Mid-Major Top 25: Murray State Holds On To Top Spot Despite First Loss

The dream season is over for Murray State, but its reign at the top of SB Nation's Mid-Major Top 25 is not.

The rankings in parentheses are from two weeks ago. Sorry to make that sting even worse than it would have otherwise, Cleveland State.

1. MURRAY STATE (25-1, 13-1) (1)

The perfect season is gone, but no other member of the top five has done enough to take the top spot away from Murray State. The Racers will all but assure themselves of a place in the NCAA Tournament with a win over Saint Mary's on Saturday.

2. GONZAGA (20-4, 10-2) (5)

The 'Zags got the help they needed in the race for the WCC title when Loyola Marymount upset Saint Mary's on Wednesday night. They still trail the Gaels in the league standings, however, because they've played two less games. A Feb. 23 date with BYU is the biggest remaining obstacle in their way to at least a share of the conference crown.

3. SAINT MARY'S (23-4, 12-2) (3)

The Gaels became the third top 25 team to be stunned by Loyola Marymount this season when they fell 75-60 on Wednesday night. All four of SMC's losses this season have come by 12 points or more, a disturbing trend.

4. WICHITA STATE (23-4, 14-2) (7)

All of the sudden the Shockers have a stranglehold on the Valley regular season title and appear poised to earn a single digit seed in the big dance. Of these 25 teams, Wichita State might be the one best suited to make an appearance in the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament. They are highly skilled and extremely well-rounded. Check them out Saturday afternoon against Davidson for proof.

5. LONG BEACH STATE (19-6, 12-0) (8)

The Beach has been in cruise control for the past several weeks, but that changes Saturday night when they face Creighton in Omaha. A win and they're probably dancing with a respectable seed.

6. HARVARD (21-3, 7-1) (4)

The Lindream of a Linperfect conference record in the Ivy League was brought to a Linhalt by Linceton last week. I was born without the Jeremy Lin pun gene, but I'm trying, man.

7. MIDDLE TENNESSEE (23-4, 12-1) (6)

MTSU quietly just keeps taking care of business in the Sun Belt, and as a result their at-large hopes are still very much alive.

8. CREIGHTON (22-5, 12-4) (2)

I'm not sure there's been a more surprising three-game losing steak in college basketball this season than the one the Bluejays just snapped. Naturally, they did so by shooting 77.5% (31-of-40) from the field against Southern Illinois on Wednesday. There's no question that when they're on they're just about as good as anybody, but they've still got something to prove now on Saturday against Long Beach State.

9. IONA (21-6, 9-3) (13)

The Gaels are back in sole possession of first place in the MAAC with just two league games to play.

10. BYU (21-6, 9-3) (18)

If the WCC tournament stays true to form and the semifinalists are BYU, Loyola Marymount, Gonzaga and Saint Mary's, that's going to be basketball worth staying up for.

11. ORAL ROBERTS (24-5, 16-1) (9)

The Golden Eagles are going to clinch the Summit League title in a couple of days, but there's no doubt that what South Dakota State did to them (75-60 beatdown) is still fresh in their minds. That potential championship game would be a tremendous rubber match.

12. AKRON (19-7, 11-1) (20)

The Zips have now won seven straight and 11 of their past 12 in a conference where parity was supposed to reign supreme.

13. GEORGE MASON (22-6, 14-2) (16)

Sherrod Wright's buzzer-beater to beat VCU lifted Mason into a first-place tie with Drexel, but it also may have cost the CAA its shots at sending multiple teams to the NCAA Tournament.

14. VCU (22-6, 13-3) (14)

A BracketBusters opponent sexier than Northern Iowa would have been a great potential boon for the Rams' at-large hopes.

15. DAVIDSON (20-6, 14-2) (12)

Remember that these guys beat Kansas...convincingly. A 4-6 seed is going to be incredibly disappointed to see the Wildcats pop up alongside them come Selection Sunday.

16. DREXEL (22-5, 14-2) (17)

No team with an RPI as high as Drexel's (87) or George Mason's (89) has ever earned an at-large bid. The highest RPI team to ever earn a nod was No. 74 New Mexico in 1999. The CAA Tournament is going to be as intense as any in the country.

17. WEBER STATE (21-4, 13-1) (15)

I love hearing national analysts starting to talk about Damian Lillard as their "sleeper" Player of the Year, as if his talent was so difficult to unearth. He's the friggin' leading scorer in the country. Still, you do hope that Weber State handles business in the Big Sky so that he'll get the look from the nation that he deserves.

18. KENT STATE (19-6, 9-3) (21)

The Flashes have won seven straight heading into their BracketBusters matchup with Charleston. Their regular season-finale against Akron has all the makings of another classic.

19. UT-ARLINGTON (20-5, 12-0) (19)

The Mavericks rallied from a 15-point deficit to keep the nation's second-longest winning streak (16 games) alive with a 51-47 victory over Stephen F. Austin on Wednesday. The triumph also secured just the fourth 20-win season in program history.

20. LIU BROOKLYN (19-7, 13-1) (22)

The Blackbirds are still riding high after sweeping the "Battle of Brooklyn" series with Sant Francis.

21. WAGNER (21-4, 12-2) (24)

Wagner has tasted defeat just once since Dec. 10, but it's still going to need some outside help to steal the Northeast Conference title away from LIU.

22. Belmont (20-7, 12-2) (NR)

The Bruins were considered perhaps the biggest potential Cinderella of all at the beginning of the season, but with 12-2 Mercer playing equally solid basketball and hosting the A-Sun Tournament, even making the dance at this point is far from assured. The two will meet in the regular season finale for each on Feb. 25.

23. Ohio (20-6, 8-4) (11)

It's shocking that the Bobcats are probably not going to earn one of the MAC's four first round byes.

24. CLEVELAND STATE (20-7, 10-5) (10)

Cleveland State couldn't have been in more control of the Horizon League race before the inexplicable three-game losing streak the Vikings are still mired in. Now suddenly they're looking up at 12-4 Valparaiso.

25. BUCKNELL (20-6, 10-0)

A 15 seed hasn't knocked off a two since 2001, but if the Bison get put in that position, history shows it's a dangerous draw.

DROPPED OUT: Denver (23), Loyola (Md.) (25)

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