NCAA Basketball Rankings: Mid-Major Rankings for Week 14
For the most part, the top mid-majors won out this week. Gonzaga, Belmont, Creighton and Middle Tennessee all won their games, although a few of them had some close calls.
Still, there were a few upsets.
After looking like possibly the top mid-major in the nation, Wichita State lost two consecutive games to fall to No. 4. As a result, Belmont moved up to No. 2, Creighton jumped to No. 3, and Gonzaga remained No. 1.
Read on to see the complete mid-major rankings.
Note: For the purpose of this analysis, a mid-major is defined as 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.
Jesse Kramer is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report and the founder of The Catch and Shoot Basketball Blog.
25. Niagara Purple Eagles
Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports
Record: 14-9, 10-2 MAAC
Last Week's Rank: Not Ranked
Notable Wins: New Mexico St. (Home), Loyola (MD) (Road), Canisius (Road)
Niagara survived Iona in overtime on Thursday for its second thrilling win in a row, but then its 10-game MAAC winning streak finally ended with a double overtime loss to Loyola (Maryland) on Saturday.
This week, the Purple Eagles will face Rider and Canisius.
24. Stony Brook Seawolves
Paul Frederiksen-USA TODAY Sports
Record: 17-5, 8-1 America East
Last Week's Rank: No. 25
Notable Wins: Albany (Road)
Stony Brook kept its spot in first place in the America East by winning road games against Albany and New Hampshire last week.
The Seawolves will finish their road trip against Hartford on Saturday.
23. North Dakota State Bison
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Record: 18-5, 9-2 Summit
Last Week's Rank: No. 24
Notable Wins: South Dakota State (Home)
Even without leading scorer Taylor Braun, North Dakota State has continued to play well.
Although the Bison lost big games to Western Illinois and South Dakota State, last week they easily defeated UMKC and South Dakota.
22. Western Illinois Leathernecks
Greg Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Record: 17-5, 9-2 Summit
Last Week's Rank: No. 23
Notable Wins: UIC (Home), North Dakota State (Home)
In its only game of the week, Western Illinois won at IUPUI, which is in last place in the Summit League.
The Leathernecks are in a three-way tie for first place with South Dakota State and North Dakota State, and they would be the No. 2 seed if the Summit League tournament started today.
21. Davidson Wildcats
USA TODAY Sports
Record: 15-7, 10-1 SoCon
Last Week's Rank: No. 22
Notable Wins: West Virginia (Neutral), Richmond (Road)
Davidson defeated Samford and Wofford last week to keep a two-game lead over Charleston in the SoCon South.
After hosting Western Carolina and Appalachian State this week, the Wildcats will play the Cougars on February 14.
20. Santa Clara Broncos
USA TODAY Sports
Record: 17-7, 5-4 WCC
Last Week's Rank: No. 18
Notable Wins: Saint Louis (Road)
Santa Clara has continued to beat up on the lower-level competition in the WCC, but it has failed to defeat any of the top three teams in the conference: Gonzaga, St. Mary's and Brigham Young.
On Saturday, the Broncos trailed BYU by only three points in the second half, but they wound up losing, 96-79.
They will get another shot at a key win on Thursday when they host St. Mary's.
19. New Mexico State Aggies
Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports
Record: 15-8, 9-2 WAC
Last Week's Rank: No. 21
Notable Wins: Southern Miss (Home), Utah State (Home)
New Mexico State won at Texas State and Texas-San Antonio last week to stay within shouting distance of first place in the WAC. With seven games remaining, the Aggies are 1.5 games behind Louisiana Tech.
This week, they play must-wins against Idaho and Seattle.
18. Montana Grizzlies
Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports
Record: 16-4, 12-0 Big Sky
Last Week's Rank: No. 19
Notable Wins: Weber State (Home)
Montana stretched its winning streak to 12 games by beating Portland State and Eastern Washington last week.
This week, the Grizzlies host Northern Colorado and North Dakota in their only home games on the month. For the rest of February, all three of their games are on the road.
