NCAA tournament at 75: The top 75 players

Trying to pick the 75 best players in NCAA tournament history is like trying to do a jigsaw puzzle in the dark. And that's the easy part. Now try picking the No. 1 tournament player of all time.

Do you eliminate anybody who played between 1939 and 1953 -- the era of 8- and 16-team tournament fields?

Do you give extra credit to Larry Bird and Magic Johnson for elevating the tournament to superstar status?

Do you throw a dart at the John Wooden/UCLA dynasty dartboard?

Do you pick a guy who strapped a team to his shoulders and carried it to an unlikely national title?

Do you make an exception for exceptional freshmen?

Do you go just by the numbers?

-- Gene Wojciechowski

Editor's note: ESPN.com's panel of experts answered those questions and more in compiling the list of the 75 best players in NCAA tournament history based on overall achievement as well as singular excellence. And picking neither the entire field not the No. 1 player was an easy task.

1. Lew Alcindor, UCLA
Imagine if the legend now known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had been eligible to compete as a freshman (1965-66). For three seasons, 1966-69, Alcindor was a man-child in college basketball. He led the Bruins to three consecutive NCAA titles, earned Most Outstanding Player honors at the Final Four each year. In those six Final Four games, he averaged 25.7 points and 18.8 rebounds. He also revolutionized the position with his patented hook shot. College basketball officials banned the dunk in 1967 in part because of Alcindor's production. So he utilized his finesse to carry UCLA to multiple national titles. He's a legend. -- Myron Medcalf

2. Bill Walton, UCLA
It may be the greatest one-game performance by a player in the history of the NCAA tournament. On March 26, 1973, Bill Walton scored 44 points on 21-of-22 shooting from the floor in UCLA's 87-66 win over Memphis (then known as Memphis State) in the national championship game. His performance led to the easiest and least controversial balloting in the history of the Most Outstanding Player award, and indeed the 1973 honor marked Walton's second consecutive year as the winner. Today, when you see Walton on a telecast explaining yet again that "It all starts in the paint," understand that he has good reason to believe it so. -- John Gasaway

3. Christian Laettner, Duke
Laettner's memorable NCAA tournament moments are many -- his shot to beat Kentucky in 1992 to send Duke to the Final Four stands out -- and he was a consummate winner, whose 407 points in 23 career NCAA tournament games still stands as the all-time record. Laettner played in four Final Fours, winning consecutive national championships in 1991 and '92, and while he had plenty of help with the likes of Bobby Hurley and Grant Hill, he was the key in a dominant stretch that saw Duke become an iconic program under Mike Krzyzewski. -- Andy Katz

4. Bill Russell, San Francisco
How dominant was Bill Russell in the NCAA tournament? The NCAA changed the rules after he left, widening the lane and eliminating goaltending. Russell led the University of San Francisco to back-to-back titles in 1955 and 1956. Known for his defense, he simply dominated everything inside, setting a still-standing record with 50 rebounds in the 1956 Final Four, including 27 in the title game against Iowa. Had they kept blocked shots as a statistic back then, he surely would have set records in that category, too. But he wasn't just a defensive-minded player. In 1955, he was named Most Outstanding Player, scoring 23.5 per game in the Final Four. -- Dana O'Neil

5. Magic Johnson, Michigan State
Earvin "Magic" Johnson needs no introduction. But before he would become an NBA legend, he burst onto the college scene in 1977-78, a flashy and revolutionary pure-passing point guard in the body of a modern power forward. He led Michigan State to a regional final in the 1978 NCAA tournament, and in 1979 he and Larry Bird captivated the sports world for an entire season before their storybook meeting in the national title game -- the most-watched college basketball game of all time -- which he and his Spartans won. Few college players have left as lasting an impact. -- Eamonn Brennan

6. Patrick Ewing, Georgetown
In the early 1980s, it was almost unheard-of for a freshman to start, much less star, for Georgetown. Patrick Ewing, though, did both during a 1981-82 season in which the Hoyas reached the NCAA title game, where they lost to a North Carolina squad led by Michael Jordan and James Worthy, despite Ewing's 23 points and 11 rebounds. Ewing would lead the Hoyas to two more championship game appearances in his collegiate career, winning the title with a victory over Houston in 1984 -- where he was named the Most Outstanding Player at the Final Four -- and falling to Villanova in 1985. -- Jason King

7. Danny Manning, Kansas
Kansas' 1988 NCAA championship team is referred to as "Danny and the Miracles" because of the Jayhawks' unlikely march after entering the tournament with 11 losses and a No. 6 seed. Still, anyone who watched Danny Manning throughout his career had come to expect performances like the one he gave in KU's 83-79 victory over Oklahoma in the title game. Manning scored 31 points, snared 18 rebounds, made 5 steals and swatted 2 shots in front of a hometown crowd at Kansas City's Municipal Auditorium. A few months later, Manning -- the Jayhawks' all-time leading scorer -- was selected with the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA draft. He also helped lead the Jayhawks to the national title game in 1986 and a regional semifinal in 1987. -- Jason King

8. Jerry Lucas, Ohio State
The accomplishments in the regular season were more than enough to get a personal banner at Ohio State. But it was work in multiple NCAA tournaments and in winning the only national title in program history that clinched the legacy of Jerry Lucas. He was twice chosen as the Final Four's Most Outstanding Player on the way to a title and a pair of runner-up finishes, and playing alongside Bob Knight and John Havlicek, he clinched the 1960 crown with a game-high 16 points and 10 rebounds in a blowout of California. The 6-foot-8 forward still holds program marks in the tournament for points, field goals, shooting percentage and rebounds. -- Austin Ward

