Mid-Major Basketball Season Preview
The mid-major conferences make college basketball. The excitement of the NCAA Tournament is the mid-major schools who bust brackets every year with an upset over the top teams in college basketball, and this season should be no different.
One team stands above the rest in the mid-major conferences, and that team is Gonzaga. Gonzaga is the preseason No. 1 team in all of college basketball, and it has been near the top for the last 20 years.
Coach Mark Few has done a tremendous job keeping the Bulldogs near the top of the college basketball landscape and this year could be his best team yet. Drew Timme was the sixth-man for the Bulldogs last season, and will step into the starting lineup this year as All-American Filip Petrusev, who left to play professionally in Serbia.
Gonzaga has always recruited well, so expect the Bulldogs to compete for a national championship this season.
The West Coast Conference also has BYU and St. Mary’s. Both these teams have the chance to compete for a tournament spot. If they could upset Gonzaga and win the WCC championship or get an at-large bid, expect those teams to possibly make a run in March.
The Atlantic-10 is also an extremely competitive conference with teams trying to fight for the chance to play in the NCAA Tournament. The preseason favorite to win the conference is Richmond.
The Spiders have one of the most experienced teams in college basketball, and return all of their production from last season. In a year where the offseason was changed due to the pandemic, an experienced team is great to have. The Spiders experience should be able to lead them to an Atlantic-10 title and a trip to the big dance.
The American conference is also a deep conference that has the opportunity to send multiple teams to the NCAA Tournament. The preseason favorite is Houston.
The Cougars return their leading scorer Caleb Mills and a plethora of role players from a season ago.
The American also has the Memphis Tigers who have a chance to compete for the American crown. Penny Hardaway has recruited well, and expect the Tigers to stay near the compete for a title in the American.
The Mountain West conference has a clear top team heading into the season. The conference will be led by San Diego State. The Aztecs are coming off a tremendous season where they finished 30-2.
The Aztecs add transfer guard Terrell Gomez and return forward Matt Mitchell. The Mountain West is always competitive, but expect the Aztecs to be at the top come season’s end.
Conference USA will be led by Western Kentucky. The Hilltoppers come into this season with high expectations and a lot of talent. They are led by former five-star recruit Charles Bassey.
Bassey averaged 15.3 points and 9.2 rebounds per game last season and expects to improve on that this year. Expect the Hilltoppers to control Conference USA this season and represent them in the NCAA Tournament.
The Missouri Valley conference is another competitive conference. This season’s frontrunner is Loyola-Chicago. The Ramblers made a run to the Final Four in 2018 and should be the frontrunners in the Missouri Valley this year. The team returns almost all of its players from last season, and will be led by senior center Cameron Krutwig. The Ramblers are very deep and balanced, and are the frontrunners in the Missouri Valley this year.
The Southern Conference is another tough conference, and will be led by Furman. The Paladins return a lot of key players. Forward Noah Gurley is expected to lead the Paladins to the NCAA Tournament this year. The Southern Conference is always competitive with teams fighting for the chance to play and March, and expect Furman to lead the charge in the conference this year.
The mid-majors are always fun to watch and make college basketball exciting. The mid-majors are always producing great stories and make the best Cinderella runs in March.
Expect this season to be no different, so watch out for the mid-majors all season long.
Adam Sheetz is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.
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