The streak lives on.
No. 21 New Mexico entered the new year with a 14-0 record, but their unbeaten streak came to an end on Tuesday night. Coach Richard Pitino and Lobos were the last remaining undefeated team of the 2022-23 season, but at Fresno State he lost 71-67. The No. 1 Purdue Boilermakers also started 2023 undefeated, but he lost 65-64 at home to Rutgers on Monday.
With New Mexico’s loss, the 1975-76 Indiana Hoosiers remain the recent undefeated national champions of college basketball. The Hoosiers, coached by Bob Knight, beat Michigan 86-68 in the 1976 U.S. Championships, and he was ranked #1 all season. Knight won two more domestic titles in 1981 and 1987 in Indiana.
Senior forward Scott May led Indiana with 23.5 points and 7.7 rebounds per game, earning National and Big Ten Player of the Year honors. May was the second overall pick in the 1976 NBA Draft by the Chicago Bulls.
Center Kent Benson averaged 17.3 points and 8.8 rebounds and won the NCAA Most Valuable Player award. Indiana defeated St. Johns, Alabama, Marquette, UCLA and Michigan in the tournament.
Benson stayed in Indiana for one more season before being selected No. 1 overall in the 1977 NBA Draft by the Milwaukee Bucks. Along with May and Benson, Tom Abernathy, Quinn Buckner, Bob Wilkerson, and Wayne Radford each played in his NBA from the 1976 Indiana State National Championship Team.
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At the time, going undefeated and winning a national championship was fairly common. From 1972 to 1976 he had 3 and from 1956 to 1976 he had 7, but the Hoosiers fell short since he cut the net in 1976.
Gonzaga was one win away from the 2020-21 undefeated national championship season when he entered the NCAA Tournament 26-0. Coach Mark Few and the Bulldogs defeated Norfolk State, Oklahoma State, Creighton University, USC University, and UCLA University to advance to the U.S. Championship game, but the No. 1-seeded Baylor Bears beat Gonzaga to his 86th-6th place. 70 to end the Bulldogs’ undefeated season.
Coach John Calipari and the Kentucky Wildcats were also close in the 2014-15 season. With his nine future NBA players highlighted by Karl-Anthony Towns and Devin Booker, Kentucky entered his NCAA Tournament with his 34-0 record. The No. 1 seed overall, the Wildcats defeated Hampton, Cincinnati, West Virginia and Notre Dame to advance to the Final Four. But Kentucky’s undefeated streak ended when he lost 71-64 to No. 1 seed Wisconsin.
The seven undefeated national champions in men’s college basketball history are:
- 1975-76 Indiana Hoosiers (32-0)
- 1972-73 UCLA Bruins (30-0)
- 1971-72 UCLA Bruins (30-0)
- 1966-67 UCLA Bruins (30-0)
- 1963-1964 UCLA Bruins (30-0)
- 1956-57 North Carolina Tar Heels (32-0)
- 1955-56 San Francisco Dons (29-0)
- Xavier Johnson injury update: Indiana point guard Xavier Johnson underwent foot surgery after sustaining an injury in Kansas on Dec. 17. click here
- LEAL Christmas Videos: Indiana Basketball’s Anthony Leal paid off his sister Lauren’s student loans as a Christmas present this year. The video went viral and the brothers were featured on the CBS Evening News on Monday. click here
- rest vs. rust: Indiana hasn’t played a game since Dec. 23, and the Hoosiers are looking forward to returning to action Thursday night in Iowa City. The rest have helped some injured Hoosiers, but how much will rust affect them as the Big Ten season resumes? click here
- Bates to Start: Indiana coach Mike Woodson said Monday night that he plans to have sophomore guard Tamar Bates in the starting lineup on Thursday when the Hoosiers resume Big Ten play in Iowa. He’s already played three 19+ point games off the bench. click here