Thursday, December 29, 2011

Undefeated Teams

Much is being made of the unbeaten teams now.   After Indiana's loss to Michigan State and Louisville's loss to Georgetown, there are only four left --  Syracuse, Baylor, Missouri and Murray State.  That's right -- Murray State!   It has been 36 year since Indiana went undefeated during the 1976 season.  That year Indiana won all 32 games they played -- having Kent Benson, Tom Abernethy and Scott May selected to the all tournament team.  May averaged 22.6 points per game that season and Bobby Knight won his first national championship. 

What follows is a list of the last team to lose and it's record to open the season:

Year            Team__________Opening Record________Notes_______________________________
1949          Western Kentucky           14-0
1950          Holy Cross                       24-0
1951          Columbia                         22-0    Columbia 1st loss in 1st Rd. of NCAA Tourney vs Ill
1952          Duquense                        17-0     Texas State opened 24-0, but not considered a major
1953         Seton Hall                        26-0
1954         Kentucky                         26-0     Rupp wins playoff against LSU declines NCAA       
                                                                     Tournament Invitation as their three top players are
1955        Kentucky                          7-0
1956        San Francisco                   29-0    USF is first team to go undefeated and win NCAA's
1957        North Carolina                 32-0     UNC finishes undefeated beats Kanasas in Triple OT
1958       West Virginia                    14-0
1959       Auburn                             18-0
1960       Cincinnati                         12-0
1961       Ohio State                        27-0     Ohio State first loss in NCAA Final vs. Cinncinati
1962       Ohio State                        21-0
1963       Loyola (Chicago)             20-0
1964       UCLA                             30-0    Won NCAA Tournament
1965      Providence                        19-0
1966       Texas Western                 23-0   Haskins knocks out UK NCAA Final, Texas Western's
               Kentucky                         23-0    first and only loss was against Seattle U.                        
1967      UCLA                              30-0    Won NCAA Tournament
1968      Houston                            32-0   Houston's first loss in National Seminfinal vs. UCLA
             St. Bonaventure                 23-0   Bonnies finish regular season undefeated lose in NCAA
                                                                 2nd round against North Carolina
1969      UCLA                              25-0   UCLA first loss against USC in final game of regular season is
                                                                 Bruins first loss ever at Pauley Pavilion
1970      UCLA                              20-0
1971      Marquette                        28-0   First loss in NCAA Tournament vs. Ohio State
              Penn                                 29-0  First loss in NCAA Tournament vs. Villanova
1972      UCLA                              30-0   Wins NCAA Tournament
1973      UCLA                             30-0    Wins NCAA Tournament
              NC State                          27-0    Also undefeated in ineligible for NCAA Tournament
1974     Maryland Eastern Shore    19-0
1975     Indiana                              30-0
1976     Indiana                              32-0    Undefeated wins NCAA Tournament
             Rutgers                              32-0    First loss in NCAA Semifinal against Michigan
1977     San Francisco                    29-0
1978     Kentucky                          14-0
1979     Indiana State                     34-0    First loss in NCAA final against Michigan State
1980     DePaul                              25-0
1981     Oregon State                    25-0
1982     Missouri                           18-0
1983     UNLV                              24-0
1984     North Carolina                 24-0
1985     Georgetown                     17-0
1986     North Carolina                 21-0
1987     Iowa, Clemson                 16-0
1988     BYU                                15-0
1989     Illinois                               17-0
1990     Kansas                             18-0
1991     UNLV                              34-0   First loss in NCAA Semifinal vs. Duke
1992     Oklahoma State                20-0
1993     Virginia                             11-0
1994     UCLA                              13-0
1995     UConn                             14-0
1996     UMass                              25-0
1997     Kansas                             22-0
1998     Stanford                           18-0
1999     UConn                             19-0
2000     Syracuse                           19-0
2001     Stanford                            19-0
2002     Miami (FL), Butler            13-0
2003     Duke                                11-0
2004     St. Joseph's                       27-0   Rose to #1 in Rankings
2005     Illinois                               28-0
2006     Duke, Florida                    16-0
2007     UCLA                              13-0
2008     Memphis                           25-0
2009     Wake Forest                     16-0
2010     Kentucky                          19-0
2011     Ohio State                         24-0

A couple of caveats.   First I only have research available for when a poll is released accordingly, if a team opened the season 21-0 and was ranked and then was 22-1 the next week I can't tell if they lost before the 22nd victory.  Accordingly, a couple of times I have included two undefeated teams, not knowing which lost first.   See Miami (FL) and Butler in 2002.  Also, if a team was undefeated and not ranked they are not included as the rankings are the source of the information.   This was probably more so true when the small colleges were separated into a separate division.  See Texas State in 1952 (although Texas State did get ranked, there may be numerous times these schools were not ranked).  

Other interesting notes.   Everyone will talk about Indiana's 1976 team, but Rutgers was also undefeated during the regular season that year --  losing in the National Semifinal to Michigan.   In 1954, Kentucky actually finished undefeated, not losing all season, but three players were ruled ineligible and Rupp chose not to participate in the NCAA tournament.  Similarly, in 1973 NC State finished undefeated, but the NCAA ruled that the Wolfpack was ineligible for the NCAA Tournament due to a recruiting violation involving David Thompson. 

Murray State's run this season is notable because we really have not seen a midmajor or below the "Red Line" school put together an undefeated start exceeding the Racer's start since St. Joseph's 27-0 run to start the 2004 season. 

Hopefully, I have not missed something. 

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