The Mid-Major Top 25

On Monday most of the buzz around rankings are for the AP Top 25 and the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll. While those are both great for national rankings, they don't typically tell us much that we don't already know. Oh, Duke's great? Who would've thought. (Although they are useful as fodder for a good Poll Attack.)

But say you're thinking about how you're going to pick a bracket. Maybe you're looking for next season's Butler? Well, you could read this post by Kyle Whelliston over at Basketball Prospectus, and you should also check out the Mid-Major Top 25.
CollegeInsider.com, the wonderful people that give us the CIT, publishes the weekly Top 25 of teams from 23 conferences. It doesn't include the BCS conferences, Mountain West Conference, WAC or Conference USA. What it does have though are some teams you should be paying attention to.

It starts with the number one team in the rankings, the Cleveland State Vikings. The Vikings are 10-0 for the first time in school history. They got 23 of the 31 first place votes in this week's poll. The Vikings just finished mangling the two Wisconsin schools from the Horizon League on the road. So it's not like these have all been easy wins either.

In fact, there are three Horizon League teams in this week's Top 25, including Loyola-Chicago at 21. The Ramblers were at 10th in the poll before going 0-2 in their first weekend of Horizon League play. Also, Valparaiso is right on the outside looking in at number 26.
What about if you compared the teams Whelliston mentions to their rankings in the Top 25?
  • Hampton - 7-1 overall and ranked #23
  • Virginia Commonwealth - 5-2 overall and ranked #9
  • South Dakota State - 6-1 overall and ranked #17
  • Loyola (Chicago) - 7-2 overall, and ranked #21
  • Butler - 4-3 overall, and ranked #8
Those are definitely some teams to watch this season. It will be interesting to see how the polls shake out as more games are played. Remember to check this one out come March.
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