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Mark Few’s 2020-21 Gonzaga team has an incredible opportunity in front of it: The Bulldogs can become the first team since Bob Knight’s 1975-76 Indiana Hoosiers to go undefeated.

Four other teams have entered the tournament unbeaten since, and each failed to reach that lofty height — including two teams that lost in the Final Four and another in the national championship.

No pressure, right?

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Curiously, the team Gonzaga must face first in its bid for perfection is the only program in college basketball history with more than one undefeated season: UCLA. The Bruins have four such campaigns to their name, all under legendary coach John Wooden. Following his final undefeated team in 1972-73, only Knights’ Hoosiers have remained unbeaten and won the national title.

But back to Gonzaga. The team has been largely unchallenged this season, defeating their previous 30 opponents by an absurd average: 23.1 points per game, nearly six more than the second-place team (Houston, at 17.5 points per game). The Bulldogs’ closest call came against BYU in the West Coast Conference Final: The Cougars led by 12 at halftime, and nine midway through the second half. But Few’s team limited BYU to 25 second-half points, securing an 88-78 win and ensuring that the goal of an undefeated season and NCAA Tournament championship were one and the same.

Since then, only 16-seed Norfolk State (four-point lead) and 8-seed Oklahoma (eight-point lead) have even led Gonzaga. The Bulldogs beat them by 49 and 16 points, respectively. It truly has been a dominant run, but work remains to be done for Gonzaga to cement its status as one of the best college basketball teams of all time.

Here is the fraternity the Bulldogs are but a mere two games away from joining:

What was the last team to go undefeated?

The last college basketball team to go undefeated and win the national title was Bob Knight’s 1975-76 Hoosiers team. That squad, led by such talents as Scott May, Kent Benson, Tom Abernathy, Quinn Buckner, Bob Wilkerson and Wayne Radford — all future NBA players — went 32-0. They capped their season with five wins in the NCAA Tournament, which included only 25 teams at the time.

How many teams have been undefeated national champions?

A total of seven teams have gone undefeated and won the national championship. (Another team, the 1972-73 N.C State Wolfpack, went undefeated but did not compete for the national title). The first unbeaten team was San Francisco, which went 29-0 in 1955-56; the second such season came a year later, when North Carolina went 32-0.

The next four undefeated teams came from UCLA, all under Wooden. The teams finished with undefeated national titles in 1964, ’67, ’72 and ’73. Following that, the last undefeated team — Indiana — completed its run in 1976.

Undefeated college basketball teams

1955-56 San Francisco (29-0)

Coach: Phil Woolpert

Key players:

  • Bill Russell: 20.6 ppg, 21.0 rpg
  • K.C. Jones: 9.8 ppg, 5.2 rpg

1956-57 North Carolina (32-0)

Coach: Frank McGuire

Key players:

  • Lennie Rosenbluth: 28.0 ppg, 8.0 rpg
  • Pete Brennan: 14.7 ppg, 10.4 rpg
  • Tommy Kearns: 12.8 ppg, 3.1 rpg
  • Joe Quig: 10.3 ppg, 8.6 rpg

1963-64 UCLA (30-0)

Coach: John Wooden

Key players:

  • Gail Goodrich: 21.5 ppg, 5.2 rpg
  • Walt Hazzard: 18.6 ppg, 4.7 rpg
  • Jack Hirsch: 14.0 ppg, 7.6 rpg
  • Keith Ericson: 10.7 ppg, 9.1 rpg

1966-67 UCLA (30-0)

Coach: John Wooden

Key players:

  • Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: 29.0 ppg, 15.5 rpg
  • Lucius Allen: 15.5 ppg, 5.8 rpg
  • Mike Warren: 12.7 ppg, 4.5 rpg
  • Lynn Shackeflord: 11.4 ppg, 5.9 rpg

1971-72 UCLA (30-0)

Coach: John Wooden

Key players:

  • Bill Walton: 21.1 ppg, 15.5 rpg
  • Henry Bibby: 15.7 ppg, 3.5 rpg
  • Jamaal Wilkes: 13.5 ppg, 8.2 rpg
  • Larry Farmer: 10.7 ppg, 5.5 rpg

1972-73 UCLA (30-0)

Coach: John Wooden

Key players:

  • Bill Walton: 20.4 ppg, 16.9 rpg
  • Jamaal Wilkes: 14.8 ppg, 7.3 rpg
  • Larry Farmer: 12.2 ppg, 5.0 rpg
  • Larry Hollyfield: 10.7 ppg, 2.9 rpg

1975-76 Indiana (32-0)

Coach: Bob Knight

Key players:

  • Scott May: 23.5 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 2.1 apg
  • Kent Benson: 17.3 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 1.6 apg
  • Tom Abernathy: 10.0 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 2.0 apg
  • Quinn Buckner: 8.9 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 4.2 apg
  • Bob Wilkerson: 7.8 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 5.3 apg
  • Wayne Radford: 4.7 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 1.3 apg

One-loss national champions

1954-55 San Francisco (28-1)

Coach: Phil Woolpert
Loss: 47-40 loss to No. 13 UCLA

1965-66 UTEP (28-1)

Coach: Don Haskins
Loss: 74-72 loss to Seattle

1967-68 UCLA (29-1)

Coach: John Wooden
Loss: 71-69 loss to No. 2 Houston

1968-69 UCLA (29-1)

Coach: John Wooden
Loss: 46-44 loss to USC

1970-71 UCLA (29-1)

Coach: John Wooden
Loss: 89-82 loss to No. 9 Notre Dame

1973-74 N.C. State (30-1)

Coach: Norm Sloan
Loss: 84-66 loss to No. 1 UCLA

Undefeated teams that lost in NCAA Tournament

1978-79 Indiana State (33-1)

Coach: Bill Hodges
Loss: 75-64 loss to No. 3 Michigan State (NCAA Tournament championship game)

1990-91 UNLV (30-1)

Coach: Jerry Tarkanian
Loss: 79-77 loss to No. 6 Duke (Final Four)

2013-14 Wichita State (35-1)

Coach: Gregg Marshall
Loss: 78-76 loss to Kentucky (Round 2)

2014-15 Kentucky (38-1)

Coach: John Calipari
Loss: 71-64 loss to No. 3 Wisconsin (Final Four)

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