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Is being undefeated good for Kentucky?

Is being undefeated good for the Kentucky Wildcats?

Would the Kentucky Wildcats have been better off losing in the title game of the SEC Tournament? According to the March Madness trends a loss for the unbeaten Wildcats against the Arkansas Razorbacks in that tournament championship game could have been a blessing in disguise.

Kentucky sits at 34-0 SU (19-13-2 ATS) after getting past the Razorbacks 78-63 as a 13.5-point favorite in the title game of the SEC Tournament at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville. The last time the Wildcats were tagged with a loss was in the championship game of the NCAA Tournament last year against the Connecticut Huskies.

Wichita State entered last year's NCAA Tournament with a perfect 34-0 record as well, but lost in the Round of 32 - to Kentucky. The previous school to enter the NCAA Tournament undefeated was UNLV in 1991, but they lost in the Final Four. Indiana State was 28-0 entering the NCAA Tournament in 1979, but they lost in the championship game.

In fact, only one of the last six schools to carry a perfect record into March Madness ended up going on to win the NCAA Tournament, and that was the 1976 Indiana Hoosiers. Seven teams in total have won the NCAA Tournament to cap off a perfect season, including UCLA four times (1964, 1967, 1972, 1973). The others were San Francisco in 1956 and North Carolina in 1957.

Tourney YearSchoolPre-Tourney RecordSchool Result
1951Columbia21–0Lost in Sweet Sixteen
1956San Francsico24–0Won NCAA Tournament
1957North Carolina27–0Won NCAA Tournament
1961Ohio State24–0Lost in Championship Game
1964UCLA26–0Won NCAA Tournament
1967UCLA26–0Won NCAA Tournament
1968Houston28–0Lost in Final Four
1968St. Bonaventure22–0Lost in Sweet Sixteen
1971Pennsylvania26–0Lost in Elite Eight
1971Marquette26–0Lost in Sweet Sixteen
1972UCLA26–0Won NCAA Tournament
1973UCLA26–0Won NCAA Tournament
1975Indiana29–0Lost in Elite Eight
1976Indiana27–0Won NCAA Tournament
1976Rutgers27–0Lost in Final Four
1979Indiana State28–0Lost in Championship Game
1991UNLV30–0Lost in Final Four
2014Wichita State34–0Lost in Round of 32