Mid-Major Top 25: Murray State, St. Mary's, and Creighton Losses Shake Up Top 5

Jesse KramerCorrespondent IFebruary 13, 2012

Mid-Major Top 25: Murray State, St. Mary's, and Creighton Losses Shake Up Top 5

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    The first full week of February brought plenty of surprises for mid-major fans. Murray State's perfect season ended, Creighton is now in the middle of a three-game losing streak and Harvard finally lost in Ivy League play.

    After the week's madness, Denver and South Dakota State dropped out while Akron and Bucknell took their places in the rankings. 

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

    Please note that 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. Ohio Bobcats

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    Record: 19-7, 7-4 MAC

    RPI: 102

    Previous Ranking: 15

    Ohio fell to fourth place in the MAC East with losses at Toledo and Eastern Michigan this week. The Bobcats play a must-win game against Bowling Green on Wednesday.

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

    Notable Losses: Bowling Green (Road), Toledo (Road), Eastern Michigan (Road)

24. Belmont Bruins

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    Record: 19-7, 11-2 A-Sun

    RPI: 79

    Previous Ranking: 24

    Belmont appears to be on its way to a second consecutive 20-win season. The Bruins have won their last six games and play at Stetson tonight.

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

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

23. Bucknell Bison

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    Record: 20-6, 10-0 Patriot

    RPI: 67

    Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

    Bucknell's Patriot League record is still without a blemish. The Bison have won all 10 of their conference games with an average margin of victory of 14.6 points. They will have a chance to clinch at least a share of the Patriot League regular season title against Lehigh on Thursday night.

    Notable Wins: Lehigh (Road)

    Notable Losses: None

22. Texas-Arlington Mavericks

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    Record: 19-5, 11-0 Southland

    RPI: 116

    Previous Ranking: 23

    Texas-Arlington defeated Texas State on Saturday for its fifteenth consecutive win. The Mavericks hold a three-game lead over Stephen F. Austin in the Southland West, and they play the Lumberjacks on Wednesday.

    Notable Wins: Kent State (Neutral)

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

21. Nevada Wolf Pack

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    Record: 21-4, 10-1 WAC

    RPI: 57

    Previous Ranking: 22

    Nevada rebounded from its first conference loss of the season with a pair of road wins over Hawaii and San Jose State. The Wolf Pack plays a pair of non-conference games against Cal State Bakersfield and Iona before returning to WAC competition.

    Notable Wins: Washington (Home), Montana (Road), New Mexico State (Road)

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

20. George Mason Patriots

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    Record: 21-6, 13-2 CAA

    RPI: 99

    Previous Ranking: 19

    George Mason is keeping pace with Drexel and VCU. The three schools are still tied for first place in the CAA, and the Patriots will host the Rams on Tuesday.

    Notable Wins: Bucknell (Home), Charleston (Road), Old Dominion (Road)

    Notable Losses: Florida Int. (Neutral), Florida Atlantic (Road), Delaware (Road)

19. Loyola (MD) Greyhounds

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    Record: 19-6, 12-3

    RPI: 80

    Previous Ranking: 21

    Loyola knocked off Iona on Friday to take control of first place in the MAAC, but the Greyhounds fell back into a tie with the Gaels after losing to Fairfield on Sunday.

    Notable Wins: Bucknell (Road), Iona (Home)

    Notable Losses: Niagara (Home)

18. Akron Zips

8 of 26

    Record: 18-7, 10-1 MAC

    RPI: 59

    Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

    Akron extended its winning streak to seven games with wins over Western Michigan and Northern Illinois this week. The Zips are currently in first place in the MAC.

    Notable Wins: Mississippi State (Road), Marshall (Road), Ohio (Home)

    Notable Losses: None

17. Wagner Seahawks

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    Record: 21-4, 12-2 NEC

    RPI: 77

    Previous Ranking: 18

    Wagner won both games against Mount St. Mary's this week to stay one game behind Long Island in the NEC. The Seahawks play their final home game of the year on Saturday against Monmouth before finishing the season with a pair of road games.

    Notable Wins: Pitt (Road)

    Notable Losses: Lehigh (Home)

16. Iona Gaels

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    Record: 20-6, 12-3 MAAC

    RPI: 55

    Previous Ranking: 13

    Iona's comeback against Loyola (MD) fell short on Friday night, but the Gaels rebounded with a win at home over Marist. The Gaels play at Rider on Wednesday and then start a season-ending, three-game homestand against Nevada on Saturday.

    Notable Wins: Maryland (Neutral), St. Joe's (Home), LIU (Home), Denver (Road), Loyola-MD (Home)

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

15. Cleveland State Vikings

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    Record: 20-6, 10-4 Horizon

    RPI: 81

    Previous Ranking: 9

    Cleveland State picked up a pair of losses at home this week to Valparaiso and Butler. In those two games, the Vikings averaged just 45 points.

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

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

14. Davidson Wildcats

12 of 26

    Record: 19-6, 13-2 SoCon

    RPI: 70

    Previous Ranking: 14

    Davidson had a four-game winning streak snapped at Charleston on Saturday. The Wildcats look to get back on track against Samford on Wednesday before playing their BracketBuster against Wichita State.

    Notable Wins: Kansas (Road)

    Notable Losses: Samford (Road), Charleston (Road)

13. Oral Roberts Golden Eagles

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    Record: 23-5, 15-1 Summit

    RPI: 45

    Previous Ranking: 17

    Oral Roberts clinched a share of the Summit League regular season title with a win over Western Illinois on Saturday. The Golden Eagles will clinch an outright conference championship with either a win or a South Dakota State loss.

