Which undefeated NCAA team falls first?
by Scott M Gleeson, USA TODAY Sports
The top three teams in the country have yet to lose, but perfect seasons are an anomaly in college basketball these days.
The last team to finish undefeated was Indiana in 1976. Other teams have come close, with St. Joseph’s starting 27-0 in 2004 and Illinois starting 29-0 in 2005. Just last season, Syracuse started 20-0, and Murray State won 23 in a row before losing its first game.
No. 1 Duke (14-0), No. 2 Michigan (15-0) and No. 3 Arizona (14-0) headline this year’s unbeaten ranks, but No. 25 Wyoming (13-0) is the most surprising of the teams with unblemished records.
Wyoming is nationally ranked for the first time since USA TODAY Sports took over the coaches poll in the 1991-92 season. The Cowboys haven’t been in the Associated Press Top 25 since 1988.
Which undefeated team will fall first this season? USA TODAY Sports takes a look:
We’ve yet to see a moribund shooting performance from a potent Duke team that averages more than 80 points per game, but it’s bound to happen in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Blue Devils didn’t look as dominant in December as they did in November when Mike Krzyzewski’s group beat Minnesota, Virginia Commonwealth, Louisville and Ohio State.
Top player: Senior forward Mason Plumlee (18.4 points, 11.3 rebounds per game) is making a case as national player of the year.
First loss prediction: Jan. 12 at N.C. State.
Aside from a close battle with N.C. State in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge and a clash with Pittsburgh, Michigan has been relatively untested. The Wolverines score more than 82 points per game and own the nation’s second-best shooting percentage (.522). That’s thanks to a hot shooting backcourt. The Wolverines’ freshmen have meshed nicely with veterans to give coach John Beilein his best team in Ann Arbor.
Top player: Trey Burke (18.2 points, 7.5 assists per game) is arguably the best point guard in the country.
First loss prediction: Jan. 13 at Ohio State
Of all the teams without a loss, the Wildcats have come closest to … [For more on Which undefeated team falls first? Duke, Michigan, Arizona or Wyoming?, click here.]