NCAA Mid-Major Top 25 For Feb. 21: Butler, UNI Win BracketBusters To Get On Top

Jesse KramerCorrespondent IFebruary 21, 2010

The BracketBusters did bust the brackets of a couple of teams—Old Dominion and Siena.

Old Dominion lost at Northern Iowa, and Siena lost at Butler. A win for either of these teams would have just about locked up a bid for the NCAA Tournament (in the event that they lose their respective conference tournaments).

The second most important part about BracketBuster Saturday is that it showed that the MVC is truly the best mid-major conference.

The CAA has looked like it could have come out better than the MVC this year, but the BracketBusters showed differently.

The Missouri Valley Conference went 7-3, the best of any conference, while the CAA went 3-9. Also, the MVC's losses were Evansville to Illinois-Chicago by two, Indiana State at Green Bay by one, and Wichita State to a very good Utah State team. The MVC's wins were by an average of 11.6 points.

The Colonial Athletic Association was simply miserable. No team won a game on the road during this weekend. The three wins were VCU over Akron by 17, Hofstra over Rider by three in overtime, and Georgia State over South Carolina State by 15.

Delaware, Towson, Drexel, UNC-Wilmington and William & Mary were dominated by Boston, Manhattan, Bradley, Radford, and Iona, respectively. 

Although the CAA could possibly have more solid teams, the MVC has two great teams in Northern Iowa and Wichita State, and it is much more balanced from top to bottom. The MVC is the best mid-major conference.


1. Butler Bulldogs (Previously No. 2)

Record: 25-4, 17-0 (Horizon)

RPI: 20

Butler dominated Siena in the second half of the BracketBuster. Butler went on to win 70-53. The Bulldogs are tied with Murray State for the longest win streak in the nation.

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

Key Losses: Minnesota (Neutral)


2. Northern Iowa Panthers (3)

Record: 24-3, 14-2 (MVC)

RPI: 21

Northern Iowa handled Old Dominion cleanly on Friday night. The Panthers have clinched a regular season MVC title.

Key Wins: Boston College (Neutral), Siena (Home), Wichita State (Home), Old Dominion (Home)

Key Losses: Depaul (Neutral), Bradley (Road)


3. Gonzaga Bulldogs (1)

Record: 22-5, 10-2 (WCC)

RPI: 25

Gonzaga won at Pepperdine to rebound from a horrible loss at Loyola Marymount. This is the first time Gonzaga has lost multiple WCC games in a single season since 2007.

Key Wins: Cincinnati (Neutral), Wisconsin (Neutral), Illinois (Road), St. Mary's (Road), Memphis (Road)

Key Losses: Wake Forest (Home), San Francisco (Road), Loyola Marymount (Road)


4. Siena Saints (4)

Record: 22-6, 15-1 (MAAC)

RPI: 32

Siena struggled with Butler in the BracketBuster. Siena's hopes for an at-large bid in the event of the Saints losing in the MAAC tournament are just about gone.

Key Wins: Northeastern (Home), Fairfield (Road), Iona (Road)

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


5. St. Mary's Gaels (5)

Record: 22-5, 9-3 (WCC)

RPI: 47

St. Mary's is in danger of dropping into third place in the WCC. The Gaels ended a two-game slide with a win at San Diego. St. Mary's returns home in two, very winnable games against Pepperdine and Loyola Marymount.

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

Key Losses: Vanderbilt (Road), Portland (Road)


6. Murray State Racers (6)

Record: 26-3, 16-0 (OVC)

RPI: 81

Murray State defeated Morgan State in the BracketBuster. The Racers could be on their way to a 30-win season.

Key Wins: Morehead State (Home)

Key Losses: Louisiana Tech (Road)


7. Old Dominion Monarchs (7)

Record: 21-8, 13-3 (CAA)

RPI: 41

Old Dominion struggled at Northern Iowa on Friday. The Monarchs made a late comeback, but it fell short. The Monarchs are tied with Northeastern for first place in the CAA with two conference games remaining.

Key Wins: Georgetown (Road), William & Mary (Road), George Mason (Home)

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


8. Cornell Big Red (8)

Record: 23-4, 9-1 (Ivy)

RPI: 53

Cornell survived at Harvard to put itself back in the Ivy League driver's seat. With Princeton's loss to Brown, Cornell has a one-and-a-half game lead on the Tigers.

Key Wins: Alabama (Road), Harvard (Home), Harvard (Road)

Key Losses: Penn (Road)


9. Northeastern Huskies (9)

Record: 18-10, 13-3 (CAA)

RPI: 59

Northeastern blew a late lead and lost to Louisiana Tech in the BracketBuster on Saturday. The Huskies really could have used a big OOC win. The Huskies are tied with Old Dominion for first place in the CAA with two conference games remaining. 

Key Wins: Utah State (Home), Wright State (Home), VCU (Home), George Mason (Home), ODU (Home)

Key Losses: Boston U (Road), Western Michigan (Neutral), Drexel (Road), Drexel (Home)


10. Virginia Commonwealth Rams (10)

Record: 19-7, 10-6 (CAA)

RPI: 63

Virginia Commonwealth defeated Akron in its BracketBuster. VCU is in fifth place in the CAA. 

Key Wins: Oklahoma (Road), Richmond (Home), William & Mary (Home), ODU (Home), Akron (Home)

Key Losses: Western Michigan (Road), Drexel (Road)


11. Oakland Golden Grizzlies (15)

Record: 22-8, 16-1 (Summit)

RPI: 65

Oakland has clinched a Summit regular season title. Oakland beat South Dakota State early in the week and then beat North Dakota State on Saturday.

