By Spencer Scheve, Athletics Communications and Media Intern
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Union (Ky.) leaps over Cornerstone (Mich.) to earn the No. 1 ranking in the NAIA Division II Men’s Basketball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, released Tuesday. The Bulldogs earned six first-place votes and 307 total points to receive the top ranking. The final poll and championship bracket will be released Wednesday, March 1 at 6 p.m. CST via live selection show at naia.org.
Top 25 Highlights (historical information dates back to 1998):
- Union (Ky.) earns the No. 1 rank for the first time in school history. The Bulldogs hold a 27-3 record and 20-0 undefeated mark to win the Appalachian Athletic Conference (AAC) regular-season title. This is the fourth-straight year the Bulldogs have won or shared the AAC regular-season title.
- Union is powered by Gerrard Newby, who leads the team in scoring with 22.0 points per game and 10.2 rebounds per game. Tyrone Sherman is ranked No. 5 in the NAIA with 190 total assists.
- Following closely behind the Bulldogs is Cornerstone (Mich.) earning the No. 2 rank this edition with six first-place votes and 306 points. The Golden Eagles hold a 27-3 record and are 20-2 in the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference (WHAC). Cornerstone clinched its ninth WHAC regular-season title with a 79-66 victory over Davenport (Mich.) on Feb. 11.
- Cornerstone is ran by Kyle Steigenga, who leads the team in scoring with 22.1 points per game and 9.7 rebounds per game. Cory Cox is ranked No. 7 in the NAIA in total 3-point field goals made (100).
- Rounding out the top five is Bethel (Ind.) at No. 3 with 290 points, Rochester (Mich.) at No. 4 with 285 points and Indiana Wesleyan at No. 5 with 267 points.
- One program joins the Top 25 – No. 23 Florida Memorial.
- The last time Florida Memorial was ranked was on Jan. 24, when the Lions were No. 23.
- The team that dropped out of the newest rankings is Indiana Tech.
- The teams with the greatest movement in this edition is WVU Tech, which moved from No. 11 to No. 22 and College of Idaho, which climbed nine spots from No. 25 to No. 16.
- Overall, 11 of the 12 conferences are represented in this edition of the poll. The Cascade Collegiate Conference and the Great Plains Athletic Conference are tied for most schools represented with four each.
- Bethel (Ind.) has been ranked No. 1 the most times in history, coming in with 35 appearances.
- Davenport holds the active streak of being ranked consecutively with 96-straight mentions.
- Jamestown (N.D.) (2003-04) and former member Embry-Riddle (Fla.) (2000-01) are the only teams to go the entire season ranked No. 1.
- The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences, Association of Independent Institutions and Unaffiliated Groups.
- The Top 25 is determined by a points system based on how each voter ranks the best teams. A team receives 30 points for each first-place vote, 29 for second-place and so on through the list.
- The highest and lowest ranking for each team (a non-rating is considered a low ratings) is removed and the team’s ranking will be recalculated with an additional point added to each team for every ballot (including discounted ballots) that the teams appears on.
- Teams that receive only one point in the ballot are not considered “receiving votes”
- Frequency of polls occur bi-weekly. This policy was approved by the National Administrative Council (NAC) for the 2016-17 academic season. This change will allow raters the opportunity to consider a larger body of work in between rating periods.
- For the complete ratings calendar, click here.
2016-17 NAIA Division II Men's Basketball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll – Poll 6 (Feb. 21)
|RANK||LAST WEEK^||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||RECORD||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||2||Union (Ky.) (6)||27-3||307|
|2||1||Cornerstone (Mich.) (6)||27-3||306|
|6||6||Northwest Christian (Ore.)||24-4||264|
|7||8||Robert Morris (Ill.)||23-6||238|
|11||13||Trinity International (Ill.)||26-4||215|
|12||18||Briar Cliff (Iowa)||24-6||208|
|14||7||Dakota Wesleyan (S.D.)||22-8||175|
|15||19||Saint Francis (Ind.)||21-9||170|
|16||25||College of Idaho||22-8||145|
|21||16||Washington Adventist (Md.)||20-6||118|
Dropped from the rankings: Indiana Tech
Others receiving votes: Taylor (Ind.) 67; York (Neb.) 40; St. Thomas (Fla.) 36; Indiana Tech 33; Cal Maritime 25; Morningside (Iowa) 24; Keiser (Fla.) 10; Concordia (Neb.) 3