How Many Times Has Indiana Won March Madness?

How Many Times Has Indiana Won March Madness

The inaugural NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament was played in 1939. Since then, 36 schools have gone on to win a National Championship. Indiana University, located in Bloomington, Indiana, is a historic program ranked in the top 10 for total NCAA Tournament victories (68) and Final Four Appearances (8). Overall, Indiana has five March Madness victories (1940, 1953, 1976, 1981, and 1987), tied with Duke for the fourth-most titles of all time. Here, their championship runs will be discussed.

Titles Under Branch McCraken (1940 & 1953)

Indiana’s first two National Championships came under the direction of future Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame inductee Branch McCraken. As a former player at Indiana, McCraken led the Hoosiers from 1938 to 1943 and 1946 to 1965. During each of these periods, which were interrupted by his service as a lieutenant in World War II, McCraken led Indiana to a national title.

While assembling his roster, McCraken had two main aspirations. First, he wanted to compile a team made up primarily of players from the state of Indiana. During Indiana’s run to the National Championship in 1940, only one player on the 24-man roster lived outside of Indiana. McCraken was also fascinated by a rapid and assertive playing style that stressed transition offense and earned the team the nickname “the Hurryin’ Hoosiers.”

In 1940, Indiana won its first NCAA title by defeating Kansas 60-42. The Hoosiers were led by Marv Huffman, the NCAA Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player and Second Team All-American, who scored 12 points in the final game.

During the 1953 season, Indiana knocked off Kansas 69-68 to claim Indiana’s second national title. The team was led by two future first-round NBA Draft picks in Bobby “Slick” Leonard and Don Schlundt. A late free throw sealed the title for the Hoosiers, who ended the season with a record of 23-3.

Titles Under Bob Knight (1976, 1981 & 1987)

Bob Knight spent 29 seasons at the helm of the Indiana basketball program from 1971 to 2000. During his tenure, Knight brought three National Championship titles to the university, won four National Coach of the Year honors, and coached nine Big Ten MVP Award winners.

In 1976, the Indiana Hoosiers completed an undefeated season to win the school’s third National Championship title. With a 32-0 record, the Hoosiers maintained a preseason number-one ranking and defeated Michigan 86-68 in the title game. After bowing out due to injury the prior postseason, Scott May was awarded the Naismith College Player of the Year award and was later selected by the Chicago Bulls with the second pick in the 1976 NBA Draft.

Led by Isiah Thomas, Indiana captured its fourth March Madness victory in 1981 by defeating North Carolina 63-50. Soon after the season ended, Thomas declared for the NBA Draft and was selected with the second overall pick by the Detroit Pistons, who he eventually led to win two NBA titles.

Indiana’s most recent National Championship title came in 1987, with a 74-73 victory over Syracuse. The 1987 season was especially important, as it was the first NCAA Tournament to include a three-point line and the last to allow teams to host postseason matchups on their home court. Since then, Indiana has only made one National Championship appearance, a 64-52 loss to Maryland in 2002.


When was the last time Indiana won the National Championship in basketball?

Indiana’s last National Championship came in 1987. During the title game, Indiana knocked off second-seeded Syracuse 74-73 in New Orleans. The Hoosiers returned to the National Championship in 2002 but fell to Maryland 64-52 in Atlanta.