Mid-Major Top 25—Jan. 3: Zags Stay in Top Five With Win Over Illinois

Jesse Kramer@Jesse_KramerCorrespondent IJanuary 3, 2010

NEW YORK - DECEMBER 19:  Matt Bouldin #15 of the Gonzaga Bulldogs drives upcourt against the Duke Blue Devils in the first half of the Aeropostale Classic at Madison Square Garden on December 19, 2009 in New York City.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

Rank. Team (last week's ranking)

1. Northern Iowa Panthers (1)

Record: 11-1, 2-0 MVC

RPI: 38

Northern Iowa beat Creighton and Evansville this week in their first two Missouri Valley games. The Panthers play Missouri State on Sunday in a big game for both those teams.

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

Key Losses: Depaul (Neutral)

2. Butler Bulldogs (2)

Record: 10-4, 3-0 Horizon

RPI: 14

Butler beat Green Bay and Milwaukee this week. Still early in conference play, it looks like the Bulldogs might run away with a Horizon title.

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

Key Losses: Clemson (Neutral)  

3. Virginia Commonwealth Rams (3)

Record: 9-2, 1-1 CAA

RPI: 18

VCU won a close game against East Carolina and then blew away UNC Wilmington for their first conference win.

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

Key Losses: Western Michigan (Road)

4. Gonzaga Bulldogs (5)

Record: 11-3

RPI: 29

Gonzaga held on for an overtime win against Illinois after blowing a 21 point lead. The Zags enter conference play against Portland next Saturday.

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

Key Losses: Wake Forest (Home)

5. Siena Saints (6)

Record: 10-4, 2-0 MAAC

RPI: 47

Siena came from behind on their home floor to beat Mount Saint Mary's in overtime on Saturday. After a slow start, the Saints are now 10-4.

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

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

6. Missouri State Bears (9)

Record: 12-1, 2-0 MVC

RPI: 34

Missouri State continued to show its talent with a win over Illinois State on Friday. With the Bears staying hot, it should come down to Northern Iowa and them for the MVC title.

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

Key Losses: Arkansas (Road)

7. Portland Pilots (10)

Record: 9-5

RPI: 61

Portland appears to be heating up again after losing four out of five. They have now won three out of their last four. Their next game starts conference play against Gonzaga on Jan. 9.

Key Wins: Minnesota (Neutral)

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

8. Old Dominion Monarchs (4)

Record: 9-5, 1-1 CAA

RPI: 32

Old Dominion was upset by George Mason on Saturday. George Mason dominated the Monarchs for most of the game.

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

Key Losses: Richmond (Road), George Mason (Road)

9. Saint Mary's Gaels (12)

Record: 13-2

RPI: 36

This past week, the Gaels demolished both Binghamton and Howard to pick up their 11th win in their last 12 games. The Gaels begin conference play against San Francisco on Friday.

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

Key Losses: Vanderbilt (Home)

10. Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (11)

Record: 7-4, 1-0 Sun Belt

RPI: 53

Western Kentucky defeated Louisiana Lafayette in their lone game this week. 

Key Wins: Murray State (Home)

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

11. Illinois State Redbirds (7)

Record: 10-3, 1-1 MVC

RPI: 91

Missouri State ended Illinois State's three-game winning streak, handing the Redbirds their first loss in conference play.

Key Wins: Saint Bonaventure (Home), Wichita State (Home)

Key Losses: Ohio (Road)

12. Murray State Racers (13)

Record: 10-3, 2-0 OVC

RPI: 78

Murray State beat SIU Edwardsville, 82-51, in their only game this week. 

Key Wins: Eastern Kentucky (Home)

Key Losses: Louisiana Tech (Road)

13. Morgan State Bears (8)

Record: 8-5, 1-0 MEAC

RPI: 120

Morgan State beat Long Island following a loss to Eastern Kentucky. The Bears play at Baylor on Wednesday.

Key Wins: Arkansas (Road)

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

14. Cornell Big Red (14)

Record: 12-2

RPI: 17

Cornell won a close game against La Salle, and then destroyed Penn St-Behrend and Bryant.

Key Wins: Alabama (Road)

Key Losses: None

15. Western Carolina Catamounts

Record: 11-2, 2-0 SoCon

RPI: 26

Western Carolina beat UNC Asheville in their final non-conference game against a Division I opponent.

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

Key Losses: Clemson (Road)

16. Harvard Crimson (18)

Record: 10-3

RPI: 24

Harvard beat MIT, George Washington, and Seattle this week. Jeremy Lin averaged 4.7 steals per game this week.

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

Key Losses: Army (Road)

17. Wichita State Shockers (16)

Record: 12-2, 1-1 MVC

RPI: 104

Wichita State lost their conference opener to Illinois State, and then rebounded with a 61-38 win over Drake.

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

Key Losses: Pitt (Neutral)

18. William & Mary Tribe (21)

Record: 10-2, 2-0 CAA

RPI: 6

William and Mary won two road games this week against Maryland and Hofstra. The Tribe had to wait for an and-1 layup by Kendrix Brown with 17 seconds left to seal the 48-47 victory over Hofstra.

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

Key Losses: None

19. Northern Colorado Bears (20)

Record: 13-3, 2-1 Big Sky

RPI: 74

The Bears beat Denver, Texas Christian, and Northern Arizona. With the win over Northern Arizona, they are now 2-1 in the Big Sky.

Key Wins: Montana (Road)

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

20. South Alabama Jaguars (23)

Record: 11-4, 3-0 Sun Belt

RPI: 147

The Jaguars beat Florida International and Florida Atlantic this week.

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

Key Losses: Rice (Road)

21. Wright State Raiders (22)

Record: 10-5, 3-1 Horizon

RPI: 118

Wright State picked up a win against Illinois-Chicago, following a loss to Loyola Illinois.

Key Wins: Belmont (Neutral)

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

22. George Mason Patriots (23)

Record: 7-6, 2-0 CAA

RPI: 165

George Mason beat Old Dominion to rebound from an embarrassing 27 point loss to Radford.

Key Wins:

Key Losses:

23. Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (Not Ranked)

Record: 13-2, 1-0 WAC

RPI: 99

Louisiana Tech beat Houston and Nevada this week.

Key Wins: Murray State (Home), Houston (Road)

Key Losses: Arizona (Road)

24. Coastal Carolina Chanticleers (25)

Record: 13-2, 3-0 Big South 

RPI: 119

Coastal Carolina beat Georgia Southern and Winthrop. With the win over Winthrop, they are now 3-0 in the Big South.

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

Key Losses: Cal State Northridge (Neutral)

25. Niagara Purple Eagles (19)

Record: 9-6, 2-1 MAAC

RPI: 117

Niagara picked up their first conference loss to Iona, 63-60. 

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

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

Teams By Conference:

MVC: 4

CAA: 4

WCC: 3


Horizon: 2

IVY: 2

Sun Belt: 2

Big South: 1

Big Sky: 1

Southern: 1


WAC: 1

Added: Louisiana Tech

Dropped: Rider

Considered: Akron, Iona, Loyola (MD), Texas San Antonio, Indiana State, Fairfield


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