Mid-Major Top 25 for February 21: CAA Takes Advantage of BracketBusters

Jesse Kramer@Jesse_KramerCorrespondent IFebruary 21, 2011

Rank. Team (Previous Rank)

1. George Mason Patriots (3)

Record: 23-5, 14-2 CAA

RPI: 20

George Mason now holds the longest active winning streak in college basketball. The Patriots kept the streak alive this week with road wins over Virginia Commonwealth and Northern Iowa. The Patriots just have to win one of their final two games against Northeastern and Georgia State to win the regular season championship in the CAA. 

Key Wins: Harvard (Home), Duquesne (Road), James Madison (Road), Old Dominion (Home), VCU (Road), Northern Iowa (Road)  

Key Losses: Wofford (Neutral) 

2. Utah State Aggies (5)

Record: 25-3, 12-1 WAC

RPI: 18 

Utah State has won three straight games, with the most recent being over St. Mary's in the Aggies' BracketBuster game. This win was huge for the Aggies, as it was their first truly good road win.

Key Wins: Long Beach State (Home), St. Mary's (Road)

Key Losses: Idaho (Road)

3. Old Dominion Monarchs (7)

Record: 22-6, 12-4 CAA

RPI: 30 

Old Dominion is currently in second place in the CAA, only behind George Mason. The Monarchs are looking like a sure NCAA Tournament team after beating Cleveland State on Sunday.

Key Wins: Clemson (Neutral), Xavier (Neutral), Richmond (Home), Dayton (Home), George Mason (Home), VCU (Road), Cleveland State (Home)

Key Losses: Delaware (Road), Drexel (Road)

4. St. Mary's Gaels (1)

Record: 22-6, 10-2 WCC

RPI: 46 

St. Mary's has suffered back-to-back losses to knock them out of the top 25, losing at last-place San Diego and then Utah State in its final non-conference game. The Gaels can clinch a regular season championship in the WCC with a win over Gonzaga on Thursday.

Key Wins: St. John's (Home), Long Beach State (Neutral), Gonzaga (Road) 

Key Losses: Portland (Road), San Diego (Road)

5. Wichita State Shockers (2)

Record: 22-6, 13-3 MVC

RPI: 53

Wichita State lost a close game to Virginia Commonwealth on Friday night. That loss practically crushed any chances for the Shockers to be an at-large team in the NCAA Tournament. However, I see some at-large hope for the Shockers if they find a way to win the regular season MVC championship.

Key Wins: Virginia (Neutral), Northern Iowa (Road) 

Key Losses: Southern Illinois (Home)

6. Missouri State Bears (4)

Record: 21-7, 13-3 MVC

RPI: 52

Even though Missouri State lost its BracketBuster game to Valparaiso, the Bears are still in first place in the MVC. No matter what happens against Southern Illinois on Wednesday, if the Bears beat Wichita State next weekend, they win the regular season championship for the conference. 

Key Wins: Northern Iowa (Road), Wichita State (Road)

Key Losses: Indiana State (Road), Evansville (Road)

7. Charleston Cougars (9)

Record: 21-7, 13-2 SoCon

RPI: 62

Charleston extended its winning streak to six games with a BracketBuster win over Vermont. A win over Samford on Monday would give Charleston a SoCon South title.

Key Wins: Coastal Carolina (Home), East Tennessee State (Home), Tennessee (Road), Vermont (Home)

Key Losses: Morehead State (Road), Chattanooga (Road), Davidson (Road)

8. Virginia Commonwealth Rams (8)

Record: 21-8, 12-4 CAA

RPI: 58

Virginia Commonwealth ended a two-game slide with a win at Wichita State on Friday. That win keeps at-large hopes for the Rams alive into the final week of their regular season.

Key Wins: UCLA (Neutral), Drexel (Home), ODU (Road), James Madison (Road), Wichita State (Road)

Key Losses: South Florida (Road), Georgia State (Road)

9. Cleveland State Vikings (10)

Record: 23-6, 12-4

RPI: 35

Cleveland State holds a half-game lead over Valparaiso in the Horizon League. The Vikings play their final two regular season games at home.

Key Wins: Iona (Home), Kent State (Home), Valparaiso (Home), Wright State (Road)

Key Losses: Detroit (Road)

10. Coastal Carolina Chanticleers (6)

Record: 25-3, 15-1 Big South

RPI: 84

Coastal Carolina's winning streak ended with a loss at home to Gardner-Webb. Despite that loss, the Chanticleers still clinched the Big South regular season championship and the No. 1 seed in the Big South tournament.

Key Wins: LSU (Road), Liberty (Road)

Key Losses: Gardner-Webb (Home)

11. Gonzaga Bulldogs (15)

Record: 19-9, 9-3 WCC

RPI: 71

Gonzaga's hopes for a WCC championship are not yet in the dumps. To finish in first place in the conference, the Bulldogs must win their final two games and St. Mary's must lose its final two games.

Key Wins: Marquette (Neutral), Baylor (Neutral), Xavier (Home), Oklahoma State (Home), Portland (Road)

Key Losses: Washington State (Road), Santa Clara (Road), San Francisco (Road)

12. Belmont Bruins (12)

Record: 25-4, 17-1 A-Sun

RPI: 56

Belmont defeated USC Upstate 81-49 to clinch first place in the Atlantic Sun and the No. 1 seed in the Atlantic Sun tournament.

Key Wins: East Tennessee State (Road, Home) 

Key Losses: Lipscomb (Road)

13. Princeton Tigers (11)

Record: 20-5, 8-1 Ivy

RPI: 54

Princeton picked up its first loss in Ivy League play this weekend, losing at Brown 75-65. Harvard is control of the conference with nine wins, but the Tigers and Crimson are tied in the loss column.

