Photo Credit: Bleacher Report
The Gonzaga Bulldogs have failed to fully piece together their first undefeated regular season in school history. With their loss at home in the McCarthey Athletic Center in Spokane, Washington, against the Brigham Young Cougars by a score of 79-71, the Bulldogs have ended their 2016-2017 regular season with a 29-1 overall record and a 17-1 West Coast Conference (WCC) record.
Despite trailing by 16 points early on, the Cougars played the Bulldogs tight all night long, and they pulled away in the last minute of the game. Sophomore forward Eric Mika led the Cougars with 29 points and 11 rebounds. Junior guard Nigel Williams-Goss led the Bulldogs with 19 points.
The loss snaps the Bulldogs’ winning streak at 29 games, which was the longest winning streak in the nation. Their previous lost was in last season’s Sweet Sixteen, when they lost to the Syracuse Orange by a score of 63-60.
Gonzaga’s perfect season would have been the 20th in the history of NCAA basketball and the third in the past four seasons. Most recently, the Kentucky Wildcats finished the regular season with a 31-0 record in the 2014-2015 season. They lost in the Final Four to the Wisconsin Badgers to finish with an overall record of 38-1 that season. The year before that, the Wichita State Shockers finished the regular season with a 31-0 record and lost in the second round to the Kentucky Wildcats to finish that season with an overall record of 35-1.
The last team to win the NCAA Basketball Tournament championship with an unbeaten record is currently and will remain the Indiana Hoosiers. They finished with a 32-0 record as national champions in the 1975-1976 season. Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, they will not join Indiana or any of the other six teams that have pulled that off in that particular unbeaten category this season.
Gonzaga will open their WCC Tournament on Saturday, March 4th, 2017, against either the Pacific Tigers or the Pepperdine Waves depending on which team wins the matchup between those two teams the night before.