Kentucky one of many undefeated teams to fall in NCAA tournament

Duke vs. UNLV

Duke forward Grant Hill, left, shakes hands with UNLV guard Anderson Hunt as he walks off the court with teammates after the Blue Devils’ upset of the unbeaten Runnin’ Rebels in the 1991 Final Four.

(Al Behrman / Associated Press)

There have been 19 teams that entered the NCAA tournament undefeated. Only seven have won the national title, the last being Indiana in 1976.

Kentucky became the latest to stumble along the way, when the Wildcats lost to Wisconsin on Saturday.

Here’s a look at the others.

2014: Wichita State was the first mid-major since 1979 to enter the NCAA tournament undefeated. The No. 1 Shockers were rewarded by having Kentucky placed in front of them as a second-round game. Fred VanVleet missed a three-pointer at the buzzer and the Wildcats held on.


1991: There are Las Vegas Nevada fans probably still crying into their Jerry Tarkanian souvenir towels in dark corners off The Strip. The Rebels entered the Final Four with a 34-0 record, but lost in the semifinal game to a Duke team they had crushed, 103-73, in the title game the previous season.

1979: Indiana State was basically Larry Bird and four guys from a Terra Haute rec league. The Sycamores still reached the title game before the magic ran out … on one side. Michigan State had plenty of Magic (Johnson) in a 75-64 victory. Pop quiz: name another player on that Indiana State team.

1976: Rutgers had four future NBA players and breezed through a less-than-formidable bunch -- Princeton, Connecticut (more Who-Conn than UConn in those days) and Virginia Military Institute -- to reach the Final Four with a 31-0 record. Once there, the Scarlet Knights were overmatched, getting crushed by Michigan.

1975: John Wooden won his last title in 1975, but might have benefited from an injury to Indiana All-American Scott May, who had broken his arm in the regular-season finale. May, playing with a cast, had two points in seven minutes as Indiana, 32-0, lost by two to Kentucky in the East Regional final.


1971: Penn went 26-0 during the regular season and had one of the coolest nicknames around. Players off the Quakers’ bench was called “The Earthquakers” for their ability to come in and shake things up. The biggest shock wave, though, came in the NCAA tournament. Penn was destroyed by Villanova, 90-47.

1971: A year earlier, Marquette Coach Al McGuire, angry that the selection committee was going to put his team in the Midwest Regional, went to the NIT instead and won it. In 1971, McGuire’s team was undefeated and put in the Mideast Regional. Marquette was stopped by Ohio State, 60-59, in the second round.

1968: Houston left its best game in the regular season. Elvin Hayes and the Cougars beat No. 1-ranked UCLA in the Astrodome and assumed the throne … briefly. Houston met a very cranky UCLA team in the semifinals. Everyone in the UCLA starting lineup outscored Hayes.

1968: There was another big man in the tournament that season. Bob Lanier led St. Bonaventure to the No. 3 national ranking. Unfortunately for the Bonnies, No. 4 North Carolina, with Charlie Scott, was also in the East Regional. The Tar Heels cruised, 91-72.

1961: There was no beating Ohio State, which had a 34-game winning streak. The Buckeyes were defending national champions with future NBA stars Jerry Lucas and John Havlicek. But in an in-state title game, Cincinnati proved that the Buckeyes were very beatable.

1951: Not many remember that Columbia reached the tournament undefeated. More may remember the Lions’ star, Jack Molinas, and his involvement in a point-shaving scandal. Molinas turned down a $20,000 offer to dump the 1951 first-round game against Illinois. The Lions lost anyway.

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