Winning streaks by NCAA champions heading into basketball tournament

Is there such a thing as winning too much? It’s debatable, and just about any person who watches sports has an opinion on whether a team on a long streak should lose before going into the post-season.

Heading into the 2014 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, with the nation’s top two clubs carrying long streaks, the conversation has resurfaced. Between them, Florida and Wichita State have not lost in a combined 57 games.

The last undefeated team to win a national title was Indiana in 1976. Since then, only four teams carrying double-digit streaks have made the run for a championship: North Carolina (’83), Louisville (’86), UCLA (’95) and Louisville (’13). Larry Bird’s Indiana State team entered the tournament undefeated in 1979, but lost to Magic Johnson’s Michigan State Spartans in the title game. In 1991, the undefeated defending champions, Jerry Tarkanian’s UNLV Running Rebels, fell to eventual champion Duke in the national semifinal. Both MSU (’79) and Duke (’91) came into the tournament off a loss.

Below is a look at the win streaks coming into March Madness for every NCAA champion since Bobby Knight, Scott May and the Hoosiers went undefeated in ’76. The list is courtesy of Kyle Tucker with the Courier-Journal.

1977 – Marquette: 0
1978 – Kentucky: 8
1979 – Michigan State: 0
1980 – Louisville: 3
1981 – Indiana: 5
1982 – North Carolina: 11
1983 – North Carolina State: 4
1984 – Georgetown: 6
1985 – Villanova: 0
1986 – Louisville: 11
1987 – Indiana: 1
1988 – Kansas: 0
1989 – Michigan: 0
1990 – UNLV: 5
1991 – Duke: 0
1992 – Duke: 7
1993 – North Carolina: 0
1994 – Arkansas: 0
1995 – UCLA: 13
1996 – Kentucky: 0
1997 – Arizona: 0
1998 – Kentucky: 7
1999 – Connecticut: 5
2000 – Michigan State: 5
2001 – Duke: 4
2002 – Maryland: 0
2003 – Syracuse: 0
2004 – Connecticut: 3
2005 – North Carolina: 0
2006 – Florida: 5
2007 – Florida: 4
2008 – Kansas: 7
2009 – North Carolina: 0
2010 – Duke: 4
2011 – Connecticut: 5
2012 – Kentucky: 0
2013 – Louisville: 10