30-0. A number that has never been uttered in the history of college basketball as it pertains to the regular season of competition. That is until the Wichita State Shockers did the unthinkable by posting a 30th win with zero losses during this 2013-14 campaign. And although one game remains, a conference finale against Missouri State where the Shockers will be heavily favored, perfection seems inevitable. An unblemished record is without question something to brag about as only nine Division I men’s college basketball teams have done so (Wichita State would become the 10th). Seven of the nine went on to claim the national championship, four of them all hail from Westwood, the UCLA Bruins.
So how often is such a remarkable feat achieved? It has been ten years since St. Joseph’s posted a 27-0 record, led by All-American Jameer Nelson. They are the last team to achieve history, although Illinois came extremely close the very next season (2005) going 29-0 only to lose their Big Ten season finale to rival Ohio State. The proverbial threshold of reaching 30 wins without a loss is completely foreign. The last team to do so are the 1990-91 Running Rebels of UNLV, who by all accounts are considered by many to be the greatest team to never win the title. Going 34-0 prior to losing to a Mike Kryzewski led Duke squad in the championship game was the last glimpse at a true shot of seeing perfection duplicated. It has been 38 years since it has last been achieved as the Indiana Hoosiers placed this stamp on the game’s record book.
When examining the greatest teams in college basketball history, it is hard to argue with perfection. Just think, over the past 40 years with the likes of North Carolina, UConn, Duke, and Kentucky’s of the world, one would think that there would be more teams who have gone undefeated. This is why the 1976 Indiana squad deserves the high praise of being in the conversation as the greatest team of all-time. While it is true that records are made to be broken, it says something that there has been such a huge lapse since it has been done.
So is Wichita State the team to do it? Skeptics will be quick to point out that the Shockers have played a less-than impressive schedule with only one notable win (at Saint Louis). But if history has taught us anything, the 64-team tournament, better known as March Madness, is a crap-shoot that gives the edge to teams who have team continuity versus a combo-pack of next level superstars. It will most certainly be an interesting run that will not come without its doubters. Too many “March-Only” fans will either be quick to pencil in the Shockers to win it all or pick the early upset for the pupose of gaining more points to win thier celebrated office pools. It’s all fun to watch as it unfolds and easy to root for the underdog. In this case, with an undefeated record and a #1 seed, how do you classify Wichita State? It really doesn’t matter…or does it? Perfection is perfection and until someone closes the door on the possibility, and its a feat that puts a period or exclamation point on the end of it.