Mid-Major Top 25: Long Beach Upsets Xavier, Murray State Stays Undefeated

Jesse Kramer@Jesse_KramerCorrespondent IDecember 27, 2011

Mid-Major Top 25: Long Beach Upsets Xavier, Murray State Stays Undefeated

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    Here are the top 25 mid-majors in the nation based off my own evaluation.

    I consider a mid-major team to be any team that is not from the ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, SEC, Pac-12, Mountain West, Atlantic 10 or Conference USA.

    *Follow Jesse Kramer on Twitter @Jesse_Kramer for more college basketball news and information.

25. Oral Roberts Golden Eagles

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    Record: 9-4, 1-0 Summit

    RPI: 80

    Last Week's Ranking: Not Ranked

    Oral Roberts gets its first top 25 appearance of the year after beating Texas Tech and a depleted Xavier squad in the past week. The Golden Eagles return to Summit League play on Wednesday at UMKC.

    Key Wins: Xavier (Road)

    Key Losses: Texas-San Antonio (Neutral)

24. George Mason Patriots

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    Record: 8-4, 1-0 CAA

    RPI: 195

    Last Week's Ranking: 20

    George Mason rebounded from a loss to Duquesne with an 81-61 win over Manhattan on Friday night. 

    Key Wins: None

    Key Losses: Florida International (Road)

23. South Dakota State Jackrabbits

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    Record: 10-4, 2-0 Summit

    RPI: 72

    Last Week's Ranking: 25

    South Dakota State has won six of its last seven games, including a 92-73 win at Washington. The Jackrabbits look to stay hot against Summit League foe IPFW on Wednesday.

    Key Wins: Washington (Road)

    Key Losses: North Dakota (Road)

22. Belmont Bruins

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    Record: 8-5, 2-0 A-Sun

    RPI: 89

    Last Week's Ranking: 16

    Belmont ended its two-game slide with a win at Austin Peay on Wednesday. The Bruins have a rematch with Marshall, which they lost to last week, 87-86.

    Key Wins: Middle Tennessee (Road)

    Key Losses: Miami-Ohio (Road)

21. Wisconsin-Milwaukee Panthers

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    Record: 9-4, 2-0 Horizon

    RPI: 82

    Last Week's Ranking: 18

    After a hot 8-1 start, Milwaukee has lost three of its last four games, granted that two of the losses have to been to top 15 schools.

    Key Wins: None

    Key Losses: None

20. Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders

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    Record: 11-2

    RPI: 91

    Last Week's Ranking: 21

    Middle Tennessee extended its winning streak to three games with a win at Ole Miss on Wednesday. The Blue Raiders will start Sun Belt competition on Thursday, against Florida International.

    Key Wins: UCLA (Road), Belmont (Home), Mississippi (Road)

    Key Losses: UAB (Road)

19. Davidson Wildcats

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    Record: 7-4, 2-0 SoCon

    RPI: 32

    Last Week's Ranking: Not Ranked

    Davidson upset No. 11 Kansas last week, but the Wildcats then lost at Massachusetts on Thursday.

    Key Wins: Kansas (Road)

    Key Losses: Charlotte (Road)

18. Denver Pioneers

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    Record: 10-2

    RPI: 31

    Last Week's Ranking: 23

    Denver has now won four consecutive games. The Pioneers continue their homestand with the start of Sun Belt play against Troy.

    Key Wins: Southern Miss (Home), St. Mary's (Home)

    Key Losses: None

17. Weber State Wildcats

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    Record: 8-3

    RPI: 102

    Last Week's Ranking: 17

    Weber State picked up its third win in its last four games after blowing out Utah. The Wildcats will play their first Big Sky game of the season against Idaho State on Thursday.

    Key Wins: None

    Key Losses: None

16. Kent State Golden Flashes

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    Record: 8-3

    RPI: 93

    Last Week's Ranking: 8

    Kent State was off to a great, 7-1 start entering the Athletes in Action Classic. However, in the tournament, Kent State pulled out a close win over St. Peter's, and then lost to Texas-Arlington and host Utah State.

    Key Wins: West Virginia (Road)

    Key Losses: Texas-Arlington (Neutral), Utah State (Road)

15. Indiana State Sycamores

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    Record: 9-2

    RPI: 47

    Last Week's Ranking: 19

    Indiana State has won its last three games, and during that stretch, opponents are averaging just 49 points per game.

    Key Wins: Fairfield (Neutral), Vanderbilt (Road)

    Key Losses: Boise State (Road)

14. Charleston Cougars

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    Record: 10-2, 2-0 SoCon

    RPI: 45

    Last Week's Ranking: 13

    Charleston rebounded from a close loss at Louisville with a win over Coastal Carolina. The Cougars host George Mason on Friday night.

    Key Wins: Massachusetts (Neutral)

    Key Losses: None

13. Cleveland State Vikings

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    Record: 11-2, 2-0 Horizon

    RPI: 55

    Last Week's Ranking: 7

    Cleveland State has won six of its last seven, and the lone loss came at South Florida.

