It’s rare that NCAA Basketball programs are unbeaten at the start of the new year each season. Between multi-team events and tournaments, high-profile non-conference matchups, and the natural upsets that come out of nowhere, 99% of teams will have suffered a loss up to this point.
Last season was an anomaly, as both Gonzaga and Baylor waited until the end of February and the national championship game for their first losses, although they had a matchup against one another earlier on that was canceled, so one of them should’ve lost in early December.
The schedule is more normal this season and after a month’s worth of action, we’re now down to just 8 teams left without a loss. Just a day ago, it was 12. But Minnesota, Weber State, and Wyoming Purdue all lost on Wednesday night.
The loss of the Boilermakers on Thursday night was very surprising, as they fell on the road to a Rutgers squad that already lost to Lafayette, DePaul, and UMass. But it goes to show that anything can happen on a given night of NCAA Basketball. And depending on what happens with Baylor vs Villanova this weekend, there could be a new No. 1 team in the sport on Monday.
So which among the remaining unbeatens are for real? And who are just products of an early easy schedule? Here’s how I would rank the eight remaining teams.