By Matt Norlander

If you've been paying attention to college basketball, you may have heard about the cluster of clubs -- six in all -- that have reached the midway point in the season without a loss. Are they for real or just flashes in the pan? Here are the dossiers on all the remaining undefeateds.


Record: 15-0

Key wins:

  • At San Diego State (Nov. 14). The Aztecs, if you missed it Sunday, became the first team to win at Kansas since 2006. The Aztecs' sole loss was against Zona, and they're a top-15 team as of today.
  • Against Duke (Nov. 29) at Madison Square Garden (Cameron Square Garden to some) in the NIT championship. The Blue Devils aren't immaculate, but they're still one of the 15 best teams in the country in most analysts' estimation.
  • At Michigan (Dec. 14). This Wolverines team isn't as good as the group that made last year's title game, but it's still NCAA tourney-caliber, and winning out of league at a major-conference school is always impressive.

Strength of schedule: I'll be using KenPom's SOS and projected records for the end of the regular season. Arizona is currently playing the 140th overall schedule in the country.

Projected end-of-season record: Arizona's forecast is 28-3 entering the Pac-12 tournament.

Three names and their games: Aaron Gordon's the freshman/future lottery pick freak who does almost everything except shoot/score in bunches. Nick Johnson is the go-to guy in the clutch and, in my opinion, is one of the 15 biggest producers in the sport so far this year. T.J. McConnell is the point guard with a passion streak and is probably the best guy at the 1 that fits Sean Miller's system since the coach arrived at Arizona in 2009.

When is this streak gonna end? I'm gonna say the next game. Arizona heads to UCLA on Thursday. The Bruins are an inconsistent group and not nearly as good on defense in their first year under Steve Alford as they were for so long under Ben Howland, but it's a team that will make this year's NCAA tournament. They'll be favored. Arizona's great, but far from unbeatable.

Guessing their seed in the NCAA tournament: No. 1.

Takeaway: This team has the goods, people. Veterans, talented young'ns, toughness, plays such good defense and seldom beats itself. They also have the coaching. In my opinion, they're the best overall team in the nation.

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Record: 13-0

Key wins:

  • Knocked off Michigan (Nov. 17) at Iowa State, and at the time it was considered a very significant win. Innocent times, before we knew how good this group could be.
  • Beat in-state rival Iowa (Dec. 13) in a terrific game on a Friday night that few people saw and I can't believe is already almost a month old. The season flies. Iowa's a top-15 team according to most reliable metrics.

Strength of schedule: 121

Projected end-of-season record: Iowa State is predicted to be 25-5 at the start of the Big 12 tournament.

Three names and their games: Iowa State is actually known for its bounty of guys who can step up on a given night; five players from this team have earned Big 12 Player of the Week honors this season, tying a league record. DeAndre Kane is the fearless grad transfer at point guard who's probably been the plug-in guy that's led to the best start in school history. Melvin Ejim is a power-horse senior who plays tough down low and is the most irreplaceable man on the team. At 6-foot-7, Georges Niang is the "big man" on this team, and he's got some beef to him, but it's impressive how he's remained effective despite being a marked man every night.

When is this streak gonna end? I'll give Iowa State the home win this week over a good Baylor club, but Oklahoma is probably the most overlooked team in college basketball this year. The Sooners are 12-2 and host the Cyclones on Saturday.

Guessing their seed in the NCAA tournament: No. 3.

Takeaway: The Cyclones have a few wins that are nice but ultimately don't look as good now as they did when they earned them (at BYU, Northern Iowa, Boise State). But they do have a combined six wins on the road/neutral games, which is tied for the most of any undefeated team.

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Record: 15-0

Key wins:

  • At Marquette (Nov. 16). Although that's actually debatable for two reasons: 1) Marquette is proving to be a bubble team (to this point) so far, and 2) it was an absolutely abysmal game. OSU won 52-35.
  • Beat Notre Dame (Dec. 21) on a neutral court. The Irish are one of the sport's TBD clubs, but they certainly have some goods to them. At the time of the OSU matchup, the Fighting Irish had Jerian Grant, their best player -- who is now out the rest of the season due to academic issues.

Strength of schedule: 200

Projected end-of-season record: The Buckeyes are projected to wind up 25-5 when they tip off in the Big Ten tourney.

Three names and their games: You probably already know Aaron Craft, the red-cheeked senior point guard who'll be subject to lame "OMG HE'S STILL IN COLLEGE?!" tweets every time Ohio State will be in a premier game this year. Sam Thompson is a junior wing player who is probably one of the three best dunkers in the game. LaQuinton Ross is considered the key, though. He's a junior who's expected to put up 18 points per game. I'm not sure he can do that, and without him leading the charge, questions about the Buckeyess offense linger.

