Mid-Major Top 25: Undefeated Murray State Takes Over At No. 1

Murray State is the last undefeated mid-major standing, and the Racers sit atop this week's SB Nation Mid-Major Top 25.

The teams ranked one, two and three in last week's rankings have each tasted defeat since last we spoke, which means there's a bit of a shake-up at the top this week.

1. MURRAY STATE (10-0) (5)

The lone remaining mid-major unbeaten now owns impressive victories at Memphis and over Old Spice Classic champion Dayton by 17. The Racers' chances of being the first squad to enter the NCAA Tournament undefeated since 1991 are far better than any of the other seven teams in the country without a loss. 

2. HARVARD (9-1) (2)

The Crimson looked a bit over-matched in their 14-point loss at Connecticut, but that was to be expected on the road against a team with that type of size. They're still completely capable of playing past the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament.

3. NORTHERN IOWA (9-1) (10)

The Panthers have been sensational ever since losing at Saint Mary's in a game played at 2 a.m. to accommodate the schedule for ESPN's 24-hour tip-off marathon. Since that loss, NIU has beaten Providence and Iowa State by 17, Milwaukee by 16 and Iowa by 20.

4. OHIO (7-1, 2-0) (11)

A narrow defeat at No. 4 Louisville (59-54) remains the Bobcats' lone blemish, and their two-point victory at Marshall looks better each week. The big question surrounding OU heading into the season was whether or not they'd be able to keep anyone from scoring. They've responded by holding half of their eight opponents to less than 55 points. 

5. CREIGHTON (7-1) (1)

The 'Jays tumble four spots after an 80-71 loss to Saint Joseph's where they looked surprisingly inferior. Creighton has now lost nine straight games in the eastern time zone since a New Year’s Eve 2008 victory over Indiana State.

6. WICHITA STATE (7-2) (8)

The Shockers buried 11-of-25 three-pointers and grabbed 14 offensive rebounds in an 83-76 win over Utah State last week. Much of the reason for WSU's current five-game winning streak is the play of senior point guard Joe Ragland, whose career had been tainted by inconsistency up to this point. Over the past four games, Ragland is averaging 19 points while shooting 20-of-37 from the field and a sparkling 15-of-22 from three-point range. He has 13 assists and five turnovers in that span.

7. GONZAGA (5-2) (3)

Facing an unranked Big Ten opponent for the second time in as many games, Gonzaga was again out-muscled for the better part of 40 minutes in a seven-point loss to Michigan State. Draymond Green dominated the Bulldogs, who appear to have no answer for talented, athletic forwards.


8. CLEVELAND STATE (10-1) (12)

Senior guard Jeremy Montgomery drilled a three-pointer from the top of the key with 21.2 seconds left to give the Vikings a 69-66 victory over Akron on Saturday. It was the fourth time this season that CSU has won on its final offensive possession.

9. SAINT MARY'S (6-1) (9)

The Gaels are still your No. 1 in the current RPI rankings. I'm going to need 4,000 words on what this means for their seeding four months from now, Lunardi.

10. IONA (7-2) (4)

The loss to Marshall wasn't completely shocking. The fact that it came by 19 points, however, was a bit more disturbing. There have been some rumblings that a handful of players - including star guards Scott Machado and MoMo Jones - have been battling illness. That would make the 83-62 beatdown a bit more understandable.

11. DENVER (6-2) (6)

The two-point overtime loss at home to Iona stings, but the Pioneers are still off to their best start (excluding their non-Division-I years) since 1942-43.

12. KENT STATE (6-1) (14)

The Golden Flashes are in the midst of a ten-day break for finals after escaping with a 58-56 win over Western Carolina on Saturday.

13. BYU (8-2) (15)

It doesn't matter that the game was hideous or that the Utes have been equally abysmal this season, the folks in Provo are always going to celebrate a 19-point win over Utah in anything.

14. MIDDLE TENNESSEE (10-2) (13)

The Blue Raiders bounced back from a ten-point loss at UAB by pounding Tennessee-Martin and then beating Belmont by three in a rematch of a game MTSU lost in double overtime three weeks ago.

15. BELMONT (6-3, 2-0) (7)

The loss to MTSU means the potential at-large safety net the Bruins hoped to have probably won't be around when the Atlantic Sun Tournament rolls around. It shouldn't matter, but stranger things have happened in March.

16. UC-SANTA BARBARA (5-2) (16)

UCSB began a stretch of 12 days and 11 nights on the road with a 65-61 win over San Diego on Tuesday. When all is said and done, the Gauchos will have gone 35 days between home games.

17. VCU (6-3) (17)

VCU's 73-51 win over Richmond was their third straight double digit blowout and second straight against an Atlantic 10 opponent. The Rams have held opponents to 60 points or less in five of their six wins

18. CHARLESTON (7-1, 2-0) (19)

The Cougs will return to action after an 11-day break on Wednesday night against Tennessee.

19. COASTAL CAROLINA (8-1, 2-0) (21)

The Chanticleers rank third in the nation in field goal percentage (53%), 12th in rebounds (41.8 per game) and 19th in scoring (80.6 ppg).

20. LONG BEACH STATE (4-5) (18)

It seems unfair to drop the Beach for giving No. 6 North Carolina all it could handle...but that's exactly what's happening here.


21. INDIANA STATE (7-2) (NR)

The Sycamores trailed at halftime for the first time all season before defeating Maryville 68-57 on Saturday.

22. CAMPBELL (8-1, 2-0) (NR)

The Camels have quietly been rolling over opponents on their way to an 8-1 mark. Their lone setback came at Creighton on Nov. 25.

23. LOYOLA (MD) (8-1, 2-0) (NR)

Most expected the MAAC to be a two-horse race between Iona and Fairfield, but Loyola has ripped off eight straight wins since a season-opening loss to Wake Forest.

24. OAKLAND (7-4, 2-0) (22)

The Golden Grizzlies are about to enter a brutal five-game stretch that includes trips to Valpo, Arizona, North Dakota St. and South Dakota St.

25. WEBER STATE (6-2) (20)

The Wildcats, who lost by 28 at BYU on Dec. 7, get a second chance to make a national splash on Friday night at California. Damian Lillard, the nation's leading scorer, will go head-to-head with Golden Bears star Jorge Gutierrez. That alone is reason to at least casually tune-in.


Milwaukee (23), Valparaiso (24), Davidson (25)

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