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The Grueling Truth - Where Legends Speak / Top 10 College Basketball Duos of All-Time

Top 10 College Basketball Duos of All-Time

Publish Date: 11/28/2023
Fact checked by: Simon Briffa

Best Duos

College basketball has all kinds of great players in its history. Today we will look at the teams with the best Duo of players to lead them to the promised land.

10) James Worthy and Michael Jordan-North Carolina Tar Heels

Worthy was the star on this team, believe it or not? Jordan hit the shot to win the Championship, but Worthy was the best player in the Championship game. These guys would have ranked even higher if it wasn’t for the fact that they only got one year together at UNC.

Video: 1982 NCAA Championship - UNC vs Georgetown - Jordan, Worthy, Ewing, and Floyd Highlights

1982 NCAA Championship – UNC vs Georgetown – Jordan, Worthy, Ewing, and Floyd Highlights

9) Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler-Houston Cougars

In the early to mid-1980s, Phi Slama Jamma’s cornerstones were Drexler and Olajuwon. After the 1983 season, Drexler went to the NBA. Olajuwon stayed for the 1983-84 campaign. Houston got to another title game, where he ran into Patrick Ewing’s Georgetown Hoyas.

Video: Phi Slamma Jamma

Phi Slamma Jamma

8) Joakim Noah and Corey Brewer-Florida Gators

Al Horford, a fellow Gator, could easily replace Brewer. However, Brewer is given the nod because he was awarded the Final Four Most Outstanding Player award following Florida’s second consecutive national championship in 2007. The Billy Donovan-led Gators were 68-11 during those two seasons. All three of their star players were among the top 10 in the NBA Draft 2007.

Video: 2007 NCAA Men's Basketball Championship Game: Florida Gators vs. Ohio State Buckeyes

2007 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship Game: Florida Gators vs. Ohio State Buckeyes

7) Emeka Okafor and Ben Gordon-UCONN Huskies

UConn had a solid run in 2002 and 2003, reaching the Elite Eight and Sweet 16, respectively. The 2004 Huskies were able to make it work, and Okafor, as well as Gordon, are significant reasons. UConn won 14 out of 15 games, including the championship contests at the Big East Tournament and NCAA Tournaments. After cutting down the nets, Okafor was second overall and Gordon third in the NBA draft.

Video: 2004 NCAA Mens Basketball National Championship game UCONN vs Georgia Tech

2004 NCAA Mens Basketball National Championship game UCONN vs Georgia Tech

6) Larry Johnson and Stacey Augmon-UNLV Runnin Rebels

The Runnin’ Rebels changed college basketball in the late 80s and the early 90s. UNLV beat Duke to the 1990 national title with a team that included future NBA players and a colorful coach Jerry Tarkanian. Johnson and Augmon, along with Anderson Hunt (the 1990 tournament MVP), helped the team to a 45-game winning streak that was ended by Duke’s 1991 upset in the Final Four.

Video: UNLV 1990 Championship Game Highlights

UNLV 1990 Championship Game Highlights

5) Quinn Buckner and Kent Benson-Indiana Hoosiers

These two men had long NBA careers, mainly as backups, but they were perfect for the great Bob Knight teams of the mid-70s. Buckner was a great leader who ran Bob Knight’s motion offense to perfection. Benson was a rough, tough, big man who got the dirty work down low. This duo could have ranked even higher if not for an injury to Scott May that left the Hoosiers short-handed in a Regional Final loss to the Kentucky Wildcats. It was this duo’s only loss in their final two seasons together.

Video: Greatest Seasons: 1976 Basketball - Indiana

Greatest Seasons: 1976 Basketball – Indiana

4) Paul Hogue and Tom Thacker-Cincinnati Bearcats

These names are not well-known to younger college basketball fans. However, Hogue and Thacker were key players in one of the most storied dynasties in college basketball history. From 1959 to 1963, Cincinnati reached the Final Four each year. Hogue and Thacker led them to national championships in 1961 and 1962. Thacker was also present for the 1963 tournament. The Bearcats led Loyola Chicago by 15 minutes in the second half, before succumbing to a historic comeback led by Loyola star Jerry Harkness.

Video: 1961 Cincinnati Bearcats National Championship: 25th Anniversary

1961 Cincinnati Bearcats National Championship: 25th Anniversary

3) Christian Laettner and Bobby Hurley-Duke Blue Devils

Many will agree that this duo is considered the greatest of all time. Laettner, Hurley won two national titles and never missed a Final Four at Duke. Laetner’s buzzer-beaters are still part of NCAA lore. Hurley also set the all-time record for career assists (one which may not be possible in an era with one-and-done players). These two had less-than-stellar NBA careers, but that does not affect this ranking.

Video: Duke 79 - U.N.L.V. 77 (1991)

Duke 79 – U.N.L.V. 77 (1991)

2) Bill Walton and Jamal Wilkes-UCLA Bruins

It is difficult to choose just one John Wooden Era duo, but we have landed here. Walton and Wilkes were the UCLA teams that won the most, including an 88-game winning streak. This stretch also included two national championships, in 1972 and 1973. Walton was inducted into the Hall of Fame. Wilkes, however, had a great professional career. Between 1974 and 1985, he won four NBA championships and was named to three All-Star squads. Walton won one in 1977 with the Portland Trail Blazers and another in 1986 with the Boston Celtics.

Video: UCLA's Walton Gang

UCLA’s Walton Gang

1) Bill Russell and K.C. Jones-San Fransisco Dons

They won 55 consecutive games in two seasons and the national title in 1955 and 1956. Most remarkable, out of 29 wins San Francisco scored during the 1955-56 season, only two were by single digits. They defeated UCLA, Utah and SMU by an average of 14 points per match in the NCAA tournament that year. Of course, Russell and Jones would go on to do the same thing in the NBA with the Boston Celtics.

Video: 1955-56 USF Basketball Wins Record 60 Consecutive Games, Two NCAA Titles

1955-56 USF Basketball Wins Record 60 Consecutive Games, Two NCAA Titles

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