Mid-Major Madness Power 15: New Number 1 as VCU Plummets

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

A rough week for Shaka Smart and VCU plummets the Rams and gives us a new number one team atop our Mid-Major Madness Power 15.

1. Gonzaga Bulldogs (4-0), 8 First Place Votes
Last Week's Rank: 2

East Coast bias died this week as Mark Few's Zags move to number one in our poll, but with a talented Maui Invitational field looming how long will the Bulldogs stay there? Last week Gonzaga took care of business against in-state rival Washington State in their lone game. This week the Zags will begin with a rising Dayton team before facing the rest of the field in the Lahaina Civic Center. Beware of the Silver Swords and Chris Varidel....

Last Week: W 90-74 vs Washington State
This Week: 11/25 vs Dayton (4-0) Maui, 11/26 vs Baylor/Chaminade, 11/27 vs TBD, 12/1 vs Coppin State

2. Saint Louis Billikens (5-0)
LW: 3

The Billikens are on cruise control thus far this season, but will certainly get battle tested this week in Cancun and when they return home this weekend. Don't be surprised if an undefeated week vaults Jim Crew's squad into our top spot a week from today.Dwayne Evans continues to be a beast averaging nearly 14 points a game while shooting over fifty percent from the floor.

Last Week: W 72-55 vs Oral Roberts, W 74-47 vs Bowling Green
This Week: 11/26 vs #12 Wisconsin (Cancun), 11/27 vs West Virginia/Old Dominion

3. Wichita State Wheat Shockers (5-0), 1 First Place Vote
LW: 4

Wichita State is another team that has not been really battle tested this year but will this week. First the Shockers will get a match up with either Texas or BYU early in the week, then they'll visit Saint Louis in our Mid-Major Madness Game of the Week. We'll find out a whole lot about Cleanthony Early and his supporting cast this week. All of the Shockers game will be nationally televised this week as well.

Last Week: W 77-54 at Tulsa
This Week: 11/25 vs DePaul (Kansas City), 11/26 vs BYU/Texas, 12/1 at Saint Louis

4. Massachusetts Minutemen (5-0)
LW: 8

UMass has wins now against the ACC (twice), SEC, and Mountain West. This week the Minutemen were particular impressive this week by beating Nebraska, New Mexico, and Clemson in-route to the Charleston Classic title. Cady Lalanne has blossomed into a growing star this year by leading the team with 17.8 points and 11.3 rebounds per game. The Minutemen can rest easy this week and enjoy their Thanksgiving, as they have the whole week off.

Last Week: W 96-90 vs Nebraska, W 81-65 vs #19 New Mexico, W 62-56 vs Clemson
This Week: OFF

5. Saint Mary's Gaels (5-0)
LW: 7

It was an easy going week for the Gaels as they are in a stretch of only three games in twenty days. St. Mary's took care of business against Alcorn State last week and will now host perennial mid-major power Murray State this week in something called the Shamrock Office Solutions Classic. Can someone send me a t-shirt?

Last Week: W 72-55 vs Alcorn State
This Week: 11/30 vs Murray State (2-3)

6. VCU Rams (4-2)
LW: 1

What a deflating week for Shaka Smart and the Rams. After coming in with a shiny new Top 10 national ranking the Rams just didn't show up in Puerto Rico losing to unranked Florida State and Georgetown. The Rams also didn't look particularly well against Long Beach State either. VCU will have to wait until Friday to rebound with a lingering home game from the Puerto Rico tourney against Northeastern before heading to Belmont for a Sunday showdown with Rick Byrd's Bruins.

Last Week: L 85-67 vs Florida State, W 73-67 vs Long Beach State, L 84-80 vs Georgetown
This Week: 11/29 vs Northeastern (2-4), 12/1 at Belmont (6-1)

7. BYU Cougars (4-1)
LW: 5

BYU's week was marred in their only game because of an unfortunate eye poke at the hands of Iowa State's DeAndre Kane. The Cougars now have a busy week beginning in Kansas City against Texas and ending with a visit from an always challenging squad, Utah State. We'll certainly learn plenty about the Cougars this week.

Last Week: L 90-80 vs #21 Iowa State
This Week: 11/25 vs Texas (4-0) Kansas City, 11/26 vs Wichita State/DePaul, 11/30 vs Utah State (4-0)

8. Belmont Bruins (6-1)
LW: 11

Belmont kept on climbing our poll after the big UNC win by taking down Hofstra and Holy Cross, and sweeping crosstown rival Lipscomb. Things will heat back up for J.J. Mann and the Bruins this week with an angry VCU squad coming to Nashville. The Bruins lost in Richmond to the Rams 75-65 exactly one year ago from this week's tip-off.

