Mid-Major Lives Matter (Feb 17-19)

Over the past four days since our last “Mid-Major Lives Matter” post, two teams clinched their respective league titles outright: Monmouth clinched the MAAC for the second year in a row, while Belmont clinched the OVC title for the fourth time in five seasons. At this time next week, one conference (the Atlantic Sun) will have already completed their regular season and be preparing for their conference tournament. If that doesn’t get you jacked, then something is wrong with you. Tournament basketball is almost here!

Below is our Mid-Major Top 25 from Monday. This will be updated next Monday, the 20th.

Friday

Kent State at Akron
Why You Should Care: The top dogs in the MAC by a large margin (4 games), Akron can clinch at least a share of the conference title tonight. The Zips have bounced back from their lone loss in MAC play to win their last three games. This is also an important game for Kent State as only the top 8 teams in the MAC make the conference tournament and they’re currently part of a 5 way tie for spots 5-9.

Valparaiso at Oakland
Why You Should Care: Valpo and Oakland are the two top teams in the Horizon right now, as Valpo is in first at 11-2, while Oakland is two back at 9-4. A win for the Crusaders would all but lock up the regular season title. An Oakland win, though, would make the final couple weeks of the regular season a lot more interesting. Oakland won the first matchup, 78-66.

Princeton at Yale
Columbia at Harvard

Why You Should Care: This is the first year of the Ivy League tournament, but only the top four teams get a spot. These four currently hold those spots. Princeton is in first place at 8-0 and would clinch a spot in the tournament with a win tonight. Yale and Harvard sit in a tie for second at 6-2, Columbia is in fourth at 4-4. The bottom four teams in the league are all 2-6, so there’s some breathing room at the moment for Columbia. Princeton beat Yale in their first matchup, while Columbia edged Harvard in their first meeting.

UALR at Arkansas State
Why You Should Care: Six teams all have a realistic shot at the Sun Belt title as we hit the homestretch. Arkansas State is one of those teams, as they’re part of a three way tie for second that is a half game behind UT Arlington. The Red Wolves have dropped two in a row, but they beat UALR back in January by 5.

Saturday

UNI at Wichita State
Why You Should Care: With three games to play in the regular season, Wichita State remains tied with Illinois State for first in the MVC at 14-1. They face a UNI team that has won 9 of their last 10 games since starting 0-5 in MVC play. The Shockers will need to play well to win this one.

Morehead State at Belmont
Why You Should Care: Belmont has already clinched the OVC title, but this is still a game pay attention to. Morehead State has the second best record in the conference and will be a tough test for the Bruins. Belmont won the first meeting, 84-78.

Sacred Heart at LIU Brooklyn
Mount St Mary’s at Fairleigh Dickinson

Why You Should Care: Mount Saint Mary’s loss to Wagner on Thursday left the door slightly open for LIU Brooklyn in the NEC, but the Mountaineers still control their own destiny in the title race. They hold a 2 game lead with 3 games to play, which means a win would clinch at least a share of the conference title, while a win and a LIU loss would give them the league title outright.

Charleston at Northeastern
UNC Wilmington at Hofstra
James Madison at Towson

Why You Should Care: UNC Wilmington sits in first place of the Colonial at 12-3, while Charleston is a game back at 11-4 and Towson is two back at 10-5. All three teams have three games to play. Charleston has the toughest matchup, as Northeastern beat them just 9 days Avon in Charleston.

Army at Navy
Why You Should Care: Navy is still hanging around in the Patriot League title race, as they’re two back of Bucknell with three games to play. That makes this rivalry game with Army that much more of a must win.

UNC Asheville at Campbell
Liberty at Winthrop

Why You Should Care: One of the most exciting league title races, the Big South is coming down to the wire. Just three games remain on the schedule for each team as UNC Asheville and Liberty sit in a tie for first at 13-2, while Winthrop is a game back at 12-3. In a league where home court advantage goes to the #1 seed, the league title is that much more important. UNCA cruised past Campbell in their first matchup, while Winthrop won at Liberty by 13 back in mid-January.

FGCU at USC Upstate
Jacksonville at Lipscomb

Why You Should Care: Another league title race that is even more significant because of home court advantage in the conference tournament, FGCU is a game ahead of Lipscomb with just two games left. That means a FGCU win and Lipscomb loss would clinch the A-Sun title for Dunk City. FGCU fell to USC Upstate by two in their first match-up, while Lipscomb torched Jacksonville, 112-95 a month ago.

UT Arlington at Georgia State
Texas State at Georgia Southern

Why You Should Care: Just when you thought UT Arlington might fall out of the league title race, they’ve since climbed their way back into first. They’re 9-3 in tight top half of the Sun Belt. Georgia State and Georgia Southern are both a half game back, while Texas State is a full game behind. No one has been able to establish any separation in the league this season. We’ll see if that changes on Saturday.

Pacific at Gonzaga
Saint Mary’s at BYU

Why You Should Care: Well, Gonzaga has a chance to go to 28-0. They also could clinch the WCC title with a win and Saint Mary’s loss. Saint Mary’s matchup is a tough one, as BYU is always hard to beat at their place.

