The first North Carolina-Duke game is usually a good indicator that the conference season has hit the halfway point. Since the Tar Heels and Blue Devils met Wednesday night, it's time to take a look at which teams have a chance to go unbeaten in conference play and which have a chance at finishing winless.
Through Friday's games, Oklahoma (10-0) in the Big 12, Memphis (9-0) in Conference USA, Gonzaga (9-0) in the West Coast Conference and Utah State (12-0) in the Western Athletic Conference were the four remaining unbeatens. Princeton (4-1) lost for the first time in the Ivy League on Friday night, 60-48 to Yale.
It's nothing new to be in this position for Memphis, which was one of three teams to go unbeaten in its league last season along with Cornell in the Ivy League and Davidson in the Southern Conference.
The Tigers were also undefeated in the conference in 2006-07 and have won 51 in a row in the league with their last loss coming on March 2, 2006, at Alabama-Birmingham.
re are six teams that had yet to win a conference game through Friday: DePaul (0-12) in the Big East, Brown (0-7) in the Ivy League, Air Force (0-10) in the Mountain West, Southeast Missouri (0-14) in the Ohio Valley, Oregon (0-12) in the Pac-10 and Georgia (0-9) in the Southeastern Conference.
Three teams went winless in their league last season, Rice in Conference USA, Colorado State in the Mountain West and Oregon State in the Pac-10. All three have at least three conference wins this season.
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TRIPLE-DOUBLES: Freshman Jesse Sanders had 10 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists for Liberty in a 69-48 victory over Presbyterian. It was believed to be the first triple-double for the Flames since they moved to Division I in 1989.
M on Dec. 16, 1988.
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OPPOSITE NUMBERS: Syracuse junior center Arinze Onuaku has two shooting percentages about as far apart as one player can have them.
He is among the nation's leaders with a 68 percent mark from the field (121-of-178), while he is shooting 32.6 percent from the free throw line (30-of-92) and he has missed 20 of his last 21 from the line.
ld, 62 from the line.
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POISON IVY: The Ivy League plays weekend series on Friday and Saturday, a tough test even for a team that gets to host the two games.
Penn had been swept on a home weekend only once, in 1968 by Columbia and Cornell, until last weekend when Columbia and Cornell did it again to the Quakers.
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ROOKIE RUN: North Dakota State is eligible for the NCAA tournament this year for the first time and the Bison may just be good enough to get in the field of 65.
Their 87-49 victory over Missouri-Kansas City on Thursday night was their 11th straight and increased their Summit League-leading record to 13-1 and they are 19-5 overall.
They have four conference games remaining and wins in three of them would give North Dakota State the top seed in the league's postseason tournament, which decides the automatic berth to the NCAA tournament. The regular-season title would guarantee a berth in the NIT if the Bison lost in the Summit League tournament.
``We had two goals going into the season: a regular-season championship and a conference tournament championship,'' coach Saul Phillips said. ``A regular-season title would be 50 percent of our checklist completed.
line.''
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CLOSE CALLS: Dayton is 9-0 this season in games decided by five points or less. VMI is second in that category at 6-0.
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FOR JIMMY V: The second annual Jimmy V Week, an ESPN event to raise awareness of and donations to The V Foundation for Cancer Research, raised nearly $700,000 this year. The V Foundation awards 100 percent of the donations directly to cancer research.
The week began on Dec. 3 with Jim Valvano's emotional speech at the 1993 ESPYs re-aired simultaneously across numerous ESPN networks and the ABC SuperSign in Times Square. It concluded with the Jimmy V Women's Basketball Classic on Dec. 8, and the men's Jimmy V Basketball Classic doubleheader on Dec. 9.
ESPN will host its second annual February Frenzy women's college basketball initiative on Feb. 15-16 to raise funds for women's cancer research in memory of North Carolina State coach Kay Yow, who died on Jan. 24 after a 22-year fight with cancer. The Kay Yow/WBCA Fund was established a year ago by Kay Yow and The V Foundation.
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LATE ADDITIONS: The Wooden Award has a preseason list of 30 candidates for the prestigious honor and updates it at midseason. It's always a good way to see which players have attracted attention they may not have gotten heading into the season.
onnecticut; Manny Harris of Michigan; Jordan Hill of Arizona; Matt Howard of Butler; Kalin Lucas of Michigan State; Wesley Matthews of Marquette; Jodie Meeks of Kentucky; and Jeff Teague of Wake Forest.
Three teams have multiple players nominated and they are all from the Big East: Connecticut (Adrien, Hasheem Thabeet); Marquette (Jerel McNeal, Matthews); and Pittsburgh (DeJuan Blair, Sam Young).

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