Kentucky beating Georgia on Tuesday night was great college hoops theater. And if you weren't already aware, it was a great thing that Kentucky won again. The 72-64 win in Athens lifted UK to 30-0 this season, putting this posse in an elite group even if they've yet to win a postseason game.
Of the previous 12 teams to have reached the 30-0 mark in men's college basketball, six of them won the national title. This is in part a fulfilling prophecy because all four of UCLA's undefeated seasons climaxed with a 30th and final game; if they didn't get to 30, they weren't winning a title.
Similarly, all but two of the teams to go 30-0 (the '74-75 Hoosier and the 2013-14 Shockers) reached the Final Four, but a lot of those years included NCAA Tournaments before the field expanded to 64 teams. Below, a listing -- and ranking! -- of the squads who scorched foes long before Kentucky became part of the contingent.
Not included on this list, by the way, is the 1955-56 San Francisco team that won a national title while going undefeated; the Dons played 29 games that season.
While there are plenty of other teams that have lost games yet still been great, among just those who've reached the 30-0 mark, here's how we're ranking them.
1. 1971-72 UCLA Bruins. Went 30-0 won the NCAA title. Arguably the best team of all-time. EVAR. They averaged 32 points in win margin. Sophomore Bill Walton led the troupe. The Bruins played in an unseeded 25-team NCAA Tournament that year, beating Weber State, Long Beach State, Louisville and then Florida State in the championship game. We'll never see another team like it.
2. 1975-76 Indiana Hoosiers. Went 32-0 and won the NCAA title. The last team to go wire to wire without drawing a scar. The Hoosiers were led by a dynamic triple threat of Scott May, the national player of the year, in addition to Quinn Buckner and Kent Benson. IU played in a 32-team tournament and beat St. John's, Alabama, Marquette, UCLA and, finally, Michigan.
3. 1974-75 Indiana Hoosiers. Went 31-1 and lost in the Elite Eight. It's the team Bobby Knight has famously said was better than the undefeated group that would come the next year. But when you don't win the title, you get placed a notch below. The '75 NCAAs was the first tournament to go to 32 teams. Teams were unseeded. The Hoosiers beat UTEP and Oregon State before dropping 92-90 against Kentucky.
4. 1972-73 UCLA Bruins. Went 30-0 and won the NCAA title. Another 25-team tournament, this ending is famous for featuring what many consider to be the best performance in a college basketball game -- ever. It helps that it came in the title game. Bill Walton went 21 for 22, had 44 points, and UCLA won over Memphis State 87-66. The Bruins also beach Arizona State, San Francisco and Indiana along the way.
5. 1990-91 UNLV Runnin' Rebels. Went 34-1 and lost in the Final Four. It's hard to call this the greatest team to not win a title, because the Rebels from a year before cut down the nets. This group helped extend UNLV's win streak to 45 games, the fourth-longest in the history of college hoops. Led by Larry Johnson, Greg Anthony, Stacey Augmon and Anderson Hunt, UNLV got to the Final Four before being upset 79-77 by Duke, which fell by 30 points in the title game a year earlier to the Rebs.
6. 1966-67 UCLA Bruins. Went 30-0 and won the NCAA title. These Bruins would go undefeated with first-year-eligible player/sophomore Lew Alcindor. (John Wooden would later say his '67-68 team was his best ever.) Hard to put a team like this any lower. UCLA's '67 run came in a 23-team NCAA Tournament that saw Alcindor and Co. beat Wyoming, Pacific, Houston and Dayton. Alcindor scores 20 points and grabs 18 rebounds in the title game.
7. 1956-57 North Carolina Tar Heels. Went 32-0 and won the NCAA title. Maybe the most overlooked dominant team in the history of the sport. The Tar Heels, coached by Frank McGuire, are led by Lennie Rosenbluth's 28.0 points per game and Pete Brennan's 10.4 boards average (Rosenbluth's 895 points that season is still a school record). UNC took down Wilt Chamberlain and Kansas in the title game, a triple-overtime 54-53 burner. And people think today's game is too slow. Prior to the title game, UNC beats Yale, Canisius, Syracuse and Michigan State -- a Final Four game that also needed three overtimes to be settled.
8. 1978-79 Indiana State Sycamores. Went 33-1 and lost in the championship game. The Larry Bird team. A No. 1 seed in a 40-team bracket, ISU's loss to Michigan State is considered by many to be the most important game in college basketball history. Indiana State beat Virginia Tech, Oklahoma, Arkansas -- which failed to sink a shot at the buzzer -- and DePaul before falling to the Spartans. Bird had an incredible tournament despite playing with a broken thumb.
9. 2014-15 Kentucky Wildcats. Currently at 30-0 and will be the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament. We don't know what fate holds for this group, but in terms of size, talent, depth and athleticism, it's clearly deserving to be in the top 10. If UK were to run the table, an argument could be had they're top-three all-time among this group.
10. 1967-68 Houston Cougars. Went 31-2 and lost in the Final Four. This Cougars team had to play maybe the best team ever twice, the '67-68 UCLA Bruins, and managed to get to the Final Four without a loss all season. But then it fell 101-69, bested by the Bruins who dropped their only game that year in January -- to this very Houston team. "The Game of the Century" was played at the Astrodome. Houston, led by Elvin Hayes, who averaged an outrageous 36.8 points and 18.9 rebounds that season, beat Loyola-Chicago, Louisville and TCU before losing its final two games of the season; the deflated Cougars lost in the consolation game to Ohio State.
11. 1963-64 UCLA Bruins. Went 30-0 and won the NCAA title. The group that became the first national champion of the 10 John Wooden would coach. The Bruins were led by tourney MOP Walt Hazzard and backcourt mate Gail Goodrich. UCLA knocked off Seattle -- its first win of what would become an outrageous, never-to-be-done-again record of 38 straight tournament victories -- and then San Francisco and Kansas State before beating Duke 98-83 in the final game of the season.
12. 2013-14 Wichita State Shockers. Went 35-1 and lost in the Round of 32. The Shockers' 35-0 start is the best, for now, in the history of the sport. Playing in the Missouri Valley, Gregg Marshall's team was led by 2014 NBA pick Cleanthony Early, in addition to league player of the year Fred VanVleet. Ron Baker and Tekele Cotton also comprised a group that was only truly threatened with losing once all regular season. The end came when WSU got the worst draw possible -- a second-game matchup in the NCAAs against eighth-seeded Kentucky, which underperformed all season but wound up making a run to the title game. These Shockers were damn good, and history will view them kindly.
13. 1975-76 Rutgers Scarlet Knights. Went 31-2 and lost in the Final Four. Forgotten to an extent because they were that other undefeated team in the year Indiana did not lose. But like the '67-68 Houston team, Rutgers reached the Final Four without a loss, only to go on and drop its national semifinal game and then the consolation game. The Scarlet Knights beat Princeton, UConn and VMI before falling to Michigan and UCLA. It's likely 1976 will go down as the only time the Final Four ever hosts two undefeated teams.