NCAA mid-major Top 25 rankings: Davidson adds signature win; Richmond climbing

Davidson continues to propel its way up our mid-major Top 25 rankings following a win over Alabama. Richmond isn’t far behind.

Another week of the 2021-22 college basketball seasons is complete. With that, a new edition of our Heat Check CBB mid-major Top 25 is hot off the digital presses. As always, these rankings were compiled by Lukas Harkins and Andy Dieckhoff.

Our biggest winners of the week were Davidson and North Texas.

Davidson picked up the win of the week by knocking off Alabama in Birmingham. The Wildcats are now the second team in our mid-major ranks (Iona) to take down the Crimson Tide this season. Davidson ranks very well in essentially all offensive categories and is blossoming as one of the top contenders in the Atlantic 10. They are one of five teams from the league in our rankings at this time.

North Texas similarly added a big win, although of less stature than one over a top-10 opponent. The Mean Green won their first true road game of the season and did so by double digits over Wichita State. They are conversely making it happen on the defensive end of the floor this season.

Now, without any further introduction, let’s dive into our Week 6 edition of the mid-major Top 25!

Hark’s Remarks: Davidson’s emergence; North Texas rising
NSU’s Jones: From 50 Cent promos to March Madness
—DPI: Game Predictions | 1-500 Player Rankings

25. Grand Canyon Antelopes (10-2, 0-0)

The Lopes were able to do what no one else in America has done to this point: beat San Francisco. Albeit on what was essentially home court, that’s a major win for the GCU program that is looking to get back to the Big Dance. Jovan Blacksher leads the way with 16.5 points and 3.9 assists per game. -Andrew Dieckhoff

24. VCU Rams (7-4, 0-0)

VCU is currently in the midst of a four-game winning streak and is dominating defensively. The Rams rank third nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency; they force turnovers, block shots, and limit the 3-point line better than just about anyone. Ace Baldwin just returned as well. -Lukas Harkins

23. Chattanooga Mocs (10-3, 0-0)

Because these rankings come out on Thursdays, the Mocs were already dinged in these pages last week for a Dec. 15 loss to Belmont. Following an 87-76 road loss to the OVC’s other powerhouse, Chattanooga continues to fall. The train got back on track last night in a home win over Middle Tennessee to wrap up the noncon. -AD

22. South Dakota State Jackrabbits (11-4, 2-0)

Eric Henderson’s team got its Summit League season off to a hot start, obliterating Kansas City before surviving The Max Abmas Experience in an 82-76 home win over Oral Roberts. The trajectory seems to point to another regular-season Summit crown, but Henderson still needs to find a way to win the conference tourney because that Idaho loss probably precludes an at-large for SD State. -AD

21. Saint Louis Billikens (8-4, 0-0)

In its past two games, Saint Louis beat Boston College and gave a very good Auburn team a major scare. Yuri Collins had 19 assists against BC and nearly put up a triple-double against the Tigers, going for 13 points, 12 rebounds and eight dimes. Collins has the fourth-highest assist rate in the country at 44.1 percent. -AD

20. Boise State Broncos (9-4, 0-0)

Following a 3-4 start that included losses to UC Irvine and Cal State Bakersfield, the Broncos won their final six games of the nonconference slate. Most recently, Boise State took down a solid Washington State team in Spokane. The Broncos’ top-20 defense is on track to be the best that Leon Rice has ever had in Boise. -AD

19. New Mexico State Aggies (11-2, 0-0)

New Mexico State added a pair of non-D1 wins over the past week but extended its winning streak to six nonetheless. The Aggies already have four true road wins and a pair of neutral-site victories to their name. Teddy Allen has scored in double figures in every single game so far this season, including 18-plus in each of the last three games. -LH

18. Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (9-3, 0-0)

In a strange twist, Louisiana Tech went 1-1 last week — and somehow the loss was more impressive than the win. The Bulldogs gave LSU its money’s worth last weekend before traversing Crowley’s Ridge, an NAIA outfit, on Wednesday. All in all, it was a good nonconference season, but they missed some chances. -AD

17. North Texas Mean Green (7-3, 0-0)

North Texas started this season slowly but has won five straight to crack our rankings. Victories over Drake and Wichita State – both away from home – have come during this stretch. Head coach Grant McCasland has been awesome over the past few years. Tylor Perry and Thomas Bell are solid scorers for the otherwise defensive-oriented squad. -LH

16. Utah State Aggies (9-4, 0-0)

Utah State was recently blown out by Iowa but bounced back with a solid victory over Portland State. The Aggies still rank eighth nationally in effective field-goal percentage, largely behind Justin Bean and elite 3-point shooting surrounding him. Utah State is No. 1 in the country in assist rate. -LH

15. Richmond Spiders (9-4, 0-0)

Richmond has found its rhythm. The Spiders have won six consecutive games, including five against KenPom top-200 opponents and three away from home. They are taking care of the ball offensively and lighting it up from 3-point range. Tyler Burton is blossoming into a star this season; Grant Golden already was one. -LH

