NCAA Tournament 2012: Power Ranking Last 25 National Champions
In the past 25 years, there have been a host of talented players that have taken the court in the NCAA championship game. Every school that carries the label of "national champion" deserves to cut down the nets, but which of the past 25 national champions was the best?
Breaking down the past champions leaves little room for separation, as every team has had drafted players and most title winners played extremely well during tournament play.
These teams won titles for a reason: They were great basketball teams.
Looking back at past NCAA tournament champions using a points-based formula, here is the power ranking for the last 25 national champions.
No. 25: 1997 Arizona Wildcats (25-9)
The Arizona Wildcats entered the 1997 NCAA tournament as a No. 4-seed despite finishing third in their conference. The Wildcats were not an explosive team, but they were able to control the court and earn big wins in the tournament.
The Wildcats defeated three No. 1 seeds in Kentucky, North Carolina and Kansas. The Wildcats did not earn a double-digit win in the tournament.
The Arizona team did see five of its championship members go on to be drafted, three of which were gone in the first round. Mike Bibby was the highest-drafted Wildcat from the national championship squad, going No. 2 overall to the Vancouver Grizzlies.
No. 24: 1988 Kansas Jayhawks (27-11)
The 1988 Kansas Jayhawks were a rare national champion for a couple of reasons. Not only did they defeat a fellow conference member in Oklahoma to win the title, but they also had the lowest win percentage of any national champion.
The Jayhawks were a mediocre team during the season, but showed up for the tournament. Kansas started as the No. 6 seed, defeating one No. 1 seed in Oklahoma in the title game.
The Jayhawks had three double-digit wins in the tournament and saw three of the squad members go on to be drafted by the NBA.
No. 23: 2011 Connecticut Huskies (32-9)
The 2011 UConn team displayed one of the best defensive performances in the national title game ever. They were able to hold Butler to the lowest points total in a title game, winning 53-41. That was also the lowest total scored by a champion in the title game.
The Huskies had two double-digit wins in the tournament. Only one of the team members was drafted, as Kemba Walker was the ninth overall pick in the 2011 draft.
There still are a number of players from the title team that remain on roster for the Huskies and are set to make another run at the NCAA tournament this week.
No. 22: 1994 Arkansas Razorbacks (31-3)
The Arkansas Razorbacks won their first and only basketball national championship in 1994. The Razorbacks earned three double-digit wins in the tournament and saw two of the team members go on to be drafted by the NBA.
The Razorbacks made it through the tournament as a No. 1 seed but did not face another No. 1 seed throughout the tournament. The Razorbacks' Corliss Williamson was awarded the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player for his overall performance.
No. 21: 2003 Syracuse Orangemen (30-5)
The 2003 Syracuse Orangemen were one of the youngest teams to win the NCAA tournament, with only one senior on their roster in Kueth Duany. The Orangemen earned four double-digit wins during tournament play, defeating two No. 1 seeds on the way to the title.
Carmelo Anthony most famously played his one and only season of college basketball on this squad, rekindling the debate on whether the NBA should adopt age limitations to the draft much like the one carried by the NFL.
No. 20: 1987 Indiana Hoosiers (30-4)
The 1987 Hoosiers were led by the famous, or infamous, Bobby Knight. It was the Hoosiers' fifth title win and the last that has come through Hoosier-town.
The Hoosiers saw four of the roster members go on to be drafted in the NBA and earned two double-digit wins in the tournament. The Hoosiers faced one No. 1 seed as they squared off with UNLV in the Final Four, winning the contest, 97-93.
No. 19: 1999 Connecticut Huskies (34-2)
The UConn Huskies earned their first national title in 1999. The Huskies entered the tournament as a No. 1 seed, earning three double-digit wins in tournament play. The Huskies faced off against one other No. 1 seed in their matchup with Duke in the national title game, which they won 77-74.
The Huskies also saw three of its roster members drafted by the NBA, with Richard Hamilton being the lone first-round selection.
