By: Chad Waller, Director of Communications & Sports Information
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Fresh off its first-ever NAIA National Championship, Vanguard (Calif.) is the new No. 1-ranked team in the 2014 NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball Coaches’ Postseason Top 25 Poll, the national office announced Wednesday. Ending the year on a nine-game win streak, the Lions earned all 10 first-place votes and 250 total points. Vanguard defeated Emmanuel (Ga.), 70-65, on March 25 to win the 77th annual national championship.
Vanguard, who was seeded No. 6 in the national championship, held up the banner after winning all five championship games by an average of 10.6 points. The championship game was the first finals appearance for the team out of the Golden State Athletic Conference playing in its third postseason event overall. Prior to 2014, the Lions never advanced out of the first round in the championship tournament. Rawlings-NAIA Division I Men's Basketball Coach of the Year Rhett Soliday led the Lions to a school-record 31-6 mark and mentored Championship MVP Preston Wynne.
National runner-up Emmanuel claims the No. 2 ranking with 242 points. The Lions posted the most wins in a single season in school history with a 33-4 mark. Emmanuel was seeded No. 8 in the national championship and won its first-ever national championship tournament game. Junior Michael Stanley and senior Adrian Justice were named to the All-Tournament team.
Former No. 1-ranked Cal State San Marcos drops to No. 3 with 230 points. The Cougars had locked down the No. 1 spot for seven-consecutive polls prior to today. Cal State San Marcos was the top seed in the national championship and competed in the quarterfinals. The Cougars end the year with a 32-2 record and had won 23-straight contests prior to the loss in the round of eight.
With 225 points, No. 4 MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) makes the top five for the first time since it changed to NAIA Division I membership in 2008-09. The Pioneers appeared in the championship semifinals as an unseeded team out of the Heart of America Athletic Conference. Hall of Fame coach Rocky Lamar led the team to a 26-11 record.
Pikeville (Ky.) rounds out the top five with 216 points. The Bears finished the season with a trip to the national championship second round. Prior to today, Pikeville occupied the No. 2 position for six-straight polls.
No. 4 MidAmerica Nazarene owns the best improvement in the poll, with a 15-spot leap. Conversely, No. 21 LSU Shreveport dropped eight positions for the worst fall within the Top 25. Seeded 13th in the national championship, the Pilots fell in the first round to unseeded MidAmerica Nazarene, 96-71.
Newcomer and No. 18 St. Catharine (Ky.) is back in the Top 25 for the first time since Feb. 25, 2014 (No. 23). The Patriots advanced to the national championship quarterfinals and in the process knocked off No. 5-seed SAGU (Texas).
St. Thomas (Texas) (No. 25) was the only program to fall out of the Top 25.
All 10 conferences and independents are represented in this week's poll. The Mid-South Conference, with four programs, claims the most of any conference: No. 5 Pikeville, No. 10 Georgetown (Ky.), No. 18 St. Catharine and No. 20 Cumberlands (Ky.). Four other conferences land a trio of teams in the Top 25.
The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences and unaffiliated groups. For more information on the polls, click here.
NOTES: (All information dates back to 2000 – 01 season) No. 1 Vanguard (Calif.) becomes the 30th different team since 2000 to hold the No. 1 position... This year, there were seven different No. 1-ranked teams: Vanguard, Cal State San Marcos, Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.), SAGU (Texas), Pikeville (Ky.), Georgetown (Ky.) and Columbia (Mo.) -- last year, there were five different No. 1's... Five teams - Cal State San Marcos (32), Columbia (32), Emmanuel (Ga.) (33), Pikeville (31) and Vanguard (32) all finished the year with at least 30 wins... The combo of No. 9 Columbia and No. 8 Freed-Hardman (Tenn.) out of the American Midwest Conference were ranked in the top 10 in each of the last 10 polls... Through 13 polls (including Preseason), there were 47 different teams ranked... Xavier (La.) leads the active group of being ranked with 37-straight mentions, followed by Columbia at 35, Cal State San Marcos at 26 and Pikeville at 26… Former NAIA member Mountain State (W.Va.) leads with 48 all-time No. 1 rankings, followed by Robert Morris (Ill.) with 24... Concordia and Georgetown are next with 12 and Columbia at nine mentions… Robert Morris, now a NAIA Division II member in the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC), is the only program to start and end a season ranked No. 1, doing so during the 2006 – 07 season... A conference change this year saw the CCAC move to NAIA Division II.
2013 – 14 NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball Coaches’ Postseason Top 25 Poll – April 2
|RANK||LAST WEEK||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||2014 RECORD||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||8||Vanguard (Calif.) (10)||32-6||250|
|3||1||Cal State San Marcos||32-2||230|
|4||19||MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.)||26-11||225|
|6||18||St. Gregory's (Okla.)||24-10||206|
|7||3||William Carey (Miss.)||28-3||203|
|15||22||Hope International (Calif.)||23-11||135|
|T16||10||Rocky Mountain (Mont.)||23-8||118|
|18||RV||St. Catharine (Ky.)||20-13||116|
|21||13||LSU Shreveport (La.)||21-9||94|
|22||20||Wayland Baptist (Texas)||23-11||80|