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

    Notable Losses: UTSA (Neutral), South Dakota State (Road)

12. Weber State Wildcats

14 of 26

    Record: 20-4, 12-1 Big Sky

    RPI: 88

    Previous Ranking: 12

    Weber State has won its last four Big Sky games to stay tied with Montana for first place in the Big Sky. The Wildcats already beat the Grizzlies earlier in the season, and they play them again in the final game of the season.

    Notable Wins: Montana (Home)

    Notable Losses: Idaho State (Road)

11. Drexel Dragons

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    Record: 22-5, 14-2 CAA

    RPI: 83

    Previous Ranking: 16

    Drexel still controls its own destiny for the No. 1 seed in the CAA tournament after beating James Madison and Hofstra this week. The Dragons host William & Mary this week before playing a final non-conference game at Cleveland State on Saturday.

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

    Notable Losses: Delaware (Road)

10. Brigham Young Cougars

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    Record: 21-6, 9-3 WCC

    RPI: 47

    Previous Ranking: 11

    Brigham Young remains in the race for a WCC regular season championship after beating Pepperdine on Saturday. The Cougars have a crucial three-game road trip coming up with games at San Francisco, Santa Clara, and Gonzaga.

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

    Notable Losses: LMU (Home)

9. Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders

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    Record: 23-4, 12-1 Sun Belt

    RPI: 39

    Previous Ranking: 10

    Middle Tennessee rebounded from its loss to Denver with wins over Western Kentucky and Arkansas-Little Rock this week. The Blue Raiders play their final home game of the season against Florida Atlantic on Saturday.

    Notable Wins: LMU (Road), UCLA (Road), Akron (Home), Belmont (Home), Ole Miss (Neutral)

    Notable Losses: UAB (Road)

8. Virginia Commonwealth Rams

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    Record: 22-5, 13-2 CAA

    RPI: 84

    Previous Ranking: 8

    Virginia Commonwealth remained tied for first place in the CAA with a win at Old Dominion on Saturday. The Rams play a pair of big games this week against George Mason and Northern Iowa.

    Notable Wins: South Florida (Home), Akron (Road)

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

7. Creighton Bluejays

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    Record: 21-5, 11-4 MVC

    RPI: 27

    Previous Ranking: 5

    After cracking the top 15 nationally, Creighton has lost three consecutive games to Northern Iowa, Evansville, and Wichita State. The Bluejays play at Southern Illinois on Tuesday and then host Long Beach State in a nationally televised BracketBusters matchup on Saturday.

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

    Notable Losses: Missouri State (Home), Evansville (Road)

6. Gonzaga Bulldogs

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    Record: 20-4, 10-2 WCC

    RPI: 17

    Previous Ranking: 7

    Gonzaga ended St. Mary's perfect WCC record with a win over the Gaels on Thursday, and then the Zags followed it up by beating Loyola Marymount on Saturday.

    Notable Wins: Notre Dame (Home), Oral Roberts (Home), Xavier (Road), LMU (Road), St. Mary's (Home)

    Notable Losses: None

5. Murray State Racers

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    Record: 24-1, 12-1 OVC

    RPI: 53

    Previous Ranking: 1

    Murray State's perfect season ended with a loss to Tennessee State, but the Racers still lead the OVC after beating Austin Peay on Saturday.

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

    Notable Losses: Tennessee State (Home)

4. Harvard Crimson

22 of 26

    Record: 21-3, 7-1 Ivy

    RPI: 38

    Previous Ranking: 3

    Harvard's nine-game winning streak ended with a loss at Princeton on Saturday. The Crimson still holds a one-game lead over Yale in the Ivy League, and they host the Bulldogs this coming weekend.

    Notable Wins: LMU (Road), Florida State (Neutral), UCF (Neutral), St. Joe's (Home)

    Notable Losses: Fordham (Road), Princeton (Road)

3. Long Beach State 49ers

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    Record: 19-6, 12-0 Big West

    RPI: 42

    Previous Ranking: 4

    Long Beach State holds a 3.5-game lead over Cal State Fullerton and UC Santa Barbara for first place in the Big West. The 49ers still have to play both the Titans and the Gauchos before the season's end.

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

    Notable Losses: None

2. St. Mary's Gaels

24 of 26

    Record: 23-3, 12-1 WCC

    RPI: 25

    Previous Ranking: 2

    St. Mary's failed to take the No. 1 spot by losing to Gonzaga on Thursday, but the Gaels remain at No. 2 after beating Santa Clara on Saturday night. They play a pair of big games this week against Loyola Marymount and "BracketBuster" opponent Murray State.

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

    Notable Losses: None

1. Wichita State Shockers

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    Record: 22-4, 13-2 MVC

    RPI: 16

    Previous Ranking: 6

    Wichita State extended its first place lead over Creighton to two games with a win over the Bluejays on Saturday. The Shockers host Missouri State and then play at Davidson on BracketBuster Saturday.

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

    Notable Losses: Drake (Road)

Just Missed the Cut

26 of 26

    Loyola Marymount (16-10, 9-4 WCC)

    Valparaiso (18-9, 11-4 Horizon)

    Kent State (18-6, 8-3 MAC)

    Lehigh (19-7, 7-3 Patriot)

    Robert Morris (19-8, 10-4 NEC)

    Missouri State (16-11, 9-6 MVC)

    Denver (18-8, 8-5 Sun Belt)

    South Dakota State (20-7, 12-3 Summit)

    UNC-Asheville (19-7, 14-1 Big South)

    Long Island (19-7, 13-1 NEC)

    Northern Iowa (17-10, 7-8 MVC)

    Montana (19-6, 12-1 Big Sky)

    New Mexico State (18-8, 7-3 WAC)