- Jordan Brenner, ESPN The Magazine contributing writer
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.
On Valentine's Day, it's only fitting that we apologize for not sharing the love. Due to a problem with the database, Memphis was causing other Conference USA teams to be ignored. That kept Southern Mississippi out of last week's top 10 by mistake. So welcome aboard, Golden Eagles. Somewhere, Clarence Weatherspoon is smiling.
Meanwhile, once again, Murray State doesn't even crack the top 10 in efficiency margin, and now the Racers finally have a loss on their ledger. We're not saying the Racers aren't one of the 10 best mid-majors, but the numbers have been warning that they might be a bit overrated for a while. Ken Pomeroy has an interesting take on that situation, but it bears repeating: These are efficiency rankings based on a spreadsheet, not some subjective attempt to judge value.
Also of note: Two other teams who generated a lot of controversy in our comments section lost in the past week, as well. Creighton fell to Wichita State (not to mention suffering two other losses) after consistently trailing the Shockers in efficiency margin, while Saint Mary's went down to Gonzaga in an upset that looked predictable based on stats.
With that said, both teams remain in the top five this week. But the No. 1 team stands on top once again by a wide margin.
In this week's edition of the Mid-Major Rankings, Jordan Brenner writes that while Creighton has some defensive issues to work out, the Bluejays still have a very good shot at making the tournament -- and some favorable numbers on their side.