CANMORE, Alta. — The level of parity in college basketball in recent years is at an all-time high.
Still, on a nightly basis, mid-major teams are often the underdogs against power conference teams. The likes of the Kentucky Wildcats, Duke Blue Devils, and other blue-blood programs land the top high school recruits each season, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a ton of talent elsewhere in the country.
Smaller programs have just as much talent on their roster, but their names don’t come with the same pedigree as the ones in the ESPN Top 100. So, we thought we would filter through all of the mid-major schools and assemble our own Dream Team for the 2017-18 season.
With the exhibition season in full swing, and coming to a close early this week, that can mean only one thing.
The 2016-17 college basketball regular season is just around the corner!
Things get underway Friday, November 11th at Noon EST with the first regular season game of the season, and there will be a plethora of talent on display across all 32 conferences all season long.
Before the season gets started, we decided to hand out some preseason hardware, in the form of our Conference Player of the Year award and All-Conference Teams.
Along with that, we have the College Court Report All-Americans, and the Mid-Major Player of the Year Preseason Watch List. Links to all of the conference awards and the Watch List can be found at the bottom of each article.
Regular season college basketball returns in just five days.
If you’re like us, you couldn’t be more excited about what the next five months will provide for basketball fans alike, in terms of pure entertainment mixed with some anxious moments surrounding your respective favourite teams.
From coast to coast, there are a plethora of talented teams heading into the 2016-17 season. Each season, we rank the top ‘mid-major’ teams in the country in our weekly ‘Top 20 Power Rankings. (Hate the term ‘mid-major’, for the record).
Last year, the Valparaiso Crusaders finished the regular season as the top mid-major team in the country, in our opinion.
Heading into the 2016-17 season, the top two teams reside on the west coast, and will do battle once more in the West Coast Conference. The Gonzaga Bulldogs and the Saint Mary’s Gaels are atop the preseason edition of the College Court Report Mid-Major Top 20 Power Rankings.
For the first time in a long time, the Gonzaga Bulldogs didn’t look unbeatable in the West Coast Conference. They failed to win the regular season crown, and it looked as if they needed to win the post-season tournament to keep their NCAA Tournament streak intact.
Firmly on the bubble, the Bulldogs entered Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, NV on a mission. Wins over the Portland Pilots and the BYU Cougars put the Bulldogs one win away from dancing in March for the 18th consecutive season.
Only one team stood in their way, and that was the regular season champion Saint Mary’s Gaels. By virtue of a tiebreaker, the Gales finished atop the conference despite both teams having identical 15-3 records in conference play.
Gonzaga was swept in the regular season by the Gaels, and were out for some redemption. On a neutral court, and with the title on the line, the Bulldogs won when it mattered most.