Mid-Major Power Rankings presented by collegesportspro.com
*In this case, mid-majors are classified as teams from a conference that traditionally sends no more than two teams to the NCAA tournament. Gonzaga, Butler and Memphis have been excluded due to their repeated tournament success.*
Player to Watch G Drew Lavender, 11.3 ppg 4.5 apg
The Musketeers are separating themselves from the A 10 pack and asserting themselves on a national stage with every passing day. Keep this up for a couple more years, and they’ll be elevated to Memphis, Gonzaga and Butler status. They’re a well oiled machine that will make waves in March.
Player to Watch G Stephen Curry 25.3 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 2.9 apg
The Wildcats had a very tough non-conference schedule that worked against them in the form of a 4-6 record. Losses against Charlotte and Western Michigan will probably be held against them on Selection Sunday. But going undefeated in any conference says volumes about a team. The experience of competing with UCLA, Duke and UNC has served them well and will help if they stay strong and make the tournament. It’s amazing that a team who could go undefeated in conference play is being discussed as a bubble team. If only they had beat the Broncos and 49ers.
Player to Watch G Josh Young 16.5 ppg
Beating Butler in Indianapolis is just what the doctor ordered for the Bulldogs. They now have a very large win away from home to go along with an impressive resume. They also quickly stopped the bleeding caused by a home loss against Bradley earlier in the week. With two games to play, Drake has the MVC regular season locked up and an at-large bid on ice. Interesting note: the Bulldogs have not won a game by more than 10 points since January 12. It will be very interesting to see how the strangers to the national spotlight stack up come tournament time.
Player to Watch G Al Fisher 14.4 ppg, 4.3 apg, 3.8 rpg
The Golden Flashes jump into the 4 spot after a big win at St. Mary’s on Saturday — a place no other team has won this year. Al Fisher has become a solid scorer for the Flashes as the year has progressed, raising his average from 11 ppg to 14.4 ppg in the last 12 games. They go 9 or 10 deep, which is a must for a team with less star power looking to make some national waves.
Player to Watch G/F Lee Cummard 16.2 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 3.2 apg
The Cougars were riding a 9 game winning streak heading into the weekend but got knocked back to earth by San Diego State. Big man Trent Plaisted had a rough game in which he failed to get to the line for the first time in his career. The Cougars face another tough test at New Mexico on Tuesday. The continued development of BYU’s young bench will be key in the stretch run. Freshmen Jimmer Fredette, Chris Collinsworth and Mike Loyd, Jr. and Sophomore Chris Miles have all shown signs of promise. They just need to consistently produce at a high level when guys like Cummard and Plaisted are on the bench or having an off night.
Player to Watch G Patrick Mills 14.8 ppg, 3.5 apg
To the Gaels’ credit, C Omar Samhan was limited to 8 minutes in Saturday’s match up with Kent State. Unfortunately, a loss is still a loss and the Gaels will need to regroup quickly as they take on San Diego on Monday night. The loss of Samhan means F Diamon Simpson has to shoulder a wider load down low. Patrick Mills has to shake off a bad outing against the Flashes and reassert himself as the scorer and creator that he is. This week will be huge for the Gaels as they have a chance to knock off both San Diego and Gonzaga on their way to a WCC title. Will that happen? I give them at least 1-1. The loss of Samhan hurts, but they’ve still got a load of talent that can step up and win ball games.
Teams on Watch