NCAA Basketball Rankings 2012: Mid-Major Rankings for Week 9
A bunch of mid-major conferences began league play last week. In the MVC, there were two mid-major Top 25 battles with Indiana State taking down Illinois State and Wichita State defeating Northern Iowa.
Meanwhile, Gonzaga and Creighton each won to hold on to the top two spots.
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. Akron Zips
Last Week's Rank: Not Ranked
Notable Wins: Penn State (Neutral), Middle Tennessee (Home)
Akron has won four straight games and is 6-0 at home this season.
The Zips will face Coppin State on Wednesday in their final nonconference game.
24. Ohio Bobcats
Last Week's Rank: 19
Notable Wins: Saint Bonaventure (Home)
Following a strong 6-0 start, Ohio has lost five of its past seven games. The Bobcats have really struggled on the road at 0-4 with an averaging margin of defeat of 13.5 points.
Ohio will return home for its next two games against Marshall and Buffalo.
23. Western Illinois Leathernecks
Record: 10-3, 4-0 Summit
Last Week's Rank: Not Ranked
Notable Wins: Illinois-Chicago (Home)
Western Illinois has used a slow pace and strong defense to win seven games in a row. The Leathernecks have the slowest adjusted tempo in Division I and are ranked in the top 100 in defensive efficiency.
Currently, Western Illinois sits in first place in the Summit League at a perfect 4-0, and they face Savannah State and IUPUI this seek.
22. Canisius Golden Griffins
Record: 9-4, 2-0 MAAC
Last Week's Rank: 20
Notable Wins: Saint Bonaventure (Home), Fairfield (Road), Temple (Road)
Canisius went 1-1 last week, defeating Alcorn State and losing to Detroit as part of the Gotham Classic.
The Golden Griffins will return home, where they are 5-0 this season, to face Fairfield and Marist this week.
21. Louisiana Tech Bulldogs
Record: 10-3, 1-0 WAC
Last Week's Rank: 25
Notable Wins: Southern Miss (Home)
In its first WAC game of the season, Louisiana Tech defeated Denver on Saturday 68-60. Three Bulldogs scored in double figures.
On Monday night, the Bulldogs host the 6-7 New Mexico State Aggies.
20. Northern Iowa Panthers
Record: 7-6, 0-1 MVC
Last Week's Rank: 11
Notable Wins: George Mason (Road), St. Mary's (Home)
Northern Iowa's overall record remains ugly, but the Panthers have played an amazingly tough schedule and have no bad losses. On Sunday, they lost at 12-1 Wichita State.
On Wednesday Northern Iowa will have to defend its home court against Indiana State in its MVC home opener.
19. Valparaiso Crusaders
Last Week's Rank: Not Ranked
Notable Wins: Murray State (Road)
Valparaiso returns to the mid-major Top 25 after an impressive win at Murray State on Saturday, the Crusaders' third in a row.
On Wednesday, Valparaiso will begin Horizon League competition against Loyola (IL), who is coming off a solid win against DePaul.
18. Indiana State Sycamores
Record: 8-4, 1-0 MVC
Last Week's Rank: Not Ranked
Notable Wins: Mississippi (Neutral), Miami-Florida (Neutral), Illinois State (Home)
Indiana State has won four of its past five games, with the only loss during that stretch coming to nationally ranked San Diego State. The Sycamores have shown great ability to close out games, with each win coming by two points and two of them coming in overtime.
This week they will play two of the toughest games on their conference schedule at Northern Iowa and Creighton.
17. Davidson Wildcats
Record: 7-5, 2-0 SoCon
Last Week's Rank: 17
Notable Wins: Vanderbilt (Neutral), West Virginia (Neutral)
Davidson rebounded from its loss at Drexel with a win at Richmond. After leading by as many as 22 points, the Wildcats' lead was trimmed to one point in the second half, but Nik Cochran shot 6-of-6 on free throws in the final minute to seal the win.
On Wednesday the Wildcats will get a shot at No. 1 Duke.
16. Santa Clara Broncos
Last Week's Rank: 13
Notable Wins: Saint Louis (Road)
Santa Clara played the No. 1 Duke Blue Devils close for 40 minutes, but the Broncos fell 13 points short of an upset on the road. Shooting guard Kevin Foster posted 29 points and four assists in the loss.
This week Santa Clara will open WCC play with home games against San Francisco and Gonzaga.
15. Lehigh Mountain Hawks
Last Week's Rank: 6
Notable Wins: Robert Morris (Neutral), Fairfield (Home)
Lehigh's eight-game winning streak ended with a tough loss to Bryant at home, 80-79. Star guard C.J. McCollum posted 34 points in the loss.
Although this loss is easily the Mountain Hawks' worst of the season, they will have a chance to redeem themselves at Virginia Commonwealth on Saturday.
14. Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks
Record: 10-1, 1-0 Southland
Last Week's Rank: 16
Notable Wins: Oklahoma (Road)
Stephen F. Austin won its Southland opener at Texas A&M-CC on Saturday for its fifth straight win. The Lumberjacks are also now 4-1 in games away from home.
On Thursday they will play their first home game of conference play against the 2-10 Lamar Cardinals.
13. South Dakota State Jackrabbits
Record: 10-5, 1-1 Summit
Last Week's Rank: 10
Notable Wins: Marshall (Neutral), New Mexico (Road)
After defeating nationally ranked New Mexico last week, South Dakota State lost a close game to North Dakota State this past weekend. Nate Wolters carried the team on his back, scoring a game-high 26 points, but he missed a potential game-winner and then a shot for the tie in the final minute.
The Jackrabbits will finish their long road trip this weekend with games against UMKC and South Dakota.
