Mid-major top-10 rankings 

January, 7, 2009

1. Marist (13-1): Nobody is suggesting the strength of schedule is going to set records, but Marist is perfect against everyone save Oklahoma and played just its fifth home game of the season in Tuesday's win against Iona. What's also impressive is the Red Foxes are doing it while growing on the fly. Rachele Fitz, Julianne Viani and Erica Allenspach account for roughly two out of every three points. If the rest of a rotation laden with freshmen and sophomores keeps learning, Marist could be much better by March.

2. South Dakota State (14-2): Dreams of a one-loss season crashed to terra firma with a decisive 67-51 conference loss at Oakland. That might cost the Jackrabbits their spot in at least the AP poll, but this is still a team with a rock-solid at-large NCAA profile, should it need it. After shooting 37 percent behind the arc last season, SDSU still hasn't found quite that same stroke this season, which hurt dearly in a 15-point first-half at Oakland.

Graham Hays covers college sports for espnW, including softball and soccer. Hays began with ESPN in 1999.