Discussion

New Term for 2007: ISO-MAJORS

by David Mihm | October 31st, 2006

Avid readers know that I’ve long been a proponent of giving so-called “Mid-Majors” their due (i.e. a fair shake at a bid to the NCAA’s). To its credit, the NCAA made a well-publicized change to the RPI two years ago, giving more credit to teams who go on the road, which in essence boosted the ranks of teams in the smaller-market conferences.

The genesis of the term “mid-major” is a bit hazy (if anyone knows who can legitimately claim to have invented the term, by all means, email me), but clearly it became part of the sports vernacular around the mid-to-late 90′s, on the heels of a number of Cinderellas’ slippers, if you’ll forgive the pun.

The term has always been tinged with derogation, somehow implying that schools with smaller athletic department budgets are inherently inferior to their “BCS” brethren. As Gonzaga coach Mark Few has so often stated, “You’re only as mid-major as you feel,” if not in so many words.

Maybe the worst thing about the term “mid-major” is the creation of “low-major” and “high-major” categories on either side of the “mids.” No school or conference, no matter how many national championships it has won nor Final Fours it has been to, deserves the duplicate glorification of the term “high-major.” It’s equally unfair to slam the conference champion from a traditional one-bid league as a “low-major” after its consistently magical run through a do-or-die conference tournament.

The time has come for a new term in college basketball that places these successful smaller schools (and smaller conferences) on a level playing field with their bigger brothers, while still separating them from schools and conferences of similar size that have not experienced similar success.

If a school has demonstrated a consistent record of success in the regular season and NCAA or NIT Tournaments and is not a member of a BCS football Conference, that school shall be considered an “ISO-MAJOR”* on Bracketography.

*”Iso” is a Greek prefix meaning “equal” that at the same time implies that an item is somehow distinct from others like it (think “isobars,” “isotopes,” etc.).

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All schools that finished 2006 with a .500 record or better in the following conferences are hereby granted Iso-Major status for 2007:

Iso-Major Conferences
Missouri Valley
Mid-American
Conference USA
Atlantic 10
CAA
Mountain West
WAC

In addition, the following schools are hereby granted Iso-Major status for 2007 by virtue of their consistent record in qualifying for and competing in the NCAA Tournament since the year 2000:

Individual Teams not in Iso-Major Conferences
Gonzaga
Winthrop
Pacific
Butler
Penn
Bucknell
College of Charleston
Western Kentucky

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