NCAA Basketball Rankings 2012: Mid-Major Rankings for Week 6
Gonzaga, the No. 1 mid-major, fell to Illinois this week for its first loss of the season. But with their resume, the Zags are still No. 1 with Creighton, Wichita State and Murray State still slightly behind.
Meanwhile, Eastern Kentucky is still unbeaten. Although the Colonels are yet to face a big test, they have climbed into the top 20.
Read on to see the complete mid-major top 25.
(I consider a mid-major to be any team that does not compete in the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Big East, SEC, Pac-12, Atlantic 10, Conference USA or Mountain West.)
25. San Francisco Dons
Last Week's Rank: Not Ranked
Notable Wins: St. John's (Home)
San Francisco's five-game winning streak ended with a close loss at Pacific on Saturday, but the Dons picked up a huge win over St. John's earlier in the week.
Junior De'End Parker, who transferred from UCLA, is having a breakout season for the Dons with 17.9 points per game on 46.8 percent shooting.
24. Louisiana Tech Bulldogs
Last Week's Rank: Not Ranked
Notable Wins: Southern Miss (Home)
Louisiana Tech makes its first Top 25 appearance after beating Southern Miss on Saturday. Since losing their season opener to Texas A&M, the Bulldogs have won eight of their last nine games.
Sophomore Raheem Appleby is currently No. 2 in the WAC in scoring with 19.2 points per game.
23. George Mason Patriots
Last Week's Rank: 21
Notable Wins: Virginia (Home)
George Mason's overall record is not impressive, but the Patriots have a good win against Virginia, and all of their losses have been to high-quality teams: Bucknell, New Mexico, Maryland and Northern Iowa.
After a two-week break, the Patriots will return to action with a game against Richmond on Saturday, December 22.
22. Valparaiso Crusaders
Last Week's Rank: 15
Notable Wins: Kent State (Road)
Valparaiso has lost two out of its last three games, but the two losses are on the road to the likes of Saint Louis and New Mexico.
The Crusaders will continue their road trip against Missouri State and Oakland this week.
21. Western Kentucky Hilltoppers
Record: 8-2, 2-0 Sun Belt
Last Week's Rank: Not Ranked
Notable Wins: DePaul (Neutral)
Western Kentucky has won six games in a row and eight of its last nine. The Hilltoppers have the toughest test of the season coming up, as they go on the road to play Murray State, Virginia Commonwealth and Louisville.
So far this season, their only losses are to Iowa and Southern Miss in overtime.
20. Charleston Cougars
Last Week's Rank: 20
Notable Wins: Baylor (Road)
Charleston was demolished by Louisville last Tuesday, 80-38, ending the Cougars' four-game winning streak.
The Cougars will play their next three games at home against Anderson, Old Dominion and Coastal Carolina.
19. Eastern Kentucky Colonels
Last Week's Rank: 25
Notable Wins: None
Although it is yet to face a truly tough opponent, Eastern Kentucky is off to a 9-0 start.
The Colonels played a pair of road games last week, their first of the year, and defeated North Carolina Central and Chattanooga.
They will get their first big test of the year at Illinois on Sunday, December 16.
18. Santa Clara Broncos
Last Week's Rank: 23
Notable Wins: Saint Louis (Road)
Santa Clara ended its two-game losing streak with an easy win over Pacific Union on Saturday.
Senior Kevin Foster is off to a great start this year. Not only is he among the nation's best three-point shooters with 28 treys made, but he is No. 10 in the country in scoring 21.3 points and No. 2 in steals with 3.9 per game.
17. Utah State Aggies
Last Week's Rank: 17
Notable Wins: Santa Clara (Road)
Utah State blew out Western Oregon in its only game last week for its fourth consecutive win. The streak should continue, as the Aggies play their next three games against Utah Valley, Nicholls State and UC Davis.
16. Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders
Record: 7-2, 1-0
Last Week's Rank: 16
Notable Wins: UCF (Road), Ole Miss (Home)
Middle Tennessee rebounded from its overtime loss to Akron with a pair of good wins last week over UAB and Mississippi. The Blue Raiders have another tough matchup at Belmont Thursday night.
This season, five of the Blue Raiders' seven wins have come by 14 points or more.
15. South Dakota State Jackrabbits
Record: 8-3, 1-0 Summit
Last Week's Rank: 14
Notable Wins: Marshall (Neutral)
South Dakota State played three games last week, two of them without star guard Nate Wolters. Without Wolters, the Jackrabbits lost Minnesota and beat Dakota State. Upon his return, they defeated Cal State Bakersfield.
South Dakota State will need Wolters to be at full strength over the next few weeks, as the Jacks finish December with road games against Montana, Belmont, New Mexico and North Dakota State.
14. St. Mary's Gaels
Last Week's Rank: 12
Notable Wins: Utah State (Road)
St. Mary's has responded to its poor showing at the DIRECTV Classic with wins over Cal Poly and Drake in its last two games.
The Gaels will play an easy game at home against Jackson State on Tuesday before rematching with Pacific next week.
13. Brigham Young Cougars
Last Week's Rank: 11
Notable Wins: Utah (Home)
Brigham Young defeated rival Utah on Saturday, 61-58, with Matt Carlino's 19 points and five assists leading the way. Sophomore Tyler Haws has continued his strong start to the season and is now averaging 20.1 points per game.
