Mid-major rankings: Shockers on top

Wichita State edges out Saint Mary's for top spot, with other Cinderellas lurking

Originally Published: January 10, 2012
By Jordan Brenner | ESPN Insider
Joe Ragland & Doug McDermottUS PresswireBoth Wichita State and Creighton have been impressive so far this season.

All season long, Insider will be keeping a close eye on teams from conferences that haven't usually produced multiple NCAA tournament bids to see which squads outside of the spotlight look the strongest come tournament time. To that end, we'll be ranking the top performers from all conferences outside of the A-10, ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Mountain West, Pac-12 and SEC. One new caveat for this season: With the movement of BYU to the WCC, we will not be including the Cougars because of their established performance record. Likewise, Gonzaga and Memphis will not be considered in these rankings.

Another week, another team at the top of Insider's Mid-Major Power Rankings. This time it is Wichita State rising to the No. 1 spot, as the Shockers continue to jostle for position with Saint Mary's. Let's get right to it with this week's rankings:

Wichita State Shockers (12-3, 3-1)
A pair of conference road wins helped the Shockers move back into the top spot, flip-flopping with Saint Mary's. Their one-point squeaker over Evansville (Kenny Harris of the Purple Aces missed a free throw that would have sent the game to overtime) was the type of game that could have been an at-large killer, so remember that one on Selection Sunday. But the Shockers do have to be concerned by the fact they shot 59.1 percent and barely escaped with the W. Tuesday night's battle against Illinois State (11-4, 3-1) should be telling.

Jordan Brenner | email

ESPN The Magazine contributing writer
Brenner writes for ESPN The Magazine and ESPN Insider. He covers the NBA and college basketball.