From Runner-Up to Champ? History is Mixed.

North Carolina returns to the NCAA Final after losing in last year’s thriller against Villanova.  This is the 8th time that this has happened and in the prior 7 the defending Runner-Up is 3-4. Notably, the first school to win after losing in the Final the year before was North Carolina in 1982.

Losing Team Lost

Ohio State 1961-62

fp0eeifoao1nkuk7v0zeuuerf[1]  1961  1962
 Record/Seed  27-1  26-2
 Coach  Fred Taylor   Fred Taylor
 Top Player  Jerry Lucas (F)   Jerry Lucas (F)
 Opponent q2h2fmakw2aggxve3ml8[1] q2h2fmakw2aggxve3ml8[1]
 Record/Seed  26-3  29-2
 Coach  Ed Jucker   Ed Jucker
 Top Player  Paul Hogue (C)   Paul Hogue (C)
 Venue Kansas City Municipal Auditorium Freedom Hall
 Score  65-70  59-71

1961:  Undefeated Buckeyes lost in bid to repeat as Champions.
1962:  An Ohio State team with Jerry Lucas and John Havlicek lose rematch against Cincinnati.

Houston 1983-84


 1983 1984
 Record/Seed 31-3 (#1) 32-5(#2)
 Coach Guy Lewis   Guy Lewis
 Top Player Clyde Drexler (F)
Hakeem Olajuwan (C)
  Hakeem Olajuwan (C)
 Opponent 2852[1] 2485[1]
 Record/Seed  26-10 (#6) 34-3 (#1)
 Coach Jim Valvano John Thompson
 Top Player Thurl Bailey (F) Patrick Ewing (C)
 Venue University Arena
Kingdome, Seattle
 Score 52-54  75-84

1983:  Cinderella NC State stunned Phi Slamma Jamma with Lorenzo Charles grabbing a desperation air ball shot and dunking for the win.

1984:  Georgetown’s backcourt of Reggie Williams and David Wingate took over in what had been billed as the “Battle of the Giants” as the Hoyas dominated for their first and only NCAA title.

Michigan 1992-93

2540[1]  1992 1993
 Record/Seed 25-9 (#6) 31-5 (#2)
 Coach Steve Fisher   Steve Fisher
 Top Player Jalen Rose (G)
Chris Webber (F)
  Jalen Rose (G)
Chris Webber (F)
 Opponent duke[1] north-carolina
 Record/Seed 34-2 (#1) 34-4 (#1)
 Coach Mike Krzyzewski Dean Smith
 Top Player Christian Laettner (C)
Grant Hill (F)
Bobby Hurley (G)
Eric Montross (C)
Donald Williams (G)
 Venue Metrodome, Minneapolis Superdome, New Orleans
 Score 51-71 71-77

1992:  Michigan’s Fab-Five freshman lost to the defending champs Duke.  The tournament highlight was to Christian Laettner’s shot at the buzzer to beat Kentucky to win the East Regional.

1993: The Fab-Five returned to the Finals, but Chris Webber’s attempt to call time out when they had none left resulted in a technical foul that clinched it for the Tar Heels.

Butler 2010-11

butler[1] 2010 2011
 Record/Seed 33-5 (#5) 28-10 (#8)
 Coach Brad Stevens Brad Stevens
 Top Player Gordon Hawyard (F) Matt Howard (F)
Sheldon Mack (G)
 Opponent duke[1]
 Record/Seed 35-5 (#1) 32-9 (#3)
 Coach Mike Krzyzewski Dean Smith
 Top Player John Scheyer (G) Kemba Walker (G)
 Venue Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis Reliant Stadium, Houston
 Score 59-61 41-53

2010:  Duke defeated Butler as Gordon Hayward’s last second desperation shot clanged off the rim.

2011:  UConn won its third national championship in Coach Calhoun’s next to last year.

Losing Team Won

North Carolina 1981-82


 1981 1982
 Record/Seed 29-8 (#2) 32-2(#1)
 Coach Dean Smith Dean Smith
 Top Player Al Wood (G)
James Worthy (F)
James Worthy (F)
Michael Jordan (G)
 Opponent 2830[1] 2485[1]
 Record/Seed  26-9 (#3) 30-7 (#1)
 Coach Bobby Knight John Thompson
 Top Player Isiah Thomas (G) Sleepy Floyd (G)
Patrick Ewing (C)
 Venue Spectrum, Philadelphia Superdome, New Orleans
 Score 50-63  63-62

1981:  Isiah Thomas led Indiana with 23 points en route to a 63-50 win.

1982:  Junior James Worthy (28) and Freshman Michael Jordan (16) led North Carolina over Freshman Patrick Ewing (23) and Senior Sleepy Floyd (18) 63-62- a win that was sealed by Freddy Brown’s errant pass in the final minutes.

Duke 1990-91


1990 1991
 Record/Seed 29-9 (#3) 32-7 (#2)
 Coach Mike Krzyzewski Mike Krzyzewski
 Top Player Phil Henderson (G)
Christian Leatner (C)
  Christian Laettner (C)
Grant Hill (F)
 Opponent ndwl6xgpjg2inf7ypvhm[1] 2509[1]
 Record/Seed 35-5 (#1) 27-8 (#3)
 Coach Jerry Tarkanian Roy Williams
 Top Player Larry Johnson (F) Terry Brown (G)
 Venue McNichols Sports Arena, Denver Hoosier Dome,
 Score 73-103 72-65

1990:  UNLV wins its only National Championship in a blow out.

1991:  Duke stunned an undefeated UNLV team in the National Semifinal 79-77 and beat Kansas 72-65 for Duke’s first national championship (in Roy Williams first NCAA Final).

Kentucky 1997-98


1997 1991
 Record/Seed 35-5 (#1) 35-4 (#2)
 Coach Rick Petino Tubby Smith
 Top Player Ron Mercer (F)
Derek Anderson (F)
 Jeff Shephard (G)
 Opponent arizona[1].png utah[1]
 Record/Seed 25-9 (#4) 30-4 (#3)
 Coach Lute Olsen Rick Majerus
 Top Player Michael Dickerson (F)
Miles Simon (F)
Mike Bibby (G)
Michael Doleac (C)
 Venue RCA Dome, Indianapolis Alamodome, San Antonio
 Score 79-84 (OT) 78-69

1997:  Arizona defeated three #1 seeds including defending champion Kentucky.

1998:  Kentucky came back from double-digit deficits in each of its last three games in the tournament, including a 17-point second half comeback against the Duke Blue Devils, leading to the school’s fans dubbing the team the “Comeback Cats”.


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