By Alan Grosbach, Manager of Communications and Sports Information
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – For the third-straight poll, Cardinal Stritch (Wis.) receives the No. 1 ranking in the NAIA Division II Men’s Basketball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, the national office announced Tuesday. The Wolves gathered 11 first-place votes and 372 total points in the seventh regular-season edition. The top billing is the seventh all-time for Cardinal Stritch since Division II was established in 1991-92.
Defending national champion Cardinal Stritch (21-3) enters the week riding a 10-game winning streak, including a 93-84 win against then-No. 4 Saint Xavier (Ill.) in last week’s NAIA Division II Men’s Basketball Game of the Week. The Wolves rank among the top 20 nationally in nine statistical categories, including boasting the NAIA’s eighth-best 3-point shooting percentage (.399). Cardinal Stritch returns to the hardwood Wednesday at Trinity International (Ill.).
IU Southeast (Ind.) accrued the final three first-place votes and 364 points to hold the No. 2 position for the third-straight week. The Grenadiers are 16-3 overall, including a 10-0 mark in the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. IU Southeast boasts the NAIA’s top scoring offense, averaging 96.6 points per game.
Moving up two spots to No. 3 this week is Dordt (Iowa) with 349 points. The Defenders own the most wins in Division II (23) after going 2-0 last week with victories at Briar Cliff (Iowa), 87-76, on Jan. 29 and at then-No. 13 Hastings (Neb.), 78-74, on Feb. 1.
Rounding out the top five are No. 4 Cornerstone (Mich.) and No. 5 Saint Xavier with 334 and 324 points, respectively. The Golden Eagles, who started the season unranked, are making their first top five appearance since March 2, 2011. Cornerstone (21-3), which is 15-1 in league action this year, enters the week with a three-game lead in the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference standings with six regular-season games remaining.
Saint Xavier trails only top-ranked Cardinal Stritch in the North Division of the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference. The Cougars look to rebound from the aforementioned loss to the Wolves on Wednesday when they host Purdue Calumet at 7 p.m. CST.
No. 10 Davenport (Mich.) and No. 14 Huntington (Ind.) each moved up a poll-high five positions this week. Conversely, Robert Morris (Ill.) dropped five spots from No. 16 to No. 21.
No. 19 Northwest (Wash.), No. 24 Marian (Ind.) and No. 25 Southeastern (Fla.) joined the Top 25 this edition. Northwest and Marian were ranked earlier this season, while Southeastern is making its first appearance in the poll since Feb. 13, 2012.
Concordia (Ore.) (No. 21), Friends (Kan.) (No. 23) and Waldorf (Iowa) (No. 25) dropped out of the poll.
Eleven of 14 conferences and independents are represented this week, led by five teams from the Crossroads League: No. 9 Indiana Wesleyan, No. 11 Saint Francis (Ind.), Huntington, No. 17 Bethel (Ind.) and Marian.
The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences and independents. The eighth regular-season Top 25 poll will be announced on Feb. 11. 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 seven No. 1 positions all-time... There have been 43 different teams ranked this year through eight polls (including Preseason).. Of that group of 43 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 74-consecutive mentions (dating back to Feb. 6, 2008) and right behind is Davenport (Mich.) with 58-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 - (Feb. 4)
|RANK||LAST WEEK||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||2013-14 RECORD||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||1||Cardinal Stritch (Wis.) (11)||21-3||372|
|2||2||Indiana Southeast (3)||16-3||364|
|5||4||Saint Xavier (Ill.)||21-3||324|
|8||10||College of Idaho||20-5||286|
|11||9||Saint Francis (Ind.)||17-7||252|
|13||12||St. Thomas (Fla.)||16-5||222|
|21||16||Robert Morris (Ill.)||17-6||140|
Others receiving votes: St. Ambrose (Iowa) 77; Sterling (Kan.) 65; Oklahoma Wesleyan 61; Cincinnati Christian (Ohio) 31; Concordia (Ore.) 30; Madonna (Mich.) 10; Morningside (Iowa) 9; Waldorf (Iowa) 8; Bethany (Kan.) 3.