By: Chad Waller, Director of Communications & Sports Information
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Defending national champion Vanguard (Calif.) claims the No. 1 ranking in the 2014 - 15 NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball Coaches’ Preseason Top 25 Poll, the national office announced Tuesday. The Lions earned their first-ever NAIA National Championship after a school-record 31-6 mark a season ago. The unanimous No. 1 selection with nine first-place votes and 219 points, Vanguard triumphed over Emmanuel (Ga.), 70-65, on March 25.
Vanguard won the 2014 national title and made school history by advancing out of the first round. Prior to last year’s event, the Lions went 0-2 in two previous postseason trips. Second Team All-America senior guard Chris Gorman headlines the talented Vanguard unit as he is the leading returning scorer in the Golden State Athletic Conference (15.8 ppg). The Lions are scheduled to play 10 teams who competed at the 2014 national championship. Vanguard begins the year with a match-up with NCAA Division II Chapman (Calif.) on Thursday.
No. 2 Pikeville (Ky.), up three spots with 207 total points. The Bears have now been ranked in the second position in seven of the last eight polls, dating back to last year. Pikeville finished last season with a trip to the national championship second round and a 31-3 overall record.
With 203 total points, Cal State San Marcos locks down the No. 3 spot. The Cougars, who went 32-2 last season, have been in the top five in each of the last 12-consecutive rankings. Cal State San Marcos, who won 23-straight games prior to an exit in the 2014 national championship quarterfinal round, has an early-season showdown with No. 1 Vanguard on Oct. 22.
No. 4 Benedictine (Kan.) and No. 5 Talladega (Ala.) both saw marked improvements from the Postseason Top 25 – the Ravens vaulted up 10 spots for the best jump within the poll and Talladega saw a six-spot climb.
No. 24 Culver-Stockton suffered the largest drop, down 11 spots from the postseason ranking.
Seven programs are listed in the newcomer status, led by first-timer No. 15 Dalton State (Ga.). Last year, the Roadrunners compiled a 26-4 overall record in their first year of NAIA competition. With today’s position, Dalton State holds its first-ever Top 25 ranking in its first year of poll eligibility.
No. 19 Campbellsville (Ky.) earns its first ranking since Dec. 11, 2012 (No. 20). Other rookies this week – No. 12 Oklahoma Baptist, No. 18 Lindenwood-Belleville (Ill.), No. 20 Evangel (Mo.), No. 23 Philander Smith (Ark.) and No. 25 Our Lady of the Lake (Texas) – all landed in the Top 25 at least once last season.
All 10 conferences and Association of Independent Institutions (A.I.I.) are represented in this week's poll. The Heart of America Athletic Conference, with four programs, claims the most of any conference: Benedictine, No. 11 MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.), Evangel and Culver-Stockton. 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. The first regular-season Top 25 will be announced on Dec. 9. For more information on the polls, click here.
NOTES: (All information dates back to 2000 – 01 season) No. 1 Vanguard, No. 3 Cal State San Marcos and No. 6 St. Gregory’s (Okla.) are the only teams to hold their position from the 2014 Postseason Top 25… Vanguard is the 30th different team since 2000 to hold the No. 1 position... Last 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.)… There were 47 different teams ranked during the 2013-14 season... Xavier (La.) leads the active group of being ranked with 38-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 the all-time charts with 48 all-time No. 1 rankings, followed by NAIA Division II member 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.
2014 – 15 NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball Coaches’ Preseason Top 25 Poll – Oct. 28
|RANK||LAST WEEK^||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||2013-14 RECORD||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||1||Vanguard (Calif.) (9)||32-6||219|
|3||3||Cal State San Marcos||32-2||203|
|6||6||St. Gregory's (Okla.)||24-10||192|
|9||7||William Carey (Miss.)||28-3||162|
|10||15||Hope International (Calif.)||23-11||160|
|11||4||MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.)||26-11||144|
|14||21||LSU Shreveport (La.)||21-9||127|
|T15||NR||Dalton State (Ga.)||26-4||115|
|21||22||Wayland Baptist (Texas)||23-11||76|
|22||T16||Rocky Mountain (Mont.)||23-8||72|
|23||RV||Philander Smith (Ark.)||20-12||57|
|T25||NR||Our Lady of the Lake (Texas)||21-11||49|
Others Receiving Votes: Concordia (Calif.) 45; Martin Methodist (Tenn.) 30; Montana State-Northern 21; Oklahoma City 13; Wiley (Texas) 11; SAGU (Texas) 4; St. Thomas (Texas) 3; Park (Mo.) 3.
^ Ranking in the 2013-14 Coaches’ Postseason Top 25 Poll (April 2, 2014)