Last of the Unbeatens: Twelve teams remain
We've got 13 unbeaten teams left in the country, so let's start looking at each of them -- who will last the longest?
Now that we are about a third of the way into the season, with most teams playing at least nine or 10 games, it’s time to start keeping an eye on some of the various trends around the country.
Moreover, we’re at that sweet spot when it comes to unbeaten teams. We’re far enough into the season where there is an intriguing group of lossless teams – without having too many undefeateds on which to keep tabs.
With that in mind, we’re going to start a weekly feature here – “Last of the Unbeatens.” It will run through each unbeaten team every Wednesday, looking at why they still don’t have a loss, and when that first defeat might occur.
Let’s get it going.
(Note: We had Connecticut included when originally published, with their next possible loss at SMU on Jan. 4. Clearly, we were wrong and the Huskies lost to Stanford on Wednesday night. They are no longer included among the unbeatens.)
What they’ve done so far: The Wildcats have been arguably the most impressive team in the country, with road wins over San Diego State and Michigan, plus a neutral-court win against Duke.
Next game: Dec. 19 vs. Southern
Next possible loss: Jan. 9 at UCLA
What they’ve done so far: With Tyler Ennis excelling at point guard as a freshman, the Orange are rolling. They won the Maui Invitational with wins over Minnesota, California and Baylor, and also beat Indiana and St. John’s since returning to the mainland.
Next game: Dec. 20 vs. High Point
Next possible loss: Dec. 28 vs. Villanova
Ohio State (10-0)
What they’ve done so far: No DeShaun Thomas, no problem. The Buckeyes looked outstanding against Marquette, although that win has lost some luster. The next-best victories have come against Maryland and North Dakota State at home.
Next game: Dec. 18 vs. Delaware
Next possible loss: Dec. 21 vs. Notre Dame
What they’ve done so far: With seven KenPom top-100 wins, the Badgers might have the deepest collection of quality wins in the country. They have knocked off Virginia and Green Bay on the road; Saint Louis, West Virginia, St. John’s at neutral sites; and Florida and Marquette at home.
Next game: Dec. 28 vs. Prairie View A&M
Next possible loss: Jan. 5 vs. Iowa
What they’ve done so far: The Wildcats caught everyone’s attention by winning the Battle 4 Atlantis, a championship that included victories over Kansas and Iowa. Since then, they had a decent 30-point road victory at Saint Joseph’s.
Next game: Dec. 21 vs. Rider
Next possible loss: Dec. 28 at Syracuse
Wichita State (11-0)
What they’ve done so far: This is definitely one to watch going forward. The Shockers are better than last season’s Final Four team – with wins in the past three weeks over BYU, Saint Louis, Tennessee and Alabama.
Next game: Dec. 22 vs. North Carolina Central
Next possible loss: Jan. 18 at Indiana State
What they’ve done so far: The Ducks managed to survive nine-game suspensions to Dominic Artis and Ben Carter in impressive fashion. They opened with a win in South Korea over Georgetown, and also own wins over Ole Miss and Illinois.
Next game: Dec. 21 vs. BYU
Next possible loss: Jan. 2 at Utah
Iowa State (8-0)
What they’ve done so far: Fred Hoiberg’s crew is rolling. The Cyclones have two very good home wins over Michigan and Iowa, as well as a road win at BYU. Hilton Magic is in full effect.
Next game: Dec. 22 vs. George Mason
Next possible loss: Diamond Head Classic
What they’ve done so far: Chaz Williams is one of the most exciting players to watch, and the Minutemen are one of the most exciting teams to watch. They haven’t looked back after beating Boston College and LSU to start the season, with wins over Nebraska, New Mexico, Clemson and BYU.
Next game: Dec. 18 at Ohio
Next possible loss: Dec. 18 at Ohio
What they’ve done so far: Frank Haith missed the first five games of the season, but Tim Fuller held down the fort against a soft schedule. Tigers haven’t won a road game yet, but they did beat West Virginia and UCLA at home.
Next game: Dec. 21 vs. Illinois
Next possible loss: Dec. 21 vs. Illinois
Saint Mary’s (8-0)
What they’ve done so far: Despite losing Matthew Dellavedova, the Gaels haven’t missed a beat. They rolled off seven straight home wins to start the season, a stretch that had wins over Louisiana Tech, Akron and North Dakota State. A road victory at Boise State last weekend opened some eyes, though.
Next game: Dec. 19 vs. American
Next possible loss: Diamond Head Classic
What they’ve done so far: This is the unknown of the group. The Rockets haven’t really done much of note so far, as the road win over Boston College loses its pop with every Eagles’ loss. On the plus side, they have six victories away from home.
Next game: Dec. 21 vs. Cleveland State
Next possible loss: Dec. 30 at Kansas
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