9. David Thompson NC State
It took a Skywalker to halt UCLA's streak of seven straight NCAA titles. It took Thompson, a 6-foot-4 wing who played more like he was 8-foot-4. The Wolfpack beat Marquette to win the national championship in 1974, but had to topple the Bruins to get there. Thompson scored 28 points and pulled down 10 rebounds in that double-overtime semifinal thriller -- still remarkable, considering that came one game after he crashed to the floor against Pittsburgh, cracking his head and being rushed to the hospital while basketball fans held their collective breath. He averaged 24.2 points during four NCAA tournament games. -- Robbi Pickeral

10. Elvin Hayes, Houston
In 13 career NCAA tournament games, "The Big E" attempted 310 field goals (still the most in NCAA tournament history), made 152 of them (also still the most) and scored 358 points (second-most). But his teams never made it to the championship game, losing to UCLA in both the 1967 and 1968 semifinals. He scored 25 points and grabbed 24 rebounds in the first meeting. In the latter -- a rematch of "The Game of the Century" during the regular season in which he scored 39 points -- the Lew-Alcindor-led Bruins held Hayes to 10 points. -- Robbi Pickeral

11. Oscar Robertson, Cincinnati
Meet the original LeBron James. Long before James was a triple threat for the Miami Heat, Robertson did it all. At Cincinnati, he put up grown man numbers. The "Big O" led Cincy to two consecutive Final Fours, averaging 32.8 points and 13.1 rebounds in his NCAA tournament career. He never won a national title but he led the NCAA in scoring all three seasons from 1957-60. He was a three-time All-American. Robertson was the model for a generation of bulky, physical guards who now rule college basketball and the NBA. -- Myron Medcalf

12. Jerry West, West Virginia
When you have multiple awesome nicknames -- West goes by "The Logo" (his likeness remains the NBA's trademark silhouette), "Mr. Clutch" and "Zeke from Cabin Creek" -- you had to start somewhere, and West started fast. In the 1959 NCAA tournament, as a sophomore at West Virginia, West averaged 32 points and 14.6 rebounds per game; his 160 points tied what was then the five-game record, later surpassed by Bill Bradley and Elvin Hayes. He led all scorers and rebounders in every WVU contest, including a heartbreaking one-point loss to California in the final. West scored 275 points in nine career NCAA tournament games. -- Eamonn Brennan

13. Bill Bradley, Princeton
The future U.S. Senator and presidential candidate dominated college basketball long before he took his talents to Washington D.C. While at Princeton, Bradley led the Tigers to three consecutive NCAA tournament berths, including a run to the Final Four in 1965. He couldn't help Princeton beat Michigan in the semifinals, but he scored a jaw-dropping 58 in the third-place game against Wichita State, still the most points scored by a single player at the Final Four. He was named the tournament's most outstanding player. In nine NCAA tournament games, he averaged 33.7 points per game. Imagine if he could have played as a freshman. -- Dana O'Neil

14. Larry Johnson, UNLV
Johnson's game was ahead of his time. He had the strength of a power forward and the quickness of a small forward. He was as comfortable on the wing as he was on the block, with an uncanny ability to play through contact and draw old-fashioned three-point plays. He ran the floor for the Runnin' Rebels and Greg Anthony and Anderson Hunt did an excellent job of getting him the ball for an early post-up. His arrival at UNLV coincided with the Rebels' two-year NCAA tournament run that saw them win the title in 1990 and lose to Duke in the national championship game in 1991. As head coach at Long Beach State I played against Johnson three times in one season and have no reservation saying he was the toughest match I have ever game planned for. -- Seth Greenberg

15. Larry Bird, Indiana State
Bird is remembered most for his classic showdown against Michigan State's Earvin "Magic" Johnson in the 1979 national championship game, which is still the highest-rated contest in basketball history, college or pro. Before the Sycamores lost to the Spartans, 75-64, Bird dominated the 1979 NCAA tournament. In Indiana State's first appearance in the NCAAs, Bird had double-doubles in each of his first four games, averaging 29.2 points and 13.5 rebounds in victories over Virginia Tech, Oklahoma, Arkansas and DePaul. Against the Blue Demons in the national semifinals, Bird scored 35 points on 16-for-19 shooting and grabbed 16 rebounds with nine assists. He ran out of gas against the Spartans, though, scoring 19 points on 7-for-21 shooting with 13 rebounds. -- Mark Schlabach

16. Bobby Hurley, Duke
Hurley might have been the third-most celebrated player on his own team -- Grant Hill and Christian Laettner were the stars of Duke's back-to-back national championship teams in 1991 and '92 -- but perhaps no one was more valuable. A year after UNLV routed the Blue Devils 103-73 in the 1990 national championship game, Hurley never left the floor in Duke's 72-65 victory over Kansas in the '91 final, which gave coach Mike Krzyzewski his first national title. Hurley scored 12 points with nine assists in 40 minutes against the Jayhawks, only two days after he never left the floor in a 79-77 win over the Runnin' Rebels. A year later, Hurley scored nine points with seven assists in 37 minutes of a 71-51 victory over Michigan's famed "Fab Five" squad in the 1992 championship game. Hurley averaged 12 points and 7.3 assists in 20 NCAA tournament games, leading the Blue Devils to victories in all but two. -- Mark Schlabach

17. Akeem Olajuwon, Houston
The patron saint of "Phi Slama Jama" -- in this one-and-done era, it boggles the mind that Akeem Olajuwon, as he was then known, played alongside Clyde Drexler at Houston -- Olajuwon lays claim to the greatest NCAA tournament career of any player who never won a title. The Dream led the 1983 Cougars to a 31-2 record before losing to Jim Valvano's underdog NC State in one of the most famous upsets in NCAA tournament history; he was named the Final Four's Most Outstanding Player despite the loss. He made a return trip to the final in 1984, when a Patrick Ewing-led Georgetown team stopped Houston short once more. He averaged 19.1 points and 12.2 rebounds per game during the Cougars' 1983 and '84 tournament runs. -- Eamonn Brennan

