By Chad Waller, NAIA Director of Communications & Sports Information
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - For the second-straight week, Oklahoma Baptist owns the No. 1 ranking in the 10th edition of the 2011 - 12 NAIA Division I Men's Basketball Coaches' Top 25 Poll, the NAIA announced Monday. The Bison again lead second-ranked Shorter (Ga.) by a small margin of 311 points to 303. The rest of the top five are the same, but with subtle shifts. No. 3 Southern Poly (Ga.) moved up two spots, Robert Morris (Ill.) dropped from third to fourth and is in a fourth-place tie with Concordia (Calif.).
Oklahoma Baptist, who has won eight-straight games, earned 10 first-place votes. The Bison won the Sooner Athletic Conference (SAC) regular-season title by a four-game cushion. They will play Oklahoma City in the first round of the SAC tournament on Thursday.
Shorter, who posted the remaining two first-place nods, won its first conference title in the sport since 1977 on Feb. 18. Sitting as the top seed in the Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC) East Division, the Hawks have a first-round bye in the tournament and will play on Thursday.
With 282 points, Southern Poly gained a two-spot jump with victories in seven of its last eight contests. The No. 3 spot ties its highest ranking of the season.
Tied with 274 points, Nos. 4 Concordia and Robert Morris enter their respective conference tournaments as the top seed. Concordia gained the No. 1 position in the Golden State Athletic Conference (GSAC), while the Eagles won the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference regular-season hardware.
No. 17 Xavier (La.) made the best improvement within the poll, making a seven-spot transition. The Gold Rush have won eight of their last nine games and secured the No. 2 seed in the upcoming Gulf Coast Athletic Conference tournament.
No. 19 Biola (Calif.) and No. 25 MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) both enter the Top 25 after being ranked earlier in the season. The Eagles are on the list for the first time since Jan. 9, thanks to a 10-1 record in their last 11 games. MidAmerica Nazarene holds the No. 1 seed in the Heart of America Athletic Conference tournament and gets back in the poll after a one-week absence.
Campbellsville (Ky.) (No. 20) and Westmont (Calif.) (No. 21) were both pushed out this week.
All 12 of the conferences and unaffiliated groups are represented this week. The SAC and GSAC each place four teams in the Top 25 for the second-straight week. The Red River Athletic Conference and Southern States Athletic Conference each landed a trio of ranked teams.
The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conference and unaffiliated groups. The final regular-season Top 25 will be announced on March 7.
At the conclusion of conference tournaments on March 6, the 32-team national championship field will be announced on March 7 by 3 p.m. CST. In addition, the bracket for the 75th annual Buffalo Funds-NAIA Division I Men's Basketball National Championship will be released by 6 p.m. CST. To track complete results from all 12 league tournaments, click here.
NOTES: (All information dates back to 2000 - 01 season) Through 11 polls (including preseason) this year, there have been five different teams to boast the No. 1 ranking (Concordia (Calif.), Oklahoma Baptist, Pikeville (Ky.), Robert Morris (Ill.) and Shorter (Ga.))... There have been 25 different teams since 2000 to be ranked the top team, and within that group, 16 teams with multiple No. 1 rankings... No. 2 Shorter leads the NAIA with 28 wins... Shorter had never been ranked inside the top 10 prior to this year... There have been 40 different teams to be ranked at some point this season... No. 8 Mountain State (W.Va.) boasts the longest active stretch of consecutive rankings with 144-straight weeks; No. 12 Georgetown (Ky.) is next with 76, followed by No. 20 Texas Wesleyan at 53 and No. 1 Oklahoma Baptist at 48... Mountain State has the most No. 1 rankings since 2000 - the Cougars have been No. 1 a total of 48 times since 2000, which marks the highest total of any program in that span... Robert Morris is second with 24 No. 1s and Concordia (Calif.) and Georgetown have sported 10 top mentions ... Robert Morris is the only program to start and end a season ranked No. 1, doing so during the 2006 - 07 season.
2011 - 12 NAIA Division I Men's Basketball Coaches' Top 25 Poll - (Feb. 27)
|RANK||LAST WEEK||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||2011-12 RECORD*||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||1||Oklahoma Baptist (10)||26-3||311|
|2||2||Shorter (Ga.) (2)||28-2||303|
|3||5||Southern Poly (Ga.)||25-5||282|
|T4||3||Robert Morris (Ill.)||25-4||274|
|6||6||Martin Methodist (Tenn.)||24-6||259|
|7||7||Our Lady of the Lake (Texas)||23-6||255|
|8||9||Mountain State (W.Va.)||23-7||241|
|9||8||Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)||20-8||240|
|10||10||Rogers State (Okla.)||22-7||215|
|11||12||Point Loma Nazarene (Calif.)||19-8||201|
|13||15||John Brown (Ark.)||23-7||190|
|14||19||LSU Shreveport (La.)||21-7||172|
|22||24||Azusa Pacific (Calif.)||23-7||89|
|23||23||Southern Nazarene (Okla.)||21-9||88|
|25||RV||MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.)||22-8||86|