Since 1939, only nine college basketball programs have run the table to finish the season with an unblemished record. The 1975-76 Indiana Hoosiers were the last team to accomplish the feat.
"I enjoyed playing on that team because everybody was playing for the same thing," Indiana's Quinn Buckner said. "We had one common spirit. Coach Knight was demanding when he had to be."
Bobby Knight is not one to brag about accolades, but in this case, boasting is accepted. On top of the 32-0 record, all five-starters from this national championship squad, Benson, May, Abernathy, Buckner, and Wilkerson, went on to play in the NBA.
"The balance of those guys who have played at Indiana have been good players," Buckner said. "But they were so much better being part of the Indiana system and that common spirit."
Penn State's 2000-01 squad found little success inside the Big Ten as their conference record indicated at 7-9, but the Lions, led by Titus Ivory and Joe Crispin, made the most of their opportunity once they reached the NCAA tournament as a 7-seed.
"We had that swagger," Joe Crispin, who is currently playing professional basketball in Italy, said of his Nittany Lions. "The expectations were not high outside our team, but they were for us because we believed in ourselves. It was just the right mix of players."
Penn State knocked out Providence and 2-seed North Carolina before bowing out in the Sweet 16 to John Chaney's Temple Owls.
Thirty-four years after they cut down the nets, the young men from Bloomington have been graced with the "Bracket of Classics" #1 seed and made quick work of our friends from Happy Valley.
Eight minutes into the first half, Tom Abernathy's jumper brought the crowd to their feet and before the Nittany Lions knew what hit them, the Hoosiers had jumped out to a 22-6 lead. A young Bobby Knight enjoyed leads of 20 points in the first half before both teams jogged into the locker room with Indiana leading 52-38.
Penn State would face double-digit deficits the rest of the game. The Hoosiers, who shot nearly 60-percent for the game (59.4-percent) slammed down on the accelerator and ran over Penn State en route to a 96-77 first-round victory.
Indiana's Kent Benson was lights out from the field (10-13) and finished with a game-high 24 points to compliment 11 rebounds. Joe Crispin could not find the range from behind the arc (1-7, 3-pointers) and finished with 16 points. Titus Ivory led the Lions with 21 points.
Player of the game: Kent Benson (24 points, 11 rebounds)
Winning Percentage of 101 Simulations: Indiana 1975-76 (94%)