It's been a weird start to the year for mid-majors. Monmouth has caught our hearts with their wacky bench and quality play that everyone seems to gloss over, but that's probably been the biggest positive storyline this year. On the other side of the pendulum are the traditional powers we're used to obtaining at-large bids who have really struggled this year.
Wichita State Shockers (6-5)
The Shockers came into the year a consensus Top 20 team and looking to ride the Ron Baker/Fred Van Vleet era one last time. Instead of flourishing the unthinkable has happened and WSU has dropped all the way out of our Mid-Major Power 15 rankings.
Wichita State is just 2-5 against Top 100 opponents this year with a solid home win over Utah. The Shockers really missed a solid last week to string together three straight Top 100 wins but lost to Seton Hall in overtime. Things don't look as dire for the Shockers as they did after the Advocare Invitational when they went 0-3 squandering opportunities against a slew of resume building teams. WSU does have two quality wins in Utah and UNLV, and their isn't a bone crushing loss that will hurt their resume. With that being said there isn't going to be much room to slip up in the Missouri Valley with Evansville, Northern Iowa, and Southern Illinois all playing well.
VCU Rams (6-5)
Expectations were high for Will Wade's first year at the helm on Broad Street but the Rams haven't lived up to the hype. At 6-5 VCU finds themselves with one Top 100 win, at Middle Tennessee State, and with three losses outside of the Top 100. The Rams played Duke, Wisconsin, Florida State, and Cincinnati close but could never secure the big resume building win early this season.
Left on the Rams' non-conference slate are match ups against Liberty and North Florida. In other words, games that aren't going to do much for their resume. If VCU doesn't at least go 12-6 in a tough Atlantic 10 Conference then it will be the first time the Rams have gone into their conference tournament without at least 20 wins since the Jeff Capel era in 2006.
Rhode Island Rams (7-5)
Rhode Island lost E.C. Matthews on opening night and have never really recovered. Dan Hurley's squad is 0-3 against the Top 50 and hasn't played anyone currently between 50 and 100. The Rams top two wins came against Iona and Cleveland State, victories that aren't exactly going to perk the selection committees ears up. Rhode Island also lost to Nebraska, a team currently outside the Top 200.
Much like VCU, Rhode Island is going to have to have as stellar season to get into the NCAA Tournament.
Old Dominion Monarchs (6-6)
Early season injuries have crippled Old Dominion and also thwarted their chance at getting resume building wins against the likes of Purdue, St. Joseph's, Richmond, and others. All in all the Monarchs are 0-4 against the Top 100 and best wins came at home against Rhode Island and Buffalo. ODU still has yet to register a win on the road.
At large fantasies are probably out the window in Norfolk but the Monarchs can still be a threat in Conference USA as Jeff Jones' squad continues to get healthy.
BYU Cougars (7-4)
7-4 doesn't sound bad the current selection sheet is pretty brutal for BYU. The Cougars are 1-3 against the Top 100 and haven't won a road game. Their best win is over Belmont and their worst loss isn't too bad against Harvard. BYU's schedule was just really soft this year as the Cougars really had only two opportunities for impressive wins but lost to both Utah and Colorado. The average RPI win right now for BYU is 204.
New Mexico does remain on the slate for the Cougars, and possibly Northern Iowa, but Dave Rose is going to have to have a special season in the WCC for a shot at an NCAA at-large bid. That task seems harder than normal with St. Mary's playing well and Gonzaga finally waking up.