Top 10 Mid-Major Games of the Year

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sport

There were plenty of incredible games among the mid-major ranks this past season, but which games were the best of the year?

1. VMI at Gardner-Webb


Who doesn't love overtime and buzzer beaters? There were plenty of them when VMI and Gardner-Webb hooked up in early February. While this may not have been the most high profile match up of the year it was one of the wildest. VMI grabbed a 108-104 win in quadruple overtime after nailing three overtime buzzer beaters. D.J. Covington had the Keydet's second buzzer beater and finished the contest with 28 points, 13 rebounds, and 5 blocks.



2. Wichita State vs Kentucky

Wichita State came into the third round of the NCAA Tournament with a 35-0 record and unfortunately for Gregg Marshall's squad the Shockers drew the Kentucky Wildcats.  This tourney match up is one we won't soon forget and after some debated officiating and a missed Fred Van Vleet game winner the Shockers were sent home a little earlier than expected. Cleanthony Early's last game for Wichita State is one in which he dropped 31 points on the Wildcats.

3. Mercer vs. Duke

The Mercer Bears not only built upon the Atlantic Sun's NCAA Tournament success a year ago with Florida Gulf Coast but they also showed the world that the ASun is home of the nation's best celebratory dances. The 14th seeded Bears shocked the Duke Blue Devils thanks to one of the most solid team performances you will ever see.

Mercer-dance_medium

4. Belmont at North Carolina

J.J. Mann flexed his clutch gene and sent the people of Chapel Hill into total freakout mode when he nailed a three to take down North Carolina 83-80 in Chapel Hill. The Bruins had a lot of exciting games this year (Indiana State, VCU, and Murray State come to mind) but this November upset was certainly their high point of the season.

5. Stephen F. Austin vs VCU

The Selection Committee once again forced us into some mid on mid violence when they pitted VCU and Stephen F. Austin together in San Diego for the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The Lumberjacks looked dead in the water until Desmond Haymon converted a four point play thanks to a foul from VCU's JeQuan Lewis to send the game into overtime. Lewis then missed a wide open three pointer that would have won the game in overtime but SFA escaped with a big time upset and a 77-75 win over the fifth seeded Rams.

6. North Dakota State vs Oklahoma

The North Dakota State Bison became a household name off the football field this year when they took down Oklahoma 80-75 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Taylor Braun and Lawrence Alexander were the two heroes for the twelfth seeded Bison. The win catapulted Saul Phillips to a promotion as he's now the head coach at Ohio.


7. Akron at Ohio

It's always a good one when Akron and Ohio get together but it might have been even better this year when the two teams crossed in Athens in January. Quincy Diggs made the final basket in two overtimes for the Zips for them to escape with a 83-80 conference win. Ohio would get revenge later in the season but the Zips won the rubber match in the MAC Tournament in Cleveland.

8. Louisiana vs Georgia State

Tattoos always seem to be quite the motivator in college hoops and that was certainly true for the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns when they grabbed a big win over Georgia State in the Sun Belt Championship game. Cajuns' coach Bob Marlin now has some new ink thanks to 27 points from Xavian Rimmer.  Georgia State was sent packing after a 17-1 conference run thanks to the 82-81 overtime loss in New Orleans.


9. VCU at UMass

There may not have been a more electric atmosphere than the Mullins Center on a Friday night in late February. This was fare and away one of the most entertaining games of the year and you got the sense that UMass was back from a total program standpoint. Chaz Williams dazzled with 20 points, 5 assists, and 4 rebounds to take down the Rams 80-75.

10. Detroit at Valparaiso

Juwan Howard Jr. made some serious noise when he nailed a game-winner from downtown with just 5.7 seconds left on the clock to take down Valpo 59-57 in a back and forth affair. Howard finished the night with 19 points in the big win.

What was you favorite game from this past year?


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