Mid-Major Top 25—Dec. 27: Butler Falls To UAB, Northern Iowa Grabs No. 1

Jesse Kramer@Jesse_KramerCorrespondent IDecember 27, 2009

There were not too many changes in the rankings this week because few games were played due to the holidays.

Rank Team (Rank Last Week)

1. Northern Iowa Panthers (2)

Record: 9-1

RPI: 35

Northern Iowa crushed Wyoming on Wednesday, improving their record to 9-1. With Butler's loss to UAB, they take the No. 1 spot.

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

Key Losses: Depaul (Neutral)

2. Butler Bulldogs (1)

Record: 8-4, 1-0 Horizon

RPI: 21

Butler picked up their fourth loss of the season at UAB on Tuesday. 

Key Wins: Northwestern (Road), Ohio State (Home), Xavier (Home)

Key Losses: Clemson (Neutral)

3. Virginia Commonwealth Rams (3)

Record: 7-2, 0-1 CAA

RPI: 9

Virginia Commonwealth did not play this week, but their RPI still jumped into the Top 10. They play East Carolina on December 29 for their final non-conference game.

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

Key Losses: Western Michigan (Road)

4. Old Dominion Monarchs (5)

Record: 8-4, 1-0 CAA

RPI: 37

Old Dominion destroyed Charlotte in their lone game this week, 81-48. This was only Charlotte's second loss of the season.

Key Wins: Marshall (Home), Georgetown (Road)

Key Losses: Richmond (Road)

5. Gonzaga Bulldogs (4)

Record: 8-3

RPI: 29

Gonzaga did not play this week. They play a must win game against Oklahoma on New Year's Eve.

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

Key Losses: Wake Forest (Home)

6. Siena Saints (6)

Record: 7-4, 2-0 MAAC

RPI: 52

The Saints beat Rider 84-62 this week. Once again, it looks like it will be hard to beat Siena in the Times Union Center; they are 4-0 at home and three of their wins have come in blowouts.

Key Wins: Northeastern (Home), Rider (Home)

Key Losses: Temple (Road), Northern Iowa (Road)

7. Illinois State Redbirds (7)

Record: 9-2

RPI: 152

Illinois State beat Grambling State, 80-56, on December 22. They start conference play against Wichita State this upcoming Tuesday.

Key Wins: Saint Bonaventure (Home)

Key Losses: Ohio (Road)

8. Morgan State Bears (9)

Record: 7-4, 1-0 MEAC

RPI: 97

Morgan State beat Towson for their third win in their last four games. With Missouri State's loss, the Bears are moved to No. 8.

Key Wins: Arkansas (Road)

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

9. Missouri State Bears (8)

Record: 10-1

RPI: 42

Missouri State picked up their first loss of the year in overtime to Arkansas. Their RPI dropped, but everybody still knows that they are one of the elite in the MVC.

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

Key Losses: Arkansas (Road)

10. Portland Pilots (10)

Record: 7-4

RPI: 58

Portland got their revenge on Idaho, who beat them in early December, on Tuesday with an 82-52 win.

Key Wins: Minnesota (Neutral)

Key Losses: Portland State (Home), Idaho (Road)

11. Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (13)

Record: 6-4

RPI: 40

The Hilltoppers beat Murray State this week. Saint Mary's loss to USC allowed WKU to move up two spots in the rankings, passing the Gaels and the Racers.

Key Wins: Murray State (Home)

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

12. Saint Mary's Gaels (12)

Record: 11-2

RPI: 27

The Gaels played in the Diamond Head Classic in Hawaii this past week. They beat Northeastern and Hawaii, but lost to USC, giving them a third place finish in the tournament.

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

Key Losses: Vanderbilt (Home)

13. Murray State Racers (11)

Record: 9-3, 2-0 OVC

RPI: 81

Murray State fell to Western Kentucky this week. That is their second loss in their last three games, both of them on the road. 

Key Wins: Eastern Kentucky (Home)

Key Losses: Louisiana Tech (Road)

14. Cornell Big Red (15)

Record: 7-2

RPI: 19

Cornell picked up a Holiday Festival Championship this week with wins over Davidson and Saint John's. 

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

Key Losses: None

15. George Mason Patriots (14)

Record: 6-5, 1-0 CAA

RPI: 134

George Mason won a thriller against VMI, 89-86. They play a must-win against Radford on Wednesday. A loss could push them out of the Top 20.

