Ball don’t lie. With the losses of #1 Villanova, #2 Kansas and #4 Kentucky last night, the #3 Gonzaga Bulldogs should hold the number one ranking in the AP Poll. Personally, Gonzaga is very deserving of that spot considering they are the most complete in college basketball. But that’s just my opinion. Here is the third edition of the College Pride Press Mid-Major Report…
Gonzaga (20-0, 8-0 WCC)
I’ll say it once and I’ll say it again. This Gonzaga team is the best team in the Mark Few era. The ‘Zags beat Santa Clara and Portland twice this week by an average margin of 23.7 points. Zach Collins is one of the most underrated players in the country.
St. Mary’s (17-2, 7-1 WCC)
Although they weren’t pretty, the Gaels got the job done in home wins over Pacific and Pepperdine. A home matchup against San Francisco on Thursday could be interesting.
Illinois State (16-4, 8-0 MVC)
The Redbirds continue to breeze through the Missouri Valley Conference. Traveling to Evansville on Sunday to play the Aces has the feel of a potential trap game for the first place team in the MVC.
New Mexico State (18-2, 5-0 WAC)
The Aggies had a light week with a 23 point home victory over UMKC on Saturday. Road games on Thursday and Saturday this week at Seattle and Utah Valley will pose a challenge for this fundamentally sound team.
Wichita State (18-4, 8-1 MVC)
After suffering a tough loss at Illinois State 11 days ago, the Shockers have bounced back to win 3 straight games. More impressively WSU has won each of its last three games by more than 15 points. Wichita State looks to continue its winning streak when they travel to Peoria to take on the Bradley Braves.
Dayton (15-4, 6-1 A-10)
Much like Wichita State, the Flyers have won 3 straight games all by more than 15 points. They are now looking like the Dayton team we are accustomed to seeing. UD takes on VCU in Richmond this Friday in the Mid-Major game of the week. The contest will determine first place in the Atlantic 10.
Middle Tennessee (17-3, 7-0 C-USA)
Middle Tennessee has won 7 straight games and they show no signs of stopping now. The Blue Raiders are a perfect 7-0 in Conference-USA action and they have a tough game coming up this Saturday at home against C-USA second place Louisiana Tech.
Valparaiso (16-4, 6-1 Horizon)
The Valparaiso Crusaders will be a team to watch out for come March. Alec Peters will lead this team to great things like he has done so far this season. Peters has led Valpo on a five-game win streak that has propelled them to first place in league play. The Crusaders have two home games this week against Wright State and the Norse of Northern Kentucky.
Just missed the Cut: Akron, VCU, UNC Wilmington, Belmont, Nevada
Players of the Week:
Alec Peters, Valparaiso
Not often does a player break the program career rebounding and scoring record in two games. Peters did just that in the victories over Green Bay and UIC. With the recent struggles of Oakland, Peters and the Crusaders are starting to gel at a good time.
Marcus Keene, Central Michigan
The leading scorer in the country exploded for 50 points in a 101-92 win over Miami (OH) on Saturday. Keene is listed at 5-foot-9 and is currently averaging 29.8 points per game. What makes that stat even more impressive is that he’s only had two games with less than 20 points. The next Isiah Thomas? As in Boston Celtic Isiah Thomas.
Dallas Moore, North Florida
Moore had 29 points on Thursday against Kennesaw State and poured 36 on Lipscomb in the win on Saturday. The senior is the fourth leading scorer in the country averaging 23.7 points per contest.
Games to Watch:
Friday, January 27th
Dayton @ VCU (9:00 PM ET, ESPN2)
Sunday, January 29th
Illinois St. @ Evansville (4:00 PM ET, ESPN3)
Tuesday, January 31st
Boise St. @ Colorado St. (9:00 PM ET, ESPN3)