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The Other Top 25: Conference tournaments shake up the field

Plenty of upsets lead to plenty of dips in this week’s rankings.

NCAA Basketball: NC-Greensboro at Kansas Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

March is fully underway, doing its thing by giving us plenty of conference tournament action to whet our appetites before the NCAA Tournament.

We’re now less than one week away from Selection Sunday, and scores of former contenders for NCAA Tournament bids have fallen in similar fashion in their respective conference tournaments.

While many of the teams at the top of this week’s Other Top 25 have yet to see any action in Championship Week, power players such as San Diego State, Northern Iowa, Furman, and UNC Greensboro all fell victim to the upset bug that has been known to bite perennially in March.

Yet, other schools such as Belmont, Bradley, and Utah State—champions of the OVC, MVC, and MWC, respectively—have seen their fortunes gilded in the past week, as each of them earned wins that secured both automatic NCAA Tournament bids and higher spots in the Other Top 25.

The full poll can be seen below.

The Other Top 25 Week 19

Rank School Record Change Our reasoning This week's games
Rank School Record Change Our reasoning This week's games
1 Dayton 29-2 - Last week, the Flyers smoked Rhode Island on the road, and then proceeded to beat GW by 25 after being tied with the Colonials with 14 minutes remaining in the 2nd half. They're playing their best basketball at the right time. 3/13 vs. TBD (A10 Tournament quarterfinals)
2 Gonzaga 29-2 - Thanks to the WCC Tournament's ladder bracket, Gonzaga hasn't played since February 29th. 3/9 vs. San Francisco (WCC Tournament semifinals)
3 San Diego State 30-2 - San Diego State had Utah State right where they wanted them for the majority of the game, but eventually fell to the Aggies. Of course, that's not a bad loss by any means, and SDSU is still leaps and bounds ahead of other mid-major competition. None
4 BYU 24-7 - BYU, still riding high after their win over Gonzaga, also hasn't played since February 29th thanks to the WCC Tournament bracket. 3/9 vs. Saint Mary's (WCC Tournament semifinals)
5 ETSU 29-4 - While other SoCon teams were busy getting upset in the conference tournament, the Bucs stayed strong and looked like the league champs they are, crushing Western Carolina in the tournament semifinals. 3/9 vs. Wofford (SoCon Tournament final)
6 Saint Mary's 25-7 1 The Gaels survived a double overtime scare against Pepperdine that saw Jordan Ford drop 42 points on the Waves. They'll get another shot at BYU on Monday night. 3/9 vs. BYU (WCC Tournament semifinals)
7 Utah State 26-8 6 Had the Aggies lost to SDSU on Saturday, they would have been left in suspense until Selection Sunday, nervous about their potential to earn an at-large bid. Thanks to their win in the MWC title game, they're now in the field worry-free. None
8 Richmond 24-7 - The Spiders have been one of the few mid-majors whose bubble stock hasn't plummeted in the waning weeks of the season, and they just dispatched Davidson and Duquesne. The Spiders can shore up their NCAA Tournament résumé with a good showing in Brooklyn. 3/13 vs. TBD (A10 Tournament quarterfinals)
9 New Mexico St 25-6 2 19 consecutive wins and an undefeated conference slate. The Aggies are once again the class of the WAC, and they're the presumptive favorites to get the conference's automatic NCAA Tournament bid for the fourth straight year. 3/12 vs. Chicago State (WAC Tournament)
10 Rhode Island 21-9 - Rhode Island managed to avert disaster with a 1-point win over UMass, but the Rams' best hope for the NCAA Tournament will likely be an A10 Tournament title, thanks to recent losses to Davidson and Saint Louis. 3/13 vs. TBD (A10 Tournament quarterfinals)
11 Northern Iowa 25-6 -5 Losing to Drake in the Arch Madness quarterfinals was likely the nail in the coffin for the Panthers' NCAA Tournament hopes. None
12 Saint Louis 23-8 2 The defending A10 Tournament champions have finished the season on a remarkably strong note, notching 6 straight wins (including a demolition of St. Bonaventure to conclude the regular season). 3/13 vs. TBD (A10 Tournament quarterfinals)
13 Yale 23-7 -1 Harvard dealt the Bulldogs a loss in both teams' regular season finale, but Yale still won the Ivy League title thanks largely to Paul Atkinson's wickedly efficient shooting. 3/14 vs. Penn (Ivy League Tournament)
14 Vermont 25-7 2 Following a shocking loss to UMBC, the Catamounts have recovered well, taking down Albany and Maine in back-to-back games. Another loss before the NCAA Tournament would be stunning, to say the least. 3/10 vs. UMBC (America East semifinals)
15 Furman 25-7 -6 Once having the potential to steal a bid and give the SoCon two NCAA Tournament teams, the Paladins are now likely NIT-bound following a shocking loss to Wofford in the conference tournament. None
16 Belmont 26-7 4 A signature backdoor cut gave the Bruins the win over Murray State in the OVC Championship, allowing the Bruins to earn another spot in the NCAA Tournament (with no at-large bid required). None
17 Stephen F. Austin 28-3 2 SFA finally beat another Kenpom top-200 team last week, prevailing over Abilene Christian in a rather close affair. 3/13 vs. TBD (Southland Tournament semifinals)
18 Liberty 30-4 3 The Flames won three straight ASUN Tournament games to get back to the NCAA Tournament once again. None
19 UNC Greensboro 23-9 -4 Suffering the same fate as Furman, the Spartans went from being potential bid thieves to getting upset by Chattanooga, ending the season with back-to-back losses to the Mocs. None
20 Harvard 21-8 3 The Crimson's recovery this year has been one of the best mid-major basketball stories, and their win over Yale to close out the regular season ought to give Harvard fans great hope about the potential to take home the Ivy League Tournament crown. 3/14 vs. Princeton (Ivy League Tournament)
21 Akron 24-7 1 MAC East teams seem dead set on cannibalizing each other, but Akron has emerged as the most stable of the four top teams in that division; they proved as much by wrapping up the regular season by taking down Buffalo and Kent State. 3/12 vs. TBD (MAC Tournament quarterfinals)
22 North Texas 20-11 -5 How does a team follow up a C-USA title-clinching win against WKU in perhaps the best mid-major basketball game of the season? By losing to Charlotte and scoring only 43 points in the process. 3/12 vs. TBD (C-USA Tournament quarterfinals)
23 Wright State 25-6 1 A lot of time has passed since the Raiders last took the court, but they remain the odds-on favorite to win the Horizon League Tournament. Chalk it up to another great season from HL Player of the Year Loudon Love. 3/9 vs. UIC (Horizon League Tournament semifinals)
24 Bradley 23-11 NR This week proved that Arch Madness is rarely normal, and Bradley, the 4 seed, was the highest remaining seed by the semifinals. Dominating wins over Drake and Valpo have sent them dancing once again. None
25 Loyola 21-11 -7 Did we mention Arch Madness lived up to its name this year? Their last-second loss to Valpo proved that. None

Also receiving votes: Louisiana Tech 8, Hofstra 8, Eastern Washington 4, Boise State 3, Duquesne 2, Northern Colorado 2, Winthrop 1