With their victory over USC in the Elite Eight of the 2021 NCAA Tournament this past Tuesday night, the Gonzaga Bulldogs head to the Final Four with a perfect 30-0 record and a chance to become the first undefeated team to win a national championship in 45 years. Bob Knight‘s 1975-1976 Indiana Hoosiers were the last team to pull off the impressive feat.
Gonzaga will match up with the incredibly surprising UCLA Bruins on Saturday night, who took care of the Michigan Wolverines in the Elite Eight and are looking to make some history of their own by becoming the only team to reach the national title game after playing in the First Four. In 2011, VCU became the first team from the First Four to reach the Final Four but lost in the national semifinals to Butler.
While the UCLA story is certainly a good one, as are the stories of Baylor and Houston, the main focus of this Final Four will be on Gonzaga and their attempt at perfection.
But this historic run also got us thinking. When did Mark Few’s Bulldogs last lose a game and who beat them?
How many times has Gonzaga been to the Final Four?
Since Mark Few took over as the head coach at Gonzaga in 1999, the Bulldogs have made the NCAA Tournament every year since…minus 2020, of course, as the tourney was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Once seen as a Cinderella story, the Bulldogs have become a national powerhouse and have gotten at least as far as the Sweet 16 six consecutive times. Surprisingly, however, Saturday night will be just Gonzaga’s second appearance in the Final Four.
The only other time they’ve advanced this far was 2017 when they knocked off South Carolina in the national semifinals before losing to North Carolina in the title game. That season was also one of four, including this one, in which Gonzaga entered the NCAA Tournament as a No. 1 seed.
The Bulldogs are on a 34-game winning streak heading into the Final Four
As mentioned, the Gonzaga Bulldogs are 30-0 this season as they prepare for their Final Four matchup on Saturday night with UCLA and are on a 34-game winning streak overall dating back to last season. Mark Few’s squad went 31-2 in 2019-2020 and won their final four games of the season, including two victories in the WCC Tournament before the college basketball season was shut down.
During this 34-game run, Gonzaga has won all but two by 10 points or more, including every game of this NCAA Tournament, which makes the streak just that much more impressive. In the first round, the Bulldogs destroyed 16th-seeded by 43 points, 98-55, and then knocked off No. 8 Oklahoma, 87-71. In the Sweet 16, they bounced No. 5 Creighton, 83-65, and punched their ticket to the Final Four by easily disposing of sixth-seeded USC, 85-66.
Who was the last team to beat Gonzaga?
So who was the last team to beat Gonzaga?
That would be BYU. On February 22, 2020, the Bulldogs, playing their third-to-last game of the regular season, traveled to Provo for a matchup on senior night at the Marriott Center with the 23rd-ranked Cougars and took a double-digit loss of their own, 91-78.
Gonzaga shot just 41.7% (25-60) from the field and a dismal 20% (5-25) from the 3-point line in the loss while BYU, who had four players score in double figures, led by Yoeli Childs’ 28 points, shot 53.2% (33-62) from the floor and 40.7% (11-27) from beyond the arc.
Stats courtesy of Sports Reference