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Indiana’s 1976 undefeated team is rooting for Kentucky to go 40-0

Aaron Harrison, Willie Cauley-Stein, Trey Lyles

AP Photo


Kentucky is currently in the process of trying to become the first team to ever finish a college basketball season 40-0, but they won’t be the first team to win a national title with an undefeated record.

The last team to do that was 39 years ago, when Bobby Knight led the Hoosiers to a 32-0 record while cutting down the nets in 1976.

And those Hoosiers, it seems, are rooting for Kentucky to break their record.

“These are young people who have a terrific opportunity to do something great,” Quinn Buckner, a senior on that 1976 team that was the No. 7 pick in the 1976 draft and a member of the 1976 Olympic team, told the AP. “I think for me and my teammates, it’s hard to pull against young people.”

What’s more interesting, perhaps, is that the players on those teams seem to support Kentucky coach John Calipari and praise him for the job that he’s done coaching this team. Buckner said that Cal has “done a pretty good job” of getting them to buy into defense. Buckner’s teammate Bobby Wilkerson took it a step further.

“We had a lot of years to get right what our coach wanted us to get right,” Wilkerson told the AP. “These guys have had one or two years, most of them, to get right what Coach Calipari wants them to get right, which is a cool accomplishment because we needed all the coaching we could get.”

It’s not a secret that Bob Knight, the head coach of that Indiana team, isn’t a fan of Coach Cal or the way that he operates. During an induction into the 2009 Indiana Hall of Fame, Knight said, “You see we’ve got a coach at Kentucky who put two schools on probation and he’s still coaching. I really don’t understand that.”