College Basketball

There's a 42 Percent Chance Arizona, Syracuse or Wichita State Finishes the Regular Season Unbeaten

Arizona, Syracuse and Wichita State are the contenders.

* Arizona, the best team in the country, is 18-0, and the Pac-12 has been a disappointment. The Wildcats have NBA length on the frontline, and above-average guards. Many will point to shaky 3-point shooting as a weakness, but 37 percent from deep isn’t bad. I’d be more worried about 67 percent on FTs. I predicted during a December podcast that Arizona could run the table in the Pac-12. I was laughed at. The Wildcats don’t play a ranked team the rest of the way. Keep an eye on that Feb. 1 trip to Cal (14-5). The Bears are unbeaten at home.

Aaron Gordon vs UCLA

* Syracuse is 18-0, but I’m not nearly as high on the Cuse as everyone else is. They’ve left the State of New York twice since December 1. Still have to travel to Pitt, Duke, Florida State and Virginia. And I remain unsure about the frontline depth/talent. Grant is tough, but only 6-foot-8; if Rakeem Christmas – who picks up fouls like he does rebounds – gets in foul trouble, they’ll get taken apart inside.

* Wichita State is 19-0 and like Arizona, doesn’t play another ranked team. Also, in Kem Pom’s stat-based ratings, the Shockers are the lowest of the unbeatens (7th; Syracuse is 4, Arizona is 1). I believe the Shockers are more likely to have a slip-up on the road in the Missouri Valley Conference than Arizona is in the Pac-12. Wichita State dug itself a 19-point hole against Missouri State … but rallied to win in overtime. Keep an eye on Feb 5-8 – road trips to Indiana State (11-8) and Northern Iowa (10-9).

The last team to finish the college basketball regular season unbeaten? The St. Joseph’s Hawks in 2003-2004. That team, which featured Delonte West and Jameer Nelson, lost in the Atlantic-10 tourney and then to Oklahoma State in the Elite 8.

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