Unbeaten/Winless Watch (12.25.07)Posted by rtmsf on December 26th, 2007
We really wanted to do this two weeks ago, but as you know, life got in the way. So we’ll make do with what’s left.
As of Xmas Day, out of a total 341 D1 teams, there were a total of nine unbeaten teams and only four winless teams remaining (see table below). Four of the nine unbeatens are unsurprising – #1 UNC, #2 Memphis, #4 Kansas, and #6 Wazzu were all preseason top ten teams. Pittsburgh wasn’t ranked in the preseason, but they’re always pretty good, so we’re not shocked by their inclusion (esp. once Levance Fields got himself unTazed). That leaves us with three shockers from the SEC/ACC and one ridiculous Southland Conference inclusion (although… we had ’em).
From the SEC there are two unbeatens. Florida? Nope. Kentucky? Nope. Tennessee? Nope. Mississippi State? Nope. Those four teams have about a baker’s dozen number of losses between them. But if you had Ole Miss and Vandy at 22-0 heading into the last week of 2007, proceed directly to the Bellagio sports book. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. Ok, so Ole Miss’s 11-0 start smells an awful lot like the annual Clemson torridness (in a somewhat ironic twist, Ole Miss’s best win was at Clemson last week – 85-82), but we have to tip the hat to Andy Kennedy’s squad for beating all comers so far, and setting themselves up for a possible run at the SEC West title and an NCAA bid. (memo to University of Cincinnati: how’s bailing on Kennedy working out for ya? Oh right, losses to Illinois St., Bowling Green and Belmont. Good luck with that.) As for Vandy, they’ve probably got a little more upside than Ole Miss due to the addition of a freshman stud who incomprehensibly gets almost no hype, AJ Ogilvy (19/7). With senior guard Shan Foster, this inside-outside tandem plus Vandy’s home court nearly assures the ‘Dores of an NCAA berth, and given the relative state of the rest of the SEC this year, possible SEC title.
The last two unbeatens are probably the most surprising of all. Miami (FL) was 12-20 last season, and the Hurricanes have already matched that win total this year. A very soft schedule has made this record possible, but two solid road wins (@ Providence and @ Miss. St.) show that this team will be worth watching in the ACC race this year. The final unbeaten, Sam Houston St., has an early win over Bob Knight and Texas Tech on their resume, but little else. Still, it’s a great early-season story, and we’ll be rooting for them to keep it up through their west coast trip to SDSU and Loyola Marymount this coming weekend.
As for the four winless teams, we can’t say there are any real surprises. Furman and Grambling will win soon enough, but we’re not sure about the disasters otherwise known as Ball St. and NJIT. NJIT, probably the worst offensive team in the nation, has only broken sixty points once this year; and has been under fifty points four other times. Ball St. is still feeling the aftershocks of the Ronny Thompson fiasco, and there’s no telling when they’ll come out of that tailspin. Last year’s winless streak leader, Iona, didn’t get their first victory until Feb. 3 (0-22), and we think NJIT has a chance to match or exceed that this year.