By Chad Waller, NAIA Director of Communications & Sports Information
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Shorter (Ga.) moves back up to the No. 1 position, and the fifth time overall, as the Hawks finish the 2011 - 12 regular season on top of the NAIA Division I Men's Basketball Coaches' Top 25 Poll, the NAIA announced Monday. Shorter had been seesawing with second-ranked Oklahoma Baptist for the last part of the season and boasts the top billing for the first time since Feb. 13. The Bison had been No. 1 for the previous two polls.
Qualifiers for the 75th annual Buffalo Funds-NAIA Division I Men's Basketball National Championship will be announced today at 3 p.m. CST on NAIA.org. Fourteen at-large selections will be added to the 17 automatic berths, along with the host berth Baker (Kan.). The official 32-team bracket will then be unveiled by 6 p.m. CST on NAIA.org.
Powered behind 11 of 12 first-place votes and 312 points, Shorter won a school-record 31 games this season. Champions of the Southern States Athletic Conference East Division, Shorter will be making its first trip to the national championship. The Hawks ride into the Kansas City, Mo., event on a seven-game winning streak.
Oklahoma Baptist sits with 301 points and grabbed the remaining first-place nod. No. 3 Robert Morris (Ill.) and No. 4 Concordia (Calif.) both maintain their grip on the same spots from last week. With 269 points, No. 5 Martin Methodist (Tenn.) moves into the top-five for the first time since the Preseason Top 25.
No. 22 Campbellsville (Ky.) is the lone newcomer, thanks to a deep run in the Mid-South Conference (MSC) tournament. The Tigers were seeded sixth in the postseason tournament and advanced to the semifinals. Campbellsville is back in after a No. 20 ranking on Feb. 20.
Azusa Pacific (Calif.) (No. 22) was the only team that dropped out this week.
All 12 of the conferences and unaffiliated groups are represented this week. The Sooner Athletic Conference landed four ranked teams to lead all conferences and groups: Oklahoma Baptist, No. 9 Rogers State (Okla.), No. 13 John Brown (Ark.) and No. 25 Southern Nazarene (Okla.). The Golden State Athletic Conference, MSC, Red River Athletic Conference and Southern States Athletic Conference each have a triplet of ranked teams.
The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conference and unaffiliated groups. The postseason Coaches' Top 25 Poll will be announced on March 26.
NOTES: (All information dates back to 2000 - 01 season) Through 12 polls (including preseason) this year, there have been five different teams to boast the No. 1 ranking (Concordia (Calif.), Oklahoma Baptist, Pikeville (Ky.), Robert Morris (Ill.) and Shorter (Ga.))... There have been 25 different teams since 2000 to be ranked the top team, and within that group, 16 teams have multiple No. 1 rankings... No. 1 Shorter leads the NAIA with 31 wins... Shorter had never been ranked inside the top 10 prior to this year... There have been 40 different teams to be ranked at some point this season... No. 11 Mountain State (W.Va.) boasts the longest active stretch of consecutive rankings with 145-straight weeks; No. 14 Georgetown (Ky.) is next with 77, followed by No. 19 Texas Wesleyan at 54 and No. 2 Oklahoma Baptist at 49... 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 is second with 24 No. 1s and Concordia (Calif.) and Georgetown have sported 10 top mentions ... Robert Morris is the only program to start and end a season ranked No. 1, doing so during the 2006 - 07 season.
2011 - 12 NAIA Division I Men's Basketball Coaches' Top 25 Poll - (March 7)
|RANK||LAST WEEK||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||2011 – 12 RECORD||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||2||Shorter (Ga.) (11)||31-2||312|
|2||1||Oklahoma Baptist (1)||28-4||301|
|3||3||Robert Morris (Ill.)||27-4||293|
|5||6||Martin Methodist (Tenn.)||27-6||269|
|6||3||Southern Poly (Ga.)||24-6||266|
|7||7||Our Lady of the Lake (Texas)||26-7||246|
|8||9||Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)||21-9||230|
|9||10||Rogers State (Okla.)||22-8||217|
|11||8||Mountain State (W.Va.)||23-8||215|
|12||15||LSU Shreveport (La.)||25-7||205|
|13||13||John Brown (Ark.)||24-8||194|
|16||11||Point Loma Nazarene (Calif.)||20-9||146|
|22||25||MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.)||24-8||88|
|25||23||Southern Nazarene (Okla.)||22-10||70|