UNCG at Furman
ETSU at Chattanooga

Why You Should Care: The top four teams in the SoCon title race square off against another contender in what should be an exciting day for the conference. Furman leads the way at 13-2, with ETSU trailing at 11-3 and Chattanooga and UNCG both sitting at 10-4. If Furman can continues its winning ways on Saturday, it will be hard for anyone to catch them and prevent them from winning the league title.

NC Central at Maryland Eastern Shore
Norfolk State at Florida A&M

Why You Should Care: Who doesn’t love a good ol’ MEAC title race? NC Central is in first entering the day at 10-1, while Norfolk State is just a half game behind them at 10-2. Both teams are hot, as NC Central has won 10 straight while Norfolk has won 9 in a row.

Oral Roberts at South Dakota
Western Illinois at North Dakota State

Why You Should Care: The Summit League has been one of the more entertaining mid-majors this season simply because of how much parity there is this season. South Dakota and NDSU are tied for first at the moment at 9-4, with Denver and Fort Wayne lurking behind them. Oral Roberts and Western Illinois are the bottom two teams in the league, but nothing is certain in this league this year.

Central Arkansas at New Orleans
SF Austin at SE Louisiana

Why You Should Care: Will there be a new champ in the Southland this season? New Orleans is trying to make that happen as they sit in first place entering Saturday at 10-3. Right behind them, though, is the class of the league: Stephen F Austin. They’re one back of New Orleans at 9-4. The two teams square off next Thursday, but first need to take care of these games.

Mid Tennessee at Marshall
Why You Should Care: Middle Tennessee just keeps winning, as they’re now 23-4 and 13-1 in the C-USA. The big question is if the Blue Raiders keep winning, can they put themselves in position to get an at-large if need be? As weak as the bubble is this year, we sure hope so.

Alabama State at Alcorn State
Arkansas Pine Bluff at Texas Southern

Why You Should Care: There’s still quite a bit of ball to be played in the SWAC, but Texas Southern and Alcorn State have established themselves as the top dogs. Texas Southern has a half game lead of first over Alcorn State entering Saturday.

Binghamton at Stony Brook
Why You Should Care: Vermont is idle this weekend, but that doesn’t mean they can’t pick up a huge win. They’ve already clinched a share of the league title and if Stony Brook falls in this one, the Catamounts would clinch the America East outright.

New Mexico State at UTRGV
CSU Bakersfield at Seattl
e
Why You Should Care: New Mexico State got a much needed week off after their two game skid that allowed Bakersfield to take the lead in the WAC. Bakersfield has a one game lead with four games to play for both of them.

North Dakota at Weber State
Why You Should Care: Weber State is in first place of the Big Sky at 11-2, half a game ahead of North Dakota. The first game between these two back on January 19 was a tight six point win for North Dakota, so expect this one to be another great game.

UC Davis at Cal State Fullerton
UC Riverside at UC Irvine

Why You Should Care: UC Davis and UC Irvine enter the day tied for the Big West lead at 8-3. Long Beach State and Cal State Northridge are also right behind in the Big West standings at 7-5.

Sunday

Bucknell at Boston
Why You Should Care: Bucknell owns a one game lead over Boston for first place in the Patriot League with three games to play. A Bison win would clinch at least a share of the regular season title, while a Boston win would put the two teams in a tie with two games to play. Bucknell won the first meeting, 70-59.

Penn at Yale
Why You Should Care: Penn is a half game out of the fourth and final spot in the Ivy League tournament at 3-6, while Yale holds the three seed currently at 6-3. A Penn win would put them in a tie with Columbia for the four seed with four games to play, while a Yale win would clinch a spot in the tournament for Harvard.

Fairfield at St. Peter’s
Rider at Iona

Why You Should Care: Monmouth has already locked up the conference title, which means the race for the #2 seed is now on. St. Peter’s and Iona are tied for that spot at 11-6 right now, with Iona holding the tiebreaker.

Valparaiso at Detroit Mercy
UIC at Oakland

Why You Should Care: After Oakland’s win over Valpo on Friday, the Golden Grizzlies are just a game back of the first place Crusaders with four games to go. Both Detroit Mercy and UIC are in the bottom half of the league, although they both played their respective opponent to close games back in January.

IUPUI at Denver
Why You Should Care: Both South Dakota and North Dakota State won on Saturday, which means Denver needs to win this one to stay in the Summit League title race. They’re currently a game and a half back with three to play, while the two leaders have two games left. Denver beat IUPUI by four a month ago.

Loyola-Chicago at Illinois State
Why You Should Care: Wichita State pounded UNI on Saturday to move to 15-1 in MVC play. Therefore, Illinois State needs this one to stay tied with the Shockers for first place. The Redbirds cruised to a 22 point win in their first meeting with Loyola-Chicago, although they had MiKyle McDuffie for that game and likely won’t have him for this one.

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