By Chad Waller, Director of Communications and Sports Information
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – For the first time all season, the top five remain unchanged in the sixth regular-season edition of the NAIA Division II Men’s Basketball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, announced by the national office on Tuesday. No. 1-ranked Cardinal Stritch (Wis.) holds for the second-straight poll after a 2-0 week. The Wolves gathered 10 first-place nods and 371 total points. On Saturday, Cardinal Stritch travels to No. 4 Saint Xavier (Ill.) for a battle of the top-two teams in the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference.
No. 2 Indiana Southeast stands with 364 points and grabbed the other four first-place votes. The Grenadiers stand on top of the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference standings with an 8-0 record. Overall, IU Southeast has won 14 of 15 games against NAIA competition this season with two other losses coming against NCAA Division II foes.
With 344 total points, Embry-Riddle (Fla.) holds down the No. 3 spot. The Eagles have secured a top-three ranking in each of the seven polls this year, including a four-week run of No. 1.
No. 4 St. Xavier posted 341 points this week. The Cougars boast the longest active win streak which ran to 16 games after a 84-72 win against St. Francis (Ill.) on Jan. 25. St. Xavier faces Holy Cross (Ind.) on Wednesday prior to the showdown with top-ranked Cardinal Stritch.
For the fourth-straight week, Dordt (Iowa) rests in the fifth position with 328 points. The Defenders own the most wins in Division II (21) and have gone 18-1 in their last 19 contests. On Saturday, Dordt travels to No. 13 Hastings (Neb.) as the top two teams in the Great Plains Athletic Conference battle it out.
No. 12 St. Thomas (Fla.) highlights this week's teams within the Top 25. The Bobcats showed the best improvement with a seven-spot leap. In the span of four days, St. Thomas took down then-No. 1 Embry-Riddle on Jan. 18 and then-No. 7 Northwood (Fla.) on Jan. 22.
Conversely, No. 18 Northwood dropped 11 spots after two-straight losses last week.
No. 25 Waldorf (Iowa) headlines the newcomers. The Warriors capture their first-ever Top 25 ranking in school history. They have won five-straight games, including an 83-73 victory over then-No. 9 Bellevue (Neb.) on Jan. 11 and an 81-72 triumph over then-No. 16 College of Ozarks (Mo.) on Jan. 24.
The other rookie, No. 24 Ashford (Iowa), is back in the poll after a one-week absence.
Ozarks (No. 16) and St. Ambrose (Iowa) (No. 23) both drop out of the poll.
Twelve of the 14 conferences and independents are represented this week, led by four teams from the Crossroads League: No. 9 Saint Francis (Ind.), No. 11 Indiana Wesleyan, No. 19 Huntington (Ind.) and No. 20 Bethel. 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 seventh regular-season Top 25 poll will be announced on Feb. 4. 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.) has now tallied six No. 1 positions all-time... There have been 42 different teams ranked this year through seven polls (including Preseason).. Of that group of 42 teams, 14 have been ranked in each of the seven polls... With 21 all-time No. 1 rankings, Embry-Riddle (Fla.) 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 73-consecutive mentions (dating back to Feb. 6, 2008) and right behind is Davenport (Mich.) with 57-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. 28)
|RANK||LAST WEEK||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||2013-14 RECORD||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||1||Cardinal Stritch (Wis.) (10)||19-3||371|
|2||2||Indiana Southeast (4)||14-3||364|
|4||4||Saint Xavier (Ill.)||20-2||341|
|9||8||Saint Francis (Ind.)||16-6||273|
|10||14||College of Idaho||18-5||271|
|12||19||St. Thomas (Fla.)||15-4||234|
|16||17||Robert Morris (Ill.)||16-5||194|