Kansas, Ohio State, San Diego State, Who Will be Last Undefeated Standing?
With Pitt knocking off Syracuse at home Monday night, college hoops is down to only three unbeaten teams 5-6 games into conference play. Ohio State and Kansas are teams people expected to be in the top five, but the surprise squad is San Diego State which is 19-0 and ranked 6th. Which of these impressive starters will be the first to lose? We take a look.
Ohio State: The Big Ten has six teams in the Top 25 including the top ranked Buckeyes. Thus far, Ohio St. has played only one of the other five ranked teams from their conference — Minnesota. In the next seven days they will host Iowa (whom they beat by only five earlier this month), travel to #22 Illinois on Saturday, and then play 13th-ranked Purdue in Columbus. In February it only gets worse with five straight games against the other ranked teams from the conference. They will be a number one seed in the tourney, but may have a bump or two along the way.
Kansas: The Jayhawks are 18-0 and 3-0 in conference. They have a better shot at remaining undefeated compared to Ohio State, given that the only ranked opponent they face in their next five games is Texas in Lawrence. Their following challenge would be 14th ranked Missouri at home on February 7th. Beware of surprising Colorado which is 14-4 after defeating Mizzou and Kansas St.
San Diego State: The Aztecs have to be the most intriguing team of the three. With signature wins over Gonzaga and St. Mary’s as well as a 20-point romp at Cal, San Diego St. is a legitimate contender this season. And while many critics question the lack of competition the Aztecs face, ESPN ranks the Mountain West Conference higher than the Pac-10 and SEC. The Aztecs have already beaten a strong UNLV team, as well as a New Mexico squad that has quality wins against ASU and the aforementioned Colorado.
Of all three teams, San Diego St. has the highest-ranked opponent left on its schedule (#9 BYU). With two match-ups against Jimmer and the Cougars, San Diego St. is in a battle for MWC supremacy. But by the time they meet for their first showdown on January 26th, SDSU could be the nation’s only perfect team.