18. Gail Goodrich, UCLA
Goodrich left UCLA as the school's all-time leading scorer in 1965 and helped begin the Bruins' NCAA tournament dynasty, delivering John Wooden's first two national championships. Goodrich partnered with Walt Hazzard for the Bruins' 1964 national championship, scoring 27 points in a title game win over Duke. He earned Final Four Most Outstanding Player honors in 1965, scoring 42 points in the title game to help UCLA beat Michigan. Goodrich was known for his ballhandling skills and his ability to distribute and was one of the Bruins' all-time winners, which is quite a statement, considering he played during the Wooden era. -- Andy Katz

19. Elgin Baylor, Seattle
Elgin Baylor was intent on becoming a two-sport star in basketball and football, but his basketball coach was dismissed after one season and scholarships were restricted, so Baylor transferred to Seattle University and spent a year playing for a local AAU team while establishing eligibility. Baylor was quick to put Seattle's basketball program on the map, leading the Chieftains to the 1958 NCAA title game. Even though Seattle lost to Kentucky, Baylor was so impressive in the title game, with 25 points and 19 rebounds, that he was selected as the Final Four's Most Outstanding Player. -- Jason King

20. Glen Rice, Michigan
The record still stands after 24 years. In 1989, Glen Rice carried Michigan to an NCAA championship by scoring 184 points in six games, still a mark that has not been close to touched in the years since. His 75 field goals made and 27 3-pointers made are still NCAA records. The Most Outstanding Player in the 1989 Final Four, he scored 31 points in the national championship game, an 80-79 win over Seton Hall. Rice, Michigan's career scoring leader with 2,442 points, had 308 points in 13 NCAA tournament games, the sixth-most in NCAA history. -- Mike Rothstein

21. Wilt Chamberlain, Kansas
Before North Carolina played the Jayhawks in the 1957 national championship game, Tar Heels coach Frank McGuire told his team: "We aren't playing Kansas; we're playing Wilt Chamberlain." College basketball had never seen anything like Chamberlain, a 7-foot-2 sophomore from Philadelphia, who averaged 32.6 points and 16 rebounds in Kansas' first three victories of the '57 NCAA tournament. All season, opponents collapsed on Chamberlain with three and four players, daring his teammates to take open shots. UNC employed the same strategy, and it worked. The Tar Heels "held" Chamberlain to 23 points and 14 rebounds in a 54-53 three-overtime win in the finals, the only three-overtime game in NCAA final history. -- Mark Schlabach

22. Isiah Thomas, Indiana
Indiana and North Carolina didn't even know if they'd play the 1981 national championship game after U.S. President Ronald Reagan was shot in an assassination attempt only a few hours before the scheduled tipoff. After the NCAA announced the game would go on, Thomas had a forgettable performance in the first half against the Tar Heels, shooting only one for six from the floor. The Hoosiers never led in the half until Randy Wittman's jumper at the buzzer gave them a 27-26 lead. But then Thomas, a sophomore from Chicago, took over in the second half, scoring 19 points after halftime to lead Indiana to a 63-50 over the Tar Heels in Philadelphia. Thomas finished with 23 points and five assists, helping IU coach Bob Knight win his second national championship in six years. Thomas turned pro after his sophomore season. -- Mark Schlabach

23. Carmelo Anthony, Syracuse
Anthony was an unbelievable freshman talent who helped Jim Boeheim win his first national championship at Syracuse in 2003. He was one of the most electric scorers in the country, with an uncanny ability to create his own shot. At 6-foot-8 and 220 pounds, Anthony was a matchup nightmare with his knack for knocking down shots from the perimeter or his prowess of crashing the offensive glass for easy put-back buckets. His ability to handle the ball and drive to the basket, often while playing the 4 spot, was unparalleled at that time. Anthony was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four. He scored 33 points and grabbed 14 rebounds in a dominant performance against Texas. In the national championship game against Kansas in New Orleans, he almost registered a triple-double with 20 points, 11 rebounds and 7 assists. -- Bruce Pearl

24. Corliss Williamson, Arkansas
He was a beast for Nolan Richardson's Razorbacks and the Most Outstanding Player in 1994 Final Four. That year, he led Arkansas to a national title over Duke. That was a Blue Devils crew that featured Grant Hill, Chris Collins, Cherokee Parks and Jeff Capel. Williamson, also known as "Big Nasty," led the Razorbacks to the national championship game the following season, where they lost to UCLA. But he was a critical component in Richardson's "40 minutes of hell" attack. Williamson's Razorbacks were a national icon in the mid-90s via one of the most entertaining programs in recent college basketball history. -- Myron Medcalf

25. Tyler Hansbrough, North Carolina
Hansbrough was one of the hardest playing players in the history of college basketball. He never took a play off. He ran the floor consistently, pursued every rebound and played through contact. He had an insatiable desire to win and imposed his will on the game every night. He averaged 18.5 points and 8.5 rebounds in his NCAA tournament career, leading North Carolina to a national championship in 2009, as well as a Final Four (2008) and an Elite Eight (2007) appearance. --Seth Greenberg

26. Jack Givens, Kentucky
Givens is best remembered for his 41-point performance in the 1978 national championship game against Duke, which was three points shy of Bill Walton's title-game record. He sank 18 of his 27 shots against the Blue Devils. But the man nicknamed "Goose" was no one-hit wonder. The sweet-shooting, 6-foot-4 left-hander also played on Kentucky's 1975 national runner-up team as a freshman and was the leading scorer on the 1976-77 team that lost to North Carolina in the regional final. He averaged more than 20 points per game in the '78 tournament while shooting 65 percent in the Final Four. -- Brian Bennett

