Does being the last unbeaten in college basketball lead to postseason success?
Being the last team out of 340+ to lose a game in a season means you’re probably a pretty formidable squad, but it hasn’t always been an indication of a team on the verge of claiming the sport’s top prize.
We’ve reached that point in the college basketball season where our obsession with perfection forces us to keep a watchful eye on the handful of teams remaining with a 0 in the loss column.
As of Wednesday afternoon, there are just 10 unbeatens remaining in Division-I. Some of them — like Kentucky, Duke and Arizona — we expected to see here. Others — hi TCU, Northern Iowa and Colorado State — have been major surprises. Louisville, Villanova, Virginia and Washington are the other four squads competing to be the last undefeated standing.
But in the end, does carrying a perfect a perfect mark deep into the second half of the season really matter? Recent history shows … kinda.
Over the last 20 years, the final undefeated college basketball team has missed the NCAA Tournament just once (Clemson in 2007), and reached the final four seven times. The flip side of that is that the last unbeaten standing has also claimed only two national titles (Florida in 2006 and Connecticut in 1999) over that span.
Here are the results year-by-year results:
2014 – Wichita State (round of 32)
2013 – Michigan (lost in the national championship game)
2012 – Murray State (round of 32)
2011 – Ohio State (Sweet 16)
2010 – Kentucky (Elite 8)
2009 – Wake Forest (Round of 64)
2008 – Memphis (lost in the national championship game)
2007 – Clemson (NIT)
2006 – Florida (won national championship)
2005 – Illinois – (lost in the national championship game)
2004 – Saint Joseph’s (Elite 8)
2003 – Duke (Sweet 16)
2002 – Duke (Sweet 16)
2001 – Stanford (Elite 8)
2000 – Syracuse (Sweet 16)
1999 – Connecticut (won national championship)
1998 – Utah (lost in the national championship game)
1997 – Kansas (Sweet 16)
1996 – Massachusetts (Final Four)
1995 – Connecticut (Elite 8)
1994 – UCLA (First Round)
Keep winning, Horned Frogs, but also understand that it’s not going to lock up Trent Johnson’s first national title.