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Mid-Major Power Rankings: Indiana State Continues Best Season Since 1979

Mid-Major Power Rankings: Indiana State Continues Best Season Since 1979

For the first time since 1979, Indiana State cracked the AP Top 25. The Sycamores also continue to climb the FloHoops Mid-Major Power Rankings.

Feb 13, 2024 by Kyle Kensing
Mid-Major Power Rankings: Indiana State Continues Best Season Since 1979

The completion of the Super Bowl clears the way for college basketball to take center stage in the nation's sports consciousness. 

Anyone not locked into the past three months on the hardwood missed more drama than Kansas City and San Francisco delivered in Las Vegas. Every week has been a turbulent ride, with the weekly FloHoops.com Mid-Major Power Rankings capturing just a microcosm of that. 

Just look at the America East Conference, where last week, an NJIT team languishing in the league's cellar beat two of its leading contenders for the regular-season championship — Vermont and UMass Lowell — less than 48 hours apart. 

Meanwhile, among those appearing in the Mid-Major Power Rankings, the top spot seems to change hands just about weekly. New to the pole position after a steady climb from having fallen out just two months is Saint Mary's. 

The Gaels' win over rival Gonzaga last week vaulted Saint Mary's back into the top 10. Following up by destroying West Coast Conference counterparts Pacific and Portland to extend the nation's longest winning streak to 12 games, coupled with continued chaos across the rest of the nation sends Saint Mary's to No. 1. 

SMC sits at No. 18 in the Feb. 12 Associated Press Top 25 Poll, one of four mid-major conference teams appearing there this week. Two of the other three — No. 16 Dayton and No. 24 FAU — have been fixtures of the poll much of the 2023-24 season. The fourth, however, entered the Top 25 for the first time in 45 years. 

When Indiana State was last ranked prior to the Feb. 12 poll revealing the Sycamores at No. 23, Larry Bird captained the team to the National Championship Game. 

While none of the 2023-24 Sycamores are putting up numbers anywhere near those of Larry Legend — hardly a knock against any current Indiana State player, given Bird averaged almost 29 points, 15 rebounds and more than five assists per game in '79 — this team is more well-rounded. 

Indiana State's uncanny balance and uptempo style of play could make this a potential Final Four team. Coming off a 2023 NCAA Tournament with a pair of mid-major conference representatives in the national semifinals, why not? 

The Missouri Valley's sent two different programs to the Final Four since 2013 with Wichita State and Loyola Chicago, neither of which went into March Madness particularly well-seeded. Indiana State heads into the home stretch of the regular season and Arch Madness in the 30s of various advanced metric rankings, and could climb to a potential top-four seed in its region if the wins keep coming. 

Tuesday, Feb. 13

Duquesne at Dayton, 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT

Colorado State at San Diego State, 9 p.m./6 p.m. 

New Mexico at Nevada, 11 p.m./8 p.m. 

Wednesday, Feb. 14

UMass at Richmond, 7 p.m./4 p.m.

Oakland at Purdue Fort Wayne, 7 p.m./4 p.m.

Saint Joseph's at Loyola Chicago, 8 p.m./5 p.m. 

Utah State at Wyoming, 10 p.m./7 p.m. 

Thursday, Feb. 15

Charleston at Northeastern, 7 p.m./4 p.m. 

SMU at Tulane, 7 p.m./4 p.m.

Hofstra at Drexel, 7 p.m./4 p.m. 

Memphis at North Texas, 8 p.m./5 p.m. 

Friday, Feb. 16 

Harvard at Cornell, 6 p.m./3 p.m.

New Mexico at San Diego State, 10 p.m./7 p.m. 

Saturday, Feb. 17

Richmond at George Washington, 12:30 p.m./9:30 a.m.

UMass Lowell at Bryant, 4 p.m./1 p.m.

Louisiana at Appalachian State, 4:30 p.m./1:30 p.m. 

Utah State at Colorado State, 5:30 p.m./2:30 p.m. 

Indiana State at Southern Illinois, 7 p.m./4 p.m. 

Yale at Princeton, 8 p.m./5 p.m. 

Nevada at UNLV, 11:30 p.m./8:30 p.m. 

Sunday, Feb. 18

FAU at South Florida, 12 noon/9 a.m. 

North Texas at UAB, 3 p.m./12 noon

Memphis at SMU, 4 p.m./1 p.m. 

Monday, Feb. 19

North Carolina Central at Norfolk State, 9 p.m./6 p.m. 

Feb. 13 Top 15

1. Saint Mary's 

Behind one of the nation's most overwhelming defenses, Saint Mary's has resurrected a season that once appeared headed for disappointment. The Gaels are holding opponents to 57.7 points per game, the second-lowest yield in all of college basketball, on 38.6 percent shooting from the floor. 

Meanwhile, the starting five of Aidan Mahaney, Augustas Marčiulionis, Mitchell Saxon, Joshua Jefferson and Alex Ducas are all averaging from 8.8 to 14 points per game. Saint Mary's combination of balance and defensive intensity will make the Gaels a difficult out in the NCAA Tournament. 

2. Indiana State 

Indiana State opened a two-game lead in the Missouri Valley, rallying against Missouri State for a 73-71 win that extended the Sycamores' winning streak to nine games. 

The victory over Missouri State was another reflection of this Indiana State team's versatility: Ryan Conwell's 3-point shooting on the way to 24 points powered the Sycamores. 

