Mid-Major Top 25: Long Beach Makes a Push to No. 4, Murray State Still No. 1

Jesse Kramer@Jesse_KramerCorrespondent IFebruary 6, 2012

Mid-Major Top 25: Long Beach Makes a Push to No. 4, Murray State Still No. 1

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    Here are the top 25 mid-majors in the nation based on my evaluation.

    Please note: I consider a mid-major team to be any team that is not from the ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, SEC, Pac-12, Mountain West, Atlantic 10 or Conference USA.

    *Follow Jesse Kramer on Twitter @Jesse_Kramer for more college basketball news and information.

25. Denver Pioneers

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    Record: 17-7, 7-4 Sun Belt

    RPI: 88

    Previous Ranking: 22

    Denver ended a two-game slide with a win over Middle Tennessee on national television over the weekend.

    Notable Wins: Southern Miss (Home), St. Mary's (Home), Wyoming (Home), Mid. Tenn. (Home)

    Notable Losses: UALR (Home, Road), North Texas (Road)

24. Belmont Bruins

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    Record: 17-7, 10-2 A-Sun

    RPI: 91

    Previous Ranking: 25

    Belmont is currently tied with the Mercer Bears for first place in the Atlantic Sun. The Bruins, who beat Mercer earlier in the season, do not play the Bears again until the final game of the season.

    Notable Wins: Middle Tennessee (Road), Marshall (Home)

    Notable Losses: Miami-Ohio (Road), Lipscomb (Home), USC Upstate (Road)

23. Texas-Arlington Mavericks

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    Record: 17-5, 9-0 Southland

    RPI: 118

    Previous Ranking: 21

    Texas-Arlington has reeled off 13 straight wins since losing to Utah State on December 20.

    Notable Wins: Kent State (Neutral)

    Notable Losses: Samford (Home), Utah State (Road)

22. Nevada Wolf Pack

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    Record: 19-4, 8-1 WAC

    RPI: 70

    Previous Ranking: 19

    Nevada's winning streak finally ended with a loss at home to Idaho on Saturday night. The Wolf Pack plays back-to-back road games against Hawaii and San Jose State this coming weekend.

    Notable Wins: Washington (Home), Montana (Road)

    Notable Losses: Missouri State (Home), Idaho (Home)

21. Loyola (MD) Greyhounds

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    Record: 18-5, 11-2 MAAC

    RPI: 89

    Previous Ranking: 24

    Loyola remains tied with Iona for first place in the MAAC after beating Rider and St. Peter's this week. The Greyhounds have their second and final regular season meeting with the Gaels on Friday with first place on the line.

    Notable Wins: Bucknell (Road)

    Notable Losses: Niagara (Home)

20. South Dakota State Jackrabbits

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    Record: 19-6, 11-2 Summit

    RPI: 58

    Previous Ranking: 23

    South Dakota State picked up a big-time victory over first place Oral Roberts on Thursday. With five games left in the season, the Jackrabbits are still in striking distance of a conference title.

    Notable Wins: Washington (Road), Oral Roberts (Home)

    Notable Losses: North Dakota (Road), Oakland (Road)

19. George Mason Patriots

7 of 26

    Record: 19-6, 11-2 CAA

    RPI: 103

    Previous Ranking: 13

    George Mason came from behind on Saturday against Old Dominion to remain tied with VCU and Drexel atop the CAA. The Patriots host the struggling Hofstra Pride on Wednesday.

    Notable Wins: Charleston (Road), Georgia State (Home)

    Notable Losses: FIU (Neutral), Florida Atlantic (Road), Delaware (Road)

18. Wagner Seahawks

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    Record: 19-4, 10-2 NEC

    RPI: 74

    Previous Ranking: 20

    Wagner has won four straight games since losing to LIU on January 21. The Seahawks' next two games are both against Mount St. Mary's, which stands at 4-8 in the conference.

