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Mid Major Madness Twitter Mailbag: The season is upon us

It’s time. We made it. Let’s go.

NCAA Basketball: Princeton at VCU Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Friends, there is college basketball this weekend, and I think I speak for everyone when I say it’s about damn time.

It’s been a long, drama-filled offseason. We had the Mitchell Robinson saga. We had coaching turnover and the usual transfer epidemic that isn’t really an epidemic. To top it off, there’s a FBI investigation going on that will be a looming presence during the season.

But none of that matters, because all of it will become a secondary matter when real games are being played. It’s the best time of year. Call up your friends, order a pizza and your beverage of choice, and don’t leave your couch until the weekend is done. You’ve earned it.

Here are your final questions as we get set to tip off the season on Friday.

This is a perfect one to start with. The thing that I love/hate the most about preseason rankings is that nobody REALLY knows who is good and who isn’t. We can make general assumptions about the caliber of a team, and often times those predictions aren’t going to be too off base. But that doesn’t stop us from Getting These Takes Off, and almost every set of rankings or predictions are accompanied by an onslaught of fans saying a team is too high or too low.

That being said, here are a few teams that I consider to be overrated or underrated heading into the season:

Underrated: Fresno State, Saint Louis (I’m driving this bandwagon), San Francisco
Overrated: Gonzaga (sorry), Grand Canyon (sorry not sorry), Buffalo

I think that a reasonable expectation for the Norse would be to compete for the Horizon League title. Showing that they can build off of last year’s tournament appearance and maintain positive momentum will go a long way toward building consistency as a program. They bring back some nice pieces from last year’s team, and I think that John Brannen has a chance to be one of the game’s great young coaches.

The moral of the story is to never try to make sense of anything the NCAA does because you will only come away more confused and upset than you were before. Jalen Hayes should probably be eligible instead of being suspended. He’s not. It is what it is.

It’s in Detroit. Detroit is in Detroit. It’s an exhibition and doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. Unless they lose, which they did. Maybe find a different local team to play before the season?

First off, let me thank you for calling Gonzaga a mid-major. Everyone be more like Imagine Dentons! To answer your question, no this is not the year that a mid-major wins it all. Now, are there teams that could potentially make it to the second weekend in March and possibly a Final Four if things break right? Sure, there’s always going to be a select few that might have what it takes. But as far as being able to win a National Championship, I don’t think there’s any mid-majors that have the talent level that is necessary.

For the one-bid leagues that traditionally get saddled with the 15 and 16 seeds, the best chance to become “plucky” is probably to have the best team actually win the bid. So many times we’ll see the regular season champ get knocked off in the conference tournament, leading to a weaker representative from that conference. Get your best teams in the tournament, and hope it shakes out in your favor.

Highly, highly unlikely. The best chance of getting two bids is probably for Middle Tennessee to go into conference play with just one or two losses, dominate conference play, then lose in the conference championship. Even then, the odds of them getting an at-large bid are slim. There just aren’t many multi-bid leagues among the mid-major ranks anymore.

This year, probably not. Now, can the Missouri Valley become a multi-bid league again? Absolutely. It’s going to require a couple of programs to build sustained success, but it doesn’t have to necessarily be to the level of Wichita State (although that would help). If programs like Northern Iowa or Valparaiso are able to win at the level that they’ve shown they’re capable of at various points in recent years, the Valley could find itself in a situation where multiple bids could be possible in certain years.


If we’re being completely honest, the only leagues that really have any shot at being multi-bid leagues this year are the WCC, A-10 and maybe the Mountain West if things go well. It sucks, but that’s just the way things are trending for mid-major conferences.

All food, is good. That being said, in my very limited experience going to games as a member of the “media,” Bankers Life Fieldhouse had an incredible spread for the NCAA Tournament games it hosted last year.

Here are some players who can be considered “breakout” guys, for lack of a better term:

Devin Cannady - Princeton
Josh Cunningham - Dayton
Killian Tillie - Gonzaga
Trey Burch-Manning - South Dakota
Jon Axel Gudmundsson - Davidson