Kentucky may go undefeated!


by Kelso Sturgeon
Contributing Sportsbook Editor


The undefeated Kentucky Wildcats (25-0) are the 5-7 favorites to win the NCAA college basketball championship - something they just missed doing last season, losing to Connecticut 60-54 in the title game. However, the biggest question in the Las Vegas betting world is whether Kentucky can run the table and finish 40-0?

At some sportsbooks, the question has been posted of whether Kentucky will win the national championship. If you say "yes" to that you can get even money on that proposition, with the "no" listed at -120. Shortly we should see the prop of whether Kentucky can go undefeated and my figures say that will be a 5-1 play.

There are no gifts in college basketball and Kentucky is certainly going to be challenged all the way. The first thing the Wildcats have to do is win their last regular season games - At Tennessee Tuesday night, at home against Auburn, at Mississippi State, at home against Arkansas, at Georgia and then back home against Florida.

From there Kentucky, as the top-seed in the Southeastern Conference Tournament in Nashville, would have to win three games there and then march through a gauntlet of six NCAA teams. The 40-0 is possible but will be extremely difficult to achieve.

For the record, there are many bookmakers and bettors who say it would be in the top-ranked Wildcats' best interest to lose a game before the Big Dance begins. A loss would take away the added pressure of trying to go undefeated, regardless of how noble that might be.

The task is not impossible and it must be noted eight teams have gone undefeated on their way to the college title, the first being Long Island University (24-0) which won the NIT in 1939 when it was a more important tournament than the NCAA, and the last being Indiana which went 32-0 in winning the 1976 NCAA Tournament.

Four other teams finished their regular season schedules unbeaten but for a variety of reasons did not participate in the post-season - Seton Hall (19-0) in 1940, Army (15-0) in 1944, Kentucky (25-0) in 1954 and N.C. State (27-0) in 1973.

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