A new national champion will be crowned Monday night when Gonzaga and Baylor face off for the 2021 NCAA tournament national title. Neither team has won a national championship, so a new winner will hang a banner.
Looking back at past tournaments, Andy Katz ranked his top 10 national championship winners since 2000 on the latest episode of the March Madness 365 podcast. This episode previews Monday’s national title game and features interviews with Gonzaga’s Jalen Suggs and Baylor’s Matthew Mayer.
Here are the 10 best national championship winning teams since 2000, ranked by NCAA.com’s Andy Katz:
10. 2008 Kansas
Led by a pair of juniors at the time — Mario Chalmers and Brandon Rush — the 2008 Jayhawks cruised through the first three rounds of the 2008 NCAA tournament before squeaking out one against a Steph Curry-led Davidson squad, blowing out 1-seed North Carolina and, thanks to a late-game shot by Mario Chalmers, beating a Derrick Rose-led Memphis team.
9. 2002 Maryland
Juan Dixon and Lonny Baxter led this Terrapins team with 20.4 and 15.2 points per game, respectively. The Terps ran through the 2002 NCAA tournament with their smallest margin of victory being eight points against No. 2 UConn in the Elite Eight. Coach Gary Williams won his first and only national title beating Kansas and Indiana in the Final Four.
8. 2003 Syracuse
Carmelo Anthony was the main man of this team, averaging a double-double throughout the season with 22.2 points and 10 rebounds per game. Melo also got help from Hakim Warrick and Gerry McNamara to help give coach Jim Boeheim his first and only national title.
7. 2000 Michigan State
Michigan State knocked off 5-seed Florida in the national championship in 2000 behind play from Mateen Cleaves and Morris Peterson. The Spartans cruised through the tournament winning every single game by at least double digits.
6. 2005 North Carolina
Sean May, Marvin Williams and Raymond Felton pushed this team to a national title after knocking off Illinois in the championship game. UNC and Illinois were regarded as the two best teams all season during the 2004-2005 campaign, but the Tar Heels got the best of the Fighting Illini, winning 75-70 to give head coach Roy Williams his first national title.
5. 2007 Florida
This was the second of Florida’s back-to-back National Championships. In 2006, the Gators won it all behind Al Horford, Joakim Noah and company and then they decided they wanted to do it again. In ’06, UF was a 3 seed, but in 2007, they were the No. 1 overall seed and the favorite to win it all. They lived up to expectations and are still the only team to win consecutive titles since Duke won it all in 1991 and 1992.
4. 2018 Villanova
2018 Villanova was just a year away from winning consecutive national championships — the Wildcats did it in 2016 before winning it all in 2018. Although the 2016 ‘Nova squad won the title in more of a dramatic fashion, Katz thinks this squad was better. Led by Jalen Brunson and Donte DiVincenzo, this team won every tournament game by double digits.
3. 2012 Kentucky
In 2012, five players from Kentucky averaged double-digits in scoring — Anthony Davis (14.2 ppg), Doron Lamb (13.7 ppg), Terrence Jones (12.3 ppg), Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (11.9 ppg) and Marquis Teague (10 ppg). The Wildcats were dominant throughout that tournament, their games by an average of 11.8 points.
2. 2009 North Carolina
Tyler Hansbrough, Danny Green, Wayne Ellington and Ty Lawson powered this 2009 Tar Heel squad to one of the most memorable NCAA tournament runs in recent memory. They outscored every opponent by double digits and won by an average margin of 20.2 points to give Roy Williams his second national title.
1. 2001 Duke
Jay Williams, Shane Battier, Mike Dunleavy and Carlos Boozer — I know, I know, you could probably stop reading there to understand how dominant this Duke team was. It was Coach K who earned his third title after this Blue Devil squad ran through Maryland and Arizona in the Final Four.