When is this streak gonna end? The easy pick is at Michigan State on Tuesday, and it's what I'm going with. Despite being the No. 1 team on KenPom, OSU is probably the undefeated group with the most doubters.

Guessing their seed in the NCAA tournament: No. 4.

Takeaway: I just have to see more. I like -- don't love -- Ohio State. The team can definitely make a Final Four, and Aaron Craft is actually probably underrated at this point. Let's not overreact to inevitable losses in the Big Ten. I've got them at a No. 4 because I think the O catches up and the non-conference SOS will ultimately just push them off the 3 line.

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Record: 14-0

Key wins:

  • Beat Baylor (Nov. 27) for the Maui championship. Took out Minnesota and Cal in the two days before, but those are questionable in quality as of today.
  • Beat Villanova (Dec. 28), an undefeated team to that point and probably the best squad in the Big East. (Syracuse is in the ACC now, remember.)

Strength of schedule: 230

Projected end-of-season record: KenPom foresees the Orange ending up at 26-5 when it takes the floor for its first ACC tournament game in mid-March.

Three names and their games: C.J. Fair is now a senior and the go-to guy on offense. He's the dark horse pick for ACC Player of the Year. Tyler Ennis is a freshman point guard who's been wondrous beyond all expectations. Trevor Cooney is the shooting guard who will see more and more comparisons drawn between he and Gerry McNamara (instead of snarkily dismissing the white-on-white shooting guard likeness, know that those comparisons are on-point in a lot of ways).

When is this streak gonna end? The ACC schedule feels like looking into a kaleidoscope. But I'm going to say that when Duke comes to town on Feb. 1, Syracuse will finally lose its first game (at that point, the Orange would be 20-0, which would tie the school record for most consecutive wins to start the season).

Guessing their seed in the NCAA tournament: No. 2.

Takeaway: I've already said/written that this team has the potential to be the best Boeheim team since Carmelo and co. won it all 11 years ago. The determining factor will be if the big men take a big leap and start earning 25 minutes per game.

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Record: 15-0

Key wins:

  • Winning at Saint Louis (Dec. 1) is not an easy thing to come by; SLU will probably be an NCAA tournament team again this season.
  • Beat Tennessee on its home court (Dec. 14), and that's really when a lot of people started to sit up and take notice.

Strength of schedule: 123

Projected end-of-season record: It's anticipated Wichita State will head to Arch Madness in St. Louis with a 29-2 record.

Three names and their games: Senior Cleanthony Early is the team's best overall player, who came on big in Wichita State's Final Four run last year and has been the offense's biggest component this season. Ron Baker is seen as an NBA prospect by some, which is pretty remarkable considering the 3-point threat was a walk-on last season. Tekele Cotton is a junior guard who's probably the most improved player in the Valley this season -- he's dangerous in transition and another reliable mid-range shooter/slasher.

When is this streak gonna end? That's the big question. Some are already starting to talk of unbeaten seasons, a conversation I refuse to have until the calendar flips to February. In fact, that won't even be necessary, because Wichita State is probably going to lose an away game to Missouri State on Saturday. The Bears are a veteran team and one of the four best in the MVC.

Guessing their seed in the NCAA tournament: No. 4.

Takeaway: This team has more talent than the group that made last year's Final Four. It lacks the size of last year's team, but it's much better with the ball and more well-rounded overall.

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Record: 15-0

Key wins:

  • Took out Florida (Nov. 12) before most of the country realized college basketball's season began.
  • Beat Saint Louis (Nov. 26) in Mexico.
  • Beat Virginia (Dec. 4) at Virginia, a 48-38 Bo Ryan classic.
  • Held off Iowa at home Sunday night, thanks in part to Fran McCaffery bumping an official and getting ejected.

Strength of schedule: 67

Projected end-of-season record: U-Dub is picked to be 27-4 come March 9.

Three names and their games: Sam Dekker is a future NBA player who's streaky but very smart and has a well-rounded game; he's athletic and a good team player. Frank Kaminksy is a 7-footer who scored 43 against North Dakota back in November. Ben Brust is a deep-threat point guard who doesn't turn it over often.

When is this streak gonna end? Wisconsin heads to Assembly Hall on Jan. 14, and although Bo Ryan has absolutely owned Tom Crean in the past, I think Crean's team gets a much-needed win and gives Ryan's squad its first loss.

Guessing their seed in the NCAA tournament: No. 2.

Takeaway: The Badgers, as usual, are one of the slowest teams in the nation. They'll be picked off a few times this year. But Bo Ryan will be expected to make the Elite Eight in the NCAA tournament. 

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Matt Norlander is a contributor to Sports on Earth and a writer at He lives in Connecticut and is equal parts obsessed with sports and music. Follow him on Twitter: @MattNorlander.