Key Wins: Indiana (Neutral), Creighton (Home)

Key Losses: George Washington (Road)

16. Wichita State Shockers (19)

Record: 11-1

RPI: 102

Wichita State remains beaten only once by Pitt. They have had few games against top competition, but in their one test against the Top 25, they beat Texas Tech.

Key Wins: Iowa (Neutral), Texas Tech (Home)

Key Losses: Pitt (Netural)

17. Western Carolina Catamounts (17)

Record: 10-2, 2-0 SoCon

RPI: 17

Western Carolina picked up their second loss of the season against Clemson, 79-57.

Key Wins: Bradley (Road), Louisville (Road)

Key Losses: Clemson (Road)

18. Harvard Crimson (16)

Record: 7-3

RPI: 31

Harvard lost to George town this week, 86-70. The Crimson still play four more non-conference games before entering Ivy League play.

Key Wins: William & Mary (Home), Boston College (Road)

Key Losses: Army (Road)

19. Niagara Purple Eagles (18)

Record: 8-4, 2-0 MAAC

RPI: 76

Niagara beat New York competitor Saint Bonaventure 77-71 on Tuesday. As of now, it looks like the Purple Eagles are the favorite to win a MAAC title. 

Key Wins: UCF (Neutral), Illinois State (Road)

Key Losses: Austin Peay (Road), Buffalo (Home)

20. Northern Colorado Bears (20)

Record: 10-3, 1-1 Big Sky

RPI: 91

Northern Colorado demolished San Jose State this week for their 10th win of the season.

Key Wins: Montana (Road)

Key Losses: Montana State (Road), Wyoming (Road)

21. William & Mary Tribe (24)

Record: 8-2, 1-0 CAA

RPI: 7

William and Mary beat Radford for their eighth straight win. After losing their first two games of the season, they have not lost once.

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

Key Losses: None

22. Wright State Raiders (22)

Record: 8-4, 2-0 Horizon

RPI: 136

Wright State beat Arkansas-Little Rock, 69-47.

Key Wins: Belmont (Neutral)

Key Losses: Northeastern (Road), Miami Ohio (Road)

23. South Alabama Jaguars (Not Ranked)

Record: 9-4, 1-0 Sun Belt

RPI: 139

South Alabama is one of two new teams in the rankings this week. They snuck in with a shocking, one point victory over No. 18 Florida. 

Key Wins: Arkansas (Road), Florida (Road)

Key Losses: Rice (Road)

24. Rider Broncs (21)

Record: 8-6, 1-1 MAAC

RPI: 144

Rider picked up their first conference loss at Siena. The Broncs one really good win remains against Mississippi State. Although the Broncs stacked up their schedule, it is hurting them by not showing in their RPI.

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

Key Losses: Sam Houston State (Neutral), La Salle (Home), Rutgers (Road)

25. Coastal Carolina Chanticleers (Not Ranked)

Record: 10-2, 2-0 Big South

RPI: 84

Coastal Carolina is the other of two previously unranked teams entering the rankings this week. Their only losses are to Duke and Cal State Northridge. They have beaten some other quality mid-majors, but have not had enough play against great competition to tell if they are the real deal. They have an edge on some other schools with their nickname, "The Chancticleers," defined as "a name given to a rooster, especially in fairy tales."

Key Wins: College Of Charleston (Home), Indiana State (Neutral)

Key Losses: Cal State Northridge (Neutral)

Teams By Conference:

CAA: 4

MVC: 4


WCC: 3

Horizon: 2

IVY: 2

Sun Belt: 2

Big Sky: 1

Big South: 1


OVC: 1

SoCon: 1

Added: South Alabama, Coastal Carolina

Dropped: Hofstra, Green Bay

Hofstra came in last in the Holiday Festival with losses to Saint John's and Davidson.

Green Bay lost to Buffalo this week and continues to loss after upsetting Wisconsin.

Considered: Iona, Hofstra, Ohio, Louisiana Tech, Montana, Sam Houston State, Army

Mid Major To Watch—Lipscomb Bisons

The Bisons have the talent to win the Atlantic Sun this year and maybe give a good team a scare in March. Adnan Hodzic averages 23 points and eight rebounds, with Josh Slater, Brandon Brown, and Jordan Burgason all averaging in double digits. This week, they were literally seconds away from upsetting Arizona, but a Nic Wise prayer was answered as the ball left his fingertips with .1 seconds left. The Bisons' record stands at 4-7, but it is deceiving as they have made plenty of good teams like Vanderbilt, Oklahoma State, Cincinatti, and Arizona.


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