Ranking the Top 10 mid-major conferences in 2021

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Akron Zips v Kent State. Photo by Chris McKee.

Here are the rankings of the Top 10 NCAA mid-major conferences in 2021.

For the record, I watch an obscene amount of college hoops; most of which is mid-major basketball. After watching games from teams in every single conference so far I decided to compile a ranking of the best to worst conferences in NCAA mid-major basketball. Every conference has bad teams, but this ranking is based mostly on how good are the best teams in the conference.

Here are the rankings as of Jan 11, 2021 (Conference records were complied as of 9pm ET Jan 10):

  1. West Coast Conference – Record 64-31 Gonzaga is the No.1 team in the country at 12-0 and will have anywhere from 3 to 5 players in the NBA next year. BYU and Saint Mary’s are both 9-3 with Santa Clara 7-2 and San Francisco 8-5. No conference has more talent top to bottom.
  2. Mountain West Conference – Record 64-44 Boise State is 10-1 and are deep and talented. Watch out for the Broncos. San Diego State is 9-2 along with Colorado State 8-2. The high end of the Mountain West is elite.
  3. Atlantic-10 – Record 68-57 Saint Louis is 7-1 and ranked No.23 in the AP Top 25. Richmond and VCU are both 9-3 and have high end mid-major talent on their rosters. Several teams are under performing this year including Dayton at 6-3.
  4. Mid-American Conference – Record 56-51 Toledo tops the MAC at 10-3 with Bowling Green 9-2. Just about everybody in the MAC is good and with so much parity it can make for a lot of .500 teams. Regardless, you don’t want to play whoever wins the MAC in March Madness.
  5. Conference-USA – Record 92-58 Four teams have 9 wins including UAB at 9-1, Rice is 9-3, LA Tech is 9-4 and WKU is 9-4 and loaded with talent. Every team in the conference has quality but face a tough schedule.
  6. Sun Belt Conference – Record 80-55 Could be the most evenly matched conference top to bottom. Coastal Carolina has looked really good so far at 9-2 with Appalachian State 9-4. About 7 other teams could end up winning the Fun Belt come March.
  7. Missouri Valley Conference – Record 60-43 Drake is 13-0 and one of the best mid-major teams in the NCAA. Missouri State is 8-1 with Loyola-Chicago and Southern Illinois at 7-3. Very good talent top to bottom in the MVC.
  8. Ohio Valley Conference – Record 65-64 Belmont is the class of the OVC at 12-1 with Eastern Kentucky 11-2. The high end of the OVC is excellent but the bottom half isn’t very good.
  9. Southern Conference – Record 69-35 Could be the most wide open conference in the NCAA. Everybody has a legit shot to win the SoCon come March. Chattanooga is 10-3 with the Citadel 8-0 and a very good Furman squad at 8-3.
  10. Southland Conference – Record 55-86 Abilene Christian is a dangerous team at 10-2 with Stephen F. Austin 5-2 with several cancelled games. Sam Houston State is 9-5 and will be in the mix in Katy, TX come March.

The three worst conferences according to the rankings are the Summit League with only South Dakota State above .500 at 8-3. The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference is just 22-57 while the Southwestern Athletic Conference was the worst in the NCAA with Arkansas-Pine Bluff having the SWAC’s best record at 3-8. The SWAC is just 13-49 as a conference.

* Article was originally posted Jan 11,2021 but had to be re-posted due to our server crashing.