They’re all gone. All the remaining unbeaten Division 1 college basketball teams. Arizona lost to Oregon, then Duke lost to North Carolina State and then Michigan was knocked off by Ohio State. All three teams lost on the road against other Top 25 caliber teams. So this wasn’t a stop-the-presses event.
And now we are approaching mid-January, as the conference races are about to go into the fully operative mode and do we have any idea about the best team in college basketball?
No, we don’t. Best teams perhaps.
How long will Louisville, which moved into the top spot in the Associated Press writer’s poll on Monday afternoon remain? Well at least a week in reality since the next poll won’t come out until next Monday but what if coach Rick Pitino’s team loses in Hartford to Connecticut on Monday night?
In these days of parity, the idea of an unbeaten team in a long and strenuous regular season is not a realistic goal for even the most elite programs. In the past several years, the last unbeaten team disappeared by late January or early February. This season, however, was the earliest date for the last unbeaten to disappear since 2006-2007, when UCLA was the last team to lose a game on January 6th.
A quick look at the mid-term status revealed some surprises, some what-else-is-new trends. We’ll look at the conferences in 3 segments.
Here’s the first glance
1. America East–Pre-season contenders: Vermont, Stony Brook, Albany
Mid-season status: Vermont, Stony Brook and Albany are all at the top of the pack.
2. ACC–Pre-season contenders: NC State, Duke, North Carolina
Mid-season status: NC State and Duke are right there. Miami, which was regarded as the fourth choice, is right in the mix. North Carolina is having some consistency issues.
3. Atlantic Sun–Pre-season contenders: UC Upstate, Mercer and Florida Gulf Coast were the top picks.
Mid-season status: Florida Gulf Coast and Mercer were above .500. USC Upstate is a game below .500.
4. Atlantic 10–Pre-season contenders:Saint Louis, VCU and Saint Joseph’s.
Mid-season status: Butler, Charlotte and VCU were the leaders. Saint Joseph’s is 9-5, which isn’t horrible, but maybe a shade below what was expected of the Hawks.
5. Big East–Pre-season contenders: Louisville, Syracuse and Notre Dame were the picks.
Mid-season status: Syracuse and Louisville are right there. Notre Dame (14-2) is a game off the pace. Marquette (5th in pre-season) is very much in the mix.
6. Big Sky–Pre-season contenders: Montana, Weber State and Northern Colorado were the choices.
Mid-season status: Montana and Weber State are right there. Northern Colorado (3-11) has been a wash out.
7. Big South–Pre-season contenders–High Point and Charleston Southern were the leaders.
Mid-season status: Both schools were off to quick starts (3-0) in their division races. Campbell (3-0) was another contender.
8. Big Ten–Pre-season contenders: Indiana, Michigan and Michigan State were the picks. Indiana and Michigan have been consistently on top all season. Michigan State is just off the pace. Minnesota (15-2) has been a bit of a surprise
9. Big 12–Pre-season contenders: Kansas, Baylor and Texas were the ones.
Mid-season status: Baylor and Kansas have held up their end. Texas (8-8, 0-3) has been a disappointment.
10. Big West–Pre-season contenders: Long Beach State, Cal State-Fullerton and Pacific were the choices.
Mid-season status: All three schools are in place at the top.
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