We’re barely into December, but already the number of unbeaten teams this college basketball season has whittled down to less than a dozen.
The day started with 14 teams without a loss, with four of them playing each other. Despite the inevitability that those games would leave us with two less undefeateds, the results in both games might be characterized as surprises: UCLA won at Kentucky 97-92, hanging the most points on a UK team in John Calipari’s coaching tenure, and Baylor ended up finishing off Xavier with unexpected ease, with a 21-2 run late the key in a 76-61 win in a game that was even for 30 minutes.
A third unbeaten went down when Virginia was stopped at home by West Virginia. Bob Huggins and his Mountaineers scored 11 of the game’s final 13 points for a 66-57 win, a mighty impressive road victory. The fourth team to lose that entered the day without a defeat was Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, unquestionably a team that stuck out like a sore thumb on this as an obvious surprise, and one that ran into a hot-shooting team as Cal Poly hit 14 three-pointers in an 82-70 win to drop the Islanders to 5-1.
Victorious unbeatens that remained so on Saturday included Villanova, Gonzaga, Creighton, Butler, USC and TCU. The latter two might rate as the most surprising, even as both have taken advantage of comfortable schedules. USC makes it two Los Angeles teams without a loss with an 8-0 mark after a 91-84 win over BYU. Meanwhile, TCU also is 8-0 after dominating the second half to blow out a very good Arkansas State team 77-54. The Horned Frogs have gotten off to hot starts before (see: two years ago), but there’s little doubt they deserve more than passing glance right now, as the number of teams without a loss continues to dwindle.
- Hoopville’s Phil Kasiecki has his recap of Saturday’s biggest games with his first Saturday Notes of the season.
- Among the biggest individual performances Saturday: Louisville was pushed by Grand Canyon before getting the 79-70 road win, with GCU’s DeWayne Russell torturing the Cardinals for 42 points. Duke’s Luke Kennard went off for 35 points in the Blue Devils’ 94-55 destruction of Maine; and UNC Wilmington’s Devontae Cacok and Chris Flemmings both scored 34 points each in the Seahawks’ 126-113 win over NCAA Division II Pfeiffer (S.C.). Cacok-one of the most improved players in the country-also added an incredible 19 rebounds against the run-and-fun Falcons, who actually were held below their total from each of their three previous games when they scored 123, 125 and 131.
- Elon-sort of a silent member of the CAA in its first years there, a team we hear little about-is off to a good start, and given Georgetown’s adventures the past couple years against teams similar, this would seem to be a terrific opportunity for the Phoenix to pull an upset (1:30 p.m. Eastern, FS1).
- That game is part of the BB&T Classic, with the second game featuring Florida State against George Washington (4 p.m., CBSSN).
- In a fairly random bit of scheduling, Marquette goes to Georgia to face the Bulldogs for a non-conference game (2 p.m., ESPNU).
- MAAC league play continues with several games including Canisius at Monmouth.
- Davidson is at College of Charleston in a game matching offense against defense.
- Georgia State nearly won at Purdue, which means the Panthers should have a shot at Mississippi State.
Have a relaxing Sunday.