It is early in the conference season, but we will be blessed with two premier mid-major in-conference games this week. Four teams from this week's Mid-Major Rankings will be featured. Unfortunately, even with 68 teams invited to the college basketball NCAA Tournament, only one team can benefit from a win.
Annually, only a handful of mid-major programs have a chance to earn an at-large bid. As conference season begins, for the majority of the Mid-Majors, a conference title is their only chance for an NCAA Tournament bid. In the West Coast Conference, there may be a glimmer of hope for San Francisco.
After an out-of-conference schedule that produced two Pac-12 wins and a 12-2 start, the Dons have an opportunity to make the NCAA Tournament with a win over Gonzaga. The Bulldogs have owned the West Coast for over 20 years. In that time, the Zags have won 18 of 20 regular season championships.
This season, Gonzaga has faced one of the toughest preseason schedules for a national title contender. The Bulldogs have beaten top-ranked Duke, and other power conference representatives Arizona, Illinois, Washington and Texas A&M. Their two losses coming by the way of third-ranked Tennessee and 12th-ranked North Carolina.
On the court, the game will be a true test of opposing forces. The Dons rank as one of the best defensive teams in college basketball. This season they’ve held opponents to just 28 percent shooting from three-point range, 10th best nationally, and 45.2 percent shooting inside the arc, ranking 37th. Gonzaga's offense currently ranks as the top in offensive efficiency, points per game and field goal percentage.
If San Francisco is to have any hope of securing a berth outside of winning the West Coast Conference title, this game is a must win. A victory over a top-5 opponent, combined with a dominant out-of-conference record and 20-plus wins may just be enough to find the Dons in the field of 68.
As for the rest of the Mid-Major Rankings for this week, they can be found below:
|RANK||TEAM||RECORD||LAST WEEK||THIS WEEK|
|6||Murray State||11-2||7||@UTM, @SEMOST|
|8||UNC Greensboro||14-2||NR||Wof, Furman|
|10||Davidson||10-4||NR||@Santa Clara, @UTSA|