    Key Wins: Vanderbilt (Road), Kent State (Road)

    Key Losses: South Florida (Road)

12. Long Beach State 49ers

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    Record: 7-6

    RPI: 12

    Last Week's Ranking: 15

    Long Beach State finished No. 2 in the Diamond Head Classic, with wins over Xavier and Auburn and a loss to Kansas State.

    Key Wins: Pitt (Road), Xavier (Neutral)

    Key Losses: Montana (Road)

11. Virginia Commonwealth Rams

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    Record: 9-3, 1-0 CAA

    RPI: 75

    Last Week's Ranking: 11

    VCU is on a tear, winning six straight games. The Rams have their final non-conference game against Akron on Thursday.

    Key Wins: Richmond (Home)

    Key Losses: Georgia Tech (Neutral)

10. Brigham Young Cougars

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    Record: 10-3

    RPI: 60

    Last Week's Ranking: 12

    BYU rebounded from its close loss to Baylor with a pair of double-digit wins over Buffalo and UC Santa Barbara.

    Key Wins: Weber State (Home)

    Key Losses: Utah State (Road)

9. Wichita State Shockers

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    Record: 9-2

    RPI: 28

    Last Week's Ranking: 10

    Wichita State has won seven games in a row, and Bradley is next up on their schedule on Wednesday.

    Key Wins: UNLV (Home)

    Key Losses: None

8. Ohio Bobcats

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    Record: 11-1

    RPI: 16

    Last Week's Ranking: 14

    Ohio's only loss this season is at Louisville. Since that loss, the Bobcats have won eight consecutive games.

    Key Wins: Marshall (Road), Northern Iowa (Road)

    Key Losses: None

7. St. Mary's Gaels

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    Record: 11-2

    RPI: 42

    Last Week's Ranking: 9

    St. Mary's rebounded from its loss to undefeated Baylor with a 77-61 win over Missouri State. The Gaels will open up WCC play on Thursday against BYU.

    Key Wins: Northern Iowa (Home), Weber State (Home)

    Key Losses: None

6. Iona Gaels

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    Record: 10-2, 2-0 MAAC

    RPI: 18

    Last Week's Ranking: 6

    Iona is 6-1 through the first seven games of its road trip. The Gaels finish off the trip at Hofstra on Thursday.

    Key Wins: St. Joseph's (Home), Denver (Road), Richmond (Road)

    Key Losses: None

5. Gonzaga Bulldogs

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    Record: 9-2

    RPI: 13

    Last Week's Ranking: 5

    Gonzaga had a two-game setback a few weeks ago, with losses to Illinois and Michigan State, but the Zags have won four straight since then.

    Key Wins: Oral Roberts (Home), Arizona (Neutral)

    Key Losses: None

4. Northern Iowa Panthers

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    Record: 10-2

    RPI: 5

    Last Week's Ranking: 3

    Northern Iowa's nine-game winning streak ended with a loss to Ohio last week.

    Key Wins: Iowa State (Road), Colorado State (Home), Milwaukee (Home)

    Key Losses: None

3. Murray State Racers

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    Record: 13-0, 1-0 OVC

    RPI: 15

    Last Week's Ranking: 4

    Murray State remained undefeated with a win over Tennessee-Martin in its OVC opener. 

    Key Wins: Southern Miss (Neutral), Dayton (Home), Memphis (Road)

    Key Losses: None

2. Creighton Bluejays

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    Record: 10-1

    RPI: 14

    Last Week's Ranking: 2

    Creighton outlasted Northwestern on Thursday for its third straight win. The Bluejays play their first MVC game against Missouri State on Wednesday.

    Key Wins: San Diego State (Road), Nebraska (Home), Northwestern (Home)

    Key Losses: None

1. Harvard Crimson

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    Record: 10-1

    RPI: 27

    Last Week's Ranking: 1

    Harvard improved to 10-1 with wins over Boston University and Florida Atlantic. The Crimson plays its annual game against Boston College on Thursday.

    Key Wins: Florida State (Neutral), UCF (Neutral)

    Key Losses: None

Changes from Last Week

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    Added: Oral Roberts, Davidson

    Dropped: Missouri State, Santa Barbara

Just Missed the Cut

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    Robert Morris (10-3, 2-0 NEC) starts a four-game road trip at Memphis on Thursday.

    Lamar (8-4) lost to Ohio State but has another chance against a top-notch team at Kentucky on Wednesday.

    Fairfield (7-5, 2-0 MAAC) fell just shy of a comeback win against Connecticut this past week.

    Butler (6-7, 0-1 Horizon) is starting to look more like the Butler teams of the past few years after beating Purdue and Stanford.

    Wagner (8-3, 1-1 NEC) upset No. 13 Pittsburgh for its first win over a ranked team since 1978.