By Chad Waller, NAIA Director of Communications & Sports Information
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - By the slimmest of margins, Northwood (Fla.) earns the No. 1 ranking in the 2012 - 13 NAIA Division II Men's Basketball Coaches' Preseason Top 25 Poll, announced Tuesday by the national office. Northwood holds the distinction by one vote (332-331) over second-ranked and defending national champion Oregon Tech. The Seahawks, who finished 34-4 last year with the final defeat coming in the national title game, gathered five first-place votes. Oregon Tech came away with six first-place nods after winning its third national championship a year ago.
Capturing the remaining two first-place votes, No. 3 Dordt (Iowa) tallied 327 total points. The Defenders made it to the round-of-eight in last year's national championship. No. 4 Indiana Wesleyan (21-12) and No. 5 Cardinal Stritch (Wis.) both made the tournament last year. The Wildcats fell in the first round, while Cardinal Stritch lost in the quarterfinals.
There are eight newcomers when compared to the last poll released on March 19, 2012 (Postseason Top 25): No. 9 Eastern Oregon, No. 14 Saint Xavier (Ill.), No. 16 Embry-Riddle (Fla.), No. 17 Tennessee Wesleyan, No. 19 William Penn (Iowa), No. 21 Spring Arbor (Mich.), No. 23 Southern Oregon and No. 24 Valley City State (N.D.).
Southern Oregon snaps the longest drought amongst the newcomers. The Raiders are listed for the first time since Feb. 22, 2006 when it was No. 13. For the first time since 2010, William Penn is mentioned in the Top 25. Saint Xavier is in its first season at the NAIA Division II level after it was previously a member of NAIA Division I. The Cougars were last ranked in Division I polls on Jan. 16, 2012.
Eastern Oregon, Embry-Riddle, Tennessee Wesleyan, Spring Arbor and Valley City State were all ranked at some point during the 2011 - 12 campaign.
2012 Fab Four participants, No. 11 Davenport (Mich.) and No. 18 McPherson (Kan.), fall out of the Top 10 after losing several starters from last year's squads.
The Cascade Collegiate Conference sends the most teams in the Top 25 with four: Oregon Tech, Eastern Oregon, No. 15 Warner Pacific (Ore.) and Southern Oregon. Three other conferences boast a trio of schools in the poll. Overall, all 14 conferences and independents are represented this week.
The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences and independents.
The first regular-season Coaches' Top 25 Poll will be announced on Nov. 27, 2012. For more information on the polls, click here.
NOTES: (All information dates back to 1999 - 2000) Top-ranked Northwood (Fla.) claims its second-straight No. 1 preseason ranking... The Seahawks have been No. 1 or 2 in each of the last 20 polls dating back to the 2010 - 11 season... Switching over to NAIA Division II, No. 14 Saint Xavier (Ill.) is ranked for the first time since being a member of the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference, which was a NAIA Division I member... No. 19 William Penn (Iowa) is ranked for the first time since Jan. 18, 2010 (No. 14)... Oregon Tech has spent 22-straight polls ranked in the top 10, dating back to Jan. 10, 2011... Embry-Riddle (Fla.) owns the most No. 1 rankings since 2000 with 17; Oregon Tech is next with 15, followed by Oklahoma Wesleyan and former NAIA member Walsh (Ohio) at 12 mentions each; Northwood is right behind with 11 listings... Oregon Tech is listed with the longest active streak in the Top 25 at 89-straight weeks - the last time the Hustlin' Owls were not ranked was on Jan. 11, 2005... In second place is Northwood with 54-consecutive mentions and right behind is Davenport (Mich.) with 38-straight.
2012 - 13 NAIA Division II Men's Basketball Coaches' Preseason Top 25 Poll - (Oct. 23)
|RANK||LAST WEEK^||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||2012-13 RECORD||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||2||Northwood (Fla.) (5)||34-4||332|
|2||1||Oregon Tech (6)||34-4||331|
|3||5||Dordt (Iowa) (2)||30-5||327|
|5||6||Cardinal Stritch (Wis.)||30-6||287|
|12||22||Saint Mary (Kan.)||25-6||222|
|14||RV||Saint Xavier (Ill.)||23-9||205|
|15||14||Warner Pacific (Ore.)||24-9||190|
|19||RV||William Penn (Iowa)||17-15||129|
|21||NR||Spring Arbor (Mich.)||18-14||119|
|24||RV||Valley City State (N.D.)||20-10||79|
Others receiving votes: St. Thomas (Fla.) 62; Taylor (Ind.) 48; Mount Mercy (Iowa) 46; Northwest (Wash.) 39; Jamestown (N.D.) 29; Central Christian (Kan.) 24; Midland (Neb.) 23; Cal Maritime 15; Saint Francis (Ind.) 8; Asbury (Ky.) 7; Madonna (Mich.) 7; Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) 5; Reinhardt (Ga.) 5; Morningside (Iowa) 3.
^ indicates the March 19, 2012 Postseason Top 25 Poll