By Chad Waller, Director of Communications and Sports Information
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Cardinal Stritch (Wis.) jumps back to the No. 1 position in the fifth regular-season edition of the NAIA Division II Men’s Basketball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, announced by the national office on Tuesday. Coupled with a six-game win streak and the former No. 1 program losing last week, the Wolves hold the top spot for the second time this year -- Cardinal Stritch was No. 1 in the 2013-14 Preseason Top 25. The Wolves claimed nine first-place votes and 370 total points.
Carrying a 17-3 overall record, Cardinal Stritch leads the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference with a 9-0 mark. The Wolves head to Holy Cross (Ind.) on Wednesday in a battle of the top-two teams in the league -- Holy Cross is tied with No. 4 Saint Xavier (Ill.) for the second position.
Moving up one spot to No. 2 is Indiana Southeast with 364 points. The Grenadiers, who recorded the remaining five first-place votes, enjoy their highest ranking in school history behind a 13-3 overall record. On Wednesday, Indiana Southeast brings its eight-game win streak to a road tilt at Berea (Ky.).
The No. 1-ranked team for four-straight polls prior to today, Embry-Riddle (Fla.) is now ranked third with 343 points. The Eagles dropped a 67-63 decision at home to then-No. 22 St. Thomas (Fla.) on Jan. 18. Embry-Riddle tries to get back in the win column Thursday at Ave Maria (Fla.).
Saint Xavier, with 342 total points, earns the No. 4 ranking. The Cougars own the longest active win streak in Division II with a 14-gamer. They next face Calumet St. Joseph (Ind.) on Wednesday and St. Francis (Ill.) on Saturday.
Dordt (Iowa) holds the No. 5 spot for the fourth-consecutive week. The Defenders, who posted 328 points, hold the most victories in Division II with a 19-2 record.
No. 14 College of Idaho moved up seven spots from last week to enjoy the best jump in the poll. The Coyotes are 16-5 overall and have won seven of their last eight games. Conversely, No. 22 Bethel (Ind.) fell down seven positions for the worst fall. The Pilots were ranked No. 4 back on Jan. 7 before losing three of their last four contests.
No. 25 Union (Ky.) becomes the 41st different team to be ranked at least once this season -- the Bulldogs are one of two newcomers this week. Before today, the Bulldogs were last ranked on Jan. 4, 2006 (No. 21). Winners of seven-straight games, No. 24 Concordia (Ore.) leaps in as the other rookie.
Marian (Ind.) (No. 20) and Ashford (Iowa) (No. 25) both drop out this week.
Twelve of the 14 conferences and independents are represented this week, led by four teams from the Crossroads League: No. 8 Saint Francis (Ind.), No. 11 Indiana Wesleyan, No. 22 Bethel, No. 20 Huntington (Ind.). Four other conferences have a trio of teams represented in the Top 25.
The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences and independents. The sixth regular-season Top 25 poll will be announced on Jan. 28. For more information on the polls, click here.
NOTES: (All information dates back to 1991 – 1992 season, which is the start of Division II) Top-ranked Cardinal Stritch (Wis.) posted its fifth all-time No. 1 position and joins a list of 13 other programs with at least five top mentions... No. 8 Saint Francis (Ind.) jumps into the top 10 for the first time since Jan. 10, 2011 (No. 5)... No. 24 Concordia (Ore.) is in the rankings for the first time since Week 1 (No. 13)... There have been 41 different teams ranked this year through six polls (including Preseason).. Of that group of 41 teams, 14 have been ranked in each of the six polls... With 21 all-time No. 1 rankings, Embry-Riddle only trails Bethel's (Ind.) 35 mentions for the most on the all-time list... Northwood (Fla.) holds the longest active streak of being ranked with 72-consecutive mentions (dating back to Feb. 6, 2008) and right behind is Davenport (Mich.) with 55-straight... There have been 36 teams to be ranked No. 1 all-time, with nine programs earning at least 10 top mentions… Behind Bethel and Embry-Riddle for the most all-time No. 1's are 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’ Top 25 Poll - (Jan. 21)
|RANK||LAST WEEK||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||2013-14 RECORD||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||2||Cardinal Stritch (Wis.) (9)||17-3||370|
|2||3||Indiana Southeast (5)||13-3||364|
|4||4||Saint Xavier (Ill.)||18-2||342|
|8||11||Saint Francis (Ind.)||15-5||282|
|14||21||College of Idaho||16-5||201|
|16||12||College of the Ozarks (Mo.)||13-4||190|
|17||17||Robert Morris (Ill.)||14-5||189|
|19||22||St. Thomas (Fla.)||13-4||168|
|23||23||St. Ambrose (Iowa)||14-5||110|