To the spoiler goes...

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A little bit earlier, I rolled out an old chart of the last of the unbeatens.

Seemed like a good idea, given Wake Forest’s loss to Virginia Tech tonight.

But what about those spoil sports? What happens to them?

It’s a great question, and one worth exploring in this chart featuring every team to knock off the final unbeaten since 1994 (postseason is NCAA tournament unless otherwise noted):

YearTeamRecord
Postseason
2009Virginia Tech
13-5TBD
2008Tennessee31-5Regional semis
2007Maryland25-9Second round
2006Tennessee22-8Second round
2005Ohio State
20-12None
2004Xavier26-11Regional final
2003Maryland21-10Regional semis
2002Florida State
12-17None
2001UCLA23-9Regional semis
2000Seton Hall
22-10Regional semis
1999Syracuse21-12First round
1998New Mexico
24-8Second round
1997Missouri16-17None
1996George Washington 
21-8First round
1995Kansas25-6Regional semis
1994California22-8First round

That’s not a bad record; other than probation-addled Ohio State in 2005, only two non-tournament teams have taken out the final unbeaten. The last first-round flameout in the bunch was in 1999.

It’s a trend that bodes well for Virginia Tech, which still feels the pain of last year’s NCAA tournament snub. A road victory over a team likely to remain in the top 50 (and possibly top 25) of the RPI could carry the Hokies very, very far come March.

Farther, perhaps, than they went a season ago.

Patrick Stevens

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