By Michael McAllister
Currently, there are only four unbeaten teams in college basketball right now. Syracuse, Baylor, Missouri, and Murray State. Who will be the last to lose? If you recall, over a decade ago Syracuse was the last team to lose. They started 19-0. That team featured a trio of seniors, Jason Hart, Etan Thomas, and Ryan Blackwell. Can Syracuse do that again this year? Let's take a look at the remaining schedule of the unbeaten teams and evaluate who is likely to be the last to lose. Baylor
Baylor has some tough upcoming games. On January 2nd, they play a Texas A&M team that started the season ranked. It is a home game so you would figure Baylor would have the advantage. Then on January 10th, they play at Kansas State. That should be a very tough game as K-State will be looking to prove their early season success is not a fluke. If they are able to get by those games, January 16th they travel to play Kansas, and on January 21st they play Missouri at home. Baylor has had some close calls this year, so you would figure one of those four games they would falter. Missouri
Missouri has been very good so far this year. They have a lot of talent, and even at #8 in the country could be underrated. Their upcoming schedule is similar to Baylor's. They have Oklahoma coming up on January 3rd. Oklahoma is not a very good team this year, so that shouldn't be much of a challenge. They travel to Kansas State on January 7th, and play at Iowa State on January 11th. Texas visits Missouri shortly after that, and then they have a tough three game stretch. January 16th Texas A&M comes to Missouri, then the Tigers hit the road to play Baylor and Oklahoma State. If both Baylor and Missouri are undefeated by the time that game comes around, obviously one of them would lose. But my best guess is Baylor loses at some point and knocks off a possibly unbeaten Missouri team on January 21st. Murray State
Murray State is a different animal. Because of the conference they play in (Ohio Valley), they have a very good shot to go undefeated during the regular season. Their toughest games will be against Eastern Kentucky and Tennessee State. They meet Eastern Kentucky on January 4th, but it is a home game. They play Tennessee State twice, but not until February. However, Murray State will be favored in every game they play going forward. But conference play is always tough so you never know. Syracuse
Syracuse has already started conference play, and we all know how treacherous the Big East road can be. The Orange have a road game at DePaul on Sunday, then travel to Providence on January 4th. They welcome Marquette to the Dome for a revenge game January 7th, and then play at Villanova on January 11th. Villanova is not what they have been in past years. Syracuse will be favored in all of those games, but this is the Big East so you never know. The most dangerous games appear to be the road game against Villanova, January 22nd home game against Pitt, and road game against Cincinnati. After that, you start getting into February. But the February slate is tough. There are two match-ups with both UConn and Louisville, and a Georgetown game thrown in for good measure. If Syracuse gets past the Pittsburgh game, it will most likely be well into February before this team loses.
The most logical scenario is the final two undefeated teams will be Syracuse and Murray State. However, expect Murray State to be the final team to lose, if they lose at all during the regular season. They simply don't play a difficult schedule, and it's hard to find a team that could challenge them. The Big East schedule is too tough to expect Syracuse to go into February undefeated. It certainly could happen, but who is really expecting it? College basketball is a funny game, and there are upsets every week. It shouldn't surprise anyone if all of these teams lost one of the easier game on their upcoming schedules.