The storyline of college basketball's last remaining unbeaten team -- or sometimes the final two -- captures the sport's attention every season. It's a fun thing to track, and if the streak carries well past the new year, pressure begins to build as attention continues to spread. In some seasons, we're treated to a drawn-out and dramatic denouement before the inevitable L finally comes. And in the modern era, or even the one that preceded it, that L most definitely always finds its way into the standings.
You most likely remember St. Joe's and Stanford in '04. Illinois the year after. Memphis in 2007-08, the year it reached the title game. Even Murray State last season led some to believe it could reach the end of its regular season without a loss. This year, we actually saw an early ending to the impractical tease of a flawless season when Duke and Michigan fell on consecutive days last weekend and turned out the lights on that party. (If you want to see when and to whom the last undefeateds fell from 1977-2013, Patrick Stevens did the legwork and made a chart on it all.)
But enough about the good teams. Let's talk lousy, the squads that we never see and who play out the pressure in reverse, going months into a campaign and exasperating themselves in desperation, all to avoid further humiliation and embarrassment. Just one win. That's all it takes to avoid infamy. This season, we have two squads left with nary a victory: Grambling State and Maryland-Eastern Shore. And although seven weeks remain in the regular season, the odds that the bagel stays put in the win column look pretty "good," all things considered.