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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Mid-Major Rankings: December 2011

It’s time for another Mid-major Power Ranking!  I’ve done a lot of thinking and have decided to overhaul the teams eligible.  There is no clear-cut definition of a mid-major in college basketball.  Obviously the Big Six are excluded (Big East, Big Ten, Big12, SEC, ACC, Pac12) but what about leagues such as the Mountain West which routinely sends multiple schools to the NCAA Tournament and has teams ranked all year long?  
I’ve decided that mid-majors should be classified as:
  • Leagues that do not have Division I football and
  • Leagues that hope - not expect - to have a school selected as an at-large bid.

For instance, even though the Missouri Valley Conference is at this juncture are the best mid-major conference, they do not have DI football and will therefore be included.  The Atlantic 10 does not have Division I football (the schools that do join another conference such as Temple with the MAC) but routinely expect multiple schools to participate in the NCAA Tournament and are thereby excluded.  Thus, the precedent is set and these are my rankings:

Isaiah Canaan has been fantastic so for the Racers this year.
He looks to lead them to an undefeated regular season.

  1. Wichita St. (7-2) – Since my last rankings the Shockers have defeated UNLV, Tulsa, and Utah St. That moves them to #1 on my board.
  2. Murray St. (10-0) – Spanked Memphis on Sunday (on the road, no less) a week after spanking Dayton.  There is a very real chance at going undefeated until the NCAAs.
  3. Northern Iowa (9-1) – The Panthers have really been impressive thus far. As it stands their only loss remains a cross country, midnight jaunt at St. Mary’s. 
  4. Harvard (9-1) – Only loss was @ UConn and they were competitive.  This team will roll through Ivy competition as they look to finish as the greatest Ivy team ever.
  5. Creighton (7-1) – The Blue Jays had a rough weekend, losing a game to an average St. Joe’s squad while their soccer team lost in the Final Four.  The hoops team gets Tulsa on Monday in for a chance to get back on the right track.
  6. Gonzaga (5-2) – The ‘Zags are losers of two straight – both to BIG schools – but were more than competitive in each.  Saturday’s game against Arizona will say a lot about this team; the Bulldogs cannot afford to go 0-3 against NCAA teams in the non-conference schedule.
  7. Ohio (7-1) – What a surprise!  There hasn’t been much competition on the schedule but the Bobcats are 1-1 in games the NCAA cares about. The 5 point loss at Louisville is nothing to be ashamed of while their two point win at Marshall may pay dividends down the road.
  8. BYU (8-2) – The Cougars won their matchup with Oregon and dismantled in-state rival Utah.  Saturday’s game against Baylor is a must-see in my mind.
  9. Iona (7-2) – Sunday’s loss to Marshall is a bit concerning since this is a team I had such high expectations of coming into the season.  Tonight’s game against Richmond may be the last chance at a quality win.
  10. Denver (6-2) – The win over St. Mary’s still looks good but Wednesday’s overtime loss to Iona is a missed opportunity.  There aren’t many chances for good wins in the Sun Belt Conference.
  11. St. Mary’s (6-1) – Continuing to win though the competition has been weak at best though somehow the Gaels rank #1 in the RPI.  As I stated in the previous Power Rankings, we won’t really know about this team until the end of the month.
  12. Middle Tennessee (10-2) – Have already played Belmont two times this year and came away with a split. Get to play Mississippi tonight in a game that the entire Sun Belt will be watching.
  13. Cleveland St.  (10-1) – Five straight wins have put them back on the map and are the likely favorite for the Horizon League.  Should they win at South Florida Monday, CSU has a chance to take a 12 game winning streak to Hinkle when they face arch nemesis Butler.
Just missed: Charleston, Indiana St., Kent St., Belmont
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