27. Austin Carr, Notre Dame
Another guy who didn't win a national title. Carr never even advanced beyond a regional semifinal. But video game numbers are video game numbers. Carr scored 61 points in a 112-82 win over Ohio in the second round of the 1970 NCAA tournament. That's still an NCAA tournament record. He dropped 52 points in a second-round win over TCU the following season. Carr averaged 47.2 points for the Fighting Irish over the course of the 1970 and 1971 NCAA tournaments. Oh yeah. The NCAA didn't utilize a 3-point line until '80s. Only makes Carr's uncanny performances even more ridiculous. -- Myron Medcalf

28. Kent Benson, Indiana
A two-time All-American, Benson boycotted going to Indiana games in the late 2000s when the Hoosiers took a slide under Kelvin Sampson. His frustration was understandable. Benson couldn't bare to watch the destruction of something he'd helped build. He played an integral role on the 1975-76 Indiana squad that won the NCAA title with a 32-0 record. No team has gone undefeated since. Benson's most memorable performance came in the NCAA title game when he scored 25 points and grabbed 9 rebounds in an 86-68 victory over Michigan that earned him Final Four MOP honors. -- Jason King

29. Pervis Ellison, Louisville
Freshman superstars are commonplace these days in college basketball. Not so in 1986. That's why it seemed surprising when Ellison led Louisville to its second national championship and became just the second freshman ever to win tournament MOP honors, after Arnie Ferrin did the same for Utah in 1944. The 6-foot-9 center, whose laid-back demeanor earned him the nickname "Never Nervous," scored 25 points and added 11 rebounds in the Cardinals' 72-69 upset over Duke in the championship game. His putback of a Jeff Hall airball gave Louisville a three-point lead with 38 seconds left, and his defense held Duke stars Jay Bilas and Mark Alarie in check. -- Brian Bennett

30. Bob Kurland, Oklahoma A&M
There weren't any advanced stats in the 1940s. But it's safe to say that Kurland was one of the era's most efficient performers. He averaged 22.8 points as his squad earned national championships in 1945 and 1946 under head coach Henry Iba, the first school to earn consecutive titles. Kurland earned Final Four Most Outstanding Player honors in each year for the Aggies, now known as the Oklahoma State Cowboys. He was such a force above the rim -- he dunked and regularly swatted shots -- that the NCAA created a goaltending rule in response to his dominance. -- Myron Medcalf

31. Richard Hamilton, Connecticut
On paper, Connecticut was a No. 1 seed in the 1999 NCAA tournament, but in truth, very few people expected the Huskies to beat Duke in that year's national championship game (In fact, Jim Calhoun's team was a 9.5-point underdog). The Blue Devils arrived at that game having just recorded a perfect 16-0 run through the conference season, to this day the last ACC team to have done so. And UConn just didn't care. From the opening tip, the Huskies attacked their opponents with a ferocity that visibly surprised Duke. Richard Hamilton won most outstanding player honors after leading Connecticut to a 77-74 win in the title game. That, plus his iconic buzzer-beater against Washington in the previous year's Sweet 16, earns Hamilton a spot here. -- John Gasaway

32. Darrell Griffith, Louisville
Still the most beloved player in Louisville history, the hometown hero led the Cardinals to their first NCAA championship as a senior in 1980. He capped his Wooden Award-winning season by earning tournament Most Outstanding Player honors at the Final Four, scoring a game-high 23 points in the title game victory over UCLA. Known as "Dr. Dunkenstein" for his play above the rim, the 6-foot-4 guard had an underrated all-around game. In the national semifinal versus Iowa, he scored 34 points and had five rebounds, six assists, three steals and two blocks. He also helped Louisville to a pair of Sweet 16 finishes. -- Brian Bennett

33. Clyde Lovellette, Kansas
Long before Mario Chalmers and Danny Manning etched their name in Kansas NCAA tournament lore, much of the Jayhawks' storied tradition was based on the accomplishments of Clyde Lovellette. The 6-foot-10 native of Terre Haute, Ind., sparked Kansas to the 1952 NCAA title with one of the greatest four-game stretches in postseason history. Lovellette scored 31, 44, 33 and 33 points during four NCAA tournament games for an average of 35.3 points. His efforts earned him Most Outstanding Player honors at the Final Four. Lovellette averaged 28.5 points that season. He is still the only player to win a national title while leading the nation in scoring the same year. -- Jason King

34. Shane Battier, Duke
Shane Battier was one of the most versatile players to have ever played college basketball. He was a tenacious defender and rebounder that could shut down the opposing team's best scorer. On the offensive end, he was a pure shooter that shot over 40 percent from 3 for his career at Duke. In his fourth and final year at Duke, Battier led the Blue Devils to their third national championship, averaging 22.5 points and 10.2 rebounds in the 2001 NCAA tournament and earning Final Four MOP honors after defeating Arizona in the national championship game. Battier graduated from Duke as one of the most decorated athletes Mike Krzyzewski ever coached. He also reached the national championship game in 1999, when Duke lost to Connecticut. -- Bruce Pearl

35. James Worthy, North Carolina
Freshman Michael Jordan hit the famous shot that won Tar Heels coach Dean Smith his first national championship in 1982, but Worthy was the best player on the floor for UNC in its 63-62 win over Georgetown in the national championship game at the Louisiana Superdome. With the Hoyas leading 62-61 with 32 seconds left, Smith called a timeout to set up a play. The play was designed for the ball to be lobbed to Worthy in the paint. If he wasn't open, the ball was to go to Jordan for a jumper. The Hoyas sagged on Worthy, and Jordan hit the winner with 17 seconds to play. Georgetown still had time for another shot, but Fred Brown famously threw the ball into Worthy's hands. Worthy finished with 28 points on 13-for-17 shooting and was named the Final Four's Most Outstanding Player. -- Mark Schlabach

