Mid-Major Top 25: Wichita State Remains the Hottest Mid-Major in the Nation

Jesse KramerCorrespondent IFebruary 27, 2012

Mid-Major Top 25: Wichita State Remains the Hottest Mid-Major in the Nation

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    The final week of the regular season for many mid-majors brought plenty of surprises and excitement, and the next few weeks are bound to bring more.

    I dropped Loyola (MD) out of the rankings after the Greyhounds' loss to Rider, and the Valparaiso Crusaders took their place.

    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. Valparaiso Crusaders

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    Record: 21-10, 14-4 Horizon

    RPI: 91

    Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

    Valparaiso defeated Loyola (IL) and Butler at home last week to gain the No. 1 seed in the Horizon League tournament. Even if the Crusaders lose in the conference tourney, they will get an automatic bid to the NIT.

    Notable Wins: Akron (Home), Cleveland State (Home, Road)

    Notable Losses: IPFW (Road), IUPUI (Road), Green Bay (Road)

24. Cleveland State Vikings

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    Record: 22-9, 12-6 Horizon

    RPI: 78

    Previous Ranking: 21

    Cleveland State capped off its regular season with a pair of wins over Detroit and Wright State. The Vikings will get a bye to the semifinals of the Horizon League tournament as the No. 2 seed.

    Notable Wins: Vandy (Road), Kent State (Road), Robert Morris (Road), Akron (Home)

    Notable Losses: Hofstra (Neutral), Youngstown (Home), Butler (Home), Green Bay (Road)

23. Texas-Arlington Mavericks

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    Record: 22-6, 14-0 Southland

    RPI: 87

    Previous Ranking: 25

    Texas-Arlington defeated McNeese State and Northwestern State last week to remain perfect in conference play. The Mavericks have already clinched the No. 1 seed in the Southland tournament, but they will continue to play for an undefeated season against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and Texas-San Antonio this week.

    Notable Wins: Kent State (Neutral)

    Notable Losses: Samford (Home), Tulsa (Road)

22. Ohio Bobcats

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    Record: 23-6, 10-4 Mid-American

    RPI: 76

    Previous Ranking: 24

    Ohio moved back into second place in the MAC East with wins over Buffalo and Akron last week. The Bobcats will finish the regular season with games at Kent State and Miami (OH).

    Notable Wins: Marshall (Road), Northern Iowa (Road), Buffalo (Road), Akron (Home)

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

21. Loyola Marymount Lions

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    Record: 19-11, 11-5 West Coast 

    RPI: 117

    Previous Ranking: 19

    Loyola Marymount put a rough loss to San Diego behind with a win over Santa Clara on Saturday, sending the Broncos to a winless WCC season. The Lions will be the No. 4 seed in the WCC tournament.

    Notable Wins: UCLA (Road), Saint Louis (Home), BYU (Road), St. Mary's (Road), Valpo (Home)

    Notable Losses: Columbia (Home), Morgan State (Road), San Diego (Home)

20. Wagner Seahawks

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    Record: 24-5, 15-3 Northeast

    RPI: 85

    Previous Ranking: 18

    Wagner's nine-game winning streak came to a close with a regular season-ending loss at Central Connecticut State this weekend. As the No. 2 seed, the Seahawks will play in the NEC quarterfinals.

    Notable Wins: Pitt (Road), Robert Morris (Home)

    Notable Losses: Lehigh (Home), Central Connecticut State (Road)

19. George Mason Patriots

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    Record: 23-8, 14-4 Colonial

    RPI: 84

    Previous Ranking: 15

    George Mason fell to third place in the CAA with a loss at Virginia Commonwealth on Saturday. This was the second-consecutive loss for the Patriots after falling to Northeastern in overtime earlier in the week.

