Last week, we said that because of Christmas, we’d get you your power rankings by Wednesday. It is now mid-afternoon on Thursday. Honestly, that’s better than I expected. You can expect the same next week too.
While I was watching the ballots trickle in, two big possibilities emerged. The first was that we might have two No. 1 teams this week. I knew the points would be close with Gonzaga and Nevada each taking losses, and out of 250 possible points, the top team would be far from unanimous. The second was that the team receiving the most No. 1 votes wouldn’t actually be ranked No. 1. That almost happened, as three of our 10 voters put St. Bonaventure at the top spot, with Gonzaga the only team to be ranked No. 1 on more ballots.
It all boils down to pure chaos.
The argument for Gonzaga: The Bulldogs are a top-15 KenPom team with no bad losses and own three top-50 wins. They also have the eighth-best offensive team in the country, according to our Lord Kenneth Pomeroy.
The argument for Saint Mary’s: The Gaels have won six straight and seem to have righted themselves after their rough Wooden Legacy. Their wins aren’t all that impressive, but the one over New Mexico State is starting to look pretty good and they still probably have a more complete team than Gonzaga.
The argument for Rhode Island: Six of the Rams’ wins are against the top 151 teams in the country and they have beaten Seton Hall and Providence. Just as importantly: a lot of their damage came without E.C. Matthews. Now that URI is healthy, it is set to go on a tear in Atlantic 10 play.
The argument for St. Bonaventure: The Bonnies are still undefeated when healthy and have won seven straight overall. Their most recent win was in the Carrier Dome against Syracuse — a tough place to play, even in a down year for the Orange. Throw in wins over Maryland and Vermont, and that Niagara loss to open the season seems like it happened a century ago.
Here’s where we all landed:
Mid-Major Madness Power Rankings: Week 16
|9||New Mexico State||25-5||9||154|
|10||South Dakota State||26-6||11||131|
|15||San Diego State||19-10||24||73|
|21||East Tennessee State||25-8||17||48|
Also receiving votes: South Dakota State 20, Portland State 19, Towson 11, South Dakota 11, Lipscomb 7, Louisiana 6, Albany 5, Louisiana Tech 3, Murray State 2, Princeton 2, UC Santa Barbara 1.