wooden, who led his boys to back-to-back undefeated seasons during the 1971-72 and 1972-73 seasons. These seasons were the backbone of the streak, accounting for 60 of the 88 games.
Stars like Bill Walton helped fuel the run before Notre Dame shocked the Bruins by beating them 71-70. The Irish were down 11 with three-and-a-half minutes to play, but came back to win it all and end the streak.
This streak remains the longest in college hoops history, and it was one of the many high points during John Wooden's tenure.
The importance of UCLA's 11th national championship cannot be overstated.
After John Wooden's coaching led the school to 10 titles, the Bruins needed to prove that they could win without the legendary coach.
However, in 1995 the Bruins, led by coach Jim Harrick, went 32-1, and beat Arkansas 89-78 to cut down the nets.
Led by Ed O'Bannon and Tyus Edney, the team had one of the most dominant seasons in school history (which is saying a lot), and won it all. The run in March was highlighted by Edney's game-winning buzzer-beater in the second round after he ran 90 feet in four seconds to win the game 75-74 and eventually win it all.
The Bruins finally did it without Wooden, which proved that the program was more than just one man.
There might not be a feat in sports more impressive than UCLA's seven consecutive championships.
From 1967 through 1973 there was no doubt who would win the NCAA tournament. The only question was who would come in second.
The Bruins were simply so dominant that they couldn't lose in the month of March, and they won seven straight championships.
Just think about what it would take for a program to be so dominant that it would win seven NCAA tournaments in a row nowadays.
No team will ever replicate this feat, but it's still not the greatest moment in school history.
In case you didn't see this coming or couldn't tell that John Wooden was a pretty good coach from the first 11 slides of this article, I'll go ahead and list a few of his achievements.
- 10 National Championships in 12 years
- Seven consecutive National Championships
- 620-147 record at UCLA
- Sporting News' 'Greatest Coach of All-Time'
Wooden brought his Pyramid of Success to UCLA, and the Bruins were lucky enough to hire the greatest coach in history.
The day Wooden brought his Pyramid to Westwood was a day that would change basketball forever, and he still has a lasting effect on the game today.