Here’s the million-dollar question: Can you definitively rank the top five Atlantic 10 teams right now?
Our voters could not.
For the first time in a while, there were not one, but three different ties in Mid Major Madness’s The Other Top 25 poll this week. Saint Louis and New Mexico tied for 10th, Louisiana Tech and New Mexico State tied for 23rd, and (fittingly) Duquesne, Richmond and Rhode Island were in a three-way tie for 15th. Strangely enough, all of this movement happened while the top three of Gonzaga, San Diego State and Dayton remained intact and six of the top 10 teams in this week’s poll didn’t change from last week.
In some ways, this is understandable. The Atlantic 10 has been a very talented, if not one of the deepest conferences outside of the Power-5/Big East/American this season. Aside from the Dayton Flyers (13 in the AP poll, third in The Other Top 25) and maybe VCU, the rest of the conference has been a revolving door of good-but-not-fantastic teams. Like last week, six of the 14 A-10 teams are ranked in The Other Top 25, including three (the aforementioned Dayton, VCU and Saint Louis) are in the top 10.
Out west, the New Mexico State Aggies are the only new team in the Other Top 25, replacing Nevada after the Wolf Pack’s 0-2 week against San José State and Utah State. After enduring the rockiest start to the season in the Chris Jans era, the Aggies have a perfect 3-0 record in WAC play with wins over the conference’s second-best team in Cal Baptist and a resurgent UMKC team. NMSU’s perfect record will be put to the test over the next three games, as the Aggies will play at Utah Valley, Seattle and UTRGV for their longest road stretch of the season.
The full Other Top 25 is listed below. We will only field complaints from individuals who send us a notarized copy of their rankings.
The Other Top 25
|Rank||School||Record||Change||Our reasoning||This week's games|
|Rank||School||Record||Change||Our reasoning||This week's games|
|1||Gonzaga||18-1||-||The Bulldogs snapped out of their opening-week funk and flattened San Diego and LMU last week. BYU, who has played spoiler to Gonzaga several times in its WCC tenure, looms on Saturday.||vs. Santa Clara (1/16), vs. BYU (1/18)|
|2||San Diego State||17-0||-||It's getting harder to put the Aztecs' dominance into a stat or a handful of words without sounding mundane. San Diego State trailed for only 94 seconds in two games last week — and it wasn't against Boise State. Eclipsing that 20-0 start from the 2011 season looks more attainable by the game.||@ Fresno State (1/14), vs. Nevada (1/18)|
|3||Dayton||14-2||-||After beating up the Atlantic 10's cellar-dwellers for the past couple weeks, the Flyers get not one, but five games against the conference's top seven teams to close out the month. This Tuesday's game against VCU is appointment television.||vs. VCU (1/14), @ Saint Louis (1/17)|
|4||BYU||13-5||-||It's anyone's guess as to who is the second-best in the WCC. BYU got the nod with our voters because the Cougars didn't have Yoeli Childs (dislocated finger) in their overtime loss to Saint Mary's, plus they haven't had a bad loss in conference play.||vs. San Diego (1/16), @ Gonzaga (1/18)|
|5||Northern Iowa||14-2||4||Putting the clamps down on a disappointing Missouri State team was expected, but the way in which the Panthers beat the Bears was worth mentioning. Northern Iowa shot 59.1% from three, and the Panthers have recorded an eFG% north of 50% in all but one MVC game so far.||vs. Valparaiso (1/15), @ Bradley (1/18)|
|6||Saint Mary's||15-4||-||The Gaels refuse to take the easy route. Last week's loss to Santa Clara — who hadn't beaten a top-150 KenPom team all year — knocked them down to a tie for fifth in the WCC and 44th in the NET. Granted, Bart Torvik has Saint Mary's at a 96.7% chance of an at-large bid, but there might be cause for concern with already two non-Gonzaga losses in WCC play thus far.||@ Pepperdine (1/18)|
|7||VCU||12-4||-2||VCU suffered its first loss in Atlantic 10 play against Rhode Island in a game played to VCU's liking: slow, plodding with not a lot of offense. On one hand, the VCU Rams held the other Rams to 36.8% shooting; on the other hand, VCU somehow shot worse than that. These lapses have been issues all season, yet they're not going to be easier to resolve as the season progresses.||@ Dayton (1/14), vs. St. Bonaventure (1/18)|