    Notable Wins: Pitt (Road)

    Notable Losses: Lehigh (Home), LIU (Home)

17. Oral Roberts Golden Eagles

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    Record: 21-5, 13-1 Summit

    RPI: 45

    Previous Ranking: 17

    Oral Roberts' perfect Summit League record no longer stands after the loss at South Dakota State, but the Golden Eagles still hold a two-game lead over the Jackrabbits for first place in the conference.

    Notable Wins: Xavier (Road), South Dakota State (Home)

    Notable Losses: UTSA (Neutral)

16. Drexel Dragons

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    Record: 19-5, 11-2 CAA

    RPI: 86

    Previous Ranking: 18

    Drexel remained tied with VCU and George Mason for first place in the CAA with wins at Northeastern and Towson this week. The Dragons finish up their road trip at James Madison on Wednesday.

    Notable Wins: VCU (Home), George Mason (Home)

    Notable Losses: Delaware (Road)

15. Ohio Bobcats

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    Record: 19-4, 7-2 MAC

    RPI: 80

    Previous Ranking: 16

    Ohio extended its winning streak to six games with an easy win over Central Michigan on Saturday. The Bobcats will play at Toledo and Eastern Michigan this week.

    Notable Wins: Marshall (Road), Northern Iowa (Road), Kent State (Home)

    Notable Losses: Robert Morris (Home), Bowling Green (Road)

14. Davidson Wildcats

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    Record: 17-5, 11-1 SoCon

    RPI: 66

    Previous Ranking: 14

    Davidson is now three games up on Wofford in the SoCon after beating Chattanooga on Saturday. The Wildcats host the Terriers tonight.

    Notable Wins: Kansas (Road)

    Notable Losses: Samford (Road)

13. Iona Gaels

13 of 26

    Record: 19-5, 11-2 MAAC

    RPI: 57

    Previous Ranking: 15

    Iona kept control of first place in the MAAC with an 85-73 win at Manhattan on Saturday. The Gaels play another big game at Loyola (MD) on Friday.

    Notable Wins: Maryland (Neutral), LIU (Home), Denver (Road), Loyola (Home), Manhattan (Road)

    Notable Losses: Hofstra (Road), Manhattan (Home), Siena (Road)

12. Weber State Wildcats

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    Record: 18-4, 10-1 Big Sky

    RPI: 87

    Previous Ranking: 12

    Weber State rebounded from its first conference loss of the season with wins over Portland State and Northern Colorado this week.

    Notable Wins: Montana (Home)

    Notable Losses: Idaho State (Road)

11. Brigham Young Cougars

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    Record: 20-6, 8-3 WCC

    RPI: 41

    Previous Ranking: 11

    Brigham Young defeated Gonzaga and Portland this week to stay in contention for a WCC championship. The Cougars will host eighth place Pepperdine this coming Saturday, looking to extend their winning streak to three games.

    Notable Wins: Nevada (Neutral), Weber State (Home), Gonzaga (Home)

    Notable Losses: Loyola Marymount (Home)

10. Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders

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    Record: 21-4, 10-1 Sun Belt

    RPI: 44

    Previous Ranking: 7

    Middle Tennessee's perfect Sun Belt season came to an end with a 75-60 loss at Denver on Saturday. The Blue Raiders have now lost two of their last three games.

    Notable Wins: Loyola Marymount (Road), UCLA (Road), Belmont (Home), Ole Miss (Neutral)

    Notable Losses: UAB (Road)

9. Cleveland State Vikings

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    Record: 20-4, 10-2 Horizon

    RPI: 60

    Previous Ranking: 10

    Cleveland State has won eight of its last nine games with the only loss coming at second place Valparaiso. The Vikings will have the opportunity get revenge when they play the Crusaders on Thursday night.

    Notable Wins: Vanderbilt (Road), Kent State (Road), Akron (Home)

    Notable Losses: Hofstra (Neutral), Youngstown State (Home)

8. Virginia Commonwealth Rams

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    Record: 20-5, 11-2 CAA

    RPI: 85

    Previous Ranking: 9

    VCU survived Northeastern's upset bid to win its ninth straight game. The Rams host 1-24 Towson on Wednesday.

