7 Undefeated College Basketball Teams

Teams That Won the NCAA Tournament Without a Single Loss

Seven teams have won the NCAA tournament without a single defeat to mar their records. Their stories include some of the most storied names in basketball history: Bill Russell. Frank McGuire. Lew Alcindor, John Wooden, and Bob Knight. These teams finished perfect seasons by taking home NCAA championships. 

1956: San Francisco

Bill Russell was one of the future NBA stars that led USF during their winning streak.

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San Francisco's 1956 record of 29-0 was part of a 60-game winning streak that saw the Dons, led by future hall-of-famers Bill Russell and K.C. Jones, win the 1955 and 1956 NCAA Tournaments. Only 25 schools contended at that time in single-elimination play. This was the first time in NCAA Tournament history that the four regional divisions had their own names. Although the "Final Four" structure had been around since 1952, the regions weren't named. 

1957: North Carolina

North Carolina Tar Heels Coach Frank McGuire and Joe Quigg

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Tar Heel coach Frank McGuire took a novel approach to scheduling. Carolina reached the Final Four after having played just eight home games. They won the title game in triple-overtime, beating a Kansas squad led by Wilt Chamberlain. Chamberlain took some heat in the press and from the public for the loss and he dropped out of school to go pro not too much later. The Tar Heels headed into the championship with a 31-0 record. 

1964: UCLA

Walt Hazzard Trying to Pass Ball

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The 1964 title was the first of John Wooden's record 10 NCAA championships, and the first of four seasons that the "Wizard of Westwood" would finish with an unblemished record. The UCLA Bruins' undefeated season came in their 16th year under Wooden. 

1967: UCLA

Portrait of UCLA Basketball Players

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UCLA went undefeated again just three years later. Wooden, with some help from center Lew Alcindor, later known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, began a run of seven straight NCAA titles in 1967 with a 30-0 season. Alcindor was a sophomore that year, having been forced to sit out his freshman year thanks to NCAA rules forbidding freshmen the right to play. 

1972: UCLA

Bill Walton as a member of the UCLA Bruins

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Wooden had lost Alcindor by 1972, but that didn't matter. The Bruins plugged sophomore Bill Walton in the middle and ran the table again in 1972. The Championship game against Florida State in March and topped off a 30-0 season. 

1973: UCLA

Bill Walton Blocking Basket from Steve Green

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The Bruins were truly a force to be reckoned with during this era, but it was about to come to an end. The '72 and '73 seasons were part of a record 88-game winning streak that wasn't broken until the Bruins lost at Notre Dame by a heartbreaking score of 71-70 on January 19, 1974. It was Walton's last year with the school. 

1976: Indiana

Cheering Team with Arm Around Coach

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The '76 Hoosiers led by Kent Benson, Scott May and Quinn Buckner finished the season with a 32-0 record and the first of Bob Knight's three championships. The 1976 Final Four actually featured two undefeated teams. The other was Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights ran their record to 31-0 before losing to Michigan in the national semifinals. The Hoosiers fell just short of a national championship the year before as well when they lost to Kentucky. 

Times Have Changed

It's worth noting that these seven teams all turned the trick before the tournament field expanded to 64 teams in 1985. No championship team has been perfect since then.