By Chad Waller, Director of Communications and Sports Information
KANSAS CITY, Mo. –Behind a 12-game win streak, Cardinal Stritch (Wis.) collected the No. 1 ranking in the NAIA Division II Men’s Basketball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, the national office announced Tuesday. The Wolves have now been the top-ranked team in each of the last four polls. They posted 373 total points and 12 of the possible 14 first-place votes in the eighth regular-season edition.
Tied for the second-longest active win streak in Division II, Cardinal Stritch notched a Top-25 victory, 76-71, against then-No. 21 Robert Morris (Ill.) on Feb. 8. The Wolves, with a 23-3 overall record and 15-0 mark in the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference, hold a 2.0 game lead for the top spot with three games remaining. Cardinal Stritch next faces Roosevelt (Ill.) on Wednesday. The previous meeting this year saw the Wolves win by 26 points.
Also on a 12-game win streak, IU Southeast rests in the second position for the fourth-straight week. The Grenadiers tallied 363 total points and the remaining two first-place votes. IU Southeast has now recorded at least one first-place nod in each of the eight regular-season polls. With an average of over 96 points per game, IU Southeast leads the NAIA in scoring. Seven players average at least 10 points per contest.
Leaders in the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC), No. 3 Dordt (Iowa) sits with 351 points. The Defenders, who boast the most wins in Division II (24-2), hold a 2.0-game advantage in the GPAC standings with four more games on the docket. However, Dordt has to face third-place Morningside (Iowa) on Wednesday and third-place and No. 8 Midland (Neb.) in the regular-season finale on Feb. 22.
Cornerstone (Mich.) remains at No. 4 this week, courtesy of a 12-game win streak. With 338 total points, the Golden Eagles travel to Indiana Tech on Wednesday to start their final four-game swing to end the regular season. Currently, Cornerstone (23-3) leads the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference by 2.5 games.
For the fifth-consecutive poll, Saint Xavier sticks in the top five with a No. 4 ranking this week. The Cougars finished with 326 points and stand with a 23-3 overall record. Saint Xavier ranks No. 2 in the NAIA in scoring margin (17.7) and No. 3 in scoring offense (90.9).
No. 18 Southeastern (Fla.) made the biggest splash this week with a seven-spot improvement. The Fire have won seven games in-a-row, including an 80-73 triumph over then-No. 6 Embry-Riddle (Fla.) on Feb. 8.
The loss on Feb. 8, along with three setbacks in a five-game stretch, pushes Embry-Riddle down 13 spots to No. 19 this week. That tumble of 13 slots was the largest within the poll.
The two newcomers, Concordia (Ore.) and Sterling (Kan.), both tied at the No. 24 spot with 87 points. The Cavaliers are back in the Top 25 after a one-week absence. Sterling is listed for the first time since the 2011-12 Preseason (Oct. 24, 2011) when it was in the No. 20 position.
Northwest (Wash.) (No. 19) and Robert Morris (No. 21) both fell out of the poll.
Twelve of 14 conferences and independents are represented this week, led by five teams from the Crossroads League: No. 7 Indiana Wesleyan, No. 12 Bethel (Ind.), No. 16 Huntington (Ind.), No. 22 Marian (Ind.) and No. 23 Saint Francis (Ind.).
The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences and independents. The ninth regular-season Top 25 poll will be announced on Feb. 18. For more information on the polls, click here.
NOTES: (All information dates back to 1991 – 1992 season, which is the start of Division II) No. 20 Union (Ky.) owns the Division II's longest active win streak at 13-straight games... No. 24 (tie) Sterling (Kan.) becomes the 44th different team in the Top 25 this season... Falling out this week, Robert Morris (Ill.) had been ranked in each of the previous eight polls... Within the group of 44 different Top 25 teams this year, 13 have been ranked in each of the seven polls... Bethel's (Ind.) 35 all-time No. 1 mentions is tops on the list, followed by 21 by Embry-Riddle (Fla.)... Northwood (Fla.) holds the longest active streak of being ranked with 75-consecutive mentions (dating back to Feb. 6, 2008) and right behind is Davenport (Mich.) with 59-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... Jamestown and Embry-Riddle are the only Division II programs to last the entire season ranked in the No. 1 position -- Jamestown did it during the 2003-04 campaign (11 polls) and Embry-Riddle's run was during 2000-01 (nine polls)
2013 – 14NAIA Division II Men’s Basketball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll -(Feb. 11)
|RANK||LAST WEEK||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||2013-14 RECORD||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||1||Cardinal Stritch (Wis.) (12)||23-3||373|
|2||2||Indiana Southeast (2)||17-3||363|
|5||5||Saint Xavier (Ill.)||23-3||326|
|6||8||College of Idaho||21-5||309|
|11||13||St. Thomas (Fla.)||19-5||258|
|23||11||Saint Francis (Ind.)||17-9||112|