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Breaking Down the Bracket - It's Just Six Games

It somehow became the stock phrase for every basketball pundit and sportscaster this year. To win the national championship "All you gotta do is win six games in a row." It's a gross oversimplification, but has that nice bit of folksy obviousness people like to quote, so it spread like wildfire. One of ESPN commentators, as loathe as I am to admit it, I believe it was Jay Bilas, responded to the line with "Well, what teams managed to win six games in a row during the regular season?"

Good question. And I'm just the idiot with the spare time to answer it. So:

  • North Carolina - 12 game winning streak
  • Kansas - 10 and 11 (ongoing) game streaks
  • Florida - 6 and 17
  • Ohio State - 6 and 17 (ongoing)
  • Texas A&M - 7 and 9
  • Georgetown - 7 and 11
  • Wisconsin - 17
  • UCLA - 14
  • Memphis - 22 (ongoing)
  • Duke - 9
  • Maryland - 7 and 8
  • Pittsburgh - 7 and 10
  • Michigan State - 7
  • Louisville - 7
  • Texas - 6
  • Notre Dame - 6 and 12
  • Kentucky - 11
  • Oregon - 6 (ongoing) and 13
  • Purdue - 6
  • Arizona - 12
  • Illinois - 7
  • Butler - 9 and 10
  • Marquette - 8 and 8
  • Washington State - 7
  • Xavier - 9
  • Southern Illinois - 13
  • Tennessee - 9
  • Boston College - 6 and 6
  • Virginia - 7
  • Vanderbilt - 7
  • UNLV - 7 (ongoing) and 10
  • Brigham Young - 7 and 8
  • Nevada - 7, 9 and 10
  • Old Dominion - 12
  • Winthrop - 18 (ongoing)
  • Virginia Commonwealth - 7 and 10
  • Davidson - 12 and 13 (ongoing)
  • George Washington - 8 (ongoing)
  • Oral Roberts - 9
  • New Mexico State - 13
  • Wright State - 9
  • Holy Cross - 12
  • Pennsylvania - 10 (ongoing)
  • Texas A&M Corpus Christi - 6 (ongoing) and 10
  • Long Beach State - 6 (ongoing) and 9
  • Albany - 8
  • Niagra - 11 (ongoing)
  • Central Connecticut - 12
  • Eastern Kentucky - 7
There you go, forty-nine teams. Apparently that six-game winning streak ain't particularly difficult. But what if we limit it to winning streaks amongst Big Six conferences?
  • Kansas - 11 (ongoing)
  • Florida - 11
  • Ohio State - 17 (ongoing)
  • Georgetown - 11
  • Wisconsin - 7
  • Maryland - 7
  • Louisville -7
  • Texas - 6
  • Notre Dame - 6
  • Oregon - 6 (ongoing)
  • Marquette - 8
  • Virginia - 7
That's a much more reasonable pool to pick from. Of course, Florida hadn't won six straight conference games when it entered last year's tournament. Neither had UConn in 2004. And the 2005 UNC squad only managed 7 in a row to close out the ACC. So maybe proof-of-concept isn't particularly important in this horse race after all.