17. Murray State Racers
Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports
Record: 16-5, 7-2 OVC
Last Week's Rank: No. 17
Notable Wins: St. John's (Neutral)
After losing to Jacksonville State last week, Murray State needed overtime to get by Austin Peay this week. Senior Isaiah Canaan took control in overtime, scoring six points, to help the Racers to a 75-68 victory.
This week, the Racers will be challenged as they take on Belmont and Tennessee State at home.
16. Ohio Bobcats
Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports
Record: 15-6, 6-1 MAC
Last Week's Rank: No. 14
Notable Wins: Richmond (Home)
Ohio's seven-game winning streak ended with a loss at Akron on Saturday.
Although the Bobcats are now 1.5 games out of first place in the MAC East, they hold a 2.5-game advantage over the third-place team in the division.
15. Valparaiso Crusaders
Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports
Record: 17-6, 7-2 Horizon
Last Week's Rank: No. 12
Notable Wins: Murray State (Road), Detroit (Road)
Valparaiso fell to Youngstown State early in the week, but the Crusaders rebounded with a resounding, 71-40 win over Milwaukee on Friday night.
Next up for the Crusaders is Illinois-Chicago on Tuesday night.
14. Indiana State Sycamores
Marco Garcia-USA TODAY Sports
Record: 14-8, 7-4 MVC
Last Week's Rank: No. 16
Notable Wins: Ole Miss (Neutral), Miami-FL (Neutral), Wichita State (Road)
Indiana State picked up an awesome win early in the week at Wichita State, but the Sycamores then fell at Drake in overtime on Saturday.
The Sycamores will have another shot at a Top-25 win when they host Creighton on Wednesday.
13. Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks
USA TODAY Sports
Record: 18-2, 9-1 Southland
Last Week's Rank: No. 15
Notable Wins: Oklahoma (Road)
Stephen F. Austin responded to its first Southland loss of the season with road wins over McNeese State and Lamar.
The Lumberjacks are tied for first place with Oral Roberts, which they already beat in January, and they host the Golden Eagles on Saturday.
12. Lehigh Mountain Hawks
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Record: 16-5, 6-1 Patriot
Last Week's Rank: No. 11
Notable Wins: Bucknell (Road)
After being dominated by Lafayette, Lehigh blew out Navy and Army on the road last week.
The Mountain Hawks will finish their three-game road trip at Holy Cross on Saturday.
11. Akron Zips
Matt Ryerson-USA TODAY Sports
Record: 17-4, 8-0 MAC
Last Week's Rank: No. 13
Notable Wins: Middle Tennessee (Home), Ohio (Home)
Akron defeated Ohio, 86-72, on Saturday to take complete control of first place in the MAC. Alex Abreu led the team with 21 points and nine assists.
The Zips have now won 13 games in a row, and they host Central Michigan on Tuesday.
10. South Dakota State Jackrabbits
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
Record: 18-6, 9-2 Summit
Last Week's Rank: No. 10
Notable Wins: Montana (Road), New Mexico (Road), Western Illinois (Road), North Dakota State (Home)
South Dakota State easily defeated South Dakota and UMKC last week to stretch its home winning streak to a school-record 28 games. Over the Jackrabbits' recent three-game homestand, Nate Wolters averaged 21 points, 6.3 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 2.7 steals.
Next up for South Dakota State are road contests against IPFW and Oakland.
9. Brigham Young Cougars
William Mancebo/Getty Images
Record: 18-6, 8-2 WCC
Last Week's Rank: No. 9
Notable Wins: Virginia Tech (Home), Santa Clara (Road, Home)
Brigham Young provided some separation from fourth-place Santa Clara by defeating the Broncos, 96-79, on Saturday. At 8-2, the Cougars sit one game behind first-place Gonzaga.
This week, they face San Diego and San Francisco.
8. Louisiana Tech Bulldogs
Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports
Record: 19-3, 10-0 WAC
Last Week's Rank: No. 8
Notable Wins: Southern Miss (Home), Utah State (Road)
Louisiana Tech defeated Texas-Arlington last week to remain perfect against WAC competition.
