Mid-Major Rankings for the Week of March 4

1. Gonzaga (29-2, 16-0 WCC)

The Zags survived in a tough environment at Brigham Young and then blew out Portland on Senior Night. Not only are they the No. 1 mid-major, but now they are the No. 1 team in the entire country.

 

2. Middle Tennessee (27-4, 19-1 Sun Belt)

Middle Tennessee survived two tough road games last week against Troy and Western Kentucky to finish the regular season on a 16-game winning streak. The Blue Raiders are ranked in the top-25 on KenPom.

 

3. St. Mary’s (26-5, 14-2 WCC)

The Gaels struggled with Santa Clara on Saturday but used a strong, second half run to won, 80-67. Although they have only one top-50 win, they have the talent of a NCAA tournament team. Entering Sunday, they were ranked No. 19 in KenPom.

 

4. Belmont (24-6, 14-2 OVC)

Belmont wrapped up the regular season with wins over SIU-Edwardsville and Jacksonville State. The Bruins will be the No. 1 seed in the OVC tournament, and they will have an outside shot at an at-large bid if they do not win the tournament championship.

 

5. Louisiana Tech (26-3, 16-0 WAC)

The Bulldogs continue to trounce their competition. Last week, they defeated Utah State and San Jose State by an average of 25 points. They’ll play their toughest stretch of the season this week with games at New Mexico State and Denver.

 

6. Akron (23-5, 13-1 MAC)

Akron’s 19-game winning streak was snapped over the weekend, and with it most likely goes the chances of an at-large bid. The Zips have one top-25 win and four top-100 wins, but the sub-200 losses to Coastal Carolina and Buffalo will hurt a lot.

 

7. Creighton (24-7, 13-5 MVC)

For the first time in a while, Creighton really looked like a top-20 against Wichita State on Saturday. The Bluejays defeated the Shockers behind Doug McDermott’s 41 points to win the MVC regular season crown.

 

8. Wichita State (25-6, 12-6 MVC)

With losses to Evansville and Creighton, Wichita State fell from first in the Missouri Valley to second. Suddenly, an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament is no certainty. But as long as they reach the MVC championship game, the Shockers should be fine.

 

9. Bucknell (25-5, 12-2 Patriot)

Bucknell wrapped up the Patriot League title and No. 1 seed in the conference tournament by beating American and Navy. The Bison will face the Midshipmen again on Wednesday in the Patriot League quarterfinals.

 

10. Valparaiso (24-7, 13-3 Horizon)

With a 13-3 league record, the Crusaders won the Horizon League regular season title outright for the second straight year.

 

11. Stephen F. Austin (24-3, 14-2 Southland)

Stephen F. Austin retook sole possession of first place in the Southland with a 64-63 win over Northwestern State, which beat the Lumberjacks on January 26. With one more win in their final two games, the Lumberjacks would clinch the No. 1 seed in the Southland tournament.

 

12. Davidson (23-7, 17-1 SoCon)

The Wildcats pulled out a close win against Elon and then ended the season on a better note with a blowout of Georgia Southern. There is no doubt that Davidson is the best team in the conference, but now they have to win three games in the SoCon tournament to get a chance in the NCAAs.

 

13. Denver (19-8, 14-2 WAC)

Denver has been in a groove over the last month. The Pioneers last lost on January 23 to New Mexico State, and on Saturday they got revenge with a 66-60 victory over the Aggies. Although they cannot get the No. 1 seed in the WAC tournament, they can still tie Louisiana Tech for the regular season conference title.

 

14. Detroit (20-11, 12-4 Horizon)

Detroit did its job with wins over Loyola-Illinois and Illinois-Chicago to finish conference play, but since Valparaiso did not slip up the Titans still finished in second place.

 

15. Ohio (21-8, 12-2 MAC)

The Bobcats ended their two-game losing streak with a 78-65 win at Bowling Green on Saturday.

 

16. South Dakota State (22-9, 13-3 Summit)

The Jackrabbits struggled down the stretch with non-conference losses to Cal State Bakersfield and Murray State, but on Thursday they got the win that mattered. In their regular season finale, they won at Nebraska-Omaha to secure the program’s first-ever conference title and the No. 1 seed in the Summit League tournament.

 

17. Stony Brook (23-6, 14-2 AEast)

Stony Brook survived Albany’s upset bid on Senior Night, and the Seawolves came away with a 75-70 win. They will be the top seed in the America East tournament, facing last-place Binghamton in the quarterfinals.

 

18. Brigham Young (21-10, 10-6 WCC)

Despite losing to Gonzaga, Brigham Young put together a great effort and nearly pulled off the upset. The Cougars were swept by both Gonzaga and St. Mary’s, but they came close in three of the four games. They could be a dangerous No. 3 seed in the WCC tournament.

 

19. New Mexico State (19-8, 14-2 WAC)

The Aggies have stumbled with losses in their last two WAC games. The only way they can finish in second place now is if they win their last two games and Denver loses its last two games.

 

20. Weber State (22-5, 16-2 Big Sky)

Weber State has won nine straight games since getting swept on its Montana road trip.

 

21. Montana (20-6, 16-1 Big Sky)

Without Will Cherry and Mathias Ward, Montana still defeated Montana State on the road. The Grizzlies will finish their five-game road trip at Southern Utah on Monday.

 

22. Florida Gulf Coast (21-10, 13-5 A-Sun)

The Eagles knocked off Atlantic Sun champion Mercer and then defeated Kennesaw State on Saturday. They finished in second place in the league and will face No. 7 seed North Florida in the conference quarterfinals on Wednesday.

 

23. Northern Iowa (18-13, 11-7 MVC)

Northern Iowa finished the season with wins in seven of its last eight MVC games, earning the No. 3 seed for the conference tournament. In the quarterfinals, the Panthers will face Illinois State, which they beat by 10 points on the road in January and by eight in the regular season finale.

 

24. North Dakota State (22-8, 12-4 Summit)

Leading scorer Taylor Braun struggled in his first game back from a foot injury with a goose egg against Utah Valley, but he came back with 22 points in a win at Nebraska-Omaha on Saturday. The Bison can be a dangerous mid-major now that they have their best scorer back.

 

25. Evansville (18-13, 10-8 MVC)

It’s been an up and down season for Evansville, but the Aces finished the regular season on the right note with wins over Illinois State, Wright State, Wichita State and Indiana State. They will face Indiana State again in the MVC quarterfinals on Friday.

 

Other teams considered: Princeton, Santa Clara, Delaware, Western Illinois, Eastern Kentucky, Murray State, Lehigh

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