36. David Robinson, Navy
Robinson began his career at the U.S. Naval Academy as a scrawny, 6-foot-7 project more focused on his career at sea than his abilities on the hardwood. But he would soon sprout to an Adonis-like 7-foot -- his nickname, "The Admiral," was soon to follow -- and Robinson would use that frame to lead Navy to a regional final in the 1986 NCAA tournament. He averaged 27.5 points and 11.8 rebounds, leading the No. 7 seed Midshipmen to an upset over No. 2 Syracuse before losing to No. 1 seed Duke. Michigan bounced Robinson in the first round of the 1987 NCAA tournament, but not without a fight -- Robinson scored 50 points in the loss. Navy hasn't won an NCAA tournament game since he left. -- Eamonn Brennan

37. Sidney Wicks, UCLA
The Bruins had a lot of great players. Lew Alcindor, Bill Walton and more. Once Alcindor departed for the NBA after 1968-69 season, Wicks stepped in and helped UCLA maintain its success. He earned Most Outstanding Player honors in the 1970 Final Four. He averaged 17.0 points per game in UCLA's 1970 and 1971 Final Four appearances. He finished with 17 points and 18 rebounds in UCLA's national title game victory over Jacksonville in 1970. He recorded seven points, nine rebounds and seven assists when the Bruins defeated Villanova in the 1971 national championship game. -- Myron Medcalf

38. Juan Dixon, Maryland
Dixon was a classic Gary Williams player: He wasn't widely recruited, yet played with more passion and purpose than most players during his college career, and his NCAA tournament performances were no exception. He wasn't an NBA lock or a player with too much flash, but he was productive and consistently made plays. Williams needed a leader to help the program achieve its national title, and Dixon delivered on every count. He helped lead Maryland to the Final Four in the 2001 NCAA tournament before leading the Terps to the 2002 national championship, averaging 25.8 points along the way. Dixon will go down as one of the all-time great Terps, not only for his scoring but for his winning attitude and effort. -- Andy Katz

39. Lennie Rosenbluth, North Carolina
The All-America forward led North Carolina to an undefeated 32-0 season in 1957, scoring 20 points in a three-overtime thriller in which the Tar Heels beat Wilt Chamberlain's Kansas Jayhawks 54-53 to win UNC's first national title. At 6-foot-5, Rosenbluth wouldn't be considered a big man by today's tall standards, but he sure played big, averaging 28 points over five tournament games that season. He still holds multiple Tar Heels records and can still be found today at UNC games, urging the current Tar Heel post players to use the backboard. -- Robbi Pickeral

40. Grant Hill, Duke
Grant Hill accomplished an almost unheard-of feat by helping to lead Duke to back-to-back NCAA titles in 1991 and '92. And he almost did it a third time. The Blue Devils reached the 1994 championship but fell to Arkansas, but the loss hardly diminished one of the greatest careers in Duke history. Hill is most widely remembered for his 75-foot heave to Christian Laettner on an inbounds pass with 2.1 seconds remaining in a 1992 regional finals game against Kentucky. He's Duke's third-highest scorer in NCAA tournament history, second in assists and first in steals. -- Jason King

41. Scott May, Indiana
In Scott May's case, individual statistics are almost beside the point. What matters about May is what the Indiana Hoosiers achieved with him as their centerpiece -- something no team has accomplished since. During the 1974-75 and 1975-76 seasons, the May-led Hoosiers lost just one game, a 92-90 Mideast Regional defeat to Kentucky, a game in which May played just seven minutes … with a broken arm. The following season, in 1975-76, Indiana dominated the regular season and the NCAA tournament, becoming the last team in the history of college hoops to finish an entire season undefeated. Even crazier? Some Hoosiers fans still swear the 1975 team was better. May & Co. were just that good. -- Eamonn Brennan

42. Bobby Joe Hill, Texas Western
In 1966, history commenced as Texas Western, known today as UTEP, outplayed Adolph Rupp's all-white Kentucky team. It was the first time that an-all black starting five had ever won a national championship. Hill was the leading scorer on that historic squad. Today, diversity is the norm in college basketball. But that certainly hasn't always been the case in college basketball, or college athletics in general. The movie "Glory Road" depicted the struggles this team endured. Hill scored 20 points in that 72-65 win over the Wildcats. It was a crucial matchup that enhanced desegregation efforts throughout collegiate athletics. -- Myron Medcalf

43. Ed Pinckney, Villanova
To play what was later dubbed "the perfect game," Villanova needed the perfect player. That was Pinckney. He was named the Most Outstanding Player of the 1985 NCAA tournament after scoring 16 and adding six rebounds in the Wildcats' improbable run to the championship, but the numbers don't tell the whole story. It was Pinckney's work on Patrick Ewing, containing the best player in the country to only 14 points and five boards, that allowed No. 8 seed Villanova to win. That one game remains Pinckney's highlight reel, but in his tenure at Villanova, he helped the Wildcats to an 11-3 NCAA tournament record, finishing with 135 career rebounds in tourney play. -- Dana O'Neil

44. Mateen Cleaves, Michigan State
The Flintstones were a collection of Spartans who hailed from Flint, Mich. Mo Peterson, Charlie Bell and Cleaves led Tom Izzo's program to the national championship in 2000, a year after guiding Michigan State to the Final Four. Cleaves averaged 14.5 points per game in the Final Four the year they won the title. He was an explosive player who competed with a passion few players matched. Throughout his career, he averaged 14.8 points in his NCAA tournament career. But his memorable performances in that run to the national title game, where Michigan State defeated Florida, were arguably the greatest collection of highlights in the Big Dance during the 2000s. -- Myron Medcalf

