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Wiggins signs contract -7/25/2014, 10:04 AM

Western Kansas athletes overcome long road to be in Shrine Bowl -7/25/2014, 10:20 AM

Aoki's walkoff single lifts Royals in 14th -7/25/2014, 10:03 AM

Larks cap league turnaround with win -7/24/2014, 10:23 AM

Herman moves on in match play -7/24/2014, 10:03 AM

Ellis to play for Zone title -7/24/2014, 1:26 PM

2014 Kansas Shrine Bowl rosters -7/24/2014, 1:29 PM

Jayhawk League standings, July 24 -7/24/2014, 10:34 AM

Jamaal Charles agrees to contract extension -7/24/2014, 10:38 AM

Ubelaker looks to make impact on Shrine Bowl -7/24/2014, 10:51 AM

Snyder hopes season carries over -7/24/2014, 10:33 AM

Herman, Hecker, Kaup advance at Kansas Am -7/24/2014, 10:13 AM

Larks get non-league win -7/23/2014, 1:29 PM

Golfer cards ace in Ellis -7/23/2014, 9:57 AM

Fisher hopes bigger is better -7/23/2014, 9:47 AM

Royals grab win in Chicago -7/23/2014, 10:42 AM

Overachievers set tone for KSU football -7/23/2014, 10:42 AM

Chiefs have had discussions with Charles -7/23/2014, 10:44 AM

Hays Eagles headed back to state -7/23/2014, 10:43 AM

Tuesday's Larks game called off -7/22/2014, 4:49 PM

K-18 state bracket, July 25 to 29 -7/22/2014, 10:46 AM

Royals' offense silenced again in loss to Chicago -7/22/2014, 10:25 AM

Monarchs' season comes to an end -7/22/2014, 10:19 AM

Larks win sixth straight -7/22/2014, 10:24 AM

No bold predictions from Charlie Weis at Big 12 Media Days -7/22/2014, 10:19 AM

Eagles rally for Zone win -7/22/2014, 10:25 AM

'One true champion' gets a workout in Big 12 -7/22/2014, 10:09 AM

K-State clarifies Klein's role -7/22/2014, 10:26 AM

Browns rookie Manziel leads in jerseys sold -7/22/2014, 10:09 AM

Royals get swept in Boston -7/21/2014, 10:10 AM

McIlroy claims Open title -7/21/2014, 10:10 AM

Monarchs fall to Larned in Zone tourney -7/21/2014, 10:10 AM

Larks wrap up second place -7/21/2014, 10:10 AM

Royals fall to Red Sox -7/20/2014, 9:44 AM

Plainville's Krob tops 11-under field -7/20/2014, 6:54 PM

Goodland's Ihrig wins Match Play crown -7/20/2014, 6:54 PM

Monarchs, Russell in Larned Zone -7/20/2014, 6:54 PM

Alex Smith hopes future is with Kansas City Chiefs -7/20/2014, 6:44 PM

Butler wants to stay in K.C. -7/20/2014, 6:44 PM

Larks beat Twins, alone in second place -7/18/2014, 9:31 AM

Sports Scores

Tuesday

Prep basketball

Boys

Atwood 76, St. Francis 65

Dighton 62, Oberlin 47

Hillsboro 50, Goodland 47

Lakeside 42, Lincoln 32

Minneapolis 68, Russell 35

Rock Hills 42, Natoma 37

Salina Central 62, Andover 58

Salina South 62, Sacred Heart 47

Sharon Springs 75, Leoti 38

St. John's Beloit-Tipton 57, Osborne 34

Sylvan-Lucas 61, Thunder Ridge 48

Girls

Dighton 44, Atwood 11

Dodge City 71, Hays High 28

Hesston 51, Goodland 18

Hoisington 60, Victoria 46

Hoxie 65, St. Francis 13

Lincoln 33, Lakeside 26

Minneapolis 47, Otis-Bison 24

Osborne 59, Wilson 34

Sharon Springs 63, Oberlin 42

Sylvan-Lucas 43, Natoma 41 (ot)

Tescott 41, Rock Hills 33

Trego 56, Leoti 27

Thunder Ridge 33, St. John's Beloit-Tipton 30

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SPOTLIGHT
Term 'mid-major' in hoops finally dies of old age

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Term 'mid-major' in hoops finally dies of old age

Published on -2/28/2014, 9:33 AM

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By DAVE SKRETTA

Associated Press

RIP, "mid-major." It was a good run.

