By Chad Waller, Director of Communications and Sports Information
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – After winning its first-ever national championship, Cardinal Stritch (Wis.) boasts the No. 1 ranking in the 2013 – 14 NAIA Division II Men’s Basketball Coaches’ Preseason Top 25 Poll, announced by the national office on Tuesday. The Wolves went 35-3 last year and now hold the top position for the fourth time in its history. Cardinal Stritch captured 13-of-14 first-place nods and 374 total points.
After a 73-59 victory in the title game last year, Cardinal Stritch posted the most wins in NAIA Division II since 2009. The Wolves won by an average of over 15 points in five national championship tournament games. Senior guard Derek Semenas is the top returner after earning 2013 NAIA Second-Team All-America status with a team-best 16.2 points and 5.6 rebounds.
Indiana Wesleyan, a team to advance to the 2013 National Championship Second Round, improves to No. 2 in the poll. The Wildcats recorded 350 total points. This is the highest ranking since Indiana Wesleyan sported a top ranking two-straight times in the Nov. 28 and Dec. 5 editions during the 2011 - 12 campaign. 2013 NAIA Second-Team All-American Jordan Weidner looks to fill the void of departing First-Teamer Patrick Hopkins.
No. 3 Embry-Riddle (Fla.), who was the biggest mover within the Top 25, improved 14 spots from the Postseason Poll. Out of The Sun Conference, the Eagles gathered 344 total points. Embry-Riddle will try to improve upon a 25-9 record a year ago and a finish in the National Championship First Round.
Receiving the remaining first-place vote, Southern Oregon climbs up to No. 4 with 334 total points. This is the first top-five position for the Raiders since a No. 3 ranking on Jan. 25, 2006. The 25-10 program out of the Cascade Collegiate Conference will look to two Honorable Mention All-America picks in Eric Thompson and David Sturner to shoulder the offense.
Rounding out the top five is No. 5 Northwood (Fla.) with 318 points. The Seahawks will try to recover from losing two NAIA All-American's and continue to hit the 30-win threshold. Northwood has averaged 32 wins in each of the last three campaigns. In the 2013 National Championship tournament, the Seahawks fell in the first round to Ozarks (Mo.).
No. 6 Robert Morris (Ill.) is a highlight of the newcomers bunch. The Eagles are members of the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference, which has moved over to the NAIA Division II ranks. Robert Morris was a mainstay in the Division I polls, ranked No. 1 in 24 editions since 2000. Other newcomers in this poll include No. 13 Oklahoma Wesleyan, No. 21 Oregon Tech and No. 23 Hastings (Neb.). Oklahoma Wesleyan is ranked for the first time since a No. 7 spot on March 2, 2011.
Eastern Oregon (No. 20 - tie), Indiana Southeast (No. 3), Mount Mercy (Iowa) (No. 16) and Ozarks (No. 25 - tie) all dropped out from the 2012 - 13 Postseason Top 25.
Overall, 12 of the 14 conferences and independents are represented this week in the poll. The Cascade Collegiate Conference, Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference, Crossroads League, Great Plains Athletic Conference, Midlands Collegiate Athletic Conference and The Sun Conference each lay claim to the most schools in the Top 25 with three each. The Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference checks in with two ranked programs.
The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences and independents. The first regular-season Top 25 poll will be announced on Dec. 3. For more information on the polls, click here.
NOTES: (All information dates back to 1991 – 1992 season, which is the start of Division II) Newcomers No. 21 Oregon Tech and No. 23 Hastings (Neb.) were both ranked at least once last season... No. 5 Northwood (Fla.) has held the No. 1 Preseason position in the last two seasons... There were four different teams ranked No. 1 last year: Cardinal Stritch (Wis.), Eastern Oregon, Northwood and William Penn (Iowa)… There were 45 different teams listed in the Top 25 during the 2012 - 13 season… Northwood holds the longest active streak of being ranked with 67-consecutive mentions (dating back to Feb. 6, 2008) and right behind is Davenport (Mich.) with 51-straight, followed by Northwestern (Iowa) (35)… There have been 36 teams all-time to be ranked No. 1, with nine programs earning at least 10 top mentions… Bethel (Ind.) boasts the most all-time No. 1’s with 35, followed by Embry-Riddle (Fla.) with 17, Oregon Tech at 15, MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) (currently a member in NAIA Division I) and former member Northern State (S.D.) with 14, Oklahoma Wesleyan and former member Walsh (Ohio) at 13, Northwood at 12 and Jamestown (N.D.) at 11 – no other school has more than 10 mentions at No. 1.
2013 – 14 NAIA Division II Men’s Basketball Coaches’ Preseason Top 25 Poll – (Oct. 29)
|RANK||LAST WEEK^||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||2012-13 RECORD||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||1||Cardinal Stritch (Wis.) (13)||35-5||374|
|4||10||Southern Oregon (1)||25-10||334|
|6||NR||Robert Morris (Ill.)||17-14||315|
|7||2||William Penn (Iowa)||34-2||296|
|11||8||Saint Xavier (Ill.)||29-6||247|
|12||13||Warner Pacific (Ore.)||27-7||236|
|14||T20||St. Thomas (Fla.)||21-12||211|
|18||T14||Dakota State (S.D.)||25-9||175|
Others receiving votes: Friends (Kan.) 58; Marian (Ind.) 54; Cornerstone (Mich.) 46; Northwest (Wash.) 42; Morningside (Iowa) 26; Southeastern (Fla.) 18; Viterbo (Wis.) 16; Ashford (Iowa) 12; Saint Mary (Kan.) 11; Jamestown (N.D.) 10; Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) 9; Huntington (Ind.) 8; Warner (Fla.) 3.
^ ranking on March 20, 2013 in the 2012 - 13 Coaches' Postseason Top 25