Looking Back on the Last College Men's Basketball Team Who Made it Through the Season Undefeated

Author:
Publish date:

Gonzaga is the first men's team to enter the NCAA tournament undefeated since Kentucky in 2014–15, but who (and when) was the last to finish the season undefeated?

Here are several hints. Jaws, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and Breakout were the biggest movies, and Wheel of Fortune aired for the first time. Eggs were just 69 cents, and minimum wage was just over $2.00. Gerald Ford was president, and the word 'meme' was used for the first time ever several months later.

If you guessed the years 1975-76, you would be correct. The Indiana Hoosiers, led by legendary coach Bobby Knight, finished first in the AP poll that season with an unblemished 32–0 (18–0 Big Ten) record.

Feb 8, 2020; Bloomington, Indiana, USA; Indiana Hoosiers former coach Bob Knight returns for the first time in 20 years waves to the fans as he is escorted with his son Pat Knight and former players Quinn Buckner and Steven Green at halftime of the game against the Purdue Boilermakers at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.

Scott May, who went on to play for the Chicago Bulls and was drafted No. 2 overall in the 1976 NBA draft, led the team as he averaged 23.5 points, 7.7 rebounds and 2.1 assists. The senior finished his career at Indiana with 752 points, 245 rebounds and 68 assists.

The Hoosiers plowed through the tournament, capitalizing on commanding victory after commanding victory. They eventually topped UCLA, 65–51, in the semifinals before beating Michigan, 86–68, in the final. 

Four players scored in double figures that game with May and Kent Benson leading the way with 26 and 25 points, respectively. Benson ended up being named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player. 

Kentucky's 2014–15 team came close to matching Indiana's historical team, going 18–0 in the SEC. The Wildcats made it all the way to the Final Four before losing to fellow No. 1 seed Wisconsin, 71–64. 

Can Gonzaga go all the way this year and be the first team to break a record that has stood for four-plus decades? The program's quest to do so begins this week in the NCAA tournament.