How Many Times Has UCLA Won March Madness?
March Madness is a yearly college basketball tournament hosted by the NCAA that culminates with the National Championship game. Since the inaugural NCAA Tournament in 1939, 36 colleges have gone on to capture a National Championship. Overall, the most successful team in NCAA history is UCLA, which has captured eleven total titles (1964, 1965, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, and 1995).
UCLA’s legacy is cemented in the NCAA history books with the most consecutive titles (1967-1973), consecutive March Madness victories (38), and four of the seven undefeated seasons in NCAA history (1964, 1967, 1972, and 1973). Read on to learn about the road to each of UCLA’s eleven championship titles.
1964 National Championship
In 1964, UCLA knocked off Duke by a score of 98-83 in both schools’ first appearances in the National Championship game. With this victory at Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City, UCLA became the third team in NCAA history to secure an undefeated season. While Gail Goodrich scored 27 points in the final game, UCLA’s Walt Hazzard was named the Final Four Most Outstanding Player and was drafted with the second-overall pick by the Los Angeles Lakers in the offseason. With this first title, UCLA began a historic run that saw the program capture nine more titles over the next eleven seasons.
1965 National Championship
In 1965, UCLA repeated as National Champions with a 91-80 victory over the Michigan Wolverines. With the return of Gail Goodrich to the Bruins roster, the team’s only two losses came to Big Ten opponents Illinois and Iowa. In the National Championship game, Goodrich scored 42 points at the Memorial Coliseum in Portland to lead the Bruins to victory. Later, Goodrich was drafted second overall in the 1965 NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Lakers, the Lakers’ consecutive second-pick from UCLA.
1967 National Championship
After failing to make the NCAA Tournament in 1966, UCLA capped off the NCAA’s fourth perfect season. In his first varsity season, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, then known as Lew Alcindor, averaged 29 points and 15.5 rebounds, became the National Player of the Year and earned the Final Four Most Outstanding Player award for his 20-point championship performance. At the very end of its postseason, they won the school’s third National Championship with a 79-64 victory over Dayton.
1968 National Championship
At L.A. Sports Arena in Los Angeles, UCLA secured the program’s fourth title and a 29-1 season record with a 78-55 victory over North Carolina. With 34 points and 16 rebounds in the deciding matchup, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar repeated as the Final Four Most Outstanding Player and National Player of the Year.
1969 National Championship
In Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s final collegiate game, UCLA became the first team to win three-straight titles and captured the program’s fifth overall championship with a 92-72 victory over Purdue. During the 1969-1970 season, UCLA’s only loss came in the last matchup of the regular season against USC. For the third straight season, Abdul-Jabbar was named the Final Four Most Outstanding Player and National Player of the Year.
1970 National Championship
In 1970, UCLA defeated Jacksonville by a score of 80-69 to secure four straight titles and UCLA’s sixth overall championship. Led by a balanced arsenal of scorers and rebounders that included Sidney Wicks and John Vallely, UCLA knocked off Jacksonville in the school’s first-ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament.
1971 National Championship
During the 1971 season, UCLA clinched its fifth consecutive National Championship with a 68-62 victory over Villanova in the Astrodome. After the season, the Bruins had three first-round NBA draft selections in Sidney Wicks (#2), Curtis Rowe (#11), and Steve Patterson (#18).
1972 National Championship
In Hall-of-Fame center Bill Walton’s first varsity season, UCLA clinched the program’s eighth overall title, their sixth consecutive championship, and secured the NCAA’s fifth perfect season with an 81-76 victory over Florida State. After winning the team’s final 15 games in 1971, UCLA went on to win an NCAA record 88 straight games from 1971-1974.
1973 National Championship
By scoring 44 points in the National Championship against Memphis, Bill Walton led UCLA to a back-to-back undefeated season and UCLA’s ninth overall title. Since 1973, only one other team has successfully recorded an undefeated season, as Indiana went 32-0 in 1976.
1975 National Championship
After failing to capture the 1974 title, UCLA returned in 1975 to capture John Wooden’s final National Championship at the helm of the program. In Wooden’s final game, the Bruins toppled Kentucky 92-85 in the San Diego Sports Arena. During their miraculous run, UCLA won ten titles in twelve years, a feat that may never be matched in the future of college basketball.
1995 National Championship
With the first seed in the West Region, UCLA returned to glory in 1995 to capture the school’s most recent National Championship. Led by head coach Jim Harrick and Wooden Award winner Ed O’Bannon, UCLA knocked off the reigning champion Arkansas Razorbacks in Seattle by a score of 89-78.
When was the last time UCLA won the National Championship in basketball?
UCLA’s last National Championship came in 1995 when the Bruins defeated Arkansas 89-78. With the most National Championships in NCAA history (11), UCLA most recently returned to the Final Four in 2021 but narrowly fell to the Gonzaga Bulldogs 93-90.