Repeat NCAA basketball champions: UConn Huskies make March Madness history

Repeat NCAA basketball champions
Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Has there ever been a back-to-back NCAA basketball champions? There is a long history of repeat NCAA basketball champions with several men’s teams winning March Madness in consecutive years. However, the UConn Huskies pulled it off with a win over Purdue to conclude the 2023-24 college basketball season.

Before the tip-off of the national championship game between UConn vs Purdue to close out March Madness 2024, we looked at the history of repeat NCAA basketball champions.

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History of back-to-back national champions

Oklahoma State Cowboys – 1945-46

repeat NCAA basketball champions

The Oklahoma State Cowboys men’s basketball team hasn’t been to the Sweet Sixteen in decades, but they had a brief run as the kings of college basketball. Led by head coach Hank Iba, the 1945-’46 Oklahoma State team beat NYU in a 49-45 final in the 1945 NCAA championship game then a year later won their second consecutive title with a 43-40 victory over the North Carolina Tar Heels. However, only 8 schools competed in the NCAA Tournament at this time.

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Kentucky Wildcats – 1948-49

Repeat NCAA basketball champions
Credit: Dale Ernsberger / The Tennessean

A few years after Oklahoma State became the first repeat NCAA basketball champions, Coach Rupp and the Kentucky Wildcats quickly joined them in the history books. Kentucky crushed Baylor 58-42 in the 1948 national championship game and followed that up in iconic fashion, defeating Oklahoma State 46-36, to become back-to-back NCAA tournament champs.

San Francisco Dons – 1955-56

The San Francisco Dons are certainly the unknown team among the repeat NCAA basketball champions. Of course, it all makes sense when you realize the Dons had NBA legend Bill Russell leading them to titles. Russell averaged 21.4 points and 20.5 rebounds per game in the 1954-’55 season, capping it off with a 23-point and 25-rebound performance in a 77-63 win over La Salle. The following season, Russell recorded 26 points and 27 rebounds in an 83-71 win over Iowa, earning consecutive national titles.

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Cincinnati Bearcats – 1961-62

In a field of 24 teams, the Cincinnati Bearcats emerged victorious in the 1961 national championship game over the Ohio State Buckeyes, with four different players scoring in double figures to overcome a game-high 27 points by Buckeyes’ star Jerry Lucas. In the 1962 national title bout, Cincinnati did it again to Ohi State only this time in a 71-59 route, earning back-to-back national championships with four players reaching double figures in points. The star of the game, though, was Paul Hogue with 22 points and 19 rebounds.

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UCLA Bruins – 1964-65, 1967-1973

Repeat NCAA basketball champions, UCLA Bruins
Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

There are back to back national champions and then there’s the UCLA Bruins. The greatest college basketball of all time, led by the legend John Wooden, UCLA was the dynasty of all dynasties. Wooden’s Bruins won their first set of consecutive titles from 1964-’65, but that was just the start of things to come for the team. The Bruins would go on to win seven consecutive national titles and picked up another a year after their streak was snapped in the 1974 NCAA Tournament. From 1963-75, UCLA won 10 national championships.

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Duke Blue Devils – 1991-92

repeat NCAA basketball champions
Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

The Duke Blue Devils became the first team to win consecutive national champions in men’s college basketball in the field of 64. It’s fitting that legendary coach Mike Krzyzewski became the first coach to accomplish the feat in the expanded NCAA tournament. With a team featuring Bobby Hurley, Christian Laettner and Grant Hill, the Bule Devils disposed of Kansas 72-65 in the 1991 national championship game. Duke returned with a repeat on its mind in 1992, leading to a classic Duke vs Michigan meeting. The Blue Devils, led by a combined 37 points from Laettner and Hill, beat Michigan’s Fab Five in a 71-51 rout. It was close at halftime (31-30), but Duke outscored Michigan by 21 points in the second half.

Florida Gators – 2006-07

back to back national champions, Florida Gators
Credit: Jason Parkhurst-USA TODAY Sports

Billy Donovan’s Florida Gators were the last men’s team to win March Madness in consecutive years. It started in the 2006 national championship game with Florida demolishing the UCLA Bruins 73-57, led by 16 points, 9 rebounds and 6 blocks from Joakim Noah with Al Horford tacking on 14 points and 7 rebounds. The following year, the Gators ran it back and beat Ohio State 84-75 in the 2007 NCAA championship game, overcoming a combined 45 points from Buckeyes’ stars Greg Oden and Mike Conley. It’s been 17 years since the last repeat NCAA basketball champions.

Repeat NCAA basketball champions

  • UConn Huskies – 2013-14
  • Florida Gators – 2006-07
  • Duke Blue Devils – 1991-92
  • UCLA Bruins – 1964-65, 1967-1973
  • Cincinnati Bearcats – 1961-62
  • San Francisco Dons – 1955-56
  • Kentucky Wildcats – 1948-49
  • Oklahoma State Cowboys – 1945-1946

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Consecutive March Madness champions FAQ

Has there ever been back to back NCAA national champions?

Yes, eight different teams have won back to back national championships in men’s college basketball. However, it hasn’t happened in nearly two decades and has only occurred once since 1993.

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When was the last time there was a back to back national champion?

The 2023-2024 UConn Huskies were the last team to win back to back national championships in men’s college basketball. It’s happened more recently in women’s college basketball, thanks to the other UConn Huskies.

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How many national championships did UCLA win in a row?

The UCLA Bruins won seven consecutive NCAA championships under head coach John Wooden from 1967-’73.

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