Last clan standing: How final unbeatens have finished seasons
With Wichita State being the only team left without a loss, how does history say they'll finish?
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.
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?
Boston College entered the game with a .240 win pct...the worst EVER by team to defeat AP No. 1 team in February or later #BCvsCUSE— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) February 20, 2014
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.
|LAST UNBEATEN STANDING IN COLLEGE BASKETBALL SINCE 1984-85|
|Year||Team||Date||Started season||Total losses/finish|
|1985||Georgetown||Jan. 26||14-0||3 -- Lost nat'l title game|
|1986||Memphis State||Feb. 7||20-0||6 -- NCAAs 2nd round|
|1987||DePaul||Jan. 25||16-0||3 -- Sweet 16|
|1988||BYU||Feb. 6||17-0||6 -- NCAAs 2nd round|
|1989||Illinois||Jan. 26||16-0||5 -- Final Four|
|1990||Georgetown||Jan. 20||10-0||7 -- NCAAs 2nd round|
|1991||UNLV||March 30||34-0||1 -- Final Four|
|1992||Oklahoma State/Duke||Feb. 5||18-0/17-0||8 -- Sweet 16/2 -- Nat'l champs|
|1993||Virginia||Jan. 20||11-0||10 -- Sweet 16|
|1994||UCLA||Jan. 30||14-0||7 -- NCAAs first round|
|1995||UConn||Jan. 28||15-0||5 -- Elite Eight|
|1996||UMass||Feb. 24||26-0||2 -- Final Four|
|1997||Kansas||Feb. 4||21-0||2 - Sweet 16|
|1998||Utah||Feb. 1||17-0||4 -- Lost nat'l title game|
|1999||UConn||Feb. 1||19-0||2 -- Nat'l champs|
|2000||Syracuse||Feb. 7||19-0||6 -- Sweet 16|
|2001||Stanford||Feb. 3||20-0||3 -- Elite Eight|
|2002||Duke||Jan. 6||12-0||4 - Sweet 16|
|2003||Duke||Jan. 18||12-0||7 --Sweet 16|
|2004||Saint Joe's||March 11||27-0||2 -- Elite Eight|
|2005||Illinois||March 6||29-0||2 -- Lost nat'l title game|
|2006||Florida||Jan. 21||17-0||6 -- Nat'l champs|
|2007||Clemson||Jan. 13||17-0||11 -- Lost NIT title game|
|2008||Memphis||Feb. 23||26-0||2 -- Lost nat'l title game|
|2009||Wake Forest||Jan. 21||16-0||7 - Round of 64|
|2010||Kentucky||Jan. 26||19-0||3 -- Elite Eight|
|2011||Ohio State||Feb. 12||24-0||3 -- Sweet 16|
|2012||Murray State||Feb. 9||23-0||2 -- Round of 32|
|2013||Michigan||Jan. 13||16-0||8 -- Lost nat'l title game|
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