    Notable Wins: Bucknell (Home), Charleston (Road), ODU (Road), VCU (Home)

    Notable Losses: FIU (Neutral), FAU (Road), Delaware (Road), Northeastern (Road)

18. Belmont Bruins

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    Record: 24-7, 16-2 Atlantic Sun

    RPI: 65

    Previous Ranking: 23

    Belmont defeated Mercer in the final game of the regular season to win the conference by three games. The Bruins will be the No. 1 seed at the Atlantic Sun tournament this week, taking on Jacksonville on Wednesday.

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

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

17. Davidson Wildcats

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    Record: 22-7, 16-2 Southern

    RPI: 69

    Previous Ranking: 16

    Davidson enters the SoCon tournament as the No. 1 seed out of the SoCon South after beating Elon and Georgia Southern this week.

    Notable Wins: Kansas (Road)

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

16. Akron Zips

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    Record: 20-9, 12-2 MAC

    RPI: 60

    Previous Ranking: 17

    Akron's nine-game MAC winning streak ended with a loss at Ohio last night. The Zips need to win one of their final two regular season games to win the MAC East championship outright.

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

    Notable Losses: Duquesne (Neutral)

15. Nevada Wolf Pack

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    Record: 23-5, 11-1 Western Athletic

    RPI: 56

    Previous Ranking: 20

    Nevada extended its WAC winning streak to four games by outlasting Fresno State in triple overtime on Saturday. The Wolf Pack will have at least a share of the regular season conference title, and it will win it outright with a win in either of its last two games.

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

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

14. Iona Gaels

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    Record: 24-6, 15-3 Metro Atlantic

    RPI: 38

    Previous Ranking: 14

    Iona defeated Fairfield on Friday night to clinch a MAAC regular season title, and the Gaels then followed up with another win over St. Peter's. The Gaels will be the No. 1 seed in the MAAC tournament, playing either Marist or St. Peter's in the quarterfinals on Saturday.

    Notable Wins: St. Joe's (Home), LIU (Home), Denver (Road), Nevada (Home)

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

13. Brigham Young Cougars

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    Record: 24-7, 12-4 WCC

    RPI: 48

    Previous Ranking: 10

    Brigham Young ended its season on a high note after losing to Gonzaga by defeating Portland on Senior Night. The Cougars will be the No. 3 seed in the WCC tournament.

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

    Notable Losses: Utah State (Road)

12. Weber State Wildcats

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    Record: 23-4, 14-1 Big Sky

    RPI: 75

    Previous Ranking: 13

    Weber State plays at Montana on Tuesday for the Big Sky regular season conference championship and an automatic bid to at least the NIT. The Wildcats defeated the Grizzlies earlier in the season, 80-64.

    Notable Wins: Montana (Home), Texas-Arlington (Home)

    Notable Losses: Idaho State (Road)

11. Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders

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    Record: 25-5, 14-2 Sun Belt

    RPI: 47

    Previous Ranking: 8

    Middle Tennessee was upset in its regular season finale at Western Kentucky. The Blue Raiders will still enter the Sun Belt tournament as the No. 1 seed out of the Sun Belt East.

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

    Notable Losses: UAB (Road), Western Kentucky (Road)

10. Oral Roberts Golden Eagles

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    Record: 26-5, 17-1 Summit

    RPI: 45

    Previous Ranking: 11

    Oral Roberts defeated Southern Utah in a close game on Saturday night to win its sixth straight since losing to South Dakota State. Even if the Golden Eagles lose in the Summit League tournament, they have a chance at receiving an at-large bid to the Big Dance.

    Notable Wins: Xavier (Road), Akron (Home)

    Notable Losses: UTSA (Neutral)

9. Harvard Crimson

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    Record: 24-4, 10-2 Ivy

    RPI: 39

    Previous Ranking: 5

    Harvard's 28-game home winning streak ended with a loss to Penn on the Crimson's senior night. The Crimson's lead over the Quakers is now just a half-game, and if both Harvard and Penn win the rest of their regular season games, there will be an Ivy League tiebreaker for the second straight season.

