NCAA Basketball: Preseason top-25 mid-major power rankings for 2021-22 season – Busting Brackets - Techy Hunters

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Wednesday, September 22, 2021

NCAA Basketball: Preseason top-25 mid-major power rankings for 2021-22 season – Busting Brackets

NCAA Basketball Loyola Marymount Lions Eli Scott Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports

Considering the amount of player movement that occurred in the past few months, I could argue that this was one of the craziest NCAA Basketball offseasons in recent memory. And that would go for both power conference and mid-major programs but due to the new rules, it certainly affects the lower-level programs even more.

That’s because the one-time free transfer rule adopted by the NCAA has made it easier for players to leave for another, and potentially, better program. That’s happened to many mid-major programs when it comes to losing talented players. At the same time, it has opened up an opportunity for players to come down a level as well to bolster the talent pool the other way.

That happened this offseason, with a number of key transfers joining mid-major programs everywhere. And there were also several high-level high school prospects opting to play for mid-majors, most notably top-10 overall recruit Patrick Baldwin Jr. playing for his dad at Milwaukee in the Horizon League.

Did that propel the Panthers into Busting Brackets’ own top-25 mid-major power rankings? Eight of us compiled our own rankings of the 25 best mid-major programs for the upcoming season, with any team outside of the traditional power five conferences, as well as the Big East and AAC, being eligible to the list? Here are the contributors for this project, as well as their and social media handles.

Tristan Freeman – @hoopsnut351
Benjamin Zacher – @beezacher
Cooper Watson – @cooperwatson
Holden Walter-Warner – @hwalterwarner
Jake Verboven – @JakeVerboven
Daniel Jakes – @DanimalJakes
Jason Burgess – @Collegehoopsguy
Matt Melton – @matt_melton20

A total of 33 teams made the cut, with programs such as Cleveland State, Boise State, Utah State, UC-Santa Barbara, and Colgate all getting at least a vote as well. Here are our three honorable mentions that just missed the top-25, as well as the mid-major programs to watch for in the 2021-22 season.

Morehead State Eagles

They seemingly came out of nowhere to win the Ohio Valley last season and will have a great shot to repeat thanks to sophomore forward Johni Broome, who nearly averaged a double-double. The Eagles have some solid guards returning in Skyelar Potter and Ta’lon Cooper to provide balance but look for grad transfer Tray Hollowell to be the key piece for Morehead State in its effort to make it back-to-back trips to the Big Dance.

LMU Lions

This could be the year for the Lions, thanks to star point guard/forward/center Eli Scott returning after putting up all-star numbers last season. Keli Leaupepe and Dameane Douglas are two key veterans to look for, along with 19 ppg scoring transfer guard Cameron Shelton. Injuries have hurt LMU in the past but if they can stay healthy, could be a factor in the top half of the WCC.

Ohio Bobcats

Star guard and triple-double threat Jason Preston is gone but coming back is Jason Carter, who started out his career with the Bobcats before spending two seasons with the Xavier Musketeers. He joins one of the better frontcourts in mid-major basketball in veterans, Dwight Wilson, and  Bennett Vander Plas. For them to be a threat to win the MAC, they’ll need guards Mark Sears and Miles Brown to take a big step in their respective development to offset the massive production gone from Preston.

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