No. 18: 1989 Michigan Wolverines (30-7)
The 1989 Wolverines team gets a lot of respect for grit and focus.
Prior to entering tournament play, the Wolverines saw head coach Bill Frieder released from his contract immediately when he announced his plans to leave for Arizona State at season's end. Steve Fisher was promptly promoted and led the Wolverines to their first national title.
The Wolverines had only one double-digit win in the tournament. The Michigan squad had five players go on to be drafted by the NBA, including four in the first round.
Michigan entered the tournament as a No. 3 seed and only faced one No. 1 seed when they squared off with Illinois in the Final Four.
No. 17: 2010 Duke Blue Devils (35-5)
The Duke Blue Devils won their fourth national title in 2010. The Blue Devils went into the tournament as the No. 1 seed in the south region and did not face another No. 1 seed throughout the tournament.
The Blue Devils earned four double-digit wins and saw two roster members go on to be drafted in the NBA. Nolan Smith was a first-round selection by the Portland Trailblazers.
No. 16: 2002 Maryland Terrapins (32-4)
The 2002 Maryland Terrapins made it to the Final Four for the second consecutive year in 2002, after losing in 2001 to then-No. 1 seed and eventual champion Duke.
In the 2002 Final Four, they faced a No. 1 seed in Kansas and fell behind 13-2 early, only to charge back to a 97-88 victory.
The Terrapins earned three double-digit wins in the tournament and saw four roster members go on to be drafted in the NBA, two of which were first-round selections.
No. 15: 1993 North Carolina Tar Heels (34-4)
The 1993 North Carolina team earned the third national title for the Tar Heels—Dean Smith’s second title with the school. The 1993 team earned three double-digit wins in tournament play and saw two of its roster members drafted by the NBA, both in the first round.
The Tar Heels faced one other No. 1 seed throughout tournament play, facing off with Michigan in the title game. The Tar Heels won the game 77-71.
No. 14: 1998 Kentucky Wildcats (35-4)
Kentucky won their seventh national title in 1998 with a 78-69 victory over the Utah Utes. It was the third straight season that the Wildcats had made the championship game. They overcame three double-digit deficits in the tournament to make it to the title.
The Wildcats had three double-digit wins in tournament play and saw four roster members drafted by the NBA, three of whom were drafted in the first round.
No. 13: 2000 Michigan State Spartans (26-7)
The Tom Izzo-led Spartans marched to a very impressive tournament showing in 2000. The Spartans were unstoppable in tournament play, earning double-digit wins in every tournament game.
The Spartans had two roster members drafted to the NBA, both in the first round.
The 2000 NCAA tournament was less than traditional, as two No. 8 seeds made their way into the Final Four.
No. 12: 2007 Florida Gators (35-5)
The Florida Gators earned its second consecutive national title and second in school history in 2007. The Gators marched to the title with two double-digit wins in the tournament and had six roster members drafted by the NBA. Four of those players went in the first round.
The Gators faced off against one fellow No. 1 seed in Ohio State in the national title game. They the contest 84-75 and sealed their second consecutive national title.
No. 11: 2005 North Carolina Tar Heels (33-4)
The North Carolina Tar Heels earned their fourth national title in the 2005 NCAA tournament under second-year coach Roy Williams. The Tar Heels were a No. 1 seed and defeated fellow No. 1 seed Illinois, 75-70, in the championship game.
The Tar Heels earned three double-digit wins in tournament play. Carolina also saw six of its roster members drafted in the NBA draft, four of which were first-round selections.
No. 10: 1995 UCLA Bruins (32-1)
The UCLA Bruins ring in the top 10. The Bruins marched to their 11th national title in 1995. The Bruins were an impressive 32-1 on the season, led by three seniors.
The Bruins went on to four double-digit wins in tournament play and also saw six of the title-winning roster members go on to be drafted in the NBA draft. Two were first-round selections.
One of the senior leaders for the Bruins, Ed O’Bannon, is now famous for more than basketball as he is currently in a lawsuit with the NCAA over the use of former and current collegiate athletes' images without a payment of royalties.
