January 25, 2010

Bears leaving more and more teams in Mid-Major dust

CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 (Jan. 25)

GREELEY, Colo. -- Northern Colorado men's basketball just keeps moving on up.

A single win last week against Sacramento State earned the Bears (17-4, 6-2 Big Sky) the No. 10 spot in this week's CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25.

Northern Colorado debuted at No. 25 in this poll just before Thanksgiving but now finds itself in the company of some of the very best mid-major programs in the entire country.

The Bears, who have run their school-record streak of being ranked in an NCAA Division I poll to 10 weeks, sit this week a spot behind No. 9 Wichita State (head coach Tad Boyle's previous coaching stop), No. 5 Siena (a perennial NCAA Tournament surprise team), No. 2 Butler (ranked No. 16 in this week's ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll) and top-ranked Gonzaga (one of the best college basketball teams, period, over the last decade or so).

Northern Colorado will put its new ranking on the line against Montana at 7:05 p.m. Thursday night inside Butler-Hancock before welcoming in the Montana State Bobcats at 2:05 p.m. Sunday afternoon, Jan. 31, in the Big Sky Conference "Game of the Week" on Altitude.

The Bears have won 12 straight home games and can tie the school record of 14 with wins this week against the Grizzlies and the Bobcats.

The Bulldogs, Butler, Northern Iowa, Cornell and the Saints round out the top five teams in this week's poll.

Weber State, which leads the Big Sky Conference so far this season with a 7-2 conference mark, checks in at No. 25 in the survey, marking the first time this season the Big Sky Conference has had two teams ranked.

The Wildcats are also one of five teams to ranked in this week's poll that were not ranked in last week's poll.

Denver (13 points) and Montana (one point) are other Northern Colorado opponents this season who received votes in this week's poll.

The poll of mid-major coaches is now in its eleventh season and is made up of teams from the following conferences: America East, Atlantic Sun, Big Sky, Big South, Big West, Colonial, Great West, Horizon, Independents, Ivy, Metro Atlantic, Mid-American, Mid-Eastern, Missouri Valley, Northeast, Ohio Valley, Patriot, Southern, Southland, Southwestern, Summit, Sun Belt and West Coast.