College Basketball: 6 Teams That Will Stay Undefeated the Longest
Every year, a collection of college basketball teams start off the season winning one game after another. They usually blow through early season cupcakes and even holiday tournament tussles.
This year could be a little bit more of a challenge.
The Battle for Atlantis, the Thanksgiving week tournament in the Bahamas, is going to kill several good teams chances of staying undefeated for very long.
The brutal eight-team 2012 field will include Duke, Memphis, Louisville, Stanford, Missouri, Minnesota, VCU and Northern Iowa.That's quite a line-up of elites, strong high-majors and mid-majors.
The Maui Invitational field, which is always competitive, will feature Butler, Illinois, Marquette, Mississippi State, North Carolina, Texas, USC and Chaminade.
Only one team is getting out of each of these tournaments without a scratch.
Also, some intriguing early season match-ups will derail the undefeated train for some.
Syracuse opens against San Diego State on the flight deck of the USS Midway on November 9th.
Duke and Kentucky face off in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on November 13th.
Kansas goes head-to-head against Michigan State, Colorado and Ohio State in the first 6 weeks.
Any one of these teams could lose one or more of these early season games.
Here are six teams that could stay undefeated longer than most:
Murray State Racers
Last year, Murray State won their first 23 games, finally going down in defeat against Tennessee State on February 9th.
Isaiah Canaan (pictured), one of the top guards in the country, is back to trigger the Racers attack.
If Murray State can get past Auburn in their second game of the season, and beat Dayton and Valparaiso in late December, the Racers may reel off two dozen victories again this year before posting a "L."
Creighton posted an outstanding 29-6 record last year and finished No. 21 in the nation.
Not only is first team All-American Doug McDermott (22.9 ppg, 8.2 rpg) back for his junior year, so is Gregory Echenique (9.7 ppg, 7.3 rpg) and Grant Gibbs (7 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 5 apg).
The Bluejays open against an intriguing North Texas Mean Green team. They will also face Wisconsin, Cal, and Nebraska in their pre-conference schedule.
If they can navigate these early challenges, Creighton will have some good momentum as they enter the gauntlet that is the Missouri Valley.
UNLV may not be back to the days of Tark and Larry Johnson yet, but they are loaded and ready to roll in 2012-13.
Mike Moser (pictured) is a double-double machine and he will lead one of the most talented frontcourts in the nation.
The Rebels play Oregon and Cal on the road in the first two months before facing North Carolina in Chapel Hill on December 29th.
That game should be a great re-match from last year's embarrassing defeat of the (then) No. 1 Tar Heels over Thanksgiving.
After that, UNLV should roll until facing San Diego State on the road in mid-January.
Sean Miller (pictured) continues to elevate the Arizona men's basketball program.
The Wildcats have posted a 68-35 record with a trip to the 2011 Elite Eight in Miller's first three seasons.
With a rock-solid core returning and a mind-blowing recruiting class arriving, U of A is poised for a top-notch season in 2012-13.
They should roll through the first seven games before facing Florida at home on December 15.
If the Cats get past the Gators, they should knock off the rest of their pre-conference opponents before facing the 2012 Pac-12 Tournament Champs (Colorado) at home in their first conference tilt.
North Carolina State Wolfpack
North Carolina State is a program that is definitely on the rise.
After making it to the 2012 Sweet 16, the Wolfpack are the fashionable pick by many to win the ACC title this season.
C.J. Leslie (pictured) has emerged as one of the top forwards in the country, and will lead the Pack to what could be a special season in '12-13.
NC State should have no problem in their opening games and at the Puerto Rico Tip-Off.
They face Michigan in Ann Arbor in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge (November 27) and UConn (December 4) in the Jimmy V Classic, before returning home for six remaining pre-conference games and opening their conference schedule at Boston College on January 5th.
One week later (January 12), the Wolfpack host the Duke Blue Devils in what could be a strangely critical game in the ACC race.
Unless something drastic happens in the next few weeks, Indiana will start the 2012-13 season as the No. 1 team in the country.
Tom Crean has brought in a fantastic freshman class to complement Cody Zeller, Christian Watford (pictured) and Jordan Hulls, who will spearhead the Hoosiers potent attack.
IU opens at home with such cupcakes as Indiana Wesleyan, Bryant University, North Dakota State and Sam Houston State.
They travel in late November to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn to play Georgia, and then either UCLA or Georgetown.
The Hoosiers then face North Carolina in Bloomington (November 27) as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
If Crean's crew enters December undefeated (which is distinctly possible), they will most likely cruise through December and start the Big Ten season without a blemish on their record.