The term "mid-major," which for years had derisively referred to programs outside the major conferences, 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 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 up the college basketball establishment.
Its last breath may have come in a ragged gasp as the Shockers rose to No. 2 this week, and as 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.