In terms of success on the basketball court, there is no other college basketball team that has the resume that the UCLA Bruins do. The Bruins basketball team was established in 1920, and began winning immediately. Before the NCAA Tournament was ever contested, UCLA had already rattled off 6 conference championships, all coming in consecutive years from 1921-1927. But following these early years of success, the Bruins fell into an era of limited success until 1945, when UCLA would name John Wooden the head basketball coach. It would take Wooden only 5 short years to take the Bruins from Pacific Coast Conference bottom dwellers, to the NCAA Tournament. UCLA made their first appearance in the tournament in 1950, sparking a 25 year period of success that is unrivaled by any other team in major college sports.
Under Wooden, the Bruins would return to the NCAA Tournament again in 1952, 1956, 1962, and 1963. But it was in 1964 that UCLA really broke through. The 1964 UCLA Bruins were led by guard Walt Hazzard, and stormed through the college basketball landscape. The Bruins entered the NCAA Tournament undefeated, a record that would remain unblemished as UCLA knocked off Seattle, San Francisco, Kansas State, and Duke in-route to their first ever college basketball national championship. John Wooden and the Bruins were only getting started, as UCLA returned the NCAA Tournament a year later, once again winning the National Championship, tying the record of back to back NCAA Tournament Titles. Two years later, UCLA would enter the NCAA Tournament undefeated for a 2nd time, and again run the table, beating Dayton 79-64 in the National Championship Game, to take their 3rd title in 4 years. That feat would quickly be dwarfed by what UCLA would do next, as the Bruins won the NCAA Tournament in 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, and 1973. The seven straight College Basketball National Championships by UCLA is a record that will likely never be broken. The final two years of that run included two more undefeated seasons, and 60 straight wins. The John Wooden led UCLA Bruins would win the NCAA Tournament again in 1975, ending a run of 10 National Championships in a 12 year period.
Following the departure of John Wooden from Los Angeles, the Bruins would continue to be a power in the NCAA Tournament, but would not return as champions until the 1995 season. Behind Jim Harrick’s coaching and the fantastic play of Ed O’Bannon, the Bruins would knock off Arkansas in the National Championship game to take home a record 11th NCAA tournament Title. The Bruins would once again return to prominence under the leadership of Ben Howland who took UCLA to 3 straight Final Four’s from 2006-2008, reaching the NCAA Tournament Final in 2006.