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B1G National Championship Perspectives

Taking a look back at the nattys accumulated by B1G members from 1981-present

2000 National Champion Michigan State Spartans
USA Today Sports

To conclude the NCAA Tournament perspectives series, here’s a look back at the National Championships won by present-day B1G member schools (‘writer’s’ choice to do this, as it gets Maryland into the conversation) from 1981-present. Note that at the ‘writing’ of this article, 2018 Michigan has an opportunity to add their name to this list:

  • 1981 Indiana Hoosiers
Isiah Thomas in the 1981 National Championship Game
Rich Clarkson / NCAA Photos

This Final Four was the Isiah Thomas show. Bobby Knight turned control of his team over to the Chicago sophomore and history was made. Indiana’s championship run was aided greatly by playing the Sweet 16 and Elite 8 at the Hall of Calls in Bloomington; however, the Hoosiers showed they had what it took to advance deep into the NCAA Tournament by steamrolling a Maryland team with All-Americas Buck Williams and Albert King 99-64. After dispatching LSU in the National Semi-Final (and Bobby Knight stuffing a Tiger’s fan into a garbage can in Philadelphia), Indiana upset Dean Smith’s North Carolina Tar Heels to capture the National Championship.

  • 1987 Indiana Hoosiers
Keith Smart versus Syracuse in the 1987 National Championship Game
Rich Clarkson / NCAA Photos

Bobby Knight stepped a bit out of his comfort zone for 1986-87, bringing in a pair of junior college transfers to fill out his roster in winning his third and final National Championship in Bloomington. Dean Garrett and Keith Smart complemented seniors Daryl Thomas and Steve Alford in leading the Hoosiers to a last-second victory over Syracuse at the Louisiana Superdome.

  • 1989 Michigan Wolverines
Glen Rice versus Seton Hall in the 1989 National Championship Game
Getty Images

Who would have thought that firing the head coach on the eve of the NCAA Tournament would propel a team to the National Championship? Apparently Michigan Athletic Director Bo Schembechler did by firing (Michigan alum) Bill Frieder and promoting assistant Steve Fisher to head coach (after Frieder announced he was taking the Arizona State head coaching vacancy at the end of the season). Glen Rice was nothing short of dominant as Michigan advanced further and further into the 1989 NCAA Tournament: finally knocking off Dean Smith’s Tar Heels in the Sweet 16, defeating Illinois in the National Semi-Finals, and earning an overtime victory against Seton Hall for the National Championship.

  • 2000 Michigan State Spartans
Mateen Cleaves
Doug Pensinger / Getty Images

Led by seniors Mateen Cleaves and Morris Peterson, Tom Izzo’s Spartans rolled through conference play at 13-3 (23-7 overall). After knocking off Iowa, Wisconsin, and Illinois to win the Big 10 Tournament Michigan State easily dispatched Valparaiso, Utah, Syracuse, and Iowa to get to the Final Four in Indianapolis. There, the Spartans beat Wisconsin for the fourth time that season 53-41, earning a matchup against Florida for the National Championship. In the National Championship game, Most Outstanding Player Mateen Cleaves fought off a sprained ankle to lead Michigan State to a 89-76 victory.

  • 2002 Maryland Terrapins
Juan Dixon in the 2002 National Semi-Finals versus Kansas
Doug Pensinger / Getty Images

Gary Williams had a veteran Maryland team for the 2001-02 with one notable thing: the Terrapins roster had exactly zero McDonalds All-Americans. This didn’t matter though, as Maryland led by redshirt senior guard Juan Dixon would only lose 4 games in route to the school’s only National Championship. Dixon was particularly effective in the semi-finals against Kansas, scoring 33 points and leading the Terrapins back from an early 13-2 deficit to earn the 97-88 victory. A bit of an assist though goes to the Indiana Hoosiers, who knocked off Maryland’s ACC nemesis Duke in the Sweet 16.


Which Final Four performance is the most impressive?

This poll is closed

  • 5%
    1981 Indiana
    (10 votes)
  • 3%
    1987 Indiana
    (7 votes)
  • 15%
    1989 Michigan
    (29 votes)
  • 11%
    2000 Michigan State
    (22 votes)
  • 15%
    2002 Maryland
    (30 votes)
  • 14%
    Illinois should have won in 2005, and why the hell is Maryland listed in this article
    (27 votes)
  • 34%
    Wisconsin should have won in 2015, and why the hell is Maryland listed in this article
    (66 votes)
191 votes total Vote Now