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"Mid-Majors" make statement

At some point we will get to a time when a mid-major beating a BCS conference school isn't considered a shocking upset.

Don't get us wrong, No.13 Morehead State knocking off fourth-seeded Louisville was a bit of a shock, although several of my colleagues admitted they had the Cardinals getting bounced in the second round.

But let's examine this "upset". The Eagles have a big-time big man in Kenneth Faried, who had 20 points, 18 rebounds and two blocks in a 61-55 loss to Florida during regular season. How good is Faried? The 6-8, 225-pound senior had a double-double in 32 of his team's 44 games. He had 12 points, 17 rebounds and a block on Louisville's final shot attempt that preserved the upset.

Demonte Harper, who drained the eventual winning three-pointer with 4.2 seconds left for Morehead State, is a star in his own right. The 6-4 senior scored 25 or more points in a games six times this season.

An upset? Yes, you can still call it that. But it shouldn't shock anyone.

How about Old Dominion vs. Butler. A decade ago, the sight of one mid-major earn a double-digit seed is a shocker. But to have two non-BCS conference schools squaring off in an 8-9 game, that's impressive.

But can we still call Butler a mid-major? The made it to the NCAA championship game last year. I personally don't refer to Butler as a mid-major anymore. And it wouldn't be a shock at all if the Bulldogs made their way to the Sweet 16 or even the Elit 8.

Then we have Gonzaga, which just knocked off our local favorite St. John's. Gonzaga has made 13 straight NCAA Tournament appearances. And not all of those were by virtue of them winning their conference tournament title. Sorry, no dice here. Gonzaga is not a mid-major.

The Atlantic 10 isn't even considered a mid-major by many, so the plight of Xavier, Temple and Richmond isn't even worth going into. The Atlantic 10 has been a multi-bid conference going back over two decades.

Technically, the Ivy League is also considered a mid-major conference. But after what Cornell did last season and Princeton's upset of UCLA in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in 1996, can we call the Ivys a legit mid-major? Ok, so they only get one bid per season, but the Ivy League teams don't generally embarass themselves in the tournament. Princeton came up short, 59-57, to Kentucky on Thursday.

What about BYU and San Diego State? Can't call BYU a mid-major. The program has been too solid over the last two-plus decades to be considered a mid-major. Now San Diego State is an entirely different story. That's a program getting its first taste of what the big stage is like. 

In conclusion, we're not trying to say mid-majors don't exist. They most surely do. It's just that we may need to redefine the term and reclassify some of the teams . 

New York Sports