Ranking the 10 Greatest Mid-Major Teams in NCAA Basketball History

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Ranking the 10 Greatest Mid-Major Teams in NCAA Basketball History
Win McNamee/Getty Images

The most difficult aspect of ranking mid-major teams is defining the term "mid-major."

The strict definition of a mid-major team is any school that's not a member of one of the six major conferences (ACC, Big East, Pac-12, SEC, Big Ten, Big 12).

We’ll adhere to that criterion, then limit our search to the years since the term “mid-major” was coined in 1977 by Jack Kvancz, then Catholic University's basketball coach.

This notably eliminates independent schools, such as national champions Marquette (1977), Loyola-Chicago (1963) and Texas Western (1966). It also eliminates 1961 and ’62 NCAA champion Cincinnati out of the Missouri Valley Conference and 1955 and ’56 champion San Francisco from the West Coast Athletic Conference (now the WCC).

The Dons would top our list were it not for the 1977 cutoff, but no significant delineation between power conferences and the rest of college basketball existed back then.

With those parameters in mind, we ranked the top 10 mid-major teams in history. The two chief factors in determining a team's place were its final regular-season national ranking and its postseason results.

We arbitrarily decided to take only the best team a given school produced.

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