This could be the year of the mid-major, as the Mountain West Conference and the Atlantic-10 could put as many as 10 teams between them in the NCAA Tournament. For now, those two leagues have four teams in the Top 25, with the MWC leading the way with three teams (Brigham Young, UNLV, and New Mexico).
The A-10 is not far behind as five other teams (Rhode Island, Charlotte, Richmond, Xavier, and Dayton) all received at least one vote in the top 25. That league had a perfect day in terms of getting the most teams into the NCAA field on Saturday, as Richmond and Dayton desperately needed big wins and delivered against Temple and Xavier.
The strength of these two mid-major leagues have taken a bite out of the major conferences. The MWC's success against the Pac-10 launched the MWC past the Pac-10 in conference RPI. The result is the three teams in the top 25 include New Mexico who drops in at 14th and BYU who's reached the top 10 this season.
These spots in the top 25 have to come at the expense of someone and that's the SEC, ACC, and Pac-10. The SEC puts just Kentucky and Tennessee in the rankings, but Mississippi and Vanderbilt are knocking on the door. The ACC has just Duke and Georgia Tech, but capable teams Maryland and Wake Forest could soon reach the rankings.
At the top, you won't find any mid-majors as Kansas and Syracuse have separated themselves with Kentucky trailing behind as the only other one-loss team. The Jayhawks and Orange are coming off solid victories as both squads took care of business in the second half of their games.
Both squads will get tested in rivalry games this week. Kansas takes on Texas while Syracuse plays Connecticut in the Carrier Dome.
If you're a Bleacher Report member and interested in voting in the Bleacher Report Top 25 poll, email Jameson Fleming at email@example.com to receive a ballot.
Ranking, Team (record through Sunday), votes (first place votes), ranking last week
1. Kansas (22-1) 444 (12) Last week: 1
2. Syracuse (23-1) 432 (5) Last week: 2
3. Kentucky (22-1) 418 (1) Last week: 4
4. West Virginia (19-3) 384 Last week: 6
5. Villanova (20-2) 354 Last week: 3
6. Georgetown (17-5) 348 Last week: 7
7. Purdue (19-3) 337 Last week: 8
8. Duke (19-4) 306 Last week:10
9. Kansas State (19-4) 304 Last week: 11
10. Michigan State (19-5) 274 Last week: 5
11. Wisconsin (18-5) 247 Last week:14
12. Tennessee (18-4) 242 Last week:13
13. Texas (19-4) 230 Last week:9
14. New Mexico (21-3) 206 Last week: 16
14. Ohio State (18-6) 206 Last week:19
16. Gonzaga (19-4) 193 Last week:15
17. Brigham Young (22-3) 173 Last week: 12
18. Butler (20-4) 125 Last week:21
19. Temple (19-5) 89 Last week:17
20. Northern Iowa (21-2) 73 Last week: Not Ranked
21. Georgia Tech (19-6) 70 Last week: 18
22. Pittsburgh (17-6) 68 Last week:20
23. UNLV (19-4) 63 Last week: Not Ranked
24. Cornell (20-3) 30 Last week: Not Ranked
25. Baylor (17-5) 29 Last week:24
Others Receiving Votes: Vanderbilt 28, Texas A&M 26, Rhode Island 25, Mississippi 24, Wake Forest 21, Charlotte 14, Maryland 10, St. Mary's 7, Richmond 7, Missouri 6, Virginia Tech 6, Iowa State 4, Clemson 3, South Florida 3, Xavier 2, Siena 1, Dayton 1
Participants: Jameson Fleming, Bryan Toporek, Kevin Lindsey, Chris DiLuccio, Joel Barker, Mike Miller, Scott Henry, Carl Stine, Tyler Stimson, Chris Golighty, Paul Swaney, Paul Seaver, Jesse Kramer, Brandon Bohning, Patrick Goodpaster, Steve Tater, Beau Kiklis, Jonathan Weinberg, Drew Gatewood
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