A look at the unbeaten and the winless in college basketball
By NOAH TRISTER, AP Sports Writer
Just more than a month after the season started, there are only nine unbeaten teams left in Division I men’s college basketball. And it’s a similar story at the other end of the spectrum: Only five teams have yet to win a game.
Getting this far without a loss is no small feat. Just ask Gonzaga, which knocked off Duke and Creighton before finally losing to Tennessee last weekend.
Here’s a look at each of the remaining teams with a zero in either the win column or loss column:
First, the undefeated nine:
Best Start Since: 1930-31. Not a misprint. Buffalo went undefeated that season, finishing 15-0.
Highlight So Far: CJ Massinburg scored 43 points to lift Buffalo to a 99-94 overtime win at West Virginia on Nov. 9.
Why They’re Unbeaten: Massinburg leads the way, but the Bulls also have three other players with scoring averages in double figures. They routed Arizona in last season’s NCAA Tournament and have picked up where they left off.
Upcoming Challenge: Buffalo isn’t shying away from tough nonconference matchups. The Bulls play at Syracuse and Marquette next week.
Best Start Since: This is the best start in school history.
Highlight So Far: Furman won at Villanova on Nov. 17, 76-68 in overtime .
Why They’re Unbeaten: Jordan Lyons leads the Paladins in scoring at 18.4 points per game. That includes a 54-point outing against Division II North Greenville in November in which he made 15 3-pointers. Matt Rafferty had 15 points and 17 rebounds in the Villanova game.
Upcoming Challenge: The Paladins still aren’t in the top 100 in the rankings at kenpom.com, so some skepticism is in order. They play at LSU on Dec. 21.
Best Start Since: 1969-70. Houston started 9-0 that season, then later had an 11-game winning streak that ended with a loss in the regional semifinals.
Highlight So Far: The Cougars beat a nationally ranked Oregon team 65-61 on Dec. 1 , the night they opened their new $60 million arena.
Why They’re Unbeaten: The Cougars came within a buzzer beater of a Sweet 16 berth last season. Guards Armoni Brooks and Corey Davis are each averaging 16.5 points per game.
Upcoming Challenge: The Cougars host LSU on Wednesday night. Their conference schedule includes trips to Central Florida (Feb. 7) and Cincinnati (March 10).
Best Start Since: 2010-11. Kansas began that season with 18 straight wins and kept right on rolling until a loss to Virginia Commonwealth in the regional finals.
Highlight So Far: The Jayhawks began the season in style, beating Michigan State 92-87 in Indianapolis on Nov. 6.
Why They’re Unbeaten: The Jayhawks narrowly escaped in overtime against Tennessee and Stanford, but the talent level is obvious. Junior Dedric Lawson is averaging 19.1 points and 10.6 rebounds.
Upcoming Challenge: Kansas hosts defending national champion Villanova on Saturday. The Jayhawks also play at Arizona State on Dec. 22.
Best Start Since: 2012-13. The Wolverines started 16-0 and ended up going all the way to the national title game.
Highlight So Far: Michigan went on the road and routed Villanova 73-46 on Nov. 14 in a rematch of last season’s NCAA championship game.
Why They’re Unbeaten: The Wolverines were one of the best defensive teams in the country last season, and they might be even better now thanks to the emergence of 7-foot-1 Jon Teske. Freshman Iggy Brazdeikis has helped Michigan withstand Moe Wagner’s departure to the NBA.
Upcoming Challenge: Michigan resumes Big Ten play in January, but even then the schedule is reasonably forgiving until a visit to Wisconsin on Jan. 19.
Best Start Since: 1951-52, when Nevada started 14-0 playing a schedule that looked a lot different than it does now.
Highlight So Far: The Wolf Pack knocked off Arizona State 72-66 on Friday night in Los Angeles. Nevada trailed by 16 in the first half.
Why They’re Unbeaten: The Wolf Pack have experience with Jordan Caroline and Caleb Martin, and they don’t beat themselves. Nevada averages only 9.1 turnovers a game.