45. Tom Gola, La Salle
Considered one of the best all-around players in the game, Gola didn't do one thing well. He did them all well. The first player to score more than 2,000 points and grab more than 2,000 rebounds, he was a local boy turned hero after leading tiny La Salle College to the NCAA championship in 1954 and a runner-up spot in 1955. He scored 38 in the Explorers' 1954 Final Four, not only earning Most Outstanding Player honors but the only unanimous selection on the all-tournament team. A year later, in his senior year, he took La Salle right back to the final, in which the Explorers lost to Bill Russell and San Francisco. -- Dana O'Neil

46. Kemba Walker, Connecticut
UConn was an afterthought at the 2011 Big East tournament, bracketed with DePaul in the noon game on Tuesday. But that day marked the beginning of an incredible 11-game run for the Huskies collectively and for Kemba Walker individually. After a 9-9 regular season in Big East play, UConn won the conference tournament and entered the field of 68 as a No. 3 seed. Walker seemed rejuvenated in the postseason, attacking the paint and getting to the line virtually at will. He didn't do it alone. Jeremy Lamb was uncommonly accurate from both sides of the arc, and Alex Oriakhi was a monster on the offensive glass. But Walker's Most Outstanding Player award was a fitting capstone for one of the best postseasons (and certainly one of the longest) recorded by any player. -- John Gasaway

47. Joakim Noah, Florida
During Noah's freshman season at Florida, he played two minutes in the 2005 NCAA tournament, mostly watching as Villanova bounced the Gators 76-65 in the second round. Over the next two years, Noah was Florida's most consistent performer -- and emotional spark plug -- on teams that won back-to-back national championships in 2006 and '07. As a sophomore, Noah averaged 16.2 points and 9.5 rebounds in six games of the 2006 NCAA tournament. He had 16 points, nine rebounds and six blocked shots (most ever in a championship game) in the Gators' 73-57 win over UCLA in the finals. The next season, Noah averaged 11.5 points and 9.7 rebounds in six games of the 2007 NCAAs. He was plagued by foul trouble in UF's 84-75 victory over Ohio State in the championship game, scoring eight points with three rebounds. -- Mark Schlabach

48. Tony Delk, Kentucky
Delk scored more career points in the NCAA tournament (247) than any other player in Kentucky's illustrious history. His best game was also his last, when he scored 24 points and hit a tournament record-tying seven 3-pointers in the 1996 title matchup against Syracuse. His four-point play after being fouled on a made 3 helped seal the victory and cinch Final Four MOP honors. Delk, who also played in the 1993 Final Four as a freshman, averaged 18.8 points per game in the '96 tournament to lead one of the most dominant teams of the era. -- Brian Bennett

49. Kenny Anderson, Georgia Tech
The point guard was a key component of "Lethal Weapon 3," teaming with Dennis Scott and Brian Oliver to lead the Yellow Jackets to the 1990 Final Four. His controversial shot at the end of regulation in the regional semifinal against Michigan State -- at first called a 3, then ruled a 2, then debated in the minutes and hours and days after as to whether it should have been counted at all -- led to an overtime win, and a renewed call for replay. He averaged 24.8 points and 6.6 assists over five games and had 16 points, 8 assists and 8 rebounds in Tech's loss to UNLV in the national semifinals. -- Robbi Pickeral

50. Steve Alford, Indiana
The 3-point shot was introduced to Division I just in time for Steve Alford's senior season at Indiana in 1986-87, and, despite his head coach's reputation for being something of a traditionalist, the Hoosiers' star was given every opportunity to exploit the new weapon. Exploit it he did. Alford shot 53 percent from beyond the arc that season, and, if not for his seven made 3s against Syracuse in the national championship game, Keith Smart never would have had the chance to hit the game-winner for IU. Fans today know him as a defensively-oriented head coach, but Alford was one of the first players to demonstrate the true power of the 3. -- John Gasaway

51. Alex Groza, Kentucky
The passing of time and the stain of scandal obscure just how great Groza was. The 6-foot-7 center won tournament MOP honors in Kentucky's back-to-back 1948 and 1949 national championship teams. With a dominating hook shot, he averaged 27.3 points per game in the '49 tournament, including 25 of his team's 46 points in the championship game versus Oklahoma A&M. He and the other four starters on the 1948 champions led the U.S. to a gold medal in that year's Olympics. In 1951, however, Groza's legacy was tarnished by a point-shaving scandal that resulted in his banishment from the sport. -- Brian Bennett

52. Butch Lee, Marquette
The floor general and driving force behind Marquette's 1977 national championship team -- the first and only title for head coach Al McGuire -- Lee's full-court inbounds pass was collected and scored by Jerome Whitehead in the Golden Eagles' Final Four win over Charlotte. He scored 19 points in the national championship game win over North Carolina and averaged 16.9 points per game in his NCAA tournament career. -- Conor Nevins

53. Stephen Curry, Davidson
The super-scoring son of former NBA standout Dell Curry led the 10th-seed Wildcats to upset after upset in the 2008 NCAA tournament -- scoring 40 against Gonzaga, 30 against Georgetown, and 33 against Wisconsin en route to the Elite Eight. There, the sophomore scored 25 in a two-point loss to eventual NCAA champion Kansas, and Davidson fans may always wonder what might have happened if Curry could have escaped a Jayhawks double-team at the end of the game, and been able to hoist the last shot instead of passing to a teammate. In 2009, he became the seventh overall pick in the NBA draft. -- Robbi Pickeral

54. Artis Gilmore, Jacksonville
Jacksonville has only four NCAA tournament wins in its history and they can be attributed to the performances of one man: Artis Gilmore. The Dolphins' 7-foot-2 center steamrolled the opposition during the 1970 NCAA tournament but his enormous efforts weren't enough in the national championship game, where Jacksonville fell to UCLA 80-69. Gilmore averaged 26.4 points and 18.6 rebounds in the Dolphins' five games. -- Conor Nevins

