15. Villanova (2016)
The 2016 Villanova team was not among the elite champions of the past 19 years, as their leaders were mostly fringe NBA players, aside from Josh Hart, but had stellar guard play that pushed them to greater heights.
Memory wise, no one will forget Kris Jenkins’ buzzer-beating prayer of a three-point shot to defeat North Carolina. It’s as locked into March Madness highlights as anything — not since just 2000 but all time.
Villanova had the depth to compete against the fearsome Tar Heels, with Hart, Jenkins, Ryan Archidiacono and Daniel Ochefu as the main players. Future contributors, Mikal Bridges and Donte DiVincenzo were also on this roster, but in lesser roles than what they grew into.
This was a No. 2 seed that had a fairly smooth run to the title, with lopsided wins over their first three opponents, including No. 3 Miami. Kansas was only a five-point victory, but head coach Jay Wright’s team rolled over Oklahoma by 44 points in the Final Four — an unheard of point differential for such an important game.
2016 Villanova may not have been the best national champion, but they left memories that will last multiple generations of college basketball fans, with a walk-off win that will be difficult for anyone to replicate.