By Chad Waller, Director of Communications and Sports Information
NAIA Game of the Week – No. 1
No. 22 St. Ambrose (Iowa) (11-5, 0-1 MCC) at (RV) William Penn (Iowa) (10-5, 0-0 MCC)
Saturday, Jan. 11 | 3 p.m. CST | William Penn Activity Center | Oskaloosa, Iowa
Live Video/Audio – Provided by William Penn
· Midwest Collegiate Conference (MCC) action heats up as No. 22 St. Ambrose (Iowa) invades the NAIA National Runner-Up (RV) William Penn (Iowa) Saturday at 3 p.m. CST.
· After a conference-best 34-2 record last year, the Statesmen fell 73-59 at the hands of Cardinal Stritch (Wis.) in the 2013 National Championship finale. This year, William Penn struggled out of the gates with an 0-4 start but has since won 10 of its last 11 contests. Saturday's contest marks the start of MCC play for the Statesmen.
· St. Ambrose is coming off an 83-72 conference loss against Mount Mercy (Iowa) on Wednesday. The Fighting Bees enjoyed their first Top 25 ranking in the first regular season poll on Dec. 3 -- prior to that, they were last ranked at the end of the 2011-12 season.
· In the MCC Preseason Coaches' Poll, William Penn was tabbed to win the league with six-of-seven first-place votes. St. Ambrose was picked third, behind Viterbo (Wis.) at No. 2.
· The teams have split the last 10 meetings in the series. In the last affair on Jan. 26, 2013 in Oskaloosa, Iowa, William Penn led 52-28 at halftime and held on for a 113-103 victory.
· Prior to that meeting in January, the average margin of victory in a stretch of seven contests in the series was 4.9 points.
· In home contests this year, William Penn is 6-2 and has won its last six at the Activity Center. The Statesmen have out-scored opponents 96.9-71.1 and outrebounded them 48.0-35.9 at home this year. The Fighting Bees are 3-2 this season in true road contests.
· The game will feature two coaches with remarkable success. St. Ambrose coach Ray Shovlain entered the season No. 6 on the career wins list in Division II -- he is currently 578-412 in his 31st season. At William Penn, coach John Henry started the year tied for No. 20 on the wins list and sports a 245-161 mark in his 13th year.
· St. Ambrose guard Nick Frazier ranks No. 40 in Division II in scoring (19.3). He is looking to rebound from a seven-point effort in Wednesday's loss. Prior to that, he averaged 23.4 points during an eight-game stretch. Tylon Deal chips in 16.0 points and a team-best 5.3 rebounds per game.
· William Penn utilizes the 3-point line for much of its offense. The Statesmen lead the country in 3-pointers made per game (12.1) and rank third in scoring offense (95.3). The team has eclipsed the century mark five times this season.
· The club is 10-1 since leading scorer Marc Wilson (17.4 ppg) started his season on Nov. 16. Wilson is also the team's leading rebounder at 7.4 per game. Five players have scored at least 30 points, led by Blake Walker’s 38 points vs. Graceland (Iowa) on Nov. 8.
· The rematch is scheduled to take place on Feb. 1 in Davenport, Iowa.
Note – A special thanks to the Sports Information Departments at William Penn and St. Ambrose for providing portions of the information above.
Additional Notes from Around NAIA Division II Men’s Basketball
(Through games played on Jan. 9, 2014)
· Oregon Tech head coach Danny Miles has a shot to become the second-ever coach in any level of men's college basketball to hit 1,000 wins. He currently has 998 victories heading into the Hustlin' Owls contest Friday at Northwest (Wash.) and at Evergreen (Wash.) on Saturday. For more information, click here.
· With 698 current victories, Bethel (Ind.) head coach Mike Lightfoot would become the second active Division II head coach to reach the 700-win threshold. The Pilots could give coach win No. 699 on Saturday at Marian (Ind.).
· Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) head coach Ralph Hodge is nearing 700 career wins -- he sits at 695 heading into the game against Judson (Ill.) on Saturday. He currently holds the third-most victories among active Division II coaches.
· From Jan. 24 - 26, the 11th Annual Coaches vs. Cancer Suits and Sneakers weekend will occur to raise awareness about the fight against cancer. Both divisions of NAIA Men's Basketball Coaches will conduct a national effort of fund raising for the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) and American Cancer Society. For more information, click here.
· There are no teams in Division II with an undefeated record. Midland (Neb.) (16-1) and Embry-Riddle (Fla.) (15-1) have the fewest losses with one.
· Midland and Dordt (Iowa) (16-2) have the most victories with 16.
· With a 14-2 record, Friends (Ky.) holds the distinction of the longest Division II active win streak at 14-straight games. After a 94-71 loss to Ozarks (Mo.) on Nov. 5, the Falcons have rattled off 14-consecutive wins. Midland (Neb.) (13-straight) and Saint Xavier (Ill.) (11-straight) are right behind on the list.
· Two teams are still searching for their first victory.
· In the third edition of the Division II Men's Basketball Coaches' Top 25 Poll, Embry-Riddle (Fla.) landed as the No. 1 team. The top billing was the Eagles 20th in school history. For the complete release, click here.
· Joe Mitchell of Friends (Kan.) was named this week’s NAIA National Division II Men’s Basketball Player of the Week. For the complete release, click here.
· Other Top 25 matchups this week:
o Wednesday – No. 15 Indiana Wesleyan def. No. 20 Huntington (Ind.), 89-77
o Wednesday – No. 14 Saint Francis (Ind.) def. No. 4 Bethel (Ind.), 79-62
o Saturday – No. 4 Bethel (Ind.) at No. 24 Marian (Ind.)