Around the Mid-Majors: Week 12

Story posted February 11, 2021 in Sports, CommRadio by Matt Scalzo

There has been little bit of movement that has occurred with the mid-majors, with the Drake Bulldogs falling out of the Top 25 and paving the way for Loyola Chicago, who came in at No. 22: the program’s first ranking since 1985.

Let’s start off with the No. 1 Gonzaga Bulldogs, who improved to 19-0 on the year. This week, the Bulldogs had a wire-to-wire win over BYU 82-71. Freshman standout Jalen Suggs led the Zags with 24 points, while Drew Timme added 20 points and 13 boards.

The Zags continue their quest for perfection on Saturday when they’re on the road against San Francisco.

The Houston Cougars tumbled to No. 8 in this week’s Top 25 after their loss to East Carolina. The Cougars have bounced back with two straight wins, most recently a comfortable win over South Florida, 82-65.

Guard Quentin Grimes fueled the Cougars with 29 points. Houston will be back in action against Memphis on Sunday.

Over in the Atlantic 10, St. Bonaventure still sits on top after it fell to Saint Louis 70-59. The Bonnies were able to bounce back, as they topped La Salle 86-73.

Next up for the Bonnies: they face VCU in a No. 1 vs No. 2 matchup in the A10. These teams met earlier in the year with St. Bonaventure winning 70-54.

It’ll sure be a game to watch. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. on Friday on ESPN2.

In the Big South, it’s another No. 1 vs No. 2 matchup: Winthrop will face Radford. The Eagles are hoping to bounce back after their first loss of the season to UNC Asheville, while the Highlanders will look to finish the season strong.

Both of the games in the series are set for 6 p.m. with the first game on Thursday and the second game on Friday.

The big matchups just keep on coming. This time, it’s the Missouri Valley Conference where the No. 22 Ramblers of Loyola Chicago takes on 19-1 Drake.

Loyola Chicago has been on fire and is currently on a 10-game winning streak. This weekend, the Ramblers swept Evansville, winning 68-55 on Saturday, and 69-58 on Sunday. Big man Cameron Krutwig had 20 and 17 points, respectively.

Meanwhile, Drake suffered its first defeat of the season, as it were blown out by Valporaiso 74-57. The Bulldogs bounced back with a win over Northern Illinois 80-59. Tremell Murphy led Drake in scoring with 18 points. 

It should be a good series between Loyola Chicago and Drake, with game one on Saturday at 12 p.m. and Sunday’s game set for 3 p.m. Both games can be seen on ESPN2.

Switching gears to the Mountain West, where the top spot is up for grabs. Utah State currently sits in first, but not far behind is Colorado State, Boise State and San Diego State.

Boise State previously sat atop the MWC, however, this weekend it was swept by Nevada. The Broncos will look to get back on track this weekend against UNLV, before hosting the Utah State Aggies next Wednesday.

Finishing it off with the Ohio Valley Conference, it’s the Belmont Bruins who continue to impress. The Bruins are winners of 17 straight and are coming off a dominating performance over SIU Edwardsville, 94-62.

Up next for Belmont: it faces the two teams behind them in the OVC. On Thursday, Belmont will take on Eastern Kentucky and on Saturday, it welcomes Morehead State to the Curb Event Center.

This week for the mid-majors, there are a lot of big matchups, with a few No. 1 vs No. 2 matchups in conference play. After this wee,k we’ll be able to tell the teams that people should keep an eye in March.

Matt Scalzo is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email mms7477@psu.edu.

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Matt Scalzo

Freshman / Broadcast Journalism

Matthew “Matt” Scalzo is a second-year from Ridgefield, Connecticut majoring in broadcast journalism. Matt is a part of the CommRadio sports department as a broadcaster and writer. With CommRadio he has called football, volleyball, basketball and hockey games. Matt is also the Penn State Women’s Volleyball play-by-play broadcaster calling games on both TV and radio. He has written countless articles and appeared on podcasts, live shows and is a part of The Extra Point, a talk show centered around the NFL. If you want to contact him, email him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) and .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).