Here are the latest mid-major power rankings for ESPN.com, as voted upon by our national panel. I also vote in this poll, which does not include any teams from the Atlantic 10, Conference USA or Mountain West.
Another quick look at the panel:
Rob Demovsky (@RobDemovsky) covers Horizon League basketball for the Green Bay Press-Gazette.
Richard Kilwien (@smcgaels) is the associate athletic director for external affairs at Saint Mary's College.
Dusty Luthy Shull (@DustyLuthyShull) covers Murray State athletics for The Paducah (Ky.) Sun.
John Templon (@nybuckets) writes about New York City and East Coast mid-major college basketball for his website, nycbuckets.com.
Thomas Chen (@thomasmchen) is in his third year as director of athletic communications at Stony Brook University.
Terry Vandrovec (@terryvandrovec) covers South Dakota State basketball for the Argus Leader in Sioux Falls, S.D.
Mid-Major Power Rankings No. 3
1. Gonzaga (13-1) -- A 69-68 win at No. 22 Oklahoma State was the fourth in a row for the Zags, who are 5-0 against the Big 12 and finished in a first-place tie in this week's poll.
1. Creighton (13-1) -- The Missouri Valley won’t be easy for Creighton, which squeezed by Illinois State on Wednesday and has a stiff challenge from Indiana State next.
3. Wichita State (13-1) -- Down three starters, this team still rocked Northern Iowa. The Shockers will compete for the MVC title if Carl Hall gets healthy soon.
4. Bucknell (13-2) -- The Bison have won eight of nine and face No. 12 Missouri on Saturday, a real chance for Mike Muscala to shine in the national spotlight.
5. Middle Tennessee (11-3) -- The Blue Raiders have beaten Ole Miss, Vanderbilt and Central Florida and certainly have to be considered the favorites in the Sun Belt.
6. Saint Mary’s (11-3) -- The Gaels, who have won three straight after rallying against Harvard, are the only WCC team that might challenge the Zags.
7. Belmont (9-4) -- The Bruins have won four of their past six and look like the Ohio Valley's best team, although the next team will have something to say about that.
8. Murray State (9-3) -- The Racers might disagree, but two consecutive losses after six straight wins has brought them back to earth a bit.
9. Lehigh (9-3) -- A stunning 80-79 loss to Bryant on Saturday was the team’s first since mid-November. Not something you'd expect from a team with the nation's leading scorer.
10. Utah State (11-1) -- Hard to tell with USU. The Aggies have faced a mediocre nonconference schedule, so the WAC will be the real test.
11. BYU (10-4) -- Tyler Haws (20.9 ppg) has led BYU to five wins in their past six games and scored 41 against Virginia Tech.
12. North Dakota State (11-3) -- NDSU earned credibility with Saturday's win versus rival South Dakota State. The Summit League race with the Jackrabbits will be a dog fight.
13. Stephen F. Austin (10-1) -- After a strong start, the Lumberjacks (who own a win at Oklahoma) are the favorites to win the Southland.
13. Indiana State (9-4) -- Three-game winning streak includes a Christmas Day win against Miami at the Diamond Head Classic. That came after a victory over Ole Miss.
15. Santa Clara (12-3) -- The Broncos have won seven of their past eight and gave Duke all they could handle over the weekend.
Now that we've gone over the best of the best, here's my take on the top game this weekend involving mid-major teams ...