By Chad Waller, Director of Communications and Sports Information
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Cardinal Stritch (Wis.) ends the regular-season on top of the NAIA Division II Men’s Basketball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, the national office announced Wednesday. With 10-of-14 first-place votes, the Wolves have been ranked No. 1 in each of the last seven polls. There were no newcomers in the final regular-season edition of the Top 25 and movement was minimal, with 19 programs holding steady or sliding just one position.
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Cardinal Stritch had its 18-game win streak snapped in the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) tournament championship on March 1. However, the Wolves still earned an automatic berth to the NAIA National Championship after winning the CCAC regular-season title. Cardinal Stritch will defend its national title behind a 29-4 overall record.
No. 2 College of Idaho claims its highest ranking of the season. With 359 points this week and three first-place nods, the Coyotes have climbed up in each poll since they were No. 23 in the Jan. 7 edition. College of Idaho (28-5) is an automatic qualifier out of the Cascade Collegiate Conference after winning both the regular-season and tournament titles.
Sliding down one position, No. 3 IU Southeast (Ind.) posted 353 points and the remaining first-place vote. The Grenadiers had their nation-long 20-game win streak snapped on March 1 in the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference tournament final against Cincinnati Christian (Ohio). Despite the loss, IU Southeast has maintained a top-five ranking in each of the last 11 polls.
No. 4 Cornerstone (Mich.) collected 336 points and improved one spot in the process. The Golden Eagles are a lock for the national championship after winning the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference regular-season banner.
No. 5 Indiana Wesleyan swapped places with Cornerstone, after tripping up in the Crossroads League (CL) tournament semifinals on March 1. However, the Wildcats punched their ticket to the national championship after winning the CL regular-season title. Indiana Wesleyan finished this week with 320 points.
No. 12 Morningside (Iowa) enjoyed the best improvement within the poll, a three-spot hike. The Mustangs rattled through the Great Plains Athletic Conference tournament and upset No. 1-seed Dordt (Iowa) on March 4 to win the title.
Conversely, No. 25 Concordia (Ore.) dropped three positions for the largest fall.
Twelve of 14 conferences and independents are represented this week, led by four teams each from the Crossroads League and The Sun Conference.
The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences and independents. The 2013-14 Postseason Top 25 poll will be announced on March 26. For more information on the polls, click here.
NOTES: (All information dates back to 1991 – 1992 season, which is the start of Division II) For the first time all year, there were no newcomers... Eleven programs have earned a ranking in all 12 polls (including Preseason Top 25) this year -- of that group, only Cardinal Stritch (Wis.) boasted a top-10 mention each week... The seven-straight weeks at No. 1 for Cardinal Stritch is the longest for any team since former member Walsh (Ohio) rattled off eight-straight top rankings during the 2010-11 season... There have been 45 different teams ranked this year... Top-ranked Cardinal Stritch is the 10th different team to be ranked No. 1 at least 10 times -- they have 11 all-time No. 1's... Bethel's (Ind.) 35 all-time No. 1 mentions tops on the list, followed by 21 by Embry-Riddle (Fla.)... Northwood (Fla.) holds the longest active streak of being ranked with 78-consecutive mentions (dating back to Feb. 6, 2008) and right behind is Davenport (Mich.) with 62-straight... There have been 36 teams to be ranked No. 1 all-time... 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 Cardinal Stritch 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 - (March 5)
|RANK||LAST WEEK||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||2013-14 RECORD||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||1||Cardinal Stritch (Wis.) (10)||29-4||371|
|2||3||College of Idaho (3)||28-5||359|
|3||2||IU Southeast (Ind.) (1)||25-4||353|
|6||7||Saint Xavier (Ill.)||29-4||316|
|11||11||St. Thomas (Fla.)||25-6||250|
|14||12||Saint Francis (Ind.)||21-10||218|
|19||19||Robert Morris (Ill.)||23-9||152|
Others receiving votes: Southern Oregon 70; St. Ambrose (Iowa) 64; Hastings (Neb.) 43; Northwestern Ohio 35; Sterling (Kan.) 22; William Penn (Iowa) 17; Marian (Ind.) 13; Jamestown (N.D.) 8; Cincinnati Christian (Ohio) 7; Reinhardt (Ga.) 3; Northern New Mexico 3.