In recent years, there has been a noticeable shift in the NCAA basketball landscape. Mid-major programs are no longer just punching bags for top-ranked teams, but instead, they are now legitimate players in the national rankings.
Traditionally, the power in college basketball has been concentrated in the hands of the blue-blood programs like Duke, North Carolina, Kentucky, and Kansas. However, as the talent pool in college basketball continues to grow, mid-major programs have been able to compete for talent and build strong teams.
This has led to a rise in the quality of play from mid-major programs, as well as a push for recognition in the national rankings. In the past, mid-major programs were rarely considered for top 25 rankings, but now, they are not only being considered but are actually being ranked.
One example of a mid-major program that has experienced a rise in the rankings is Gonzaga. The Bulldogs have been a staple in the NCAA tournament in recent years and have even made a run to the national championship game. However, it was not until the past few years that Gonzaga has consistently been in the top 10 rankings.
Another mid-major program that has experienced success is Dayton. During the 2019-2020 season, the Flyers were ranked in the top 5 for most of the season and even finished as the number 3 team in the country. This is a remarkable accomplishment for a program that is not typically considered a powerhouse.
The rise of mid-major programs in the NCAA basketball rankings is significant for a few reasons. First, it shows that there is a growing parity in college basketball. This means that any team has the potential to be competitive and make a run in the NCAA tournament.
Second, it highlights the development of these mid-major programs. Many of these programs have invested in their facilities and have put together strong coaching staffs. They are now able to attract top talent and compete with traditional power programs.
Finally, it is refreshing to see new teams in the national rankings. While there will always be fans who prefer traditional power programs, the rise of mid-major programs has brought a new level of excitement to college basketball. Fans are now able to see new teams compete and potentially make a run in the NCAA tournament.
Overall, the rise of mid-major programs in the NCAA basketball rankings is a positive development for college basketball. It shows that the sport is growing and becoming more competitive, and it provides fans with new teams to root for and follow. As the talent pool continues to grow, it will be exciting to see which mid-major programs will continue to rise and make their mark on the national stage.