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Thursday, February 2, 2012

Mid-major rankings: Ground Hog Day, 2012

There's been quite a shakeup in the Mid-major rankings since the last one came out.  It's nitty gritty time for a lot of these schools and the upcoming Bracketbusters could provide a last chance for statement wins.  Punxsutawney Phil seeing his shadow won't provide six more weeks to the college basketball season but it also shows that there's still time for teams to build their resumes.  Don't be surprised if a team towards the bottom of this list makes a move around conference tournament time.
St. Mary's has found success recruiting most of their players from Australia.
I wonder, does the ball go around the rim counter-clockwise down there too?

  1. Creighton (21-2) – The Bluejays are on a roll and are the best mid-major team in the country right now.  There are still a couple of tricky conference games left but they host Wichita St. and will host Long Beach St. in the Bracketbuster.  
  2. St. Mary's (21-2) – While we didn't know much about St. Mary's in the latest Power Rankings, we know plenty now.  They're 10-0 in the WCC and their two losses came at Denver (so-so), and to Baylor (forgiven).  
  3. Murray St. (21-0) – Undefeated and untested in conference play, the Racers will host St. Mary's for their Bracketbuster.  If they win an undefeated season will be in their grasp.
  4. Harvard (18-2) – The Crimson remain undefeated in the Ivy League though their loss to Fordham in January took a little shine off their resume.
  5. Wichita St. (19-4) – Starting 10-2 in the Missouri Valley would get a little more publicity most years but this team still hasn't answered the number one question: can they beat anybody good?  They'll have to win their rematch with Creighton to prove it as their Bracketbuster matchup with Davidson isn't going to provide much help.
  6. Gonzaga (17-3) – Gonzaga's a decent school and a good bet to make the dance but don't expect much once there.  Their best win is Xavier and they lost by 19 to St. Mary's.  They have won 12 of their last 13 though.
  7. Middle Tennessee (20-3) – I never would've guessed this team would be so successful this season.  They thumped UCLA, split with Belmont, and played a hot Vanderbilt team tough.  They may not earn a good seed in March but they'll give whomever they play quite a game.
  8. Long Beach St. (16-6) – Of their six losses five are to at-large teams. They've got wins over Pitt and Xavier so beating Creighton would be icing on the cake. They, too, are undefeated in conference play (Big West).
  9. BYU (18-6) – BYU has won every game they're supposed to except one (Loyola) but they're lacking the signature win needed to give their bubble much credential.  With no Bracketbuster on the docket, and still two games with Gonzaga, BYU have little margin for error.
  10. Davidson (16-5) – Their win over Kansas likely put them in the NCAA Tournament but they still need to finish strong to keep ahold of an at-large bid.  Wichita St. comes to town in a couple of weeks for another chance at a quality win.
  11. VCU (19-5) – VCU lack the quality wins necessary for an at-large berth but they're in a three-way tie for first in the Colonial.  They'll play Northern Iowa for their bracket buster.
  12. Cleveland St. (18-4) – The Horizon's most likely bet for representation in the NCAA Tournament, Cleveland St. has won 8 of their last 10 gets to play the two Chicago schools before  their date with Valpo.
  13. Akron (15-7) – It looks as if this team is just hitting their stride. They've actually got a couple of decent wins putting them in position for a potential at-large bid if they finish strong.  They can't afford to lose to Oral Roberts in the Bracketbuster.
Just missed: Iona, Belmont, Drexel
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