VIDEO: Rick with members of the 1976 Hoosiers - click here

 

ATLANTA (WDRB) – Scott May was not expecting Indiana's unbeaten 1976 NCAA champions to be voted the greatest college basketball team of all time. So many other great teams were on the list of nominees – from UCLA, North Carolina, Kentucky, Louisville, Duke, UNLV and elsewhere.

Ditto for Quinn Buckner, Kent Benson, Bobby Wilkerson, Tom Abernethy, Jim Crews and the other members of that unbeaten 32-0 Hoosier squad.

"All those great UCLA teams," Wilkerson said. "That's tough competition."

"We never worried about where we were ranked," Buckner said. "We just played."

Any worrying about the ranking ended Friday. The NCAA announced the results of voting by fans, media members and college sports information directors – and the 1976 Hoosiers were selected as the best team in the NCAA's 75 Years of March Madness voting.

That Indiana team, which defeated UCLA and Michigan at the Final Four in Philadelphia, remains the last team to complete an unbeaten season as they won the school's third of five national titles.

May was voted the Wooden Award winner, and Benson was named the Most Outstanding Player at the Final Four. All five starters played several seasons in the NBA, and May and Buckner led the 1976 men's Olympic team to the gold medal in Montreal.

"I'm a little caught off guard by it and very much humbled by the fact that people would vote our team as it is," Buckner said.

Those six players, as well as former Indiana coach Bob Knight, appeared together at a press conference to discuss the announcement on Friday morning.

"Never did a group of kids represent college basketball any better than these guys did," Knight said. 

"He doesn't like this, but the reality is we're not here without Coach Knight," Buckner said.

Wilkerson and Benson said that next month in Indianapolis the 1976 team will launch a marketing campaign to celebrate the team's 32-0 season that will feature posters, throwback jerseys, calendars, T-shirts and other items.

"Just a lot of items that we think fans will enjoy," said Wilkerson, who is organizing the campaign.

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