55. Emeka Okafor, Connecticut
Emeka Okafor was one of, if not the most, dynamic centers in college basketball in the past decade. In 2004, he led Connecticut to its second national championship under coach Jim Calhoun. Okafor was awarded the Most Outstanding Player award in the Final Four, averaging 21 points and 11 rebounds in the final two games. His true impact on the game was felt on the defensive end. His ability to block or alter opponents' shots was a game-changing component of the Huskies' defense. He led the country in blocked shots with 4.3 a game during the 2003-04 season, and his intelligence on the court made him one of the most intimidating defenders in the country. -- Bruce Pearl

56. George Kaftan, Holy Cross
A reserve guard by the name of Bob Cousy would go on to be the most famous player from Holy Cross' 1947 national championship team, but it was George Kaftan who lifted the Crusaders to their first and only title. Kaftan scored 63 of Holy Cross' 173 points in its three wins, earning Final Four Most Outstanding Player honors. The Crusaders fell to Kansas State in the third-place game the following year, with Kaftan averaging 13.7 points per game. -- Conor Nevins

57. Michael Jordan, North Carolina
Michael Jordan won six NBA titles and five MVP awards, but the greatest player in basketball history often wonders what would have happened if he hadn't have made that shot back in 1982. Jordan was only 19 then, a reserve guard for North Carolina who found himself with the ball in the waning seconds of the NCAA title game against Georgetown. With his team trailing by one point, Jordan rose up from the wing and swished a jumper with 17 ticks remaining. Neither team would score again in UNC's 63-62 victory, meaning Jordan had propelled the Tar Heels to the NCAA title with one flick of the wrist. Jordan -- who won the Wooden Award two years later -- has said the shot was the taking-off point of a career that would be defined by clutch performances and championships. -- Jason King

58. Scotty Thurman, Arkansas
Arkansas' famed "40 Minutes of Hell" turned into a split-second of heaven for Thurman in the 1994 national championship game. After the Hogs rallied from a 10-point deficit in the second half against Duke, the score was tied at 70 in the final minute. With the shot clock winding down, Arkansas' Dwight Stewart bobbled a pass at the top of the key, but recovered the ball and whipped it to Thurman on the right wing. Thurman drained a 3-pointer over Duke's Antonio Lang to give the Hogs a 73-70 lead with 50.7 seconds left. Arkansas held on for a 76-72 victory in Charlotte, N.C., to win its first national championship. The Hogs advanced to the NCAA tournament championship game the next season, but lost to UCLA, 89-78. Thurman scored five points on 2-for-9 shooting, but Hogs fans will never forget the shot he sank to beat Duke. -- Mark Schlabach

59. Anthony Davis, Kentucky
Davis had one of the most dominating seasons we've seen from a freshman big man in quite some time. Kentucky was one step above everyone else in the country because it had Davis and no one else did. His ability to block and alter shots gave a loaded Wildcats team an added dimension that propelled its run to the championship. Davis' presence was something to behold. He averaged 13.7 points, 12.3 rebounds and 4.8 blocks to help lead the Wildcats to their first national championship since 1998, and the first for head coach John Calipari. -- Andy Katz

60. Jamaal Wilkes, UCLA
Everyone remembers the titans of John Wooden's legendary Bruins teams; it is a testament to just how dominant the Bruins were that a player as good as Wilkes could get lost in the conversation. But Wilkes was a key player alongside Bill Walton for the UCLA teams that won 88 games in a row and made back-to-back title runs in 1972 and 1973 (as well as a third-place finish in 1974). He scored in double figures in all 12 NCAA tournament games he played in. Later, as an NBA All-Star, Lakers announcer Chick Hearn would dub Wilkes' jump shot the "20-foot layup." It was every bit as devastating in college. -- Eamonn Brennan

61. Quinn Buckner, Indiana
Buckner was the quintessential point guard for coach Bobby Knight's 1976 national champion Hoosiers. He was a physical on-ball defender who would dominate the ball at the point of attack. He orchestrated the Indiana motion offense and delivered the ball on time and on target to All-Americans Scott May and Kent Benson. Buckner's greatest attribute was his leadership ability. He was a coach's player: unselfish, a great teammate, first to the floor and set the tone for the Hoosiers. He was a relentless competitor who never took a play off. He could score if needed but understood that his role was to make everyone better. In a word, he was special. -- Seth Greenberg

62. Miles Simon, Arizona
Simon was named the Final Four's Most Outstanding Player in the 1997 NCAA tournament, as Arizona won its first national championship. The Wildcats were a No. 4 seed and defeated three No. 1 seeds along the way -- Kansas, North Carolina and Kentucky -- vanquishing teams stocked with future NBA stars such as Paul Pierce, Antawn Jamison and Vince Carter as well as the defending champion Wildcats, who featured several future NBA players. Simon scored 30 points in the title game win over UK and helped lead Arizona to an Elite Eight appearance in 1998. -- Conor Nevins

63. Chris Mullin, St. John's
Before the sterling NBA career and the deification of Dream Team participation, Chris Mullin was first and foremost a bona fide New York basketball legend. That reputation began in high school, when Mullin would travel to Harlem and the Bronx to play against the best players in the city. It continued when he signed at St. John's, where he would go on to be a three-time Big East Player of the Year and three-time All-American, and would lead his team to the 1985 Final Four -- and lead the tourney field in scoring with 110 points -- in the first-ever 64-team tournament. -- Eamonn Brennan

64. Ty Lawson, North Carolina
Teammate Wayne Ellington was named MOP of the 2009 Final Four, when the Tar Heels won coach Roy Williams a second national title. But UNC might never have made it there without the speedy point guard. After missing three straight games with a toe injury that had the Tar Heel fan base monitoring his every foot twitch, Lawson scored 21 second-half points in his round of 32 return against LSU. He went on to average a team-high 20.8 points with 34 assists, 16 steals and just seven turnovers during that tournament run. He was 12-2 in the NCAA tournament for his career. -- Robbi Pickeral

