Top 10 Most Obscure Teams to Win a College Basketball National Championship

The National championship is the highest peak in College Basketball. Often times teams like Duke, Villanova Kansas, North Carolina, UConn or Kentucky win it but there’s been some other teams win it a long time ago either by luck or because they were a powerhouse that you never hear about.
The Top Ten
1 CCNY Beavers - 1950

The Beavers are so obscure that they aren't even in Division I anymore and instead play at a Division II level today. Back in 1950, the Beavers were led by head coach Nat Holman, one of the greatest innovators in the game at the time. All the players on the team were from New York City.

The team was 24-5 and is the only school to ever win the NCAA tournament and NIT tournament in the same year. CCNY had a 17-5 record during the regular season but failed to draw any support in the final AP Top 20. The team was made up mostly of sophomores and was the last squad selected to play in the NIT tournament, which was the more popular tournament at the time. The Beavers thrashed defending champion San Francisco 65-46 in the opening round, and people took notice.

CCNY then faced third-ranked and two-time defending NCAA champion Kentucky and blew them out 89-50 for the worst loss by an Adolph Rupp coached team. The Beavers would win the NIT tournament against Bradley and would be invited to the NCAA tournament for their incredible run. In the first round, City College barely survived second-ranked Ohio State, 56-55. The Beavers would go on to beat fifth-ranked North Carolina State 78-73 to reach the title game.

CCNY again faced top-ranked Bradley and won the tournament, 71-68, to score the only Grand Slam in the history of college basketball.

2 Holy Cross Crusaders - 1947

Even to this day, Holy Cross is the smallest school to win a National Championship. They went 27-3 and did so without a home court on campus. The team had Bob Cousy, who was only a freshman at the time, and freshmen weren't allowed to play on varsity teams prior. However, due to the aftermath of WWII, the rule was put on hold and Cousy was allowed to play.

They beat Navy and CCNY to meet Oklahoma in the championship game, winning 58-47.

3 La Salle Explorers - 1954

Yes, this team actually won a championship thanks in part to Tom Gola, who was the Magic Johnson of that era, averaging 21 points and 23 rebounds. La Salle went 26-4 and was ranked as high as No. 2 in the AP poll.

4 San Francisco Dons - 1955

Back in the day, San Francisco was legit. Behind future Hall of Famers Bill Russell and K.C. Jones, USF was 28-1 and won its last 26 games of the season on their way to capturing their first NCAA basketball championship. The Dons ascended to the top spot in the nation after impressive victories over UCLA, Wichita State, Oklahoma City, and George Washington.

The team breezed to the California Basketball Association title with a 12-0 record. They downed West Texas State (89-66), Utah (79-59), and Oregon State (57-56) to earn a spot in the Final Four. They defeated Colorado (62-50) and La Salle (77-63) to claim their first of back-to-back national titles under head coach Phil Woolpert.

The next year, they posted a 29-0 record on their way to a second consecutive NCAA Championship, defeating UCLA (72-61), Utah (92-77), SMU (86-68), and Iowa (83-71) to become just the third school to win back-to-back national championships.

5 Wyoming Cowboys - 1943 Hailing from Laramie, Wyoming, the Cowboys are part of the Mountain West Conference. They have a storied tradition in sports such as football and basketball. Their team colors are brown and gold.

Yeah, that's right. Wyoming legit won a National Championship, winning 32 games and only having 9 home games. The Cowboys won in dominant fashion in the regular season before knocking off Oklahoma, Texas, and Georgetown to win the 8-team tournament.

At the time, the NIT was almost as big as the NCAA tournament, and so St. John's, the NIT winners, challenged Wyoming in a Red Cross game in which Wyoming won.

6 UTEP Miners - 1966

Back in 1966, UTEP was Texas Western University. The Miners, who were ranked third in the nation, faced No. 1 Kentucky. Texas Western's starting lineup of five African-Americans was the first all-black lineup in an NCAA title game. Meanwhile, their opponents had an all-white squad. The Miners won 72 - 65 over Kentucky, claiming the school's first national championship.

7 Loyola-Chicago Ramblers - 1963

Yeah, that's right. Loyola Chicago legit won a National Championship in 1963 against Cincinnati in OT, back when Sister Jean was probably in her prime. The Bearcats were dominant at this time. Also, in the championship game, Loyola started four African-Americans and Cincinnati started three, marking the first time that a majority of African-Americans participated in the championship game.

8 UNLV Rebels - 1990

When UNLV won, they set the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament record for the largest margin of victory in a championship game, winning 103-73 over Duke. That is not a typo. What's notable is that they scored the most points by a national championship team, yet nobody talks about them.

9 NC State Wolfpack - 1974 Based in Raleigh, North Carolina, the NC State Wolfpack are part of the ACC and compete in 23 varsity sports. With a long history in collegiate athletics, they have made their mark particularly in basketball and football. They wear red and white uniforms.

In 1974, N.C. State was a powerhouse, losing just once to John Wooden's UCLA Bruins. The Wolfpack won the rest of their games, including dominant victories over Providence and Pitt, setting up a rematch with UCLA. They emerged victorious in the rematch and went on to defeat Marquette in the championship.

In 1983, under Jim Valvano, the Wolfpack would win it all again. The return of Dereck Whittenburg from injury played a significant role as the Wolfpack upset UNC and Virginia in the ACC tournament, earning them a trip back to the tournament. There, they secured narrow victories over Pepperdine and UNLV, winning by a combined 3 points.

The Wolfpack pulled off one of the more interesting upsets in the tournament by defeating the Houston Cougars, also known as Phi Slama Jama, with a score of 54-52.

10 Arkansas Razorbacks - 1994 The Arkansas Razorbacks football program represents the University of Arkansas, located in Fayetteville, Arkansas, in the sport of American football. The Razorbacks compete in the Football Bowl Subdivision of the National Collegiate Athletic Association and the Western Division of the Southeastern Conference... read more

Arkansas makes the list because you don't really think basketball when talking about Arkansas. Ranked No. 1 nationally for 10 weeks during the regular season, the Razorbacks lost only twice during the regular season. Alabama beat Arkansas, 66-64, in Tuscaloosa, and Mississippi State edged the Hogs, 72-71, in Starkville.

Arkansas had a 13-game winning streak which was snapped by Kentucky in the SEC Tournament, but they were still seeded first in the Midwest Regional at Oklahoma City. Their tournament run began with a 94-79 first-round victory over North Carolina A&T. They followed that up with an 85-73 second-round win over Georgetown. Arkansas beat Tulsa and Michigan to advance to the Final Four where they faced off against Arizona and Duke to win the Championship.

The entire state celebrated, as did President Clinton.

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