In the history of NCAA basketball, only nine teams have finished their respective regular seasons slates undefeated entering the NCAA Tournament.
They are, as follows:
- 1955-1956 San Francisco Gaels (29-0)
- 1956-1957 North Carolina Tar Heels (32-0)
- 1963-1964 UCLA Bruins (30-0)
- 1966-1967 UCLA Bruins (30-0)
- 1971-1972 UCLA Bruins (32-0)
- 1972-1973 UCLA Bruins (30-0)
- 1975-1976 Indiana Hoosiers (32-0)
- 1990-1991 UNLV Rebels (29-0)
- 2003-2004 St. Joseph’s Hawks (27-0)
Since 2003-2004, no other team has really come close to finishing their regular season schedule undefeated entering NCAA tournament play.
Could the No.1 Syracuse Orange be the first team in eight years to pull of this very rare and spectacular feat?
Through the first eighteen games of the 2011-2012 season the Syracuse Orange have been largely dominant, using a combination of balanced scoring and intense defense to overwhelm their less talented and experienced opponents.
The Orange currently have three players averaging in double-figures and three others hovering around the eight points per game mark, led by senior guard Kris Joseph (brother of San Antonio Spurs PG Cory Joseph) who has picked up his game substantially this season.
The Syracuse defense has been stingy, giving up on average only 60.5 points per game. As anyone who follows college basketball closely knows, winning in the Big East Conference, and winning consistently, requires great team defense above all else.
Given the next five game stretch that the Orange encounter against unranked teams including Providence, Pittsburgh, Notre Dame, Cincinnati, and West Virginia, there is little reason to believe that Jim Boeheim’s squad could not be 23-0 as the meatier part of the Big East slate kicks off in February.
For Syracuse to finish undefeated in regular season play and join the ranks of the nine teams we previously mentioned– seven of whom went on to win National Championships–they will have to get past three ranked teams, Georgetown, Connecticut and Louisville, the latter two on two occasions.
Is it possible that Syracuse could run the table during the regular season, making itself the obvious No. 1 overall seed in the 2012 NCAA Tournament, and establishing a legacy as one of the school’s best ever teams?
Is it probable?
As history shows, maybe not.
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