14. Murray State Racers (10-2, 0-0)

Tevin Brown has taken his game to a new level this season while guiding Murray State to a strong start. The Racers are 10-2 after a win over Chattanooga and a loss to Auburn this past week. Brown is shooting a blistering 34-for-74 (45.9 percent) from 3-point range. -LH

13. Iona Gaels (10-2, 2-0)

The Gaels’ at-large campaign got a sneaky boost at the end of nonconference play, with Iona beating Yale and Delaware on neutral courts in the final two games. As it stands, the team owns a Q1 win over Alabama and a 5-0 mark in Q3 — including victories over Liberty and Hofstra that could eventually sprout some Q2 wings. -AD

12. UAB Blazers (10-3, 0-0)

Like their C-USA foes Louisiana Tech, UAB had a week in which more was learned more from a loss than a win. The Blazers gave some grief to a surging West Virginia team, but gave up a 17-3 run late in a six-point loss. They worked out the bad vibes in a blistering 100-58 win over Mississippi Valley State on Wednesday. -AD

11. San Diego State Aztecs (8-3, 0-0)

San Diego State notched its first KenPom top-50 victory this past week by knocking off Saint Mary’s in Phoenix. Trey Pulliam has scored in double figures in four of the Aztecs’ last five games. His 25.0 percent assist rate also ranks within the nation’s top 200. -LH

10. Ohio Bobcats (9-2, 0-0)

Mark Sears is a stud. The sophomore guard is averaging 23.5 points per game (.566/.545/.966) over Ohio’s current four-game winning streak; he was also named the KenPom Game MVP during each victory. He is shooting 48.3 percent from three and 90.2 percent at the free-throw line this season. -LH

9. St. Bonaventure Bonnies (8-3, 0-0)

Ten-point losses to Northern Iowa and Connecticut were one thing. Getting sandblasted to the tune of 86-49 by Virginia Tech, though? That’s some cause for concern in Olean. The Bonnies are 3-3 in their last six, and as such, they’ve suddenly ceded their spot as the A-10 team du jour to Davidson. -AD

8. Saint Mary’s Gaels (11-3, 0-0)

Four-bid WCC? Who says no? The Gaels are obviously into the idea, but do they have the resume to match? A neutral-site win over San Diego State would have been very nice, but alas, a home win over Missouri State will just have to do. Saint Mary’s can add another little feather with a win over Yale next week. -AD

7. Davidson Wildcats (10-2, 0-0)

Davidson added its resume-defining win this past week at a neutral site against Alabama. However, this was just a continuation of an excellent stretch of play. The Wildcats have won eight straight games in total behind elite offensive output. Hyunjung Lee, Foster Loyer and Michael Jones are shooting a combined 88-for-191 (46.1 percent) from three for the Wildcats this season. -LH

6. Belmont Bruins (10-3, 0-0)

Belmont holds a 10-3 record and is living up to the billing of being a top mid-major. Head coach Casey Alexander features an experienced roster that is excelling – as expected – on the offensive end. The Bruins are the favorite in the OVC, even with Murray State playing well. -LH

5. BYU Cougars (10-2, 0-0)

Reports of BYU’s demise may have been greatly exaggerated. Without Gavin Baxter, the Cougars went 4-1 in a rough stretch of games, and the only loss was to Creighton in the Bluejays’ backyard. Alex Barcello and Te’Jon Lucas are still one of the country’s best backcourts, even if BYU has lost its Top 25 sheen. -AD

4. San Francisco Dons (12-1, 0-0)

Apparently the Dons lost to Grand Canyon last weekend, but because the game was on FloHoops, most of the world missed it. Since then, USF has gotten back on track with solid wins over Arizona State and Southern Illinois. As of Thursday, the Dons’ 12 wins are tied with Iowa State, LSU and USC for the most in America. -AD

3. Loyola Chicago Ramblers (9-2, 1-0)

Loyola Chicago did not play this past week. The Ramblers are 9-2 overall and rank second nationally in effective field-goal percentage. Five different players have hit at least nine 3-pointers at better than 40 percent efficiency for head coach Drew Valentine. -LH

2. Colorado State Rams (10-0, 0-0)

Colorado State remains undefeated behind the nation’s best effective field-goal percentage. David Roddy and Isaiah Stevens are nearly unmatched when it comes to the best duos in the country. The Rams are the top team in the MWC right now and should remain that way. -LH

1. Gonzaga Bulldogs (10-2, 0-0)

The Zags had a couple bumps in the road, but things appear to be running smoothly again for Mark Few’s club. Since allowing 87.5 points per game in their two losses, Gonzaga has held opponents to 55 or fewer in three straight games. That includes an impressive 69-55 win over Texas Tech on a neutral court in Phoenix. -AD