Gonzaga in pursuit of perfect record

3/25/2021, 6 p.m.
The Gonzaga Bulldogs, aka the “Zags,” are seeking admission into one of college basketball’s most revered fraternities—The Undefeated Club.

The Gonzaga Bulldogs, aka the “Zags,” are seeking admission into one of college basketball’s most revered fraternities—The Undefeated Club.

There have only been seven undefeated NCAA Division I basketball champions and four have the same initials, “UCLA.”

The UCLA Bruins enjoyed four perfect seasons while the University of San Francisco, the University of North Carolina and Indiana University recorded one each, all long ago.

There hasn’t been an undefeated team since Indiana in 1976, when President Gerald Ford was in the White House, “Rocky” was premiering on the silver screen and Bob McAdoo was leading the NBA in scoring for the Buffalo Braves.

A private Catholic university in Spokane, Wash., Gonzaga improved to 28-0 Tuesday by eliminating Oklahoma 87-71 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament in the West Region in Indianapolis.

Coach Mark Few’s squad features two likely NBA first round picks in senior Corey Kispert and freshman Jalen Suggs.

Prior to dominating the West Coast Conference, Gonzaga scored early season wins over heavyweights Kan- sas, Auburn, West Virginia, Iowa and Virginia. That enabled Gonzaga to surge to the top of the polls. The Few Crew never let up on the gas, averaging 92 points per game.

Named after Jesuit saint Aloysius Gonzaga, the school needs four more wins to ring the loudest bell in the NCAA’s tallest tower.

Meet “The Undefeated:”

San Francisco, 1955-56, 29-0: Coach Phil Woolpert; Led by NBA superstars-to-be Bill Russell and K.C. Jones, the Dons defeat Iowa 83-71 in the NCAA final in Evanston, Ill.

North Carolina, 1956-57, 32-0: Coach Frank McGuire; All-American Lenny Rosenbluth spurred the Tar Heels’ 54-53 overtime win over the University of Kansas led by Wilt Chamberlain in a NCAA final played in Kansas City.

UCLA, 1963-64, 30-0: Coach Johnny Wooden; Walt Hazzard, Gail Goodrich and Kenny Washington are among the Bruins who help rout Duke 98-73 in Los Angeles NCAA final.

UCLA, 1966-67, 30-0: Coach Wooden; Sophomore Lew Alcindor (later Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) averaged 30 points and 16 rebounds; Bruins beat Dayton 79-64 in the final in Louisville.

UCLA, 1971-72, 30-0: Coach Wooden; Bill Walton, Keith Wilkes, Henry Bibby, Swen Nater and Larry Farmer led the way as the Bruins topped Florida State 81-76 in the final in Los Angeles.

UCLA, 1972-73, 30-0: Coach Wooden; In the NCAA final in St. Louis, Walton scored 44 points (21-for-22 shooting) as the Bruins topped Memphis State 87-66. Walton and Wilkes were named first team All-Americans.

Indiana, 1975-76, 32-0: Coach Bobby Knight; Scott May, Quinn Buckner, Bobby Wilkerson and Kent Benson lead the Hoosiers to an 86- 68 win over Michigan in the final in Philadelphia.

There have been other near misses.

Indiana State, featuring Larry Bird, finished 33-1 in 1979 after losing to Michigan State and Magic Johnson in the NCAA final.

The University of Nevada, Las Vegas Rebels were 34-0 in 1991 before losing to Duke in the Final Four.

In 2014, Wichita State won 35 straight games prior to falling to Kentucky in the Final Four.

Kentucky won 35 straight games in 2015 before being upset by Wisconsin in the 2015 Final Four.