The Cougars will play at Weber State on Saturday in their only game this week.
12. Davidson Wildcats
Record: 5-4, 2-0 SoCon
Last Week's Rank: 8
Notable Wins: Vanderbilt (Neutral), West Virginia (Neutral)
Davidson warded off Wofford's second-half comeback to improve to 2-0 in conference play.
The Wildcats will return to non-conference competition on Saturday against UNC-Wilmington, which is coming off a near-upset of Georgia Tech.
11. Illinois State Redbirds
Last Week's Rank: 6
Notable Wins: UAB (Neutral)
Illinois State ended its three-game losing streak with an 85-63 win over Western Michigan on Saturday. The Redbirds' frontcourt did most of their damage with Jackie Carmichael and John Wilkins combining for 40 points, 12 rebounds and seven blocks.
The Redbirds will host Morgan State on Sunday before playing a tough game at Dayton next week.
10. Illinois-Chicago Flames
Last Week's Rank: 19
Notable Wins: Northwestern (Road), Colorado State (Home)
Illinois-Chicago picked up another important, non-conference win over Colorado State last week. The Flames have now won seven games in a row, and their only loss is to New Mexico by seven points.
This week, the Flames' only game is against Eastern Michigan, which is 6-2.
9. Lehigh Mountain Hawks
Last Week's Rank: 10
Notable Wins: None
Lehigh defeated St. Francis (PA) on Saturday for its seventh consecutive win. C.J. McCollum's 9.24 points per game are good for No. 2 in the nation.
The Mountain Hawks next game will be on December 20 at North Texas, which has an NBA prospect in Tony Mitchell.
8. Northern Iowa Panthers
Last Week's Rank: 13
Notable Wins: George Mason (Road)
Northern Iowa outlasted George Mason in overtime on Saturday for its third consecutive win. The Panthers were led by Marc Sonnen, who scored 21 points on 7-of-10 shooting from three-point range.
The Panthers face another extremely tough stretch over the rest of December, playing Iowa, UNLV, St. Mary's and Wichita State in their next four games.
7. Belmont Bruins
Last Week's Rank: 9
Notable Wins: Stanford (Road)
Belmont blew out Lipscomb for the second time this year in its only game this week. The Bruins received a season-high 30 points from senior guard Ian Clark.
The Bruins have a few chances for key wins coming up, with their next three games being against Middle Tennessee, Kansas and South Dakota State.
6. Ohio Bobcats
Last Week's Rank: 7
Notable Wins: Richmond (Home)
Ohio rebounded from a 84-58 loss at Memphis with a 17-point win over Oakland on Saturday.
The Bobcats play only one game this week, facing Winthrop on Saturday.
5. Bucknell Bison
Last Week's Rank: 5
Notable Wins: Purdue (Road), George Mason (Home)
Bucknell won its only game of the week, defeating Kent State by 16 points. Senior Mike Muscala led the way with 27 points, six rebounds and two blocks.
This week, the Bison will take on LaSalle of the Atlantic 10.
4. Murray State Racers
Last Week's Rank: 3
Notable Wins: St. John's (Neutral)
Murray State ran into some trouble against Evansville over the weekend, but a strong second half for the Racers vaulted them to a 12-point win.
This week, the Racers will host Western Kentucky.
3. Wichita State Shockers
Last Week's Rank: 4
Notable Wins: VCU (Road), Iowa (Neutral)
Wichita State remained undefeated with a win over Northern Colorado on Saturday night, but the Shockers are still yet to face a ranked opponent.
The Shockers are back on the road this week to face the Tennessee Volunteers.
2. Creighton Bluejays
Last Week's Rank: 2
Notable Wins: Wisconsin (Neutral), St. Joe's (Home), Arizona State (Neutral)
Creighton responded to its loss to Boise State with wins over St. Joseph's, Nebraska and Akron in its last three games. Junior Doug McDermott is currently No. 6 in the nation in scoring with 21.9 points per game.
The Bluejays will have another shot at a quality win when they play at California this weekend.
1. Gonzaga Bulldogs
Last Week's Rank: 1
Notable Wins: West Virginia (Home), Oklahoma (Neutral), Davidson (Neutral)
Gonzaga lost for the first time on Saturday, falling by 11 points to undefeated Illinois. The Zags allowed the Fighting Illini to make 11 shots from beyond the arc.
The Bulldogs will have another tough matchup this coming weekend against Kansas State.
Other Mid-Majors to Keep an Eye on
Canisius (6-1, 2-0 MAAC) had only five wins all of last season. The Griffs are now 2-0 in the MAAC for the first time since 1997.
North Dakota State (8-2, 1-0 Summit) defeated North Dakota on Sunday for its third straight win and seventh in its last eight.
Albany (8-2) has won five games in a row and has a quality win at Washington.
Loyola Maryland (8-3, 1-1 MAAC) fell out of the top 25 after losing to Florida Gulf Coast and Niagara, but the Greyhounds got back on track with a win over St. Peter's on Saturday.
Bradley (6-2) is No. 32 in the nation in field-goal percentage at 48 percent. The Braves' only losses this season are to South Florida and Michigan.