The Mid Majors are always a nice story come tournament time. Here is a list of my Top 10 mid-majors that could play the Cinderella role of making the tournament and springing an upset or two. These teams may also present some regular-season value vs. BCS Conference teams:
2. SAINT MARY’S
6. SAN DIEGO
7. ILLINOIS STATE
8. KENT STATE
9. SOUTHERN ILLINOIS
10. CLEVELAND STATE
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The 2008/2009 College Hoops season is upon us. We can’t wait for the season to start. In the meantime, we have compiled our preseason Top 25…
25. SAINT MARY’S
The Gaels beat Gonzaga during the regular season last year and have a lot of key components back. Returning is WCC defensive player of the year Diamon Simpson (13.4 points per game, 9.6 rebounds per game), along with and forward Ian O’Leary (7.6 ppg, 4.8 rpg). Center Omar Sanhan also returns as a double-digit contributor, so the Gaels are strong inside. What could be the key is Patrick Mills. Mills (15 ppg) was the leading scorer for Australia in the Olympics, and looked like be belonged going against Deron Williams and Chris Paul. If his game shows that kind of improvement the Gaels will be a top 25 team this season.
The Sooners watched a lot of the Big-12’s underclassmen depart after last season, but one who didn’t is Blake Griffin. Griffin will return as arguably the best player in the conference. The Sooners landed a PG that hopefully will live up to his billing in Willie Warren. He was the leading scorer in the McDonald’s All-American game with 23 points last year. The Sooners will also return sharp-shooter Tony Crocker who knocked down 42.4% of his three-point shots last year, which should help loosen things up for Griffin. The Sooners may be one player short of being an elite team, but close enough to make the count in my top 25.