Mid-Major Top 25—Dec. 6: MVC In Good Shape With Six Teams In Top 25

Jesse Kramer@Jesse_KramerCorrespondent IDecember 6, 2009

Rank. Team (Ranking Last Week)

1. Butler (1)

Butler remains the top mid-major in the country in early December. The Bulldogs lost a close game to Clemson a week ago, but came back strong defeating Ball State and then Valparaiso to start conference play. They will be tested twice more this week against top competition with games against Georgetown and Ohio State.

Key Wins: Northwestern (Road), UCLA (Neutral)

Key Losses: Clemson (Neutral)

2. Gonzaga (3)

After beating Washington State, Gonzaga lost a close game to Wake Forest on Saturday night. After Portland faltered, Gonzaga takes the second spot.

Key Wins: Cincinnati (Neutral), Wisconsin (Neutral)

Key Losses: Wake Forest (Home)

3. Northern Iowa (6)

Northern Iowa jumps from six to three this past week with a win at Iowa State that proves to me that the Panthers are worthy of being considered a top mid-major. They have four scorers who consistently contribute to the offense. Northern Iowa plays one game this week, which is a must win, against Iowa.

Key Wins: Boston College (Neutral), Iowa State (Road)

Key Losses: DePaul (Neutral)

4. Illinois State (11)

Illinois State remains unbeaten. Looking back, I realize that I overlooked the Redbirds last week, and they are deserving of a much higher ranking then 11th. This week, they are ranked fourth because they have continued to play great basketball and they keep winning.

Key Wins: Saint Bonaventure

Key Losses: None

5. Portland (2)

After catching the nation's attention with three straight wins over major conference teams, Portland faltered this week with a loss to in-state rival Portland State. It is hard to believe that the way Portland played at the end of November was just a fluke. Expect them to rebound this week and still make a run in the WCC.

Key Wins: Minnesota (Neutral)

Key Losses: Portland State (Home)

6. Old Dominion (5)

Old Dominion picked up a loss at Richmond this week, forcing the Monarchs to be moved down one in the rankings. They are still a top mid-major and the potential winner of the CAA.

Key Wins: Marshall (Home)

Key Losses: Mississippi State (Neutral), Richmond (Road)

7. Virginia Commonwealth (4)

At the start of the year everybody was skeptical of how good VCU could be this season, after losing their head coach and starting point guard. But they continue to exceed this year's expectations. Conference rival William & Mary knocked VCU off by one point Saturday.

Key Wins: Oklahoma (Home), Nevada (Home)

Key Losses: Western Michigan (Road)

8. Siena (7)

Siena looked bad this week, losing big to Georgia Tech. But the Saints were without their star player Edwin Ubiles in that game. When Ubiles returned, they blew out Albany. Fran McCaffrey's team has four scorers in double digits in addition to NCAA tournament hero Ronald Moore averaging 7.4 points and 8.3 assists. They play their first conference game at Iona on Monday night.

Key Wins: Northeastern (Home)

Key Losses: Temple (Road), Saint John's (Neutral)

9. George Mason (8)

George Washington demolished George Mason this week, but the Patriots rebounded with a win against UNC-Wilmington. They are currently 4-4 and still have a high talent level. 

Key Wins: Indiana (Neutral)

Key Losses: George Washington (Road)

10. Morgan State (12)

Morgan State moved up in this week's rankings mainly because teams ahead of them lost. San Diego lost multiple times this week and Creighton lost to Iona last Sunday. After losing to Loyola (MD), Morgan State came back with a win against Coppin State to start conference play.

Key Wins: Arkansas (Road)

Key Loses: Appalachian State (Road), Loyola Maryland (Road)

11. Wright State (15)

Wright State won both conference games this week. They have played well with teams at their level, and almost won their lone game against top competition.

Key Wins: Belmont (Neutral)

Key Losses: Northeastern (Road)

12. Creighton (10)

Creighton lost to Iona last Sunday and finished in last place in the Old Spice Classic. After almost beating Michigan in the first round, the Blue Jays showed that they have weak spots, including a porous defense.