Key Wins: Green Bay (Home), IUPUI (Home)

Key Losses: Eastern Michigan (Home)


12. Iona Gaels (20)

Record: 20-8, 11-5 (MAAC)

RPI: 97

Iona defeated William & Mary for its first BracketBuster win since 2007. Iona controls their own fate for second place in the MAAC.

Key Wins: Creighton (Neutral), Providence (Road), Fairfield (Home), William & Mary (Home)

Key Losses: Canisius (Road), Manhattan (Home)


13. Utah State Aggies (24)

Record: 22-6, 11-2 (WAC)

RPI: 34

Utah State picked up two big wins this week against Louisiana Tech and Wichita State.

Key Wins: Weber State (Road), Morehead State (Home), Nevada (Road), Louisiana Tech (Home), Wichita State (Home)

Key Losses: Long Beach State (Road), New Mexico State (Road)


14. Wichita State Shockers (14)

Record: 22-7, 11-5 (MVC)

RPI: 52

Wichita State has continued to struggle a little. They barely survived against 1-15 Evansville earlier this week, after losing to them a few weeks ago.

Key Wins: Texas Tech (Home), Illinois State (Home), Northern Iowa (Home)

Key Losses: Creighton (Road), Drake (Road), Evansville (Road)


15. William & Mary Tribe (23)

Record: 19-8, 11-5 (CAA)

RPI: 45

William & Mary lost at Iona in the BracketBuster. The Tribe is now 0-3 in BracketBuster games. Prior to the loss, William & Mary won at George Mason. 

Key Wins: Richmond (Home), Wake Forest (Road), VCU (Home), Maryland (Road), Northeastern (Home), George Mason (Road)

Key Losses: Iona (Road)


16. Sam Houston State Bearkats (16)

Record: 19-5, 11-1 (Southland)

RPI: 68

Sam Houston State had an 11-game winning streak snapped at Texas-San Antonio. This was the Bearkats first conference loss of the season, and it ended a 13-game regular season Southland winning streak. The Bearkats' magic number for a regular season championship is now one.

Key Wins: Rider (Neutral), Auburn (Road)

Key Losses: Cleveland State (Road), Western Michigan (Road), Texas-San Antonio (Road)


17. Portland Pilots (13)

Record: 17-9, 8-4 (WCC)

RPI: 78

Portland lost an overtime heartbreaker at Loyola Marymount. This loss looks not nearly as bad as it would have one week ago due to Gonzaga also losing at Loyola Marymount.

Key Wins: Minnesota (Neutral), UCLA (Neutral), St. Mary's (Home)

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


18. Harvard Crimson (18)

Record: 18-6, 7-3 (Ivy)

RPI: 93

Harvard lost to Cornell, but then rebounded with a win over Columbia to stay in third place in the Ivy League.

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

Key Losses: Army (Road), Princeton (Home)


19. George Mason Patriots (12)

Record: 16-12, 11-5 (CAA)

RPI: 124

George Mason has continued to struggle with losses in five out of six games.

Key Wins: Indiana (Neutral), ODU (Home), VCU (Road)

Key Losses: Tulane (Road), Radford (Road), Georgia State (Road), William & Mary (Home)


20. Morgan State Bears (11)

Record: 20-9, 11-1 (MEAC)

RPI: 119

Morgan state is in bad shape, losing two of three games this week. The Bears are still in first place in the MEAC.

Key Wins: Arkansas (Road)

Key Losses: Appalachian State (Road), Loyola Maryland (Road), South Carolina State (Home)


21. Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (21)

Record: 21-6, 8-4 (WAC)

RPI: 74

Louisiana Tech picked up a huge win at Northeastern in the BracketBuster on Saturday.

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

Key Losses: Arizona (Road), San Jose State (Road), New Mexico State (Home), New Mexico State (Road)


22. Charleston Cougars (22)

Record: 19-9, 13-3 (SoCon)

RPI: 106

Charleston gutted out an 85-83 win at George Mason in the BracketBuster, following a one-point win over Appalachian State. Charleston now plays at Wofford in a game for first place in the SoCon.

Key Wins: UNC (Home), Wofford (Home), George Mason (Road)

Key Losses: East Tennessee State (Road), Hawaii (Road), Citadel (Home)


23. Northern Colorado Bears (17)

Record: 22-6, 11-4 (Big Sky)

RPI: 111

Northern Colorado rebounded from a loss to Weber State with wins over Eastern Washington and Portland State.

Key Wins: Montana (Road), Weber State (Home)

Key Losses: Portland State (Road)


24. Kent State Golden Flashes (19)

Record: 20-8, 10-3 (MAC)

RPI: 56

Kent State beat Western Carolina 74-72 in the BracketBuster. The Golden Flashes must win their next two games against Bowling Green and Miami (OH) to put themselves in position to win a regular season MAC title.

Key Wins: UAB (Home), Morehead State (Road), Wofford (Neutral), Akron (Home)

Key Losses: Green Bay (Home), Bowling Green (Home), Buffalo (Road)



25. Wofford Terriers (25)

Record: 21-8, 13-3 (SoCon)

RPI: 88

Wofford survived at Georgia Southern in overtime to tie Charleston for first place in the SoCon. Now, the Terriers host Charleston in a game for first place on Thursday.

Key Wins: Georgia (Road), South Carolina (Home)

Key Losses: Bradley (Road), Appalachian State (Home)


Teams By Conference:

CAA: 5

WCC: 3

Ivy: 2


MVC: 2

SoCon: 2

WAC: 2

Big Sky: 1

Horizon: 1

MAC: 1


OVC: 1

Southland: 1

Summit: 1


Added: None

Dropped:  None

Considered:  Akron, Green Bay, Illinois State, IUPUI, Missouri State, Montana, Morehead State, New Mexico State, Vermont, Weber State


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