12. North Dakota State Bison
Record: 11-3, 2-0 Summit
Last Week's Rank: 22
Notable Wins: Duquesne (Road), South Dakota State (Home)
North Dakota State defeated South Dakota State 65-62 on Saturday to improve to 2-0 in the Summit League. Lawrence Alexander posted 18 points and a game-high six assists to lead the way.
This weekend the Bison are on the road against South Dakota and UMKC.
11. St. Mary's Gaels
Last Week's Rank: 15
Notable Wins: Utah State (Road)
St. Mary's defeated Yale on Sunday for its sixth win in its past seven games. Senior Matthew Dellavedova led the way with 24 points and six assists.
The Gaels host Harvard on Monday in their final nonconference game before hosting Loyola Marymount on Saturday.
10. Brigham Young Cougars
Last Week's Rank: 14
Notable Wins: Virginia Tech (Home)
In its fifth try of the season, Brigham Young finally defeated a team from a BCS conference, taking down Virginia Tech on Saturday. Sophomore Tyler Haws set career-highs with 42 points and six made three-pointers.
On Thursday the Cougars begin WCC competition against Loyola Marymount.
9. Utah State Aggies
Record: 10-1, 1-0 WAC
Last Week's Rank: 12
Notable Wins: Santa Clara (Road)
With a win at Texas-San Antonio in its WAC opener, Utah State has now won nine consecutive games. The Aggies have used a balanced lineup with eight players averaging more than 10 minutes per game.
On Monday they will end 2012 at 4-9 Texas State.
8. Illinois State Redbirds
Record: 9-4, 0-1 MVC
Last Week's Rank: 8
Notable Wins: Dayton (Road)
Illinois State's comeback fell short at Indiana State on Sunday, and the Redbirds lost 77-75. This is their third road loss of the season, and all of them have come by three points or fewer.
This week, the Redbirds will get a chance to redeem themselves with home games against MVC favorites Creighton and Northern Iowa.
7. Murray State Racers
Last Week's Rank: 4
Notable Wins: St. John's (Neutral)
After a torrid 9-1 start, Murray State has lost its past two games to Dayton and Valparaiso. Against the Crusaders, it led by as many as nine in the first half and six in the second half but could not hold on at home.
The Racers will begin conference play this weekend with road games against Tennessee-Martin and Southeast Missouri State.
6. Bucknell Bison
Last Week's Rank: 7
Notable Wins: Purdue (Road), George Mason (Home), La Salle (Home), Loyola-MD (Road)
Notable Losses: Princeton (Road)
Bucknell put a tough loss to Princeton in the past by dominating at Loyola (MD) on Friday. Senior forward Mike Muscala posted 29 points on 13-of-21 shooting along with eight rebounds.
The Bison begin January with a pair of road games against Cornell and nationally ranked Missouri.
5. Belmont Bruins
Last Week's Rank: 5
Notable Wins: Stanford (Road), Middle Tennessee (Home), South Dakota St. (Home)
In the UCF Holiday Classic, Belmont defeated Boston University but then lost to host Central Florida on Saturday by three points.
The Bruins will finish their four-game road trip this weekend with its first OVC games against Jacksonville State and Tennessee Tech.
4. Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders
Record: 10-3, 2-0 Sun Belt
Last Week's Rank: 9
Notable Wins: UCF (Road), Mississippi (Home), Vanderbilt (Neutral)
Middle Tennessee defeated Florida International over the weekend for its fifth win in six games. The win also pushed the Blue Raiders to 2-0 in conference games.
On Monday they finish their homestand against North Texas, who has a potential lottery pick in sophomore Tony Mitchell.
3. Wichita State Shockers
Record: 12-1, 1-0 MVC
Last Week's Rank: 3
Notable Wins: VCU (Road), Iowa (Neutral), Southern Miss (Neutral)
Wichita State easily defeated Northern Iowa on Sunday in its MVC opener. Even with a number of players out with injuries, the Shockers still have only one loss.
On Wednesday they will play their first conference road game at Drake.
2. Creighton Bluejays
Record: 12-1, 1-0 MVC
Last Week's Rank: 2
Notable Wins: Wisconsin (Neutral), Arizona State (Neutral), Cal (Road)
Creighton stretched its winning streak to six games by defeating Evansville in its MVC opener. The Bluejays received 29 points and 10 rebounds from star forward Doug McDermott, who is now averaging 25.5 points per game.
On Wednesday they will play their first conference road game of the year against Illinois State.
1. Gonzaga Bulldogs
Last Week's Rank: 1
Notable Wins: Oklahoma (Neutral), Kansas State (Neutral), Baylor (Home)
Gonzaga defeated Baylor on Friday for its sixth win over an opponent from a BCS conference. In the victory, Kevin Pangos posted a season-high 31 points.
On Monday night the Bulldogs will get a shot at their first Top 25 win at Oklahoma State.
Other Mid-Majors to Keep an Eye on
Eastern Kentucky (10-3) has lost three of its past four games, but two of the losses have been in close games against Illinois and West Virginia.
Illinois-Chicago (9-4) began the season at 9-1 with wins over Northwestern and Colorado State, but the Flames have since lost three in a row.
Stony Brook (8-4) would be in the Top 25 had it pulled out a win at either Maryland or Seton Hall. Based on nonconference performance, the Seawolves are the favorite in the America East.
Fairfield (9-5, 1-1 MAAC) defeated Old Dominion on Saturday for its fifth straight win. The Stags have nonconference wins over St. Joe's and Drexel.
Robert Morris (8-5) is back in action this week with its first NEC games against Bryant and Central Connecticut State.
Harvard (7-4) started 2-3 this season, but a weekend win at California shows that the Crimson are once again a favorite in the Ivy League.
Detroit (8-5) improved to 7-0 at home with a win over Canisius on Sunday.