It's not exactly the usual suspects dotting the top of the rankings at this point in the season. Sure, there are Gonzaga and Kansas, and a little further down, there are Villanova and Duke. But sitting inside the top seven of this week's AP poll are San Diego State and Dayton, two programs not generally seen in late March and early April.
San Diego State has never advanced past the Sweet 16. Dayton has reached the second weekend of the NCAA tournament once in the past 36 years. The Aztecs and Flyers, however, are a combined 39-2 entering Wednesday night and harbor legitimate Final Four hopes.
Anytime a team from outside the power conferences continues to rise in the rankings, there are doubters. "They don't play anyone." "They would finish fifth in the [fill-in conference]." You know, the usual remarks.
So how good are San Diego State and Dayton? I reached out to opposing coaches -- including ones who have faced other high-major programs -- to get insight on how they stack up nationally.