Maybe you’ve heard of the European Super League and feel strongly about it. Maybe you’ve seen it crop up on your timeline and couldn’t care less. In either case, it has nothing to do with college basketball.
But it’s the offseason so let’s force feed it into our world!
Undercutting the little guy, taking away the potential for Davids to beat Goliaths? That runs counter to what makes mid-major basketball fun. It’s a bad idea, but we can’t miss a chance to think up a list of 15 super programs and get yelled at for who we didn’t include.
So here you have it, the 15 mid-major schools that would be founding members of the Mid-Major Super League. Who’d we grievously leave out?
- Gonzaga. It goes without saying. The team that isn’t a mid-major but plays in a mid-major league would (or should) be a founding member of a college basketball super league, period. But if we’re basing the list on the teams this site covers, the little school from Spokane is the chairperson.
- BYU. Michigan, Oklahoma State and Florida are just three of the crowd of well-known programs that don’t have as many NCAA Tournament appearances as the Cougars’ 30. Throw in the national following and it’s a cinch.
- Dayton. One of the clearer picks. The Flyers have historical success (18 NCAA Tournaments), a giant social media following on @DaytonMBB (64,000 followers) and a huge arena.
- VCU. After modest success in the 80s, the Rams have now had nationally competitive teams under five different head coaches since Jeff Capel got it going in 2004. Nights at the Siegel Center would be mouthwatering for those juicy broadcast rights.
- Loyola University Chicago. Recency bias? Of course. The Ramblers have big-time NCAA Tournament history bookended by decades of not much else. But do you really think a money hungry endeavor would ignore a market like Chicago?
- Saint Joseph’s. There’ve been some lean years on Hawk Hill, but Phil Martelli had Saint Joe’s established as a mid-major power for decades, and there’s no ignoring the East Coast if a program is at all justifiable.
- San Diego State. There’s a noveau riche-Chelsea vibe to the Aztecs, who’ve amassed 10 out of their 13 NCAA Tournaments appearances since 2002. But few mid-majors have shown the ability to field as good of teams when things are going right. The Show doesn’t hurt.
- Utah State. The Aggies are rarely not good (22 NCAA Tournament appearances) and, like most of the other MWC teams on this list, have a tremendous home court aesthetic. The Beehive State gets two teams in.
- New Mexico. The Lobos haven’t been to a Sweet 16 since 1974 and are closing in on a decade since their last NCAA Tournament appearance. Nonetheless, they’ve got the Pit and a rabid fan base.
- UNLV. Call it the MWC Four. The Rebels still have some name brand value, right? In any case, they’re just five years removed from nearly hiring the coach that would eventually go to UCLA — there’s potential there.
- Western Kentucky. The South is massively underrepresented and with 22 NCAA Tournament appearances, few programs in the region have been as consistent as the Hilltoppers. The current coach being able to pull in NBA talent doesn’t hurt either.
- Murray State. The Racers have made NCAA Tournaments under nine coaches in their history, so it’s a fair bet the Mid-Major Super League is getting a quality contribution out of Kentucky.
- Saint Mary’s. Randy Bennett has routinely built and rebuilt the Gaels into a nationally-relevant mid-major. Plus, imagine the marketing potential Down Under.
- New Mexico State. Like El Clásico, this league ports in one of the sport’s best rivalries in UNM/NMSU. The Aggies flirted with losing another head coach this offseason to a fellow mid-major, but are still one of the most successful mid-major programs there is with 22 NCAA Tournaments, four Sweet 16’s and, once upon a time, a Final Four.
- Grand Canyon. Now here’s a doozy. There are plenty of programs worthy of this spot, but the ambitious Lopes and their savvy leadership would almost certainly find a way to get their penny loafered foot in the door.