Last clan standing: How final unbeatens have finished seasons

Last clan standing: How final unbeatens have finished seasons

By Matt Norlander | Staff Writer

Gregg Marshall and the Shockers stand alone. When will that first loss come?(USATSI)

One of the most shocking losses of the season came about Wednesday night, when 6-19 Boston College became 7-19 Boston College after winning in overtime.

At Syracuse.

Which of course hadn't lost all season prior.

Need perspective on how ludicrous this outcome was? Forget if the odds don't say it was the most unlikely result of the season -- though some metrics are already claming that -- consider that Boston College had won just two games over a D-I opponent ... since November. Forget that Syracuse had stumbled against two teams and needed prayers answered in the finals seconds in order to remain unbeaten in the past week, and perhaps was due to get picked off.

How about this?

It's amazing. By the way, having your first loss of the season come at home isn't uncommon. Ten of the 31 previous last teams standing saw their first loss happen while hosting, like Syracuse.

But now, because Syracuse has finally been felled, college basketball has just one unbeaten remaining. You know who it is. So what's Wichita State up against, historically? Below, I've charted the fates of every last-undefeated-standing team in college hoops since the NCAA tournament field expanded to 64 teams in 1985.

When you deduce everything out to the median, an average college basketball season's average last flawless team takes on its first loss on Feb. 4 with a 19-0 record when it enters that game. The final unbeaten team over the past 29 seasons has gone on to average 4.7 losses. In this regard, 28-0 Wichita State has clearly blown past the standard. The ultimate end result for previous kings of the regular-season mountain? All the teams in the chart below averaged exactly three wins in the NCAA tournament, meaning an Elite Eight finish.

That's incredibly impressive, and if Wichita State gets that far this season -- even with a Final Four trip last year -- it'll be a successful, remarkable campaign. In the KenPom era (since 2003), the last unbeaten team has finished first in those rankings twice, with the lowest being Clemson tripping to 33rd in 2007. The average place of the final unbeaten team in the past 11 years: 10th in KenPom. What's Wichita State rated right now? No. 10.

Here's the history the Shockers are going up against.

YearTeamDateStarted seasonTotal losses/finish
1985GeorgetownJan. 2614-03 -- Lost nat'l title game
1986Memphis StateFeb. 720-06 -- NCAAs 2nd round
1987DePaulJan. 2516-03 -- Sweet 16
1988BYUFeb. 617-06 -- NCAAs 2nd round
1989IllinoisJan. 2616-05 -- Final Four
1990GeorgetownJan. 2010-07 -- NCAAs 2nd round
1991UNLVMarch 3034-01 -- Final Four
1992Oklahoma State/DukeFeb. 518-0/17-08 -- Sweet 16/2 -- Nat'l champs
1993VirginiaJan. 2011-010 -- Sweet 16
1994UCLAJan. 3014-07 -- NCAAs first round
1995UConnJan. 2815-05 -- Elite Eight
1996UMassFeb. 2426-02 -- Final Four
1997KansasFeb. 421-02 - Sweet 16
1998UtahFeb. 117-04 -- Lost nat'l title game
1999UConnFeb. 119-02 -- Nat'l champs
2000SyracuseFeb. 719-06 -- Sweet 16
2001StanfordFeb. 320-03 -- Elite Eight
2002DukeJan. 612-04 - Sweet 16
2003DukeJan. 1812-07 --Sweet 16
2004Saint Joe'sMarch 1127-02 -- Elite Eight
2005IllinoisMarch 629-02 -- Lost nat'l title game
2006FloridaJan. 2117-06 -- Nat'l champs
2007ClemsonJan. 1317-011 -- Lost NIT title game
2008MemphisFeb. 2326-02 -- Lost nat'l title game
2009Wake ForestJan. 2116-07 - Round of 64
2010KentuckyJan. 2619-03 -- Elite Eight
2011Ohio StateFeb. 1224-03 -- Sweet 16
2012Murray StateFeb. 923-02 -- Round of 32
2013MichiganJan. 1316-08 -- Lost nat'l title game
2014Wichita State?????????
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