Nine undefeated teams left in all of college basketball. And none of them are named Kentucky, Duke, North Carolina, Duke (ESPN loves them so much I felt the need to list them twice), Ohio State, Florida or Kansas.
In other words, if you’re still undefeated at this point of this season, you are legit- at least to some extent. By mid December, pretty much everyone has played in a conference “challenge” event and participated in a holiday tournament. if you didn’t pick up an L in either of those situations, then you may have suffered a setback in some quality opponent non-conference scheduling.
Yes, most of the games up to this point have been cupcakes, but no one has been able to feed on cupcakes only. Let’s run through the 9 remaining perfect teams, in order of AP poll ranking.
#1 Syracuse Orange (10-0)
How they’ve stayed undefeated despite all the distractions of the Bernie Fine mess is quite an accomplishment. Jim Boeheim’s perfect record has quieted those calling for his head. Not saying it’s right, moral or ethical, I’m just saying it is. The University knew how to handle crisis management in cutting ties with Bernie Fine; or at least they look like experts in PR when compared to Penn State.
Exceeding preseason expectations, as our college basketball expert David Kay had them at #13. The man in the ice cream suit will endure a rugged Big East conference schedule in a couple weeks. Although the league won’t be as tough as the past couple years. We’ll learn more when they take on Memphis Saturday, and on the 28th versus Georgetown.
Highest ranking in school history. Between this and the Heisman going to Robert Griffin III, Baylor revenue producing sports are at an all-time high. The basketball Bears had a very impressive win at a then undefeated Northwestern team last weekend. Go here to learn more about their long and lean front court trio of Quincy Acy, Quincy Miller and Perry Jones III
#8 Xavier Musketeers (8-0)
A nationally relevant team, they disgraced themselves, their league and the sport with that brawl Saturday. Granted much of that is the Cincinnati Bearcats fault. But a couple XU players did themselves no favors by making thuggish ruggish comments in the postgame press session.
#10 Missouri Tigers (10-0)
Best Mizzou team ever? Of our generation? Kay had them 23rd in the preseason, but Marcus Denmon has them outplaying everyone’s expectations.
There was certainly no "Buzz" when the school hired Williams- sorry that was too easy to pass up, even though the pun was LAME! But today, the MU faithful are very thankful for what they have. He's kept the program from missing a beat after the departure of Tom Crean; which dovetails nicely to...
#18 Indiana Hoosiers (9-0)
Taking down Kentucky on Saturday was the biggest win BY FAR of the Crean era at IU. Hoosier nation was really running low on patience with Crean, but he's got his guys now, he's got his recruits, and they're playing very well with a sort of "Ewing Theory" going on. They lost star Maurice Creek for the season, yet they're playing better without him.
#19 Illinois Fighting Illini (10-0)
They’ll likely get past UNLV at their second home (the Chicago Bulls house, the United Center) on Saturday, but I doubt they’ll beat Mizzou in the “Braggin’ Rights” game in St. Louis. They’re much better than any of us expected, but I still don’t see them as a second weekend of the NCAA Tournament kind of team. Meyers Leonard is still raw, but he’s been dominant at times, and if this keeps up, he may bolt early for the NBA after this year, not next.
How was that for objective, even-handed analysis of one’s alma mater?
#24 Murray State Racers (10-0)
The win over Memphis was impressive. Decent win over Dayton too. The Ohio Valley conference slate should be a breeze, don’t be shocked if they finish the season with only 3-4 losses.
Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, an official Google News site that generates millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports
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