Two Winless Teams Left Standing Could Break Through Saturday
It's always big news when the final Division I unbeaten team in the country suffers its first loss. Entering last week, there were four unbeatens and all four went down in conference play. Michigan gets the unofficial honor of being the final unbeaten in the 2012-13 season only because the Wolverines played the latest in the week of the four (Sunday).
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So now it's time to look at the other end of the spectrum: the remaining times with a big zero in the win column. There are just two left: Grambling State of the Southwestern Athletic Conference and Maryland-Eastern Shore of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. However, both have realistic chances of getting off the schneid in home games against under-.500 opponents on Saturday.
Grambling State dropped to 0-15 overall and 0-6 in the SWAC thanks to a 95-50 rout Monday at Texas Southern, which entered the game at 5-12. Texas Southern had 20 field goals on the way to a 50-20 halftime lead - Grambling State would finish with 20 total field goals overall. There are 347 Division I schools in college basketball, and the Tigers are dead last in scoring at 48.5 points per game. That's nearly four points worse than No. 346 Idaho State. Grambling is second-to-last in field goal percentage at .359, ahead of only Mississippi Valley State.
The Tigers, who finished 4-24 last season, haven't won a home game since January 5, 2012. However they won't have a better chance this season than when hosting Jackson State (1-14, 0-6) on Saturday. The other Tigers' lone win was 91-82 at Seattle on December 17. Jackson State also is a terrible shooting team, ranking No. 341 at 37.0% from the field. The Tigers had their first line of the season in Monday's 73-59 loss at Prairie View A&M - Jackson State was plus-6.5. Jackson State was 2-0 against Grambling last season.
Meanwhile, Maryland-Eastern Shore (0-13, 0-2 MEAC) also is wretched offensively, ranking No. 341 in scoring (56.5 ppg), No. 337 in assists (9.5 apg) and No. 345 in shooting (.360). The Hawks have just one loss by less than double-digits all season: 63-58 at home against Norfolk State on Saturday. Maryland-Eastern Shore actually led by seven at the half. The Hawks, who were 7-23 a year ago, host Delaware State (6-9, 1-0 MEAC) on Saturday. Those two met in Dover on December 1 with the Hornets beating Maryland-Eastern Shore 77-66.
Unfortunately, Grambling and Maryland-Eastern Shore won't play each other this season.
No team finished winless last season, with Colonial Athletic Association school Towson (1-31) coming the closest. The last team to go a season without a victory was the New Jersey Institute of Technology when it was a Division I independent in the 2007-08 season. The Highlanders finished 0-29, setting the NCAA single-season mark for futility. The previous worst was 0-28, set by Prairie View in 1992 and matched by Savannah State in 2005. NJIT astonishingly finished with more turnovers (577) than field goals (550) that season. The following season, the school went 1-30. NJIT is a solid 9-8 this season as a member of the Great West.
Weekend Live Betting Games
Is it conceivable that North Carolina could miss the NCAA Tournament this season? There is still a ways to go, but the Heels (11-5, 1-2 ACC) probably would be on the bubble right now. Carolina, a preseason top 10 team, started 0-2 in the ACC for the first time in four years but got a big 77-72 win at Florida State on Saturday to avoid full-blown panic in Chapel Hill.
UNC (8-6 ATS) hosts Maryland on Saturday and that game will have Live Betting. The Tar Heels are expected to have key reserve Leslie McDonald back after he missed the past two games because of a sore knee. He is averaging 8.4 points and 17.9 minutes off the bench. The Terps haven't beaten North Carolina since the 2009-10 season.
Also available for Live Betting on Saturday is No. 4 Kansas at Texas. The Jayhawks (15-1, 3-0 Big 12) have won 14 straight games but have covered just one of their past four. Freshman star Ben McLemore sprained his ankle in Monday's win over Baylor but should be able to go Saturday. The Horns' streak of 15 consecutive NCAA Tournaments is in major danger with UT at 8-8 (6-7 ATS). Texas has lost three straight and four of five. The Longhorns are 7-20 all-time against Kansas.
On Sunday, the lone NCAA option is Clemson at NC State.
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