Key Wins: None

Key Losses: Dayton (Road), Xavier (Neutral), Iona (Neutral)

13. Murray State (19)

Murray State has not lost since suffering a five point set back at California to open the season. The Racers are 2-0 in the Ohio Valley Conference and house five double-digit scorers, leading to their 82 points per game. They are showing that they are the team to beat in the OVC this year.

Key Wins: Eastern Kentucky (Home)

Key Losses: None

14. Ohio (13)

Ohio has played well this year. The Bobcats did not play this week, and dropped down because Murray State showed that it is a better team.

Key Wins: None

Key Losses: Marshall (Road)

15. Western Kentucky (14)

Western Kentucky lost again this week at South Carolina. I am being a little generous with them because I still think that they have the talent to do much better then they have done in the last couple of weeks.

Key Wins: Milwaukee (Neutral)

Key Losses: Indiana State (Home), South Carolina (Road)

16. San Diego (9)

San Diego dropped a lot this week due to losses to San Diego State and UC Riverside. The Toreros showed that maybe they are not as good people thought with an embarrassing loss to Washington State, and their losses this week supported that.

Key Wins: Oklahoma (Neutral), Houston (Neutral)

Key Losses: Pacific (Road), UC Riverside (Road)

17. Rider (22)

Rider showed that it still might be a top team in the MAAC this year with an eight point win against Saint Joe's. 

Key Wins: Mississippi State (Road), Saint Joe's (Home)

Key Losses: Sam Houston State (Neutral), Virginia (Road)

18. Northern Colorado (18)

Northern Colorado picked up their first loss of the season this week, but  rebounded with a win at Montana on Saturday night.

Key Wins: Air Force (Road), Montana (Road)

Key Losses: Montana State (Road)

19. Saint Mary's (20)

Saint Mary's beat Utah State on Saturday night to secure a spot in the top 20. The Gaels lost to Vanderbilt earlier in the season, and although Utah State is no Vanderbilt, the Aggies are still a good team, and Saint Mary's needed that win.

Key Wins: Utah State (Road), San Diego State (Home)

Key Losses: Vanderbilt (Home)

20. Missouri State (NR)

Missouri State is 7-0 with wins against Tulsa and Auburn. They were not expected to be good and now they are becoming one of the best mid-majors

Key Wins: Auburn (Home), Tulsa (Home)

Key Losses: None

21. Niagara (17)

Niagara fell at the hands of Akron early in the week, and then rebounded with a 24-point victory over the Manhattan Jaspers. Tyrone Lewis is now healthier and Niagara will start winning more games.

Key Wins: UCF (Neutral), Mount Saint Mary's (Road)

Key Losses: Austin Peay (Neutral), Akron (Road)

22. Bradley (25)

Bradley snuck into the rankings last week with a win against Illinois. The Braves continued to look good this week with a win at Northern Illinois.

Key Wins: Illinois (Neutral)

Key Losses: Brigham Young (Road)

23. Wichita State (NR)

Wichita State has won five straight games. The Shockers' one loss is against Pittsburgh. 

Key Wins: Iowa (Neutral)

Key Losses: Pitt (Neutral)

24. Long Beach State (NR)

Long Beach State became yet another team to beat UCLA this week. They have shown talent early on this season, and I am now considering them to be one of the top 25 mid-major squads.

Key Wins: UCLA (Neutral)

Key Losses: Notre Dame (Road)

25. William & Mary (NR)

William & Mary was simply not supposed to be good this season. After losing close games to Connecticut and Harvard, they have won six straight with wins against some solid competition. 

Key Wins: Wake Forest (Road), VCU (Home)

Key Losses: Harvard (Road)

Teams By Conference

MVC: 6

CAA: 4

WCC: 4


Horizon: 2


OVC: 1

MAC: 1

Sun Belt: 1

Big Sky: 1

Big West: 1

Teams Dropped

Mount Saint Mary's, Northeastern, Wofford

Teams Added

Missouri State, Wichita State, Long Beach State, William & Mary

Other Teams Considered

Montana, Nevada, Cornell, Western Carolina, Detroit, Utah State


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