Mid-major rankings: Belmont rising
The Bruins move up a spot, while Wichita State maintains its No. 1 position
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.
Here's what's great about efficiency stats: They're the perfect tonic to gross overreactions. If these rankings were, say, a poll, we'd be hard-pressed to keep unbeaten Murray State out of the top spot. And how could we not reward Saint Mary's after its dismantling of Gonzaga this past week?
The thing is, both teams still trail Wichita State in the standings, because there's a lot more to a résumé than recent success or plowing through a weak schedule. So keep that fact in mind not only as you plow through the latest top 10, but also as you start to target teams as potential first-round upset picks for the tournament.
Wichita State Shockers (15-3, 6-1)
Ho-hum wins against the MVC's bottom-dwellers (Bradley and Indiana State) were enough to keep the Shockers up top for the second straight week. With top-21 rankings in both offensive and defensive efficiency, they're actually the 15th-best team in the country according to Kenpom.com.
But if you're looking for warts, you can harp on this: Wichita State has lost three of its four toughest tests -- against Alabama, Temple and Creighton. Only a 19-point win against UNLV serves as a positive omen for the Shockers against tourney-quality competition.
To see the full Mid-Major Power Rankings, and get early insight into potential March upsets, you must be an ESPN Insider.
MORE MEN'S COLLEGE BASKETBALL HEADLINES
- Workers trying to save buckling UCLA court
- Giving back: Hill donates $1.25M to Duke
- Ex-PC starter Fortune heading to Colorado
- Mayo leaves Marquette, pursues pro career
MOST SENT STORIES ON ESPN.COM
Insider College Basketball
New on Insider
Lunardi: Pac-12 locked into 2 bids?
Player Rankings: Davis over Robinson for POY
Lunardi: Where UW, Northwestern fall
Hume: Bid thieves are few
Bilas: Sizing up the Big East
Gasaway: Pac-12 stronger than it seems
Hume: Best bets among bubble teams
Lunardi: VCU may be first bid thief
Ford: Time running out for 5 NBA prospects
Lunardi: How UConn, Texas, others earn bids
Lunardi: Latest look at the bubble
Fraschilla: Previewing Big 12 tournament
Bilas Index: UNC remains at No. 3
Pomeroy: Trends predict UNC-Duke clash
Lunardi: No No. 1 seed for Big Ten?
Player Rankings: Purdue's pivotal players
Ford: Will MKG, Cody Zeller stay in school?
Gasaway: Rebounding won't crush Orange
Telep: UCLA's top recruits remain committed
Bilas: How Michigan State can still improve
Bilas: Keys to the Hoyas' continued success
Lunardi: Watch out for NCAA bid thieves
Lunardi Rundown: Kentucky is No. 1 overall
Bilas Index: Kansas returns to the top five
Make smart bracket picks by spotting Cinderella early.
And don't forget these Insider mainstays:
Doug Gottlieb, Fran Fraschilla, Joe Lunardi and Jay Williams offer their opinions.
Insights from the mind of the College Gameday analyst.
The national recruiting analyst weighs in on news and rumors surrounding the top high school prospects.
Stay on top of all the latest recruiting buzz.
Every D-1 player's efficiency rating.