Last of the Unbeatens: Nine remain, but a loss is coming
Four unbeatens suffered their first loss in the last week, and at least one more is on its way out this weekend.
Welcome back to our newest feature, “Last of the Unbeatens,” where we run through each of the undefeated teams remaining in the country – as well as where they might suffer their first loss.
Four teams dropped off this list from a week ago, with Connecticut losing at home to Stanford; Massachusetts falling to Florida State; Missouri losing a rivalry game to Illinois; and Saint Mary’s dropping one in the Diamond Head Classic to South Carolina.
Who’s next? With Christmas, there aren’t too many games until the weekend – but we’re guaranteed to have at least one fewer team on this list next week. Why? Keep reading.
What they’ve done recently: After a brutal stretch in which the Wildcats beat Drexel, Duke, Texas Tech, UNLV, New Mexico State and Michigan in the span of 18 days, the Wildcats had a couple of easy wins over Southern and Northern Arizona. They’re done with the non-league slate.
Next game: Jan. 2 vs. Washington State
Next possible loss: Jan. 9 at UCLA
What they’ve done recently: A 21-point win over High Point was the only time we saw Syracuse in action since a road victory at St. John’s. Up next is an unbeaten showdown with Villanova at the Carrier Dome. A classic Big East battle – except it’s not a conference game.
Next game: Dec. 28 vs. Villanova
Next possible loss: Dec. 28 vs. Villanova
Ohio State (12-0)
What they’ve done recently: For most of Saturday, it looked like the Buckeyes were going to get bounced from this list. However, an eight-point comeback in the final 50 seconds kept Ohio State unbeaten with only one non-conference game remaining. Are the Buckeyes a Final Four contender?
Next game: Dec. 27 vs. Louisiana-Monroe
Next possible loss: Dec. 31 at Purdue
What they’ve done recently: The Badgers challenged themselves over the first five weeks of the season, but get a well-deserved two-week break since knocking off Eastern Kentucky by 25 a couple of weekends ago. Only one non-conference game is left before the Big Ten slate.
Next game: Dec. 28 vs. Prairie View A&M
Next possible loss: Jan. 5 vs. Iowa
What they’ve done recently: The Wildcats have been cruising past anyone in their way lately, winning their last four games by an average of nearly 24 points a contest. I have a sneaky feeling it won’t be the same this weekend at Syracuse. The Wildcats need to get inside the zone to come out with a win.
Next game: Dec. 28 at Syracuse
Next possible loss: Dec. 28 at Syracuse
Wichita State (12-0)
What they’ve done recently: We might not see the Shockers get knocked off this list for a few weeks, although this past weekend’s win over North Carolina Central wasn’t as easy as expected. The Missouri Valley always has tough road tests; will the Shockers navigate them effectively?
Next game: Dec. 29 vs. Davidson
Next possible loss: Jan. 18 at Indiana State
What they’ve done recently: The Ducks were another team that looked like they would be dropped from this list, but they came back in the final couple of minutes to overtake BYU in overtime. That’s three close wins in the past four games for Oregon; could a defeat be on its way?
Next game: Dec. 29 vs. Morgan State
Next possible loss: Jan. 2 at Utah
Iowa State (10-0)
What they’ve done recently: Things got a little bit easier for the Cyclones in the Diamond Head Classic. They beat George Mason on Sunday and Akron on Monday, but also saw Saint Mary’s fall in the opening round to South Carolina. Boise State will certainly be a test, but Saint Mary’s would have been a tough out.
Next game: Dec. 25 vs. Boise State
Next possible loss: Dec. 25 vs. Boise State
What they’ve done recently: It wasn’t easy, but Toledo escaped against Cleveland State with a four-point win to live to see another week on this list. The Rockets have one more game before tripping to Kansas next week. Can they keep it close and show they are for real?
Next game: Dec. 28 vs. Coppin State
Next possible loss: Dec. 30 at Kansas
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