Mid-Major Rankings for the Week of Feb. 16

Photo: BYU Athletics

1. Gonzaga (26-1, 14-0 WCC). Last week: 1

Pepperdine once again gave Gonzaga a tough fight, but the Bulldogs escaped with a 56-48 win. Gonzaga can clinch an outright WCC title with a win at Saint Mary’s on Saturday.

 

2. Northern Iowa (24-2, 13-1 MVC). Last week: 2

Northern Iowa still has not lost since New Year’s Day. On Wednesday, the Panthers play at Loyola, which gave them a tough fight in Cedar Falls in January.

 

3. Wichita State (23-3, 13-1 MVC). Last week: 3

Wichita State has won four games in a row since losing to Northern Iowa. The Shockers travel to Southern Illinois, which is in last place in the MVC, on Wednesday.

 

4. Murray State (23-4, 13-0 OVC). Last week: 5

Murray State needed some late free throws in overtime to beat Southeast Missouri State, but the Racers got the win to continue their winning streak and stay unbeaten in the OVC. They should get their 22nd consecutive win Saturday when they host Austin Peay, which has a 7-19 record.

 

5. Stephen F. Austin (20-4, 10-1 Southland). Last week: 4

Stephen F. Austin’s 32-game conference winning streak ended Saturday with a loss at Texas A&M-CC. The Lumberjacks are now tied with Sam Houston state atop the Southland standings.

 

6. Valparaiso (24-4, 11-2 Horizon). Last week: 10

Valparaiso had a monster week, moving into sole possession of first place in the Horizon League. The Crusaders held off Green Bay and then survive a close game at Milwaukee.

 

7. Green Bay (20-6, 9-3 Horizon). Last week: 7

Green Bay fell out of first place in the Horizon League on Friday with a 63-59 loss at Valparaiso. The bigger concern for the Phoenix right now is that leading scorer Keifer Sykes injured his thumb in the loss.

 

8. Louisiana Tech (20-6, 11-2 C-USA). Last week: 11

Louisiana Tech took advantage of an easy week by beating Florida Atlantic and Florida International. The Bulldogs have a tougher week ahead with games at Charlotte and Old Dominion.

 

9. Saint Mary’s (19-6, 11-3 WCC). Last week: 9

After being dominated at BYU, Saint Mary’s nearly dropped a second game in a row. However, the Gaels outlasted San Diego in double overtime. Saint Mary’s hosts Gonzaga this weekend, needing a victory to have any realistic chance at an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.

 

10. Wofford (21-6, 12-2, SoCon). Last week: 8

Wofford bounced back from a home loss to Chattanooga with a 75-55 win at Western Carolina. The Terriers have an easy week ahead with home games against UNC Greensboro and The Citadel.

 

11. Harvard (17-5, 7-1 Ivy). Last week: 12

Harvard defended its homecourt over the weekend with wins against Columbia and Cornell. The Crimson finish off their home stand this weekend with games against Penn and Princeton.

 

12. UTEP (18-7, 10-3 C-USA). Last week: 14

With a key win against Old Dominion on Saturday, UTEP has now won six straight games. The Miners are one game behind Louisiana Tech for first place in Conference USA.

 

Photo: BYU Athletics
Photo: BYU Athletics

13. BYU (20-8, 10-5 WCC). Last week: 15

BYU blew out Saint Mary’s and Pacific to keep its name in contention for a NCAA Tournament at-large bid. However, the Cougars will likely need to win their regular season finale at Gonzaga if they plan on going dancing without winning the WCC Tournament.

 

14. Yale (18-7, 7-1 Ivy). Last week: 16

Yale bounced back from last week’s loss to Harvard with road wins against Penn and Princeton. The Bulldogs begin a four-game home stand Friday against Cornell.

 

15. Eastern Washington (19-6, 10-2 Big Sky). Last week: 13

After a huge win against Sacramento State, Eastern Washington suffered a bad loss at home to Portland State. The Eagles hit the road this week to battle Southern Utah and Northern Arizona.

 

16. Old Dominion (18-6, 7-5 C-USA). Last week: 6

Old Dominion has lost five straight road games. The Monarchs lost to UTSA and UTEP on the road last week, dropping them to fifth place in Conference USA.

 

17. Iona (21-6, 14-2 MAAC). Last week: 19

Iona is mighty close to clinching the MAAC regular season title after winning key road games at Manhattan and Quinnipiac last week.

 

 18. Western Kentucky (16-8, 9-3 C-USA). Last week: 17

Following a phenomenal January, Western Kentucky is 1-2 to start February. The Hilltoppers’ face a pair of tough opponents this week in UAB and Middle Tennessee.

 

19. Bowling Green (17-6, 9-3 MAC). Last week: Unranked

Bowling Green has won four games in a row to take a one-game lead in the MAC. The Falcons will be favored in both home games this week against Miami (Ohio) and Buffalo.

 

20. Kent State (17-8, 8-4 MAC). Last week: 18

Kent State overcame poor free throw shooting Friday to knock off Toledo in overtime. The Golden Flashes are 2-3 in their last five games, but all three of the losses came on the road against some of the MAC’s better teams.

 

21. Central Michigan (18-5, 8-4 MAC). Last week: 23

Central Michigan held off Buffalo on Saturday to move into a tie for first place in the MAC West with Toledo. The Chippewas face Northern Illinois and Ball State, a pair of struggling teams in their division, this week.

 

22. UC Davis (19-4, 9-1 Big West). Last week: 20

UC Davis held off Cal State Fullerton on Thursday for its fifth straight victory. The Aggies hold a one-game lead in the Big West, and they head to Long Beach State on Thursday.

 

23. Sam Houston State (20-5, 11-1 Southland). Last week: 21

Sam Houston State has won six straight straight games and actually leads the Southland by a half-game. The Bearkats have two of the conference’s bottom feeders, Abilene Christian and Central Arkansas, on this week’s slate.

 

24. South Dakota State (19-8, 10-3 Summit). Last week: 22

South Dakota State knocked off North Dakota State on Saturday to move into a tie for first place in the Summit League.

 

25. Florida Gulf Coast (19-7, 9-1 A-Sun). Last week: Unranked

Florida Gulf Coast is on a roll with eight straight wins. The Eagles lead the Atlantic Sun by one game and have three of their final four regular season games at home.

 

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