No. 9: 1991 Duke Blue Devils (32-7)
The 1990-91 Duke team was the first Blue Devils team to win a national title. Duke had made the championship game a year prior, losing to UNLV.
Duke earned four double-digit wins during tournament play and saw six roster members go on to be drafted by the NBA. Three of those were first-round selections.
Duke entered the tournament as the No. 2 seed in the midwest region. They faced a No. 1 seed in when they defeated UNLV in the Final Four.
No. 8: 2008 Kansas Jayhawks (37-3)
The Kansas Jayhawks won their third national title in 2008. The Jayhawks, led by coach Bill Self, marched to four double-digit tournament wins and saw six of its roster members drafted by the NBA. Three of those players went in the first round.
The Jayhawks also faced off against two fellow No. 1 seeds in the Final Four. The Jayhawks defeated North Carolina 84-66, and then went on to defeat Memphis in in overtime, 75-68, in the national championship game.
No. 7: 1990 UNLV Rebels (35-8)
The UNLV Runnin' Rebels were a very explosive team. The Rebels had four double-digit victories during tournament play, but more impressively won three of those games by 30 points. One of those 30-point victories was a 103-73 victory over Duke in the national title game.
UNLV saw four of its roster members go in the NBA Draft—three of which went in the first round. UNLV would later be layered in controversy over suspected NCAA infractions committed by coach Jerry Tarkanian.
No. 6: 2006 Florida Gators (33-6)
2006 saw the Florida Gators win their first national title. They entered the tournament as a No. 3 seed, later defeating No. 1 seed Villanova in the Elite Eight.
The Gators marched through the tournament convincingly, as they earned five double-digit wins in tournament play, including a 73-57 victory over UCLA in the title game.
The Gators also saw five roster members drafted into the NBA, three of which were first-round selections.
No. 5: 1996 Kentucky Wildcats (34-2
The 1996 Wildcats had one of the best seasons in school history, only losing two total games throughout the year. The Wildcats earned their sixth national title.
The Wildcats were three-point rainmakers under head coach Rick Pitino, winning four of their tournament games by double-digits.
The Wildcats also saw four roster members drafted into the NBA, three of which were first-round selections.
No. 4: 1992 Duke Blue Devils (34-2)
The 1992 Duke Blue Devils were one of the best teams in school history. They won their second consecutive national title in 1992, building on the success laid the year prior.
The Blue Devils earned four double-digit wins in tournament play and saw eight roster members drafted, four of which were first-round selections.
The Blue Devils went on to win the championship by 20 points over a very good Michigan Wolverines team.
No. 3: 2001 Duke Blue Devils (35-4)
The 2001 Blue Devils were led to their third national title in school history in 2001, all which have come under coach Mike Krzyzewski’s watch.
Duke won every game in the tournament by double digits, including a 10-point win over Arizona in the final. The Blue Devils also saw five of its title-winning roster members get drafted into the NBA, two of which landed in the first round.
No. 2: 2004 Connecticut Huskies (33-6)
Connecticut marched to a national title for the second time in school history in 2004. The Huskies were a tough tournament team, handling the tournament well with the exception of a tough-fought one-point victory over No. 1 seed Duke in the Final Four.
The Huskies won their other five tournament games by double digits and saw seven roster members go on to be drafted by the NBA. More impressively, six of the seven were drafted in the first round.
No. 1: 2009 North Carolina Tar Heels (34-4)
The 2009 North Carolina Tar Heels take the top spot as the No. 1 team from the last 25 years in college basketball.
The Tar Heels had an amazing 20.2-point average margin of victory in tournament play, winning every tournament game by double digits. The Tar Heels saw five of its roster members go on to be drafted, four of which landed in the first round.
The Tar Heels won the national title game by an impressive 17 points, 89-72, over No. 2 seed Michigan State.
For your printable bracket for the 2012 NCAA tournament, click here