Editor's note: Each week, Yahoo! Sports college basketball writer Jason King will rank teams in each of the Big Six conferences plus the best of the rest. Sunday's entry – The Non-Big Six conferences.
(Through Feb. 21 games)
St. Mary's is hoping injured star Patrick Mills returns in time for next week's West Coast Conference tournament. In the meantime, the Gaels are getting some good production from Mills' replacement.
Making just his fifth college start, Mickey McConnell scored 22 points and swished five free throws down the stretch to spark St. Mary's to a 75-64 victory over Utah State on Saturday. McConnell made all six of his field-goal attempts and was 9 of 11 from the foul stripe.
A week ago, McConnell scored 20 points in a victory over Portland. Still, as well as he has played, the Gaels know their chances of winning next week's tournament depend on Mills' health. He is sidelined with a hand injury.
Now on to the rankings. Last week's rank in parenthesis.
|The Tigers showed a lot of character in surviving a tough road test in Saturday's 80-73 victory over a dangerous Texas-El Paso team. "After the game I had 25 text messages saying, 'Tough win. That was a war!'" coach John Calipari said. (1)|
|The Zags have clinched the West Coast Conference title for the ninth consecutive season and have now won 20 or more games 12 straight years. Will Mark Few be around for No. 13? (2)|
|The Utes have won seven straight in an underrated Mountain West Conference. They'll be well-rested when they take the court against UNLV on Wednesday after going a week without playing a game. (7)|
|4.||St. Mary's |
|Omar Samhan and Diamon Simpson continue to come up huge for a team that’s playing without its star. Simpson averages 13.3 points and 10.6 rebounds while Samhan is at 13.7 and 9.2. (NR)|
|Stephen Curry's shooting woes couldn't have come at a better time for Butler, which got a huge momentum boost from Saturday's win over Davidson. The Bulldogs entered the game having lost two straight. (3)|
|Saturday's loss was the second in four games for Brian Gregory's team, whose final four games are against teams in the upper half of the Atlantic 10 standings. (4)|
|What's going on with the Musketeers? Sean Miller's squad has lost three of its last four conference games, including Thursday's setback against a Charlotte team that was toting a 9-15 record. (5)|
|Four Saints scored in double figures in Saturday's 81-75 bracket buster victory over Northern Iowa. Kenny Hasbrouck is averaging 15 points for a team that ends the regular season with back-to-back road games against Niagara and Canisius. (8)|
|The Wildcats couldn't win without Stephen Curry last week – and they couldn't win with him, either. An ankle injury kept Curry out of Wednesday's 64-46 loss to the Citadel, and he went just 6 of 23 from the field in Saturday's setback against Butler. (6)|
|The Bluejays have won eight in a row and are tied for first place in the Missouri Valley Conference thanks largely to Booker Woodfox, who has made 25 of his 41 3-point attempts during the victory stretch. (NR)|
|11.||Utah State |
|Jared Quayle's 22 points were enough for the Aggies against St. Mary's on Saturday. Utah State has now lost two of its last three games after winning 19 straight. Still, at 12-2, it still has a comfortable lead in the Western Athletic Conference standings. (9)|