Five Best Indiana Basketball Performances in Final Four History

These are five of the best Final Four performances in Hoosier History
STEVE ALFORD / Jonathan Daniel/GettyImages

Indiana has won four National Championships, the last coming in 1987. In addition to the four titles, the Hoosiers have also been to eight Final Fours. Here are five of the best Final Four performances in school history.

5. Steve Downing 1973:

Indiana center Steve Downing (32) gets by Kentucky forward Kevin Grevey (35) for two of his 23
Indiana center Steve Downing (32) gets by Kentucky forward Kevin Grevey (35) for two of his 23 / Frank Empson / The Tennessean / USA

While the Hoosiers did not win the National Championship in 1973, Steve Downing and the Hoosiers did something no longer seen in college basketball. They won the third place game. After losing to Bill Walton and the UCLA Bruins, they defeated Providence in the consolation game.

Center Steve Downing had a Final Four for the ages, averaging 23.5 points and 9.5 rebounds in the final four. Although UCLA won the game, Downing held Bill Walton to 14 points in the game.

4. Keith Smart 1987:

Keith Smart
Keith Smart scores on an alley-oop play over John Anderson of Ohio State, March 5, 1988. / Rob Goebel/IndyStar

The 1987 Indiana Hoosiers was one of the best teams legendary head coach Bobby Knight ever put on the floor. One of the catalysts of that team was guard Keith Smart. He was named tournament Most Outstanding Player, primarily because of his two clutch shots late in the second half, leading the Hoosiers to a one-point win against the Syracuse Orange.

Smart averaged 17.5 points and three assists in the Final Four on route to Indiana's fifth and last National Championship.

3. Steve Alford 1987:

Steve Alford
Nov 24, 1984; Bloomington, IN, USA; FILE PHOTO; Indiana Hoosiers point guard Steve Alford (12) / Malcolm Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Keith Smart wasn't the only reason for Indiana's run in 1987. Fellow guard Steve Alford was tremendous in the tournament and Final Four. The Franklin, Indiana native averaged 28 points per game in the final four, including a 33-point performance against UNLV in the National Semifinal.

2. Isiah Thomas 1981:

Isaiah Thomas Cutting Basketball Net
Isaiah Thomas Cutting Basketball Net / Wally McNamee/GettyImages

While "Zeke" might not have had the numbers the other players on this list had (18.5 points, 4.5 assists, and two steals aren't that bad), it was his defense against the other wing players in the 1981 Final Four that puts him on this list. The 80-81 Hoosiers had one of the more dominant runs in March Madness history, beating all of their opponents by double figures.

Their defense was the reason, and Thomas was the engine that drove that defensive effort.

1. Scott May 1976:

Scott May
Mar 29, 1976; Philadelphia, PA, USA; FILE PHOTO; Indiana head coach Bobby Knight celebrates with Scott May. / Malcolm Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

It wouldn't be a list if the best player from Indiana's undefeated 1976 National Championship team on this list. That Hoosier squad defeated the vaunted UCLA Bruins in the Final Four and dismantled Michigan in the Championship game. Forward Scott May was a big reason behind their success.

May averaged 20 points and six rebounds in the Final Four. He and Kent Benson were outstanding defensively against UCLA's front court in the National Semifinal. He more than made up for missing the tournament in '75 with a broken arm.