65. Dwyane Wade, Marquette
Before Tom Crean became a Hoosier and Marquette joined the Big East, the Golden Eagles were coached by a guy known mostly as "a former Tom Izzo assistant." Fortunately for Crean, he had a star with a funny first name that writers kept misspelling: Dwyane Wade. Nothing about this team's run to the 2003 Final Four came easily, but the game that truly made Wade's legend (and may even have persuaded the NBA to abandon any last lingering doubts) was the epic triple-double he recorded against top seed Kentucky in Marquette's 83-69 regional final win: 29 points, 11 assists, and 11 rebounds. He's been "D-Wade" ever since. -- John Gasaway

66. Johnny Dawkins, Duke
Dawkins led Duke in scoring in every game during the 1986 NCAA tournament, averaging 25.5 points as the Blue Devils advanced to the national championship game before falling to Louisville 72-69. Dawkins led the Blue Devils to two other NCAA tournament appearances, and the '86 Final Four was the first for Mike Krzyzewski. -- Conor Nevins

67. Stacey Augmon, UNLV
Augmon was the catalyst for a pair of iconic UNLV squads in the 1990 and '91 NCAA tournaments. He finished with 12 points, 7 assists and 4 rebounds in UNLV's 103-73 victory over Duke in the 1990 national title game and helped lead the Runnin' Rebels back to the national championship game the following year, where they lost to Duke 79-77 in a rematch. Augmon was also part of UNLV's Elite Eight run in 1989 and averaged 16.3 points in 14 NCAA tournament games over that three-year stretch. -- Myron Medcalf

68. Sean May, North Carolina
May recorded 26 points on 10-for-11 shooting and 10 rebounds in the 2005 NCAA title game to wrap up MOP honors and earn coach Roy Williams his first national title. It was a bounce-back moment for a UNC program that hadn't even made the tournament in in 2002 and 2003 under Matt Doherty, leading to the return of Williams. And it was a historic one for May -- whose father, Scott, was a star forward on Indiana's undefeated 1976 title team. Sean averaged 22.3 points in the NCAA tournament during his title season, leading to his early departure for the pros. -- Robbi Pickeral

69. Sam Perkins, North Carolina
In 1982, the smooth big man was a big piece of one of the most memorable college basketball teams ever assembled, joining James Worthy and Michael Jordan to earn Dean Smith his first national title. Perkins recorded 10 points and seven rebounds in the championship win over Georgetown -- after notching 11 points and eight rebounds against Indiana in the NCAA title game loss the year before. He averaged 15.7 points in leading the Tar Heels to a regional final in 1983. -- Robbi Pickeral

70. Walt Hazzard, UCLA
Hazzard helped write the first chapter in what would become, and remains, the most glorious and dominant period in NCAA tournament history. In 1964, Hazzard guided UCLA to a national championship, the first for the Bruins and head coach John Wooden. He partnered with Gail Goodrich to lead UCLA to wins over Seattle, San Francisco, Kansas State and finally Duke in the championship game, averaging 19.8 points per game and earning Final Four MOP honors. -- Conor Nevins

71. Paul Hogue, Cincinnati
Hogue succeeded where Oscar Robertson could not at Cincinnati in the NCAA tournament. Robertson departed Cincinnati as college basketball's all-time leading scorer in 1960, having led the Bearcats to consecutive Final Four appearances but no championship-game berth. Led by Hogue and Tom Thacker, the Bearcats won two consecutive national championships in 1961 and '62, beating Jerry Lucas-led Ohio State teams both times. Hogue averaged 20.4 points and 13.1 rebounds a game during the two-year stretch. -- Conor Nevins

72. Ben Gordon, Connecticut
UConn relied heavily on Gordon's perimeter shooting during the Huskies' march to their second national championship in the 2004 NCAA tournament, and he rarely disappointed. Gordon was the perfect complement to Emeka Okafor inside. He averaged 21.2 points a game for the Huskies during their title run and was the Most Outstanding Player in the Phoenix Regional en route to the Final Four. His 127 total points in 2004 led the tournament field. He was a volume shooter and scorer for a Huskies team that had tremendous balance and chemistry. Jameer Nelson was the talk of that season but it was Gordon & Co. that ended it with a title. -- Andy Katz

73. Chris Webber, Michigan
Sporting culture knows Chris Webber as the guy who called a timeout when Michigan had none in the 1993 NCAA championship game, resulting in a technical foul and a North Carolina championship. His records have been vacated due to the Ed Martin payment scandal, which set the Michigan program back a decade. But Webber was the best player on the Fab Five, which made back-to-back national championship games in 1992 and 1993. He averaged 17.8 points and 10.5 rebounds in 12 NCAA tournament games, including 18.5 points and 11 rebounds in the two title games. -- Mike Rothstein

74. Clyde Drexler, Houston
The aerial attack in the "Phi Slama Jama" arsenal, Drexler teamed up with Hakeem Olajuwon to lead Houston to a Final Four appearance in 1982 and an appearance in the national championship game in 1983, where the top-ranked Cougars fell in famous fashion to NC State 54-52. Drexler scored 21 points in a Final Four win over Louisville in 1983 and scored in double figures in nine of his 11 career NCAA tournament games. -- Conor Nevins

75. Mike Bibby, UCLA
As a freshman, Bibby paired up with Miles Simon, the 1997 MOP at the Final Four, to lead Arizona to a national a championship. Bibby scored 19 points in the title-game win over Kentucky and consistently wreaked havoc on opposing defenses. He stayed one more season before departing for the NBA and, as a sophomore, led the Wildcats to the Elite Eight in 1998. He had tremendous ball control and worked so well with his teammates that the offense seemed to be clicking at a high level every time out. -- Andy Katz