The mid-major teams are often the most overlooked teams in any level of college basketball. However, some teams in the state of Texas are gaining national attention for their accomplishments over the first half of the season.
You may have heard about Stephen F. Austin defeating No. 1 Duke in Cameron Indoor Stadium on a thrilling layup at the buzzer in overtime.
The ‘Jacks have proven they are a contender this year as they are 13-2 overall and No. 8 in the men’s mid-major rankings.
One team that will challenge SFA for the Southland title is rival Sam Houston State who is 11-5 and part of an early three-way tie for the conference lead with SFA and Nicholls.
Prairie View A&M and Texas Southern have played their typical brutal early-season schedules but both teams should be a tough team to beat in the SWAC tournament.
On the women’s side, Abilene Christian was expected to have a solid season and they are delivering with a 10-1 record and ranked No. 11 in the women’s mid-major rankings.
SHSU and SFA will also have a say in which team earns an automatic bid to the national tournament.
Rice may only be 7-6 overall, but have played a tough schedule and currently sits tied atop the Conference USA standings with UTEP.
Texas Southern is one of the favorites in the SWAC, UT-Arlington should be a challenger in the Sun Belt Conference and UT-Rio Grande Valley is off to a good start in the WAC.
There will surely be debate over this list with some great players barely missing the cut but that is to be expected with only five players making the list.
Men’s basketball Mid-Major Fab Five
Ian Dubose, G, Houston Baptist
Dubose has steadily improved each season for the Huskies. The junior from Durham, N.C. is having an incredible season averaging 19.1 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3 assists and 1.7 steals for HBU.
Jhivvan Jackson, G, UTSA
Jackson entered this season with high expectations as the CUSA preseason Player of the Year. He has lived up to those expectations thus far averaging 25.3 points, 5.6 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.6 steals for the Roadrunners.
Kevon Harris, G, Stephen F. Austin
It is no surprise that Harris makes this list as he has been a key to the outstanding start for SFA. The senior from Ellenwood, Ga. Is averaging 18.1 points, 5.9 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.4 steals for the ‘Jacks.
Kai Mitchell, F/C, Sam Houston State
Last season’s Southland Conference Newcomer of the Year is having another incredible season. The Haverstraw, N.Y. native is averaging 14.5 points, 7.1 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.3 blocks and 1 steal.
Tyrik Armstrong, G, Texas Southern
An outstanding point guard who with an incredible ability to rebound, Armstrong will be key as the Tigers make another run towards the national tournament. The senior from Houston is averaging 14.8 points, 3.9 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 1.4 steals.
Women’s basketball Mid-Major Fab Five
Ciani Cryor, G, Texas Southern
The graduate transfer from Rutgers is making the most of her final season for the Tigers. She is averaging 16.2 points, 7.7 assists, 4.8 rebounds and 3.7 steals and will be a major player in the SWAC.
Stephanie Visscher, G, Stephen F. Austin
After earning a spot on the Southland All-Defensive team last season, the sophomore is having a breakout season on the offensive end this year. The Lulea, Sweden native is averaging 14.9 points, 7.8 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2.1 steals for SFA.
Breanna Wright, G, Abilene Christian
Wright is finishing a brilliant career with an amazing senior season. The Jarrell High School product is averaging 15.8 points, 5.1 assists, 3.2 rebounds and 2.5 steals to lead ACU as they seek their second appearance in the national tournament in two years.
Trelynn Tyler, G, UT Rio Grande Valley
Tyler is having an outstanding first season for UTRGV after two seasons at Tyler Junior College. The Mansfield Timberview High School product is averaging 14.9 points, 3.9 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 2.6 steals.
Erica Ogwumike, G, Rice
Ogwumike being the final entry on this list is a testament to how many great players are in the state of Texas at the mid-major level. The senior from Cypress Wood High School is averaging 15.8 points, 9.1 rebounds and 2.8 assists for the Owls.