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

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

8. Virginia Commonwealth Rams

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    Record: 25-6, 15-3 CAA

    RPI: 61

    Previous Ranking: 12

    Virginia Commonwealth defeated George Mason on Saturday night to clinch the No. 2 seed in the CAA tournament. The Rams have won 14 of their last 15 entering postseason play.

    Notable Wins: South Florida (Home), Akron (Road), ODU (Road), George Mason (Home)

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

7. Gonzaga Bulldogs

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    Record: 23-5, 13-3 WCC

    RPI: 19

    Previous Ranking: 9

    Gonzaga wrapped up its WCC season with a 65-57 win at San Diego. Before the WCC tournament, the Bulldogs will host a non-conference game against Longwood.

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

    Notable Losses: San Francisco (Road)


6. Drexel Dragons

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    Record: 25-5, 16-2 CAA

    RPI: 67

    Previous Ranking: 7

    Drexel survived Old Dominion, 73-72, to win the CAA regular season championship outright. The Dragons have won 17 games in a row and will have a bye in the CAA tournament.

    Notable Wins: VCU (Home), George Mason (Home), Cleveland State (Road), ODU (Road)

    Notable Losses: Norfolk State (Neutral), Delaware (Road)

5. St. Mary's Gaels

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    Record: 25-5, 14-2 WCC

    RPI: 35

    Previous Ranking: 6

    St. Mary's defeated San Francisco on the road this weekend to win its first WCC regular season championship outright since the 1988-89 season, snapping Gonzaga's 11-year record.

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

    Notable Losses: Denver (Road)

4. Long Beach State 49ers

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    Record: 21-7, 14-0 Big West

    RPI: 36

    Previous Ranking: 4

    Long Beach State remained undefeated against Big West competition with wins over UC Santa Barbara and UC Riverside this week. The 49ers will play UC Irvine and Cal State Fullerton to close out the regular season.

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

    Notable Losses: None

3. Creighton Bluejays

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    Record: 25-5, 14-4 Missouri Valley

    RPI: 26

    Previous Ranking: 3

    Creighton defeated Indiana State, 61-60, on Saturday for its third straight win by two or fewer points. The Bluejays will be the No. 2 seed in the Missouri Valley tournament, taking on either Bradley or Drake in the MVC quarterfinals. 

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

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

2. Murray State Racers

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    Record: 28-1, 15-1 Ohio Valley

    RPI: 30

    Previous Ranking: 2

    Murray State survived an upset bid from Tennessee Tech to win its fifth straight game entering the OVC tournament. As the No. 1 seed, the Racers will get a bye to the semifinals.

    Notable Wins: Southern Miss (Neutral), Dayton (Home), Memphis (Road), St. Mary's (Home)

    Notable Losses: Tennessee State (Home)

1. Wichita State Shockers

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    Record: 26-4, 16-2 MVC

    RPI: 11

    Previous Ranking: 1

    Wichita State continued its winning streak this weekend, defeating Drake for its eighth straight victory. The Shockers will be the No. 1 seed in the MVC tournament, which means they receive a bye to the quarterfinals.

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

    Notable Losses: Drake (Road)

Just Missed the Cut

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    Northern Iowa (19-12, 9-9 MVC)

    New Mexico State (22-8, 9-3 WAC)

    Old Dominion (19-12, 13-5 CAA)

    Denver (21-8, 11-5 Sun Belt)

    South Dakota State (24-7, 15-3 Summit)

    UNC-Asheville (21-9, 16-2 Big South)

    Lehigh (23-7, 11-3 Patriot)

    Montana (22-6, 14-1 Big Sky)

    Loyola-Maryland (21-8, 13-5 MAAC)

    Stony Brook (20-8, 14-2 A-East)

    Charleston (19-11, 10-8 SoCon)

    Kent State (19-9, 9-5 MAC)

    Robert Morris (22-9, 13-5 NEC)

    Buffalo (17-9, 10-4 MAC)

    Penn (17-11, 9-2 Ivy)