These were my favorite college basketball teams.
Rupp’s Runts – I was especially fond of this 1966 Kentucky team because my high school teammate Pat Riley was their All-American forward. Riley and sharpshooting guard Louie Dampier (also an All-American) did the bulk of the Wildcats’ scoring. Appropriately nicknamed “Rupp’s Runts,” coach Adolph Rupp had just one player in the starting lineup over 6’4″. He was sophomore center Thad Jaracz. That year, Kentucky lost the NCAA final to Texas Western (now Texas El Paso).
The Giant Killers – Rollie Massimino’s finely-tuned 1985 Villanova Wildcats methodically brought down mighty Patrick Ewing and the Georgetown Hoyas to win the NCAA Championship. “Nova” put on a clinic with their flawless, near perfect game, and they were led by tourney MVP Eddie Pinckney.
Ivy League Dynamo – Princeton’s 1965 team, led by Bill Bradley, their one-man wrecking crew, was a big surprise in the NCAA Tournament. The Tigers made it to the final four, where the Pete Carril-coached team lost to Michigan in the first round. Bradley was named tournament MVP.
Butch Lee and the Gang – The 1977 Marquette team was special because they gave fiery coach Al McGuire his one and only NCAA Championship. Led by smooth as silk guard Butch Lee, the Warriors beat North Carolina 67-59 in the NCAA final. McGuire used to say that Lee came down the floor like Danish pastry.
The Bearcats – The 1962 Cincinnati squad, led by rugged Paul Hogue at Center and sweet-shooying Ron Bonham, beat a very talented Ohio State team, 71-59 in the NCAA final in Louisville, Kentucky. Underrated Ed Jucker was the Bearcat coach.