Now that we are well into the non conference season I wanted to take a closer look at the teams that have not lost yet. Some of the teams we have known about and are on the national scene but others have gone undefeated thus-far without the fame or ESPN glory. Here are the remaining undefeated teams and how they’ve done it so far.
The Cyclones have not had many challenges yet other than the Iowa Hawkeyes and Colorado Buffaloes. ISU is ranked 4th in the AP Poll with an 8-0 record. The starting five is averaging double figures per game. Georges Niang could be one of the best players in programs history. The former All American is averaging 18.3 ppg, 6.5 rpg, and 3.6 apg. Junior Jameel McKay is averaging a Double-Double per game; his numbers are 14.6 ppg and 11.6 rpg. The Cyclones will have tough contests coming up against Cincinnati, Oklahoma, Baylor, and Texas.
Coming off their big win against cross-town rival Cincinnati, Xavier is looking to be dominate in the Big East this season. Along with Cincinnati, their resume includes win against Michigan, Dayton and USC. Sophomore guard Trevon Bluiett leads the team averaging 14.6 points per game. Sitting at 10-0, the Muskies deserve a top 10 ranking. Xavier has won nine out of their ten games by double-digit figures. Their upcoming schedule includes Villanova, Saint John’s, Butler, and Georgetown.
The Mustangs sit at 19th ranked in the AP Poll and are first in the American Athletic Conference. Although they had close contests with Brown, Yale, and TCU, SMU has the talent to win the American this year. Nic Moore leads the Mustangs at guard and is averaging 15 points per game. The team also has the ability to shoot the three ball, the team shoots 45.4% behind the arc this season. Duke transfer Semi Ojeleye will be eligible to play in January and will get the chance to help at Forward. SMU faces challenges against UConn, Cincinnati, and Houston.
Michigan State has the talent to make a trip back to the Final Four. Leading the way for the Spartans is Denzel Valentine who has the potential to be the POY. The senior is averaging 18.6 ppg, 8.5 rpg, and 7.2 apg. Along with Valentine is guard Bryn Forbes, and has the ability to shoot from long range and penetrate a defense. MSU has defeated Kansas, Louisville, Providence and Florida. I believe the current number one ranked team will win the Big Ten. Tom Izzo is having one of his best starts in program history. MSU will face Northeastern, Iowa, and Wisconsin.
Arkansas Little Rock
The Trojans are deserving of a top 25 spot with their road wins against Depaul, Tulsa, and San Diego State. UALR comes off a 13-18 season from last year. Senior Leader Marcus Johnson Jr. leads the way with 14.9 points and is shooting 55% from three-point range. The Trojans are full of experience. Of the eight players that have appeared in every game, each one is either a junior or senior. Little Rock has an upcoming schedule that includes Texas Tech, Georgia State, and UT-Arlington.
South Carolina has not had many challenges this season, but once their conference schedule comes around we will see how the Gamecocks will respond. Five players on the roster have averaged double-digits this season. Senior Forward Mindaugas Kacinas leads the team with 14.4 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. Kacinas is also shooting 62% from the field. The Gamecocks have beaten every opponent by double figures except one against Tulsa. USC is a sleeper in the SEC this season and is able to pull off upsets against teams such as Vanderbilt or LSU. South Carolina’s upcoming schedule features Vanderbilt, Memphis, and Saint John’s.
I have already marked down Oklahoma in my Final Four. They have proved they can compete at the national level with wins against Villanova and Wisconsin. Both wins were by at least 18 points, handling both opponents easily. The Sooners lineup is loaded; Buddy Hield, Isiah Cousins, and Ryan Spangler are three of the top players in the Big 12. Hield is the returning Big 12 POY and is averaging 22.1 points per game. Cousins has the ability to shoot the three ball and is averaging 14.3 per game. Spangler is known for his gritty attitude on the court and he is averaging 12.4 ppg and 9.3 rpg. As a team Oklahoma has the ability to shoot from behind the arc, being the number one ranked three-point team in country shooting 48.7%. The Sooners will be tested with upcoming conference opponents: Iowa State, Kansas, and WVU.
Sitting at 11-0, the Boilermakers have dominated their opponents this season. They beat Florida and Pittsburgh by double digits. Sophomore Center Isaac Haas leads the team with 13.5 points per game. Supporting Haas is fellow Center A.J Hammons who is averaging 12.6 points and 8.1 rebounds per game. The duo brings size and leadership to them team, if these two are healthy together then Purdue has a chance to dominate the post every game. Freshman Caleb Swanigan is young and will be a dominant force throughout his next four years, he is averaging 9.9 ppg and 9.2 rpg. Purdue has the ability to win the Big Ten, they have the size, defense, and shooting to do it. The next three games will be a challenge for the Boilermakers; they will face Butler, Vanderbilt, and Wisconsin.