1975–76 Indiana Hoosiers men's basketball team

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1975–76 Indiana Hoosiers men's basketball
Big Ten Regular Season Champions
Conference Big Ten Conference
Coaches #1
AP #1
1975–76 record 32–0 (18–0 Big Ten)
Head coach Bobby Knight
Assistant coach Harold Andreas
Assistant coach Bob Donewald
Assistant coach Bob Weltlich
Home arena Assembly Hall
« 1974–75 1976–77 »
1975–76 Big Ten Conference men's basketball standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   PCT     W   L   PCT
#1 Indiana 18 0   1.000     32 0   1.000
#9 Michigan 14 4   .778     25 7   .781
Purdue 11 7   .611     16 11   .593
Michigan State 10 8   .556     14 13   .519
Iowa 9 9   .500     19 10   .655
Minnesota 8 10   .444     16 10   .615
Illinois 7 11   .389     14 13   .519
Northwestern 7 11   .389     12 15   .444
Wisconsin 4 14   .222     10 16   .385
Ohio State 2 16   .111     6 20   .231
Rankings from AP Poll

The 1975–76 Indiana Hoosiers men's basketball team were the winners of the NCAA Men's Division I Tournament, the school's third national championship. The Hoosiers included 3 All-Americans and were led by Head Coach Bob Knight to an undefeated 32-0 record. They remain the last men's NCAA Division I basketball team to finish a season unbeaten. The team played its home games in Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Indiana, and was a member of the Big Ten Conference.

Regular season summary[edit]

After coming just short of winning a national championship the season before (1974-75) because of an injury, the 1975-76 team got off to a hot start. Starters Scott May, Quinn Buckner, Bobby Wilkerson and Kent Benson returned. Head coach Bob Knight, then in his fifth year at Indiana, moved senior Tom Abernathy into Steve Green's starting role. Guard Bobby Wilkerson was an unsung hero who could do a little bit of everything. The team entered the season ranked No. 1.

In a preseason exhibition game against the Soviet National team, the Hoosiers won by a convincing 94-78 margin. The Soviet team included two stars from their gold medal team in 1972, Aleksandr Belov and Sergei Belov. The game was played before a sellout crowd of 17,377 at the new Market Square Arena in Indianapolis. Star Scott May scored 34 points on 13-for-15 shooting.

The Hoosiers then opened the season with an 84-64 win over UCLA, which was coached by John Wooden's successor Gene Bartow. The game was played in St. Louis as one of the first made-for-TV games in college history, with the starting time at 11 p.m. for maximum national airing. May scored 33 points.

The Hoosiers returned to Market Square Arena to play Florida State. The Seminoles' head coach, Hugh Durham, said before the game: "They beat Russia to prove they're the best in the world. And they beat UCLA to prove they're the best in the United States. Now I'd like to see them prove they're human and have a bad game." [1] At halftime Indiana led 47-20 and they would go on to win 83-59. May scored 24 points and Kent Benson added 22. Afterward Durham said, "I'm glad this isn't like baseball. I'd hate to play these guys in a three-game homestead." [1]

The Hoosiers ended the regular season unbeaten, a feat that would be accomplished only thrice since, by Larry Bird-led 1979 Indiana State Sycamores, the 1991 UNLV Runnin' Rebels, and the 2014 Wichita State Shockers.

Indiana is the last team to go unbeaten through the entire season, through preconference and conference seasons, and also finish unbeaten winning the NCAA Tournament. That mark has stood since 1977.

NCAA Tournament[edit]

Entering the NCAA Tournament the No. 1 ranked Hoosiers drew the toughest route ever dealt a No. 1 ranked team.[1] The route included a regional matchup of No. 1 and No. 2 (Marquette) and convinced the NCAA Tournament Committee to begin seeding the tournament.

In the first game Indiana beat No. 18 St. John's 90-70. Scott May scored 33 points over a 23-6 team that had been unbeaten before Indiana beat them in December before a college-record Madison Square Garden crowd of 19,964.

