Mid-Major Top 25: Premier Mid-Majors Prepare for Postseason Tournaments

Jesse Kramer@Jesse_KramerCorrespondent IMarch 12, 2012

Mid-Major Top 25: Premier Mid-Majors Prepare for Postseason Tournaments

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    Here are the top 25 mid-majors in the nation based on my evaluation. This is the second-to-last edition of this series—there will be one more after all postseason tournaments have been finished in April.

    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. Detroit Titans

1 of 25

    Record: 22-13, 11-7 Horizon

    RPI: 125

    Last Week's Ranking: Not Ranked

    Detroit had major struggles early in the season, but right now the Titans are one of the hottest teams in the country. Entering the NCAA tournament, they have won 10 of their last 11 games. They will be a No. 15 seed taking on Kansas.

    Notable Wins: Cleveland State (Neutral), Valpo (Road)

    Notable Losses: Bowling Green (Neutral), Youngstown State (Home), UIC (Road)

24. Lehigh Mountain Hawks

2 of 25

    Record: 26-7, 11-3 Patriot

    RPI: 91

    Last Week's Ranking: Not Ranked

    Lehigh defeated Bucknell last week in the Patriot League championship game for its second conference championship and NCAA tournament berth in the last three seasons.

    Notable Wins: Wagner (Road), Bucknell (Road, Road)

    Notable Losses: Cornell (Road), Holy Cross (Home)

23. George Mason Patriots

3 of 25

    Record: 24-9, 14-4 CAA

    RPI: 82

    Last Week's Ranking: 23

    George Mason teetered down the stretch, losing three of its final four games, granted that two of the losses were to eventual CAA tournament champion VCU. 

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

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

22. LIU-Brooklyn Blackbirds

4 of 25

    Record: 25-8, 16-2 NEC

    RPI: 80

    Last Week's Ranking: 24

    LIU defeated Sacred Heart, Quinnipiac, and Robert Morris to win its second straight NEC championship. As a No. 16 seed, the Blackbirds will play Michigan State on Friday.

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

    Notable Losses: Hofstra (Road), Columbia (Road), Robert morris (Road)

21. Akron Zips

5 of 25

    Record: 22-11, 13-3 MAC

    RPI: 55

    Last Week's Ranking: 18

    Akron lost a heartbreaker to Ohio, 64-63, in the MAC championship game on Saturday. The Zips will play in the NIT at Northwestern on Tuesday.

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

    Notable Losses: Duquesne (Neutral), Buffalo (Home)

20. South Dakota State Jackrabbits

6 of 25

    Record: 27-7, 15-3 Summit

    RPI: 43

    Last Week's Ranking: 21

    South Dakota State came from behind last Tuesday against Western Illinois to gain the Summit League's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. The Jackrabbits will be a No. 14 seed playing Baylor on Thursday.

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

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

19. Weber State Wildcats

7 of 25

    Record: 24-6, 14-2 Big Sky

    RPI: 71

    Last Week's Ranking: 15

    Weber State lost to Montana two times in its final three games of the season, including a loss in the Big Sky championship game. The Wildcats will play postseason basketball in the CIT, where they will begin with a home game against Utah Valley.

    Notable Wins: Montana (Home), UTA (Home)

    Notable Losses: Idaho State (Road)

18. Ohio Bobcats

8 of 25

    Record: 27-7, 11-5 MAC

    RPI: 47

    Last Week's Ranking: 20

    Ohio strung together three wins in three days to win its second MAC tournament championship in the last three years. The Bobcats will be a No. 13 seed playing No. 4 seed Michigan in the Midwest Region.

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

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

17. Belmont Bruins

9 of 25

    Record: 27-7, 16-2 A-Sun

    RPI: 58

    Last Week's Ranking: 17

    Belmont will enter the its first NCAA tournament matchup against No. 3 seed Georgetown with nearly two weeks of rest. This is the Bruins' second consecutive appearance in the Big Dance.

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

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

16. Davidson Wildcats

10 of 25

    Record: 25-7, 16-2 SoCon

    RPI: 64

    Last Week's Ranking: 16

    Davidson survived Western Carolina in a SoCon classic last Monday to win the SoCon championship. The Wildcats blew a 12-point lead late in regulation, but they managed to win the game in double overtime. They will be a No. 13 seed in the NCAA tournament.

    Notable Wins: Kansas (Road), Penn (Home)

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

15. Montana Grizzlies

11 of 25

    Record: 25-6, Big Sky 15-1

    RPI: 73

    Last Week's Ranking: 19

    Montana has been red hot since mid-January. The Grizzlies most recently trumped Weber State in the Big Sky championship game to earn a spot as a No. 13 seed in the 2012 NCAA Tournament.

    Notable Wins: Long Beach State (Home), Weber State (Home, Home)

    Notable Losses: North Dakota (Road), San Francisco (Home)

14. Nevada Wolf Pack

12 of 25

    Record: 26-6, 13-1 WAC

    RPI: 66

    Last Week's Ranking: 12

    Nevada was shocked by Louisiana Tech in the WAC semifinals last week, and, even though the Wolf Pack did not get an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament, it will play in the NIT against Oral Roberts.