Last Week: W 94-64 vs Lipscomb, W 81-70 vs Holy Cross, W 85-75 vs Hofstra
This Week: 11/26 vs Brescia (Non D1), 12/1 vs VCU (4-2)

9. Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles (6-0)
LW: 9.

Southern Miss keeps rolling after winning four game this past week, including a thriller over North Dakota State. The Golden Eagles then squeaked by South Alabama and Houston Baptist later in the week. We still are not sure how good these guys are, but we'll find out rather quickly with a road trip to Louisville looming this week.

Last Week: W 70-69 at North Dakota State, W 66-59 vs South Alabama, W 67-62 vs Houston Baptist, W 99-54 vs William Carey
This Week: 11/29 at Louisville (5-1)

10. Harvard Crimson (4-1)
LW: 6

The Crimson got their first test this week in a road trip to Colorado but wore down in the second half to lose to the Buffaloes. Tommy Amaker's team will get a chance to redeem themselves this week in the "Great White North" as they head to play in the Great Alaskan Shootout. The Crimson's opening game against Denver could very well be their toughest of the weekend.

Last Week: W 86-68 vs Bryant, L 70-62 at Colorado
This Week: 11/28 vs Denver (0-2) Alaska, 11/29 vs Pepperdine/UW-Green Bay, 11/30 vs TBD

11. Indiana State Sycamores (3-1)
LW: 10

After the big win over Notre Dame, the Sycamores only had one game this past week against a non-Division I opponent (and had some trouble). Like Harvard, Indiana State will be spending the week in Alaska where they will clash with Tulsa in the the tournament's first round.

Last Week: W 80-69 vs Truman State
This Week: 11/28 vs Tulsa (0-4) Alaska, 11/29 vs TCU/Alaska-Anchorage, 11/30 TBD

12. Charlotte 49ers (5-1)
LW: Not Ranked

The 49ers bust into our Power 15 with a big week in Puerto Rico knocking off Kansas State, Northeastern, and #14 Michigan. Alan Major's team can now relax a little after the excitement of San Juan, as they don't have a game again until Sunday when UNC Asheville comes down the road for an in-state test.

Last Week: W 68-61 vs Kansas State, W 86-77 vs Northeastern, W 631-61 vs #14 Michigan
This Week: 12/1 vs UNC Asheville (1-4)

13. George Washington Colonials (4-0)
LW: 13

Mike Lonergan's Colonials stay right where they were a week ago after throttling Delaware State by 44 points in DC last week. How good are the boys from Foggy Bottom? We'll find out this week as they head to the Wooden Legacy to join a solid field that includes Miami (FL), Creighton, Marquette, San Diego State, Arizona State, and others.

Last Week: W 94-50 vs Delaware State
This Week: 11/28 vs Miami (3-2), 11/29 vs Marquette/Cal State Fullerton, 12/1 vs TBD

14. Dayton Flyers (4-0)
Last Week: NR

The Flyers strengthen the Atlantic 10's hold on the MMM Power 15, but how long will Dayton stick around after a challenging week in Maui? After beating IPFW by one point on opening day, Dayton has be dominant including a win over Georgia Tech last week. Are these Flyers for real?

Last Week: W 82-72 at Georgia Tech
This Week: 11/25 vs #11 Gonzaga (4-0) Maui, 11/26 vs Baylor/Chaminade, 11/27 vs TBD

15. Youngstown State (6-1)
LW: NR

Yes, the Penguins do have 6 wins on the year, but half of those wins have come against non-Division I competition. Will the Penguins last in our poll with match ups against two pretty solid mid-major teams this week? Wednesday's match up at Kent State will be a tough go for the Penguins and we'll find out what they are made of.

Last Week: W 82-58 vs Thiel, W 108-57 vs Westminster
This Week: 11/27 at Kent State (6-1), 11/30 vs Austin Peay (3-3)

Dropped Out: Mercer, George Mason, Towson

Also Receiving Votes: New Mexico State, Ohio, Mercer, Drexel, Toledo, Pacific, San Diego, Iona, Manhattan, Towson

Voters: Parks Smith, Ben Miraski, Mike Bundt- UB Bull Run, Ryan Peters- Big Apple Buckets, Jake Fischer, Kyle Nelson, Chris Hondros, Will Maupin, Liam Jones , Dan Bogle

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