In the next game Indiana beat No. 7 Alabama 74-69 behind the play of Scott May (25 points, 16 rebounds). Alabama led 69-68 when May hit a jump shot with 2:02 left. At the time Coach Knight called this Alabama team the best any of his teams ever played.[1]

Against No. 2 Marquette the Hoosiers won 65-56. Marquette coach Al McGuire attempted to contain May by using a box-and-one defense. May scored 15 points but sat out 13 minutes with foul problems. Marquette was 27-2 on the year and would go on to win the NCAA championship the following season.

In the next game the Hoosiers once again faced UCLA, who entered the game ranked No. 5 with a 27-3 record. The Hoosiers won 65-51 behind 19 rebounds from 6'7" guard Bobby Wilkerson and strong play from Tom Abernathy.

In the final game, the championship, Indiana squared off against No. 9 Michigan for the third match up between the teams that season. Michigan led at half-time, 35-29, after Indiana lost Wilkerson early to a concussion. The Hoosiers ultimately prevailed 86-68. May had 26 points, Buckner 16, and Outstanding Player Award winner Benson had 25.

Indiana finished the season with a 32-0 record, and no NCAA Division I team has gone undefeated the entire season since.[2][3]

Tournament results [4]

  • Mideast
    • Indiana 90, St. John’s 70
    • Indiana 74, Alabama 69
    • Indiana 65, Marquette 56
  • Final Four
    • Indiana 65, UCLA 51
    • Indiana 86, Michigan 68


Name[5] # Position Height Year Home Town
Tom Abernathy 33 Forward 6–7 Senior South Bend, IN
Bob Bender 25 Guard 6–4 Freshman Bloomington, IL
Kent Benson 54 Center 6–11 Junior New Castle, IN
Quinn Buckner 21 Guard 6–3 Senior Phoenix, IL
Jim Crews 45 Guard 6–5 Senior Normal, IL
Scott Eells 31 Forward 6–9 Freshman Hoopeston, IL
Mark Haymore 32 Forward/Center 6–8 Sophomore Cleveland, OH
Scott May 42 Forward 6–7 Senior Sandusky, OH
Wayne Radford 22 Guard/Forward 6–3 Sophomore Indianapolis, IN
Jim Roberson 43 Forward/Center 6–9 Freshman Rochester, NY
Rich Valavicius 34 Forward 6–5 Freshman Hammond, IN
Bob Wilkerson 20 Guard/Forward 6–7 Senior Anderson, IN
Jim Wisman 23 Guard 6–2 Sophomore Quincy, IL

Awards and honors[edit]

Team players drafted into the NBA[edit]

Year Round Pick Player NBA Club
1976 1 2 Scott May Chicago Bulls
1976 1 7 Quinn Buckner Milwaukee Bucks
1976 1 11 Bob Wilkerson Seattle SuperSonics
1976 3 43 Tom Abernethy Los Angeles Lakers
1977 1 1 Kent Benson Milwaukee Bucks
1978 2 27 Wayne Radford Indiana Pacers
1979 6 119 Bob Bender San Diego Clippers



  1. ^ a b c d Hammel, Bob; Klingelhoffer, Kit (1999). The Glory of Old IU: 100 Years of Indiana Athletics. Sports Publishing LLC. p. 164. ISBN 1-58261-068-1. Retrieved 2012-04-24. 
  2. ^ "A perfect season". sportingnews.com. Retrieved 28 March 2008. 
  3. ^ "Hoosier Historia". heraldtimesonline.com. Retrieved 28 March 2008. 
  4. ^ http://www.databasesports.com/ncaab/tourney.htm?yr=1976
  5. ^ Hiner, Jason (2004). Indiana University Basketball Encyclopedia. Sports Publishing LLC. ISBN 1-58261-655-8. 
  6. ^ "Final Four Most Outstanding Players". cbs.sportsline.com. Retrieved 31 March 2008. 
  7. ^ http://www.naismithawards.com/History/NaismithTrophy/tabid/58/Default.aspx
  8. ^ http://www.databasebasketball.com/draft/draftyear.htm?lg=N&yr=1976