|8||Utah State||14-5||-||The win over Nevada pulled the Aggies out of a nosedive, but only for a moment. Per Bart Torvik's TourneyCast projections, Utah State only has a 9.4% chance of earning an at-large bid — and this is for a resume that has neutral-site wins over Florida and LSU. USU has all week to prepare for Boise State on Saturday, which would be a Quad. 2 win. At this point, anything helps.||@ Boise State (1/18)|
|9||Furman||14-4||-2||A loss to UNC Greensboro overshadowed Mike Bothwell's 27 points off the bench against Chattanooga.||vs. Western Carolina (1/15), @ Wofford (1/17)|
|10||Saint Louis||14-3||6||If the Billikens could make free throws they might be the best team in the country.||vs. Dayton (1/17)|
|10||New Mexico||15-3||3||Carlton Bragg's dismissal from the team overshadowed another 2-0 week for the Lobos in MWC play. Now New Mexico will trudge on without Bragg's 12.6 points and 10.3 rebounds per game — all while the status of JJ Caldwell is unclear. The soap opera continues in Albuquerque.||@ Colorado State (1/15), @ UNLV (1/18)|
|12||ETSU||15-3||-||The SoCon is so mixed up at the top, but ETSU bounced back after losing to Furman with wins against UNC Greensboro and VMI.||vs. Samford (1/15), @ Western Carolina (1/18)|
|13||Yale||11-4||-2||I guess you could say that Yale cooked Johnson & Wales to perfection.||vs. Brown (1/17)|
|14||UNC Greensboro||13-5||-||@ The Citadel (1/15), vs. Chattanooga (1/18)|
|15||Duquesne||14-2||4||Marcus Weathers had a double-double against George Washington as the Dukes moved to 4-0 in A10 play.||vs. Fordham (1/15)|
|15||Rhode Island||10-5||7||I don't even remember when Rhode Island lost to Brown. Not me. Nope. Back-to-back wins will do that to you.||@ Saint Joseph's (1/15), vs. La Salle (1/18)|
|15||Richmond||12-4||-5||People love it when you "live and die by the three."||@ Davidson (1/14), @ George Mason (1/18)|
|18||Liberty||18-1||-||The Flames let North Alabama, a team in its second year transitioning to Division I, hang around until the final four minutes. Nevertheless, they're still undefeated in ASUN play.||vs. Lipscomb (1/18)|
|19||Harvard||11-4||1||Harvard now owns the state of California. Them's the rules. Please obey them.||vs. Dartmouth (1/18)|
|20||Akron||13-3||4||LCJ and Tyler Cheese went off against Ball State and Western Michigan.||@ Northern Illinois (1/14), vs. Toledo (1/18)|
|21||Kent State||13-3||1||Antonio Williams shined in Kent State's win over Central Michigan, amassing 23 points while shooting 50% from the field. The Golden Flashes are 3-0 to start MACtion.||@ Miami-OH (1/14), @ Western Michigan (1/18)|
|22||Vermont||11-6||-5||The home loss to Stony Brook was a big deal — the Catamounts haven't dropped a conference opener since 2012 – yet Vermont took out its frustrations on UMBC with an emphatic 24-point road win. KenPom gives Vermont at least a 70% chance of winning the next 10 games leading up to the rematch with Stony Brook on Feb. 20.||@ Binghamton (1/15), vs. Hartford (1/18)|
|23||Louisiana Tech||12-4||-8||Few teams had a stranger week than the Bulldogs did last week. Louisiana Tech let a volatile, yet mostly disappointing UTSA team make 18 threes in a 89-73 loss that was not as close as the score indicates. Then the Bulldogs regrouped and beat a transfer-laden UTEP team on the road. Just another week in Conference USA, I guess.||vs. Rice (1/16), vs. North Texas (1/18)|
|23||New Mexico St||12-6||NR||At last, the Aggies have trudged and clawed their way back into The Other Top 25 after a rocky, injury laden start to the season. They've passed every test in WAC play thus far by avenging last year's loss to Cal Baptist, then holding off an upstart UMKC team at home. This Thursday kicks off NMSU's longest three-game road stretch in conference play: first at Utah Valley, then up to Seattle on Saturday.||@ Utah Valley (1/16), @ Seattle (1/18)|
|25||Wright State||15-4||-4||The Raiders' comeback attempt in the final four minutes against UIC was impressive, but it exposed one of the team's flaws: Wright State only shoots 66.1% from the free-throw line on the season. That figure has gotten worse in Horizon League play, as the Raiders rank dead-last in the conference at 61.3%.||vs. Cleveland State (1/16), vs. Youngstown State (1/18)|