In what amounted to a wild week in college basketball, between buzzer beaters, and blowout wins, the biggest benefactor of it all might have been the mid-majors.
Louisiana Tech (WAC) and Bucknell (Patriot) both grabbed votes in the AP Top 25 poll, and given that the bar for entry into the ranked teams (Miami is No. 25 with an embarrassing 93 points), it wouldn't take much to move them up the rankings quickly.
Heck, look at Butler. The Bulldogs went from unranked with single digit votes, to ranked by scraping by Indiana. They now move into the top 10 by defeating Gonzaga on a last second shot. Now, they are missing their best scorer, which does add to the lore of the win.
But that kind of movement just seems an extreme reaction, not one based on real team strength. Ken Pomeroy still has the Bulldogs at No. 33, and the MRI computer rankings list them at No. 37.
That just doesn't jibe with a top 10 squad. I could accept a few spot discrepancy, but not a wholesale 20-plus move.
Yet this remains a good sign for the mid-majors starting to come on strong. Bucknell faces Lehigh this Wednesday and that should boost them ahead with a win. Louisiana Tech finally faces Utah State on Saturday, and that could trigger a major move in either direction.
In other mid-major news, Creighton dropped five spots after losing to Wichita State; Gonzaga fell to No. 10 with its loss; and the Shockers moved back into the rankings at No. 20 thanks to the upset of the Bluejays.
Memphis also grabbed six votes this week. The Tigers have been on a roll since the rocky start to begin the season. The win over Harvard this weekend should have been the last real test for the Conference USA leaders until they face Xavier in late February.
Here is the complete AP Top 25 for Week 12:
|18||North Carolina State||15-3||587||14|
|Others Receiving Votes: Marquette 92, Wisconsin 55, UCLA 41, UNLV 32, Wyoming 28, San Diego State 26, Colorado State 7, Memphis 6, Georgetown 4, Iowa State 3, North Carolina 3, Louisiana Tech 2, Pittsburgh 1, Bucknell 1.|