The term that for years has derisively referred to programs residing somewhere outside the major conferences of college basketball has died. It was 37 years old.

Mid-major had been on life support for nearly a decade as schools such as George Mason, VCU, Butler and Wichita State crashed the Final Four. What had previously been the bastion of blue bloods such as North Carolina, Kentucky and Duke was thrown open to schools with tiny enrollments and modest fan bases, yet enough talent to shake the college basketball establishment.

Its last breath may have come in a ragged gasp as the Shockers rose to No. 2 in the nation this week and Saint Louis elbowed Michigan State and others out of the top 10.

Several coaches had similar reactions: "It's about time," Wichita State's Gregg Marshall said.

"We travel in private planes. We sell out every game. We treat our program the same as a high major in every way," Marshall said. "Besides, who decides what a mid-major is, anyway?"

The term was born in 1977, when Jack Kvancz -- then the coach of Catholic University -- was asked about a nip-and-tuck game against Howard University, and he summarized it thusly: "For a game between two mid-majors, or whatever you'd call us, it had anything you could ask for."

It was a throwaway comment, but one that took hold, becoming part of the college basketball lexicon as the NCAA tournament exploded in the 1980s into a high-profile event. Suddenly, any program with a small budget or little name recognition was saddled with the description of "mid-major," back then an endearing term for the scrappy underdogs.

"March Madness is not made on the Kentuckys and Dukes and North Carolinas," offered Southern Illinois coach Barry Hinson. "March Madness is made by VCU, Butler and Wichita State."

Yet it was the madness of March that started to bury the term mid-major.

Perhaps no other program has been as hard on its health as Gonzaga, which made the Elite Eight in 1999 and has been to the NCAA tournament every year since, earning a No. 1 seed last season.

All that success has changed the way the program is viewed. The Bulldogs are invited to prestigious tournaments such as the Maui Invitational, and are scheduling home-and-home series -- often in NBA-style arenas that can seat bigger crowds -- against the likes of Kansas State.

They're not the only ones to shrug off the mid-major label.

George Mason didn't look anything but major in reaching the Final Four in 2006. Neither did Butler when it made back-to-back national championships a few years ago, beating another so-called mid-major in VCU in a riveting 2011 national semifinal.

"I think that people that know really our league, and not just us, but other teams in our league, they know we play a major college schedule, in non-conference for sure," San Diego State coach Steve Fisher said. "And we not only play them, but we have beaten enough of them."

That's why every March, the term mid-major became more difficult to apply.

That continued with the latest round of conference realignment. When Creighton left the Missouri Valley for the Big East, did the Bluejays suddenly became major? And when entirely new conferences such as the American Athletic combined schools from each side of the debate, did it become a major conference or a mid-major one?

"I do think it's interesting that Creighton was one of the top teams with us the last couple years in this league," said Marshall, whose Shockers already have wrapped up the Missouri Valley title. "Now they go to the Big East, considered an elite league, and they're dominating the league, and us with them gone are having to justify our (30-0) record. That's an interesting quandary."

For its part, the NCAA insists that it never labels teams as majors or mid-majors, but it sure becomes point of discussion -- or dissension -- every time Selection Sunday rolls around.

"We don't get into conference details," said Wake Forest athletic director Ron Wellman, the chairman of the Division I men's basketball committee. "We pay no attention to what a team's label publicly might be, whether it's mid-major, major. That is not a factor that we look at."

Now, it may not be a factor looked at by anybody.

The Shockers are receiving first-place votes, and Saint Louis remained No. 10 in this week's Top 25. San Diego State rose to No. 6 before a recent loss, and schools such as Southern Methodist and New Mexico -- schools formerly known as mid-majors -- are also appearing in the polls.

Thus, the death of the term mid-major appears to be at hand.

It is survived by other more meaningful ways to compare teams, such as RPI, one of the metrics used by the NCAA selection committee. It was preceded in death by the peach basket, short-shorts and other basketball novelties that ultimately outgrew their relevancy.

"You mention Wichita State and San Diego State," Indiana State coach Greg Lansing said. "Those two teams, as far as I'm concerned, are high majors. That's how they should be viewed."

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