The Indiana Hoosiers knocked Kentucky from the undefeated ranks in December. Georgetown followed suit a few weeks later by handing Louisville it’s first loss of the season. Still, the basketball mad Bluegrass State can boast THREE undefeated NCAA teams.
15th-ranked Murray State is off to a 16-0 start, it’s best since the 1935-36 season. First year head coach Steve Prohm’s Racers won’t face a ranked team for the remainder of the season. The good news: an undefeated run would take the Racers right into March. The bad news: any slip ups from here to the regular season finish line could prove costly if Murray State wants to punch up it’s NCAA Tournament resume. Of course, an OVC Tournament Championship would render all that moot since the champ gets an automatic bid for the Big Dance.
Player to watch: Junior guard Isaiah Canaan. He’s averaging 18.7 points and more than 4 assists per game. He has the inside track on OVC Player of the Year honors.
Some of the top NCAA Division 2 talent resides here in Kentucky and the record proves it. Northern Kentucky and Kentucky Wesleyan: all they do is win.
NKU grabbed some pre-season headlines by beating West Virginia in an exhibition. Since then, coach Dave Bezold’s Norse are 12-0 in games that count and only a win away from matching their best start in school history.
Player to watch: Senior center DeAndre Nealy. The Kent transfer has come off the bench in every game this year and is one of D2’s top rebounders.
Northern Kentucky’s Great Lakes Valley Conference rival Kentucky Wesleyan remains among the unbeatens. KWC (12-0) has poured on the offense this season, topping the 100-point mark four times (including a season opening 125-67 beatdown of Asbury). Head Coach Todd Lee has rebuilt and retooled this team after taking over in 2005 following the resignation of Ray Harper during an NCAA investigation. KWC is ranked 2nd in the latest NABC poll, its highest since receiving the top ranking in 2003.
Player to watch: Anthony Young. The senior center from Indianapolis has led the Panthers in scoring and/or rebounding in 9 games. A 44 point 14 rebound performance against Asbury in that opener was a pretty good indicator of what he brings to the table. KWC also has a player named Cornbread, which is pretty awesome.
The odds that any of these schools finish the season with that perfect record intact are pretty slim. The last undefeated D1 team was the 1975-76 IU Hoosiers. Fort Hays State won the D2 Championship over NKU in 1996, finishing with a 34-0 record. The Tigers were the last D2 team to accomplish that feat.
All three schools put their undefeated records on the line yet again tonight. Murray State hosts Jacksonville State, NKU is at Missouri S&T and KWC visits Rockhurst.
Photo: Logos courtesy Murray St, NKU and KWC