The college basketball world started the week with nine undefeated teams still in the running for an undefeated season. A busy slate of high intensity games foresaw at least one or two of the then undefeated teams going down throughout the week.
Then Thursday and Friday happened.
Number 12 Texas Tech came into the week 10-0, but their undefeated run ended at the hands of Duke on Thursday 69-58. The Red Raiders carried a lead into halftime but it wasn’t enough to take down the Blue Devils at Madison Square Garden.
Friday saw #14 Buffalo and #24 Furman both fall by big margins, ending their perfect season hopes. The Bulls lost to #20 Marquette 103-85 as their defense was unable to stop Markus Howard, who had 40 points. The Paladins lost to LSU 75-57 and simply had nothing going on offense to match a tough SEC school.
This leaves us with six remaining undefeated teams: #1 Kansas, #4 Michigan, #5 UVA, #6 Nevada, #21 Houston, and unranked St. John’s.
I’m just going to play a little bit of spoiler alert right now: none of these teams are going undefeated.
Kansas and Michigan are the two best from this group but both will face heavy competition in conference play. The Jayhawks start with an out of conference showdown at #18 Arizona State on Saturday night before hosting 11-1 Oklahoma on Wednesday. January doesn’t get any easier for the Jayhawks as they travel to Iowa Stata (10-2), Baylor (7-4), West Virginia (6-4), #19 Kentucky (8-2) and Texas (7-4).
Michigan’s schedule includes more ranked teams than Kansas’s does and they are all in the BIG 10 conference. January will see Michigan two matchups against #22 Indiana (10-2), and one game against #16 Wisconsin (9-2), and #15 Ohio State (10-1).
Virginia may face the toughest schedule out of the remaining undefeated teams as they still have to play their ACC games. Duke, UNC, Virginia Tech, Syracuse and Louisville among others still remain on the schedule for the Cavaliers.
Houston barley escaped LSU at home last week and will face an easier schedule than the aforementioned three teams going forward. Despite this, the talent falls off significantly when comparing Houston to any of the top four undefeated teams as they could easily drop a game to Memphis, Temple or Cincinnati among others.
Unranked St. John’s will be ranked next week as teams like Furman will fall from the rankings but they still will not get too far with the zero in the loss column. Villanova, Georgetown, Xavier, Marquette and Creighton remain in conference play and Duke still looms on the schedule as well.
Lastly, we look at Nevada. They were skipped earlier because they have the best shot at completing the undefeated regular season. Nevada is not as talented as a team like Kansas but they do have good non conference wins over Tulsa and Arizona State. Their conference schedule doesn’t have too many huge tests although expect them to drop an upcoming game somewhere against Fresno State or possibly Utah State. Even if the Wolfpack does get out of the regular season as an undefeated which is quite possible, it isn’t a reality just yet that they can win the entire NCAA tournament, meaning their undefeated record wouldn’t mean too much.
photo: Roanoke Times