My Sunday post investigating the biggest loss, in terms of margin, by a team that eventually went on to win the NCAA Tournament, caught the interest of dedicated reader Dr. J., Dr. Jeffrey Neil Burch.
After North Carolina was crushed by 33 points, 90-57, at Florida State on Saturday, an e-mailer wanted to know what was the biggest loss by an eventual champ. I did the research back through the 1980 title team, which was Louisville. Dr. J took it from there, researching back to the first NCAA Tournament champ, Oregon, back in 1939.
Combining our work, it looks like the 1965 UCLA team suffered the worst loss by an eventual champ. John Wooden’s Bruins fell by 27 points, 110-83, at Illinois on December 4, 1964. UCLA went on to win the national title, beating Michigan 91-80 in the final in Portland, Oregon. Gail Goodrich scored 42 points to give Wooden his second national title.
Click the continue line to see both our charts.
Dr. J’s chart