David Becker/Associated Press
Gonzaga became the 16th school in NCAA Division I men’s basketball history to enter the NCAA tournament with an undefeated record after defeating BYU 88-78 to win the West Coast Conference tournament championship on Tuesday.
The 26-0 Bulldogs are the 20th team overall to achieve the feat. UCLA has done it four times, and Indiana did so twice.
The last team to achieve the accomplishment was the 2015 Kentucky Wildcats, who eventually lost to Wisconsin in the Final Four. Wichita State went undefeated the year before but fell to UK in the Round of 32.
The teams who entered the NCAA tournament undefeated and stayed that way include the 1956 San Francisco Dons, the 1957 UNC Tar Heels, the 1964, 1967, 1972 and 1973 UCLA Bruins and the 1976 Indiana Hoosiers.
Gonzaga will look to join that esteemed group. The Bulldogs averaged 92.1 points per game and allowed just 69.1 per contest. The Zags are also ranked first in offensive efficiency and seventh in defensive efficiency, per KenPom.com.
Gonzaga has also faced some of the game’s current Top 25 teams and taken them down, including No. 11 Kansas (102-90), No. 10 West Virginia (87-82), No. 5 Iowa (99-88) and No. 16 Virginia (98-75).
The Bulldogs will open the NCAA tournament against a to-be-determined opponent on either Thursday, March 18 or Friday, March 19. They’re a lock to earn the tournament’s No. 1 overall seed, but their potential path will be revealed Sunday after the NCAA Selection Show begins at 6 p.m. ET on CBS.