Key Wins: Rutgers (Home), Bucknell (Neutral), Tulsa (Road), Harvard (Home)

Key Losses: Presbyterian (Neutral), Brown (Road)

14. Valparaiso Crusaders (17)

Record: 20-8, 11-4 Horizon

RPI: 48

Valparaiso is a half-game out of first place in the Horizon League. The Crusaders picked up a good non-conference win over Missouri State on Saturday.

Key Wins: Oakland (Road), Cleveland State (Home), Wright State (Road), Butler (Home)

Key Losses: Ohio (Road), Toledo (Road), Green Bay (Home)

15. Oakland Golden Grizzlies (14)

Record: 20-9, 15-1 Summit

RPI: 66

In the last four games, Oakland has had some struggles. Four games ago, the Golden Grizzlies lost to IUPUI, and the last three games have been won with an average margin of victory of 6.3 points, which is very close considering what Oakland is used to.

Key Wins: Tennessee (Road), IUPUI (Home)

Key Losses: Wright State (Road), Valparaiso (Home), IUPUI (Road)

16. Harvard Crimson (16)

Record: 20-4, 9-1 Ivy

RPI: 43

Harvard is currently in control of the Ivy League. The Crimson won a pair of road games this weekend and look to win another pair next weekend against Brown and Yale.

Key Wins: Colorado (Home), Boston College (Road)

Key Losses: None

17. Butler Bulldogs (18)

Record: 20-9, 12-5 Horizon

RPI: 49

Butler has returned to at-large tournament bid talk with six straight wins. The Bulldogs chances are for a Horizon League regular season championship are slim but still possible. 

Key Wins: Florida State (Neutral), Valparaiso (Home), Cleveland State (Home), Cleveland State (Road) 

Key Losses: Evansville (Home), Milwaukee (Home), Youngstown State (Road)

18. Northern Iowa Panthers (13)

Record: 19-10, 10-6 MVC

RPI: 87

Northern Iowa has lost four of its last five games. The Panthers are currently in fourth place in the MVC. 

Key Wins: Morehead State (Home), New Mexico (Neutral), Wichita State (Road), Missouri State (Road) 

Key Losses: Southern Illinois (Road), Drake (Road), Evansville (Road)

19. Fairfield Stags (20)

Record: 22-5, 14-2 MAAC

RPI: 92

Fairfield won its fourth straight game, defeating Austin Peay on Saturday. The Stags have already clinched first place in the MAAC with two games still remaining.

Key Wins: Vermont (Home), Iona (Home)

Key Losses: St. Joseph's (Home), Loyola-Maryland (Road)

20. James Madison Dukes (24)

Record: 20-9, 9-7 CAA

RPI: 75

James Madison picked up its 11th non-conference win with a victory over Miami (OH) on Saturday. The Dukes have a tough finish to the regular season, playing Old Dominion and Virginia Commonwealth in their final two games.

Key Wins: Princeton (Home), Bucknell (Home), Marhsall (Home), Kent State (Road), Drexel (Road) 

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

21. Vermont Catamounts (23)

Record: 22-6, 13-2 A-East

RPI: 72

Vermont's 10-game winning streak ended with a loss at Charleston on Saturday. The Catamounts finish out the regular season against Boston University on Sunday.

Key Wins: Iona (Road)

Key Losses: Boston (Road), Maine (Home)

22. Montana Grizzlies (19)

Record: 19-8, 11-3 Big Sky

RPI: 113

Montana's three-game winning streak ended with a loss at Long Beach State in the Grizzlies' BracketBuster. The Grizzlies need to win each of their last two games to guarantee at least a shared conference championship. 

Key Wins: UCLA (Road), Northern Colorado (Home)

Key Losses: Nevada (Road), Northern Colorado (Road), Weber State (Road), Northern Arizona (Road)

23. Portland Pilots (21)

Record: 19-9, 6-6 WCC

RPI: 98

Portland has won two of its last three games to pull itself back to .500 in the WCC. The fourth-place Pilots play a pair of road games to finish out the season.

Key Wins: Milwaukee (Home), Florida Atlantic (Home), Montana (Road), St. Mary's (Home)

Key Losses: Washington State (Neutral), Santa Clara (Road), San Francisco (Home)

24. Kent State Golden Flashes (22)

Record: 17-9, 8-3 MAC

RPI: 97

Kent State has lost its last two games. The Golden Flashes are a half-game out of first place with five games left in MAC play.

Key Wins: Iona (Neutral), Furman (Home)

Key Losses: Akron (Road), Buffalo (Road), Miami-Ohio (Road)

25. Wright State Raiders (25)

Record: 18-12, 10-7 Horizon

RPI: 109

Wright State ended a three-game slide with a win over Hofstra on Saturday. With a win over Detroit on Friday, Wright State would guarantee at least fifth place in the Horizon League.

Key Wins: Oakland (Home), Milwaukee (Home), Butler (Home), Hofstra (Home) 

Key Losses: Southern Illinois (Neutral), Detroit (Road), Charlotte (Road)

Considered: Drexel, Murray State, Long Island, Morehead State, Bucknell, Iona, San Francisco   

Teams in top 25 by conference:

CAA: 4

Horizon: 4

MVC: 3

WCC: 3

Ivy: 2

America East: 1

Atlantic Sun: 1

Big Sky: 1

Big South: 1


MAC: 1

SoCon: 1

Summit: 1

WAC: 1


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