The Bulldogs should be able to get two more wins this week as they host Texas-San Antonio and Texas State, which have combined for only four WAC wins.
7. Bucknell Bison
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Record: 19-4, 6-1 Patriot
Last Week's Rank: No. 7
Notable Wins: Purdue (Road), La Salle (Home), Loyola-MD (Road)
Bucknell has won its last three games since losing to Lehigh. The Bison were nearly upset by American last week, but Mike Muscala's buzzer-beating bucket gave them a 56-55 win.
On Saturday, Bucknell will play at Army.
6. St. Mary's Gaels
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
Record: 19-4, 8-1 WCC
Last Week's Rank: No. 6
Notable Wins: Utah State (Road), BYU (Road)
St. Mary's defeated San Francisco and Portland to stay within a half-game of Gonzaga for first place in the WCC.
This week, the Gaels will be challenged with road games against Santa Clara and San Diego.
5. Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
Record: 20-4, 12-1 Sun Belt
Last Week's Rank: No. 5
Notable Wins: UCF (Road), Ole Miss (Home)
Middle Tennessee had a tough week with two games on the road, but the Blue Raiders were able to win both. On Thursday, they survived Florida International on Shawn Jones' game-winning shot in the final seconds, and on Saturday they beat Florida Atlantic by 17 points.
In its next game, Middle Tennessee will play Arkansas State, which is in first place in the Sun Belt West.
4. Wichita State Shockers
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images
Record: 19-4, 8-3 MVC
Last Week's Rank: No. 2
Notable Wins: VCU (Road), Iowa (Neutral), Air Force (Road), Southern Miss (Neutral), Creighton (Home)
Wichita State fell out of first place in the Missouri Valley after being defeated by Indiana State and Northern Iowa last week. After starting the season at 15-1, the Shockers are 4-3 in their last seven games.
On Tuesday, Wichita State plays at Southern Illinois, which has only one MVC win this season.
3. Creighton Bluejays
Eric Francis/Getty Images
Record: 20-3, 9-2 MVC
Last Week's Rank: No. 4
Notable Wins: Wisconsin (Neutral), Arizona State (Neutral), Akron (Home), Indiana State (Home)
Creighton moved back into first place in the Missouri Valley by defeating Missouri State and Bradley.
The Bluejays have a tough four-game stretch coming up, which includes road games against Indiana State, Northern Iowa and Evansville.
2. Belmont Bruins
USA TODAY Sports
Record: 19-4, 10-0 OVC
Last Week's Rank: No. 3
Notable Wins: Stanford (Road), Mid. Tenn. (Home), South Dakota State (Home), EKU (Home, Road)
Belmont continued to make easy work of the Ohio Valley, winning two games last week by a combined 41 points.
The Bruins' next four games will be on the road, starting with Murray State on Thursday.
1. Gonzaga Bulldogs
William Mancebo/Getty Images
Record: 21-2, 8-0 WCC
Last Week's Rank: No. 1
Notable Wins: Oklahoma (Neutral), Davidson (Neutral), Kansas State (Neutral), Baylor (Home), OK State (Road), Santa Clara (Road), BYU (Home)
Gonzaga struggled with San Diego on Saturday night, but the Zags were able to make a defensive stand on the final possession of the game to win, 65-63.
This week, the Bulldogs host Pepperdine and Loyola Marymount, both of which they beat easily on the road earlier in the season.
Other Mid-Majors to Keep an Eye on
Josh Holmberg-USA TODAY Sports
Albany (17-7, 6-4 America East)
Bryant (15-6, 8-2 NEC)
Canisius (15-8, 8-4 MAAC)
Eastern Kentucky (17-6, 7-3 OVC)
Florida Gulf Coast (16-8, 8-3 Atlantic Sun)
Long Beach State (13-8, 9-1 Big West)
Loyola-MD (16-8, 8-4 MAAC)
Utah State (16-5, 7-4 WAC)
Weber State (15-5, 10-2 Big Sky)