Upcoming Challenge: This unbeaten run could go on a while. There seems to be a substantial gap between Nevada and the rest of the Mountain West, but a trip to Fresno State on Jan. 12 could provide a test.
Best Start Since: 1990-91. Lou Carnesecca was the coach and Malik Sealy was a captain on a team that also started 9-0.
Highlight So Far: None of the victories have been all that eye-catching, but beating Rutgers by 19 on the road Nov. 16 was a strong effort.
Why They’re Unbeaten: Star guard Shamorie Ponds is the player to watch for the Red Storm. He’s averaging 22 points a game and shooting 53 percent from the field.
Upcoming Challenge: St. John’s starts Big East play at Seton Hall on Dec. 29.
Best Start Since: 2009-10. Then coached by Pat Knight, the Red Raiders started 9-0 but ultimately finished 19-16 after losing in the NIT quarterfinals.
Highlight So Far: Nebraska has looked pretty impressive lately, but Texas Tech handled the Cornhuskers 70-52 on Nov. 20.
Why They’re Unbeaten: The Red Raiders are allowing opponents to shoot just 34 percent from the field, and they have a plus-48 turnover differential through eight games. Jarrett Culver is the top scorer.
Upcoming Challenge: Texas Tech plays Duke on Dec. 20 in New York.
Best Start Since: 2014-15, when Virginia started 19-0 and lost only twice during the regular season.
Highlight So Far: The Cavaliers have played a forgiving schedule, but a 53-46 win over Wisconsin on a neutral floor Nov. 23 was an impressive result.
Why They’re Unbeaten: The Cavaliers were roundly mocked after losing to 16th-seeded UMBC in last season’s NCAA Tournament, but it’s still business as usual for coach Tony Bennett’s defensive-minded team. Opponents have managed only 51 points per game.
Upcoming Challenge: Virginia opens ACC play against Florida State on Jan. 5, but that game is at home. Trips to Duke and North Carolina loom later.
The last remaining winless teams:
Best Game: Alabama A&M lost 70-66 in overtime at Northwestern State on Nov. 23.
Why They’re Winless: This start is nothing new for the Bulldogs, who haven’t won a nonconference game since the 2015-16 season. The game against Northwestern State was their highest-scoring output this season.
Possible Win: Alabama A&M faces another winless team, La Salle, on Dec. 21, but that game is in Atlantic City, New Jersey. A more likely victory is the home matchup with Jackson State on Jan. 5. The Bulldogs beat Jackson State a season ago.
Best Game: The Eagles took James Madison to overtime on Nov. 29 before losing 81-71.
Why They’re Winless: The Eagles have awful offensive numbers in a variety of categories, including points per game (58.1), field goal percentage (36.4) and turnovers per game (16.9).
Possible Win: Coppin State begins its MEAC schedule at home against Savannah State on Jan. 5.
Best Game: The Explorers lost by one to Lafayette in the second game of the season, but the team’s most credible outing was probably an 85-78 loss to Villanova on Dec. 1.
Why They’re Winless: The Explorers have allowed at least 75 points in every game, and opponents are shooting 51 percent against them.
Possible Win: Next up for La Salle is that Dec. 21 matchup with Alabama A&M.
Best Game: Monmouth led in the final minute at Hofstra on Dec. 5 before losing 75-73.
Why They’re Winless: It’s been quite a decline for the Hawks, who just two seasons ago won 27 games. Monmouth is shooting only 25 percent from 3-point range. In this day and age, it’s hard to accomplish anything with a number like that.
Possible Win: Monmouth hosts Saint Peter’s on Jan. 5. The Peacocks have only two wins themselves.
MOUNT ST. MARY’S
Best Game: Only one of the team’s defeats has been by single digits, and that was against Lehigh. The best performance for Mount St. Mary’s was probably an 85-71 loss to St. John’s on Dec. 5. It was a two-point game midway through the second half.
Why They’re Winless: Opponents are shooting 41 percent from 3-point range against the Mountaineers. They have plenty of other problems, too, but that certainly isn’t helping.
Possible Win: Mount St. Mary’s faces Division III Wilson College on Saturday.
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