    Notable Wins: Akron (Road), Georgia State (Road)

    Notable Losses: Georgia Tech (Neutral), Georgia State (Home)

7. Gonzaga Bulldogs

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    Record: 18-4, 8-2 WCC

    RPI: 25

    Previous Ranking: 5

    Gonzaga has won five of its last six entering its game against St. Mary's on Thursday. A loss to St. Mary's would put the Zags 3.5 games out of first place in the WCC. 

    Notable Wins: Notre Dame (Home), Oral Roberts (Home), Arizona (Neutral), Xavier (Road)

    Notable Losses: None

6. Wichita State Shockers

20 of 26

    Record: 20-4, 11-2 MVC

    RPI: 26

    Previous Ranking: 8

    Wichita State rebounded from the triple overtime loss at Drake with wins over Missouri State and Indiana State. The Shockers will go for the sweep over Northern Iowa on Wednesday night.

    Notable Wins: Colorado (Neutral), UNLV (Home), Northern Iowa (Road)

    Notable Losses: Drake (Road)

5. Creighton Bluejays

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    Record: 21-3, 11-2 MVC

    RPI: 16

    Previous Ranking: 4

    Creighton was upset by Northern Iowa at the buzzer on Saturday night. The Bluejays play the second game of their road trip at Evansville on Tuesday.

    Notable Wins: San Diego State (Road), Northwestern (Home), Wichita State (Road)

    Notable Losses: Missouri State (Home)

4. Long Beach State 49ers

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    Record: 17-6, 10-0 Big West

    RPI: 37

    Previous Ranking: 6

    Long Beach State defeated Cal State Northridge on Saturday to extend its winning streak to 10 games. The 49ers have also won 13 of their last 14.

    Notable Wins: Pitt (Road), Xavier (Neutral)

    Notable Losses: None

3. Harvard Crimson

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    Record: 20-2, 6-0 Ivy

    RPI: 39

    Previous Ranking: 3

    Harvard defeated Cornell and Columbia this weekend to remain one-game ahead of second place Yale. This coming weekend, the Crimson will play Penn and Princeton.

    Notable Wins: Loyola Marymount (Road), Florida State (Neutral), UCF (Neutral)

    Notable Losses: Fordham (Road)

2. St. Mary's Gaels

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    Record: 22-2, 11-0 WCC

    RPI: 23

    Previous Ranking: 2

    St. Mary's travels to Gonzaga on Thursday, hoping to gain some more separation from the second place Bulldogs. The Gaels have still not lost in conference play.

    Notable Wins: Weber State (Home), BYU (Home, Road), Gonzaga (Home), Loy. Marymount (Road)

    Notable Losses: None

1. Murray State Racers

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    Record: 23-0, 11-0 OVC

    RPI: 38

    Previous Ranking: 1

    Murray State outlasted a second half comeback from Tennessee-Martin to remain undefeated. The Racers start a two-game homestand against Tennessee State on Thursday.

    Notable Wins: Southern Miss (Neutral), Dayton (Home), Memphis (Road)

    Notable Losses: None

Just Missed the Cut

26 of 26

    Kent State (16-6, 6-3 MAC)

    Valparaiso (17-8, 10-3 Horizon)

    Akron (16-7, 8-1 MAC)

    Manhattan (17-8, 10-3 MAAC)

    UNC-Asheville (18-7, 13-1 Big South)

    Long Island (17-7, 11-1 NEC)

    Bucknell (18-6, 8-0 Patriot)

    Loyola Marymount (15-9, 8-3 WCC)

    Coastal Carolina (17-5, 10-2 Big South)

    Georgia State (16-8, 8-5 CAA)

    Northern Iowa (16-9, 6-7 MVC)

    Montana (16-6, 9-1 Big Sky)