Gonzaga will carry a perfect 26-0 record in the 2021 NCAA men’s basketball tournament.
The Bulldogs are the 20th team in enters the tournament with a perfect record, and set out to make a 22nd consecutive appearance on the show’s Big Dance.
Gonzaga has maintained an incredible streak of dominance outside of the West Coast Conference, but that success has come with continual questions about his blue-blood credentials.
Would the show’s first national championship eliminate those questions? That would be the best of what has been an incredible statistical streak since the 1998-99 season.
Sporting News delves into those numbers.
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Gonzaga basketball record since 1999
Gonzaga has the best record in Division I since 1999. The Bulldogs are 653-131, a .832 winning percentage.
How does that compare to the best college basketball programs? Gonzaga is one of four schools with at least 600 wins since 1999. The Bulldogs have the highest winning percentage among those schools in that stretch (records as of March 10).
Division I programs with 600 wins since 1999
Best record of the last five years
Mark Few took over as head coach after the 1999 NCAA men’s basketball tournament, building on that Elite Eight with Dan Monson the previous season.
Few have brought the Bulldogs to the tournament in every season since, but the past five seasons have produced an incredible winning streak.
Gonzaga is 159-13 in that stretch, a .924 winning percentage. Villanova, who is 134-31 with a .812 winning percentage, it ranks second in that stretch.
Two impressive statistics emerge from this five-year streak. Gonzaga has not lost more than five games in a single season. The Bulldogs also haven’t lost more than one conference game in the regular season in those five years.
Best conference record
The Bulldogs are 368-38 in conference games since the tournament began in 1998-99. That’s a .906 winning percentage.
Gonzaga is 82-3 in regular season games in the West Coast Conference the past five seasons, and they have won four of the past five tournaments. That included last season before the NCAA tournament was canceled due to COVID-19.
NCAA tournament streak
Gonzaga has the third longest active NCAA tournament streak at 21 years. The other schools with at least 20 consecutive tournament appearances this season were Kansas (30), Duke (24) and Michigan State (22). North Carolina went to the NCAA Tournament in 27 consecutive seasons from 1975 to 2001 under three different coaches.
The Bulldogs have never missed the NCAA Tournament under Few.
Success of March Madness
The Bulldogs are 34-21 in the NCAA tournament since that Elite Eight run in 1999. Here’s how tournament success is broken down by round:
If there has been a criticism of Gonzaga, then it is that the success of the regular season has not been sustained in the tournament. The Bulldogs have been unable to make it out of the opening weekend of the tournament in 11 of those 21 tournament appearances.
Few have helped dispel that in the past five seasons, though, with two Sweet 16 appearances, two Elite Eight appearances, and a run to the NCAA national championship game in 2017.
The Bulldogs appear poised for another one of those races in 2021, and this West Coast Conference dynasty has shown no signs of slowing down.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.