It's no easy task, but ESPN's John Gasaway gave it a shot.
Following North Carolina's 71-65 win over Gonzaga to deliver the Tar Heels a national title, the network ranked all 79 NCAA tournament champions in order from top to bottom.
Indiana's 1976 undefeated team checked in at No. 2 on the list, trailing only UCLA's 1972 30-0 team. That Bruins team played only two games that were decided by single digits.
"Bob Knight's Hoosiers announced their intentions at the outset in 1975-76 with an easy 20-point win over No. 2-ranked UCLA in a made-for-TV season opener played in St. Louis," Gasaway wrote of the '76 squad. "The Hoosiers were tested in two overtime games (against Kentucky at Freedom Hall in Louisville, and at home against Michigan), and they also had to prevail in nine additional single-digit contests over the course of the season.
"Nevertheless, Indiana seemed to gather strength as the season progressed: Knight's team won its NCAA tournament games by an average of 13 points. The Hoosiers were the product of Knight's manifest coaching prowess and elite (though often underrated in subsequent years) talent: Kent Benson, Scott May, Quinn Buckner and Bob Wilkerson were all selected at No. 11 or higher in the two ensuing NBA drafts."
The Hoosiers' four other national championship teams ranked as follows:
· 1987 team (30-4 overall) - 33nd
· 1981 team (26-9 overall) - 55th
· 1953 team (23-3 overall) - 61st
· 1940 team (20-3 overall) - 73rd
IU is the only member of the current Big Ten to place a team in the top 20. The next conference member on the list is Ohio State's 1960 squad (25-3 overall) at 22nd.
This year's UNC team - which IU defeated 76-67 in November - checked in at No. 42 overall.
For the full list of all 79 national champions and their rankings, click here - LINK.
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