The Bears entered the 2011 NAIA National Championship ranked 24th and stormed through the competition, defeating the tournament’s top-seed, Robert Morris, in the quarterfinals. National championship MVP Trevor Setty is expected back on the frontline after averaging nearly 14 points. This No. 1 ranking is a first for Pikeville, dating back to the 2000 – 01 season.
“I think this says a lot more about last year’s team than this one, but it’s a nice compliment,” said Pikeville head coach Kelly Wells. “We know how difficult it will be for us to simply get back to the national tournament, but we’re excited about the challenge and it’s one this team is looking forward to meeting as the season progresses.”
The dominant No. 1 team in the 2010 – 11 regular-season polls, Robert Morris (Ill.) lands at No. 3 with 293 points and two first-place nods. The Eagles held the top ranking in nine of 12 polls last year. National championship quarterfinalist Concordia (Calif.) starts the campaign ranked No. 4 with 288 points and one first-place vote. Grabbing the final first-place tally was No. 5 Martin Methodist (Tenn.) with 268 points.
Four newcomers celebrate a spot in the Top 25: No. 12 Shorter (Ga.), No. 20 Southern Poly (Ga.), No. 24 Saint Xavier (Ill.) and No. 25 Fresno Pacific (Calif.). All of the schools were ranked at least once during the 2010 – 11 season, except Fresno Pacific. The Sunbirds were last mentioned on March 2, 2010 (No. 23).
One of the semifinalists outside of the top five is No. 8 Georgetown (Ky.). The Tigers will be without long-time head coach Happy Osborne, who departed to become an assistant coach at NCAA Division I Tennessee Tech. Osborne spent the past 15 years at the helm and left with a 456-84 (.844) record. His winning percentage was the best among active coaches with a minimum of 500 games coached.
All 12 of the conference/independent/unaffiliated groups are mentioned in the poll. The Golden State Athletic Conference places a league-high four teams: Concordia, No. 9 Azusa Pacific (Calif.), No. 15 Biola (Calif.) and Fresno Pacific. The Mid-South Conference and Sooner Athletic Conference each claim a trio of programs.
The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conference/independent/unaffiliated groups. The first regular-season Division I Men’s Basketball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll will be announced on Dec. 5.
Notes: (all information dates back to 2000 – 01 season) The previous highest ranking for Pikeville (Ky.) was a No. 6 spot on Jan. 11, 2010… The Bears become the fourth different team in as many years to hold the preseason No. 1 ranking... No. 2 Mountain State (W.Va.) has been in the Top 25 for the last 134-consecutive weeks, which is the longest active streak in NAIA Division I; No. 8 Georgetown (Ky.) is next with 66, followed by No. 10 Texas Wesleyan at 43 and No. 7 Oklahoma Baptist at 38… Mountain State has the most No. 1 rankings since 2000 – the Cougars have been No. 1 a total of 48 times since 2000, which marks the highest total of any program in that span; Robert Morris (Ill.) is second with 22 No. 1s and Concordia (Calif.) follows with eight mentions… Robert Morris is the only program to start and end a season ranked No. 1, doing so during the 2006 – 07 season.
|RANK||LAST WEEK^||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||2010-11 RECORD||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||24||Pikeville (Ky.) (5)||30-7||300|
|2||3||Mountain State (W.Va.) (3)||33-4||295|
|3||1||Robert Morris (Ill.) (2)||32-2||293|
|4||2||Concordia (Calif.) (1)||32-4||288|
|5||6||Martin Methodist (Tenn.) (1)||34-3||268|
|6||4||LSU Shreveport (La.)||30-4||255|
|9||8||Azusa Pacific (Calif.)||29-6||233|
|11||25||Rogers State (Okla.)||22-12||202|
|17||14||St. Catharine (Ky.)||22-9||149|
|18||10||Southern Nazarene (Okla.)||26-8||141|
|20||RV||Southern Poly (Ga.)||23-10||121|
|24||NR||Saint Xavier (Ill.)||19-13||66|
|25||RV||Fresno Pacific (Calif.)||20-11||63|
Others receiving votes: Park (Mo.) 55; Lee (Tenn.) 45; MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) 33; Mobile (Ala.) 31; Oklahoma Christian 26; Campbellsville (Ky.) 24; Our Lady of the Lake (Texas) 22; Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.) 21; Life (Ga.) 16; Montana Western 12; Westminster (Utah) 3; William Carey (Miss.) 1; Northwestern Oklahoma State 1; St. Francis (Ill.) 1; Benedictine (Kan.) 1; Westmont (Calif.) 1; Emmanuel (Ga.) 1; Cumberland (Tenn.) 1; Cumberlands (Ky.) 1.
^ Ranking is the final 2010-11 Coaches’ Top 25 Poll