Commentary

Shockers still looking strong

Wichita maintains its edge over Creighton, Saint Mary's as the nation's top mid-major

Originally Published: January 31, 2012
By Jordan Brenner | ESPN Insider
Wichita StateAP Photo/Tom GannamToure' Murry and the Shockers are putting together an impressive 2011-12 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.

The best thing about this season's top mid-majors? They're showing no signs of letting up. Most are cruising through their respective conferences, and their efficiency margins continue to climb alongside their win totals. All of that makes for one sweet set of BracketBuster matchups on Feb. 18.

Between now and then, though, more conference battles loom, as several of the best mid-major leagues (particularly the MVC and the CAA) are top-heavy with tight races for first place. And that's a good place to leave things as we take a closer look at the team that is once again leading the efficiency margin race by a significant amount.

Wichita State Shockers (18-4, 9-2)
A few Creighton fans have been wondering how their Bluejays could trail the Shockers in these rankings, despite a head-to-head victory. Well, that's because this is purely a mathematical exercise and, even after a loss to Drake this past week, the Shockers still have the greatest efficiency margin of any mid-major in the country.


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Jordan Brenner | email

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