3. Dayton

An offensively anemic showing at VCU sent Dayton to its second Atlantic 10 Conference loss. The Flyers are a game behind Richmond after losing the head-to-head meeting last month. 

The common denominator for Dayton in its defeats is failing to reach 70 points. It goes against the reputation Dayton's built up for more than a decade, but this year's Flyers team is at its best when it can open up the floor. 

4.  San Diego State

An overtime loss at Nevada to cap a game San Diego State should have won sends the Aztecs into the most important stretch of their season in a hole. 

San Diego State hosts both Colorado State and New Mexico before traveling to Utah State on Feb. 20. If the Aztecs can rally to win the next three after the loss in Reno, they'll be in solid position to win the Mountain West regular-season championship. 

5. Colorado State

Colorado State is the lone Mountain West contender to go unscathed in the first half of February, closing out last week with lopsided wins over Boise State and San Jose State the showed off the Rams defensive acumen.

Trips to San Diego State and New Mexico bookend a three-game stretch that includes a home date vs. Utah State. The trio of marquee matchups could very well dictate Colorado State's postseason outlook. 

6. FAU

FAU had battled its way back to the top of the American Athletic Conference, but now heads into its Sunshine State matchup with South Florida this week needing a win to avoid falling two games behind the surprising Bulls. 

The Owls played a pair of overtime games last week, rallying on Sunday to beat Wichita State, 95-82, to avoid an 0-2 stretch. A 76-73 loss on Thursday at UAB sent FAU to its first loss in a month. 

7. Nevada

While the rest of its conference was mired in turmoil last week, Nevada emerged as the Mountain West's big winner. The Wolf Pack's wins over Utah State on the road and in San Diego State in overtime propelled a team that once appeared to be losing a grip on its NCAA Tournament hopes into the forefront of its conference-title race. 

Kenan Blackshear scored a total of 40 points in the two wins, continuing what has been a standout season for the Nevada guard. 

8. New Mexico

The Mountain West is the best mid-major conference, and yet the Mountain West is without a Top 25-ranked team as of Feb. 12. Blame the league's strength for that, evidenced in New Mexico dropping an 80-77 decision at home to UNLV. 

The Runnin' Rebels are not one of the six MW teams currently vying for NCAA Tournament at-large consideration, yet they boast multiple wins over March Madness hopefuls. New Mexico being one of them isn't detrimental to the Lobos' standing, but losing back-to-back games at The Pit deals a severe blow to their conference title prospects. 

9. Utah State 

Spectrum Magic finally ran out for Utah State last week. A loss to Nevada was the Aggies' first setback at home this season, and Utah State's second consecutive loss in Mountain West play after falling at San Diego State. 

Rallying to rout Boise State was critical to keeping Utah State in contention for the MW title. 

10. Richmond 

The Spiders are back alone in first place atop the A-10 thanks to Dayton's loss at VCU. Richmond rebounded from its own loss to the Rams with a rout of La Salle, and now embarks on a week with potential traps. 

The Spiders host UMass on Wednesday, then travel to George Washington on Saturday. 

11. Gonzaga  

It's been a uniquely up-and-down season at Gonzaga, but the Bulldogs are on a decided high following their win at Kentucky. 

The non-conference interlude amid the West Coast Conference season gives Gonzaga a much-needed jolt for its NCAA Tournament resume. The Zags have put up 82 or more points in six of their last seven wins, and should be on a six-game roll heading into the final weekend of the regular season when they visit San Francisco and Saint Mary's. 

12. Drake

Tucker DeVries' 27 points helped Drake avoid back-to-back losses, coming after the Bulldogs' emotional defeat last weekend at Indiana State. An overtime win over Southern Illinois sent Drake into a solid bounce-back week, which culminated with a huge road win at Bradley. 

The 74-67 win against a Bradley bunch ranked in the top 70 of KenPom.com overall metrics joins Drake's resume of signature victories along with the first meeting against Indiana State, a rout of Nevada, and the defeat of Akron to close out the Cayman Islands Classic. 


13. Grand Canyon

A Grand Canyon team with only two losses, one of which came against the current No. 11-ranked South Carolina, avenged its other defeat against Western Athletic Conference counterpart Seattle. Knocking off the Thunderbirds was part of an on-going, five-game winning streak for the Antelopes, which should extend all the way into WAC Vegas. 

14. UNC Wilmington

February's been a good month for UNC Wilmington. The Seahawks endured a rocky start to Coastal Athletic Association play that put them in an initial hole, but slowly chipping away has Takayo Siddle's bunch in control of its regular-season championship path. 


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UNC Wilmington completed a season sweep of Charleston and followed up with a dominant performance against previous CAA leader Drexel. Few teams are hotter in recent weeks, which the Seahawks aim to keep rolling into a pair of league games against Carolina counterparts North Carolina A&T and Elon. 

15. South Florida

Quietly, South Florida has run off a nine-game winning streak that began on Jan. 12 and that has catapulted the Bulls into first-place in the American Athletic Conference. 

USF took over sole possession of first last week, winning a come-from-behind decision over Charlotte then surviving a nail-biter at Rice. Coupled with FAU's stumble at UAB, the Bulls surprisingly set the pace. 

Selton Miguel and Chris Youngblood make for a dangerous, 3-point shooting combo, while Kasean Pryor has emerged as a standout defensive presence in the paint. 

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