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

    Notable Losses: Missouri State (Home), Idaho (Home), Louisiana Tech (Neutral)

13. Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders

13 of 25

    Record: 25-6, 14-2 Sun Belt

    RPI: 57

    Last Week's Ranking: 13

    Middle Tennessee collapsed down the stretch and ultimately fell short of a NCAA tournament bid. The Blue Raiders will be in the NIT, playing Marshall on Tuesday.

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

    Notable Losses: UAB (Road), Western Kentucky (Road), Arkansas State (Neutral)

12. Iona Gaels

14 of 25

    Record: 25-7, 15-3, MAAC

    RPI: 41

    Last Week's Ranking: 14

    Easily the biggest surprise in the field of 68, Iona will play BYU on Tuesday night as part of the First Four. The winner will be a No. 14 seed, taking on No. 3 seed Marquette on Thursday.

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

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

11. Oral Roberts Golden Eagles

15 of 25

    Record: 27-6, 17-1 Summit

    RPI: 51

    Last Week's Ranking: 10

    Oral Roberts was upset in the Summit League semifinals by Western Illinois, but as the regular season champion the Golden Eagles received an automatic bid to the NIT. In the NIT, they will be No. 4 seed playing No. 5 seed Nevada.

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

    Notable Losses: UTSA (Neutral), Western Illinois (Neutral)

10. Brigham Young Cougars

16 of 25

    Record: 25-8, 12-4 WCC

    RPI: 47

    Last Week's Ranking: 11

    Despite losing to Gonzaga last week in the WCC semifinals, BYU received a bid to the NCAA tournament. The Cougars will play Iona on Tuesday in a play-in game for the No. 14 seed in the West.

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

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

9. Harvard Crimson

17 of 25

    Record: 26-4, 12-2 Ivy

    RPI: 35

    Last Week's Ranking: 9

    Harvard won the Ivy League thanks to Princeton's win over Penn last week. The Crimson will be a No. 12 seed playing Vanderbilt. History is on Tommy Amaker's side in this one, considering how much Vanderbilt has struggled recently in March.

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

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

8. Drexel Dragons

18 of 25

    Record: 27-6, 16-2 CAA

    RPI: 66

    Last Week's Ranking: 7

    Drexel fell short of an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament after losing to VCU on Monday, but the Dragons will get to play UCF in the NIT.

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

    Notable Losses: Delaware (Road)

7. Virginia Commonwealth Rams

19 of 25

    Record: 28-6, 15-3 CAA

    RPI: 39

    Last Week's Ranking: 8

    Virginia Commonwealth held off comebacks from George Mason and Drexel in the conference semifinals and championship, respectively, to get the CAA's single bid to the 2012 NCAA Tournament.

    Notable Wins: USF (Home), Akron (Road), ODU (Road), George Mason (Neutral), Drexel (Neutral)

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

6. Long Beach State 49ers

20 of 25

    Record: 25-8, 15-1 Big West

    RPI: 34

    Last Week's Ranking: 6

    After losing in the conference championship game to UC Santa Barbara each of the last two seasons, Long Beach State finally defeated the Gauchos last weekend to earn the Big West's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. The 49ers will play Mountain West champion New Mexico on Thursday.

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

    Notable Losses: CS Fullerton (Road)

5. Gonzaga Bulldogs

21 of 25

    Record: 25-6, 13-3 WCC

    RPI: 23

    Last Week's Ranking: 5

    Gonzaga easily beat Brigham Young in the WCC semifinals, but the Bulldogs fell short in the conference championship game against St. Mary's. As part of the at-large field, the Zags will play Gonzaga on Thursday against West Virginia.

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

    Notable Losses: San Francisco (Road)

4. St. Mary's Gaels

22 of 25

    Record: 27-5, 14-2 WCC

    RPI: 29

    Last Week's Ranking: 4

    St. Mary's defeated San Francisco and Gonzaga last week to win the WCC tournament. As a No. 7 seed, the Gaels will play No. 10 seed Purdue on Friday.

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

    Notable Losses: LMU (Home)

3. Creighton Bluejays

23 of 25

    Record: 28-5, 14-4 MVC

    RPI: 23

    Last Week's Ranking: 3

    Creighton outlasted Illinois State in overtime last week to earn the Missouri Valley's automatic bid to the 2012 NCAA Tournament, and the Bluejays will be a No. 8 seed playing against Alabama.

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

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

2. Wichita State Shockers

24 of 25

    Record: 27-5, 16-2 MVC

    RPI: 11

    Last Week's Ranking: 2

    Wichita State fell short in the Missouri Valley tournament, but the Shockers are still in the Big Dance as a No. 5 seed. Their first game will be against No. 12 seed VCU.

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

    Notable Losses: Drake (Road), Illinois State (Neutral)

1. Murray State Racers

25 of 25

    Record: 30-1, 15-1 OVC

    RPI: 21

    Last Week's Ranking: 1

    Murray State is back in the NCAA tournament as a No. 6 seed. The Racers have won seven games in a row, and they will play No. 11 seed Colorado State on Thursday.

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

    Notable Losses: Tennessee State (Home)