Since March Madness was created by the National Association of Basketball Coaches in 1939, only 15 different teams have won colleges biggest prize. All fifteen Champions have won the tournament on multiple occasions, and as with the majority of college sports, basketball has been dominated by the same handful of teams.
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The dominance of a select few can also be further emphasised by the fact that over 350 schools are currently enrolled in the Division I basketball programme. So as we gear up for the latest edition of March Madness, here are the most successful teams in the tournament's history.
#3 North Carolina - 6 Titles: 1957, 1982, 1993, 2005, 2009, 2017
Back in 1957, North Carolina claimed their first national championship, defeating a Kansas Jayhawks team lead by the legendary Wilt Chamberlain. The 54-53 overtime win remains the most impressive in North Carolina's history, as the team completed the season with an unbeaten record.
Nevertheless, the Tar Heels have continued to push on, and the team has quickly cemented their status as a college basketball powerhouse thanks to their total of six national championship wins.
The team won a single championship in both the 80s and 90s, although over the last fourteen years, the Tar Heels have taken home a further three championships. After triumphing in 2005 and 2009, the teams latest win came in 2017, as the Tar Heels denied Gonzago a first national title thanks to a hard-fought 71-65 win. This was Roy Williams' third triumph as head coach, and the victory two years ago allowed the Tar Heels to edge ahead of both Indiana and Duke (5 titles each) in the all-time standings.
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#2 Kentucky - 8 Titles: 1948, 1949, 1951, 1958, 1978, 1996, 1998, 2012
The Kentucky Wildcats won their first March Madness title way back in 1948, and since their debut win, the team has never had to endure a title drought of more than 20 years. The Wildcats had won three championships by 1951, and the team had reached five titles by 1978. After the longest championship wait in their history, the team re-emerged as a major force in the mid-to-late 90s, winning both the 1996 and 1998 tournaments.
The teams most recent win came back in 2012, as a team headlined by future NBA All-Star, Anthony Davis, eased to an eight title, although Davis declared for the NBA Draft following the tournament, eliminating any chance of a new dynasty. Nevertheless, UK remains among the best teams in the country, and the team will be looking to add a ninth title in the next few years.
#1 UCLA - 11 Titles: 1964, 1965, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1995
UCLA is currently enduring a more than two-decade drought for a championship, however, the team remains the most successful in the history of March Madness. The Bruins are the only team in history to reach double digits in tournament wins, and UCLA's status as the most successful college team in history owes much to the teams incredible run between 1964 and 1975.
During an incredible 12-year spell, the Bruins had an overall record of 335-22, and only failed to take home the championship on two occasions. The team also won seven in a row between 1967 and 1973, and it is unlikely that any basketball team will ever reach this level of dominance again. After UCLA's incredible run ended in 1975, the team had to wait until 1995 to take home the title again, and this remains the team's last triumph.