It's February, but there are still nine teams unbeaten against conference opponents. Given that only two teams finished without a loss in conference play last season (Memphis and Gonzaga), expect most – if not all – of them to lose sometime in the next month.
The list: Butler, Cornell, Kansas, Morgan State, Murray State, Princeton, Sam Houston State, Siena and Villanova.
If any do go unbeaten in conference play, who are the most likely candidates? Well, Mike DeCourcy is here to help. He thinks Morgan State and Butler are the most likely, but far from sure bets.
So there's the easy answer. Let's go a little more in-depth, shall we?
First off, discount Princeton. The Tigers (11-5 overall), have only played two Ivy League games and have Harvard looming on Friday. It's a long haul still.
Kansas (21-1, 7-0) and Villanova (20-1, 9-0) also seem unlikely given the strength of their respective conferences.
The Wildcats' next two games are at Georgetown and West Virginia, who have combined for just three home losses all season. Road games at Pitt, Syracuse and Cincy also remain. There's a reason kenpom gives 'Nova a .30 percent chance at an unbeaten record.
The Jayhawks could make a stronger argument if they sneak out of Austin on Monday with a win. After that, road games at Texas A&M and Oklahoma State are tricky, and closing the season at Missouri is never easy. Still, kenpom gives KU a 21.49 percent chance of going unbeaten. Seems high to me.
Sam Houston State (15-5, 7-0) hasn't lost since starting Southland Conference play. The Bearkats have already beaten their toughest conference foe (Stephen F. Austin) in their lone matchup. Could a trip to Texas San Antonio or a home game against Texas A&M Corpus Christi be stumbling blocks? Perhaps. The 21.16 percent chance is a notch low.
Cornell (18-3) is an NCAA-caliber team, regardless if it wins the Ivy. But going unbeaten may be less certain – because of the Feb. 12-13 weekend. Road games at Penn and Princeton are imposing contests, especially with the Tigers serving as the second game. Cornell going 13-1 in league play won't be easy. The 33.63 chance is high.
Siena (19-4) is riding the nation's longest win streak (13) and is 12-0 in the MAAC. The Saints play four straight road games starting with Niagara on Feb. 12 (with a Bracketbuster trip at Butler included). Maybe I'm underrating Iona and Niagara, but a 28.71 percent chance at going unbeaten seems low.
And what about Butler (18-4)? The Bulldogs haven't lost since December, but have had two nail-biters against Horizon opponents (Detroit and Loyola Chicago). Then again, Butler's done with its tricky road games. Only trips to Youngstown State, Cleveland State and Valparaiso remain. Kenpom's 46.81 percent chance of going unbeaten seems about right.
Murray State (20-3) has rolled through the Ohio Valley thus far with the exception of one game. And that one game – a 62-60 home win against Eastern Kentucky – is the hitch. The Racers close conference play with a trip Richmond, Ky. on Feb. 27 for the rematch. That rematch (which follows a tough trip to Morehead State) is the reason for only a 34.31 percent chance of perfection.
Which leaves Morgan State.
The Bears (16-7) are 8-0 in the MEAC and seven of their nine remaining conference games are at home. If that's not a comforting thought for Todd Bozeman, I don't know what is. It's also why they've been given a 47.02 chance of finishing unbeaten.
Mike Miller's also on Twitter, talking hoops.