By Chad Waller, NAIA Director of Communications & Sports Information
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Earning its first No. 1 ranking this season, Cumberlands (Ky.) headlines the third regular season edition of the 2012 - 13 NAIA Division I Men's Basketball Coaches' Top 25 Poll, announced Tuesday by the national office. The Patriots (photo courtesy of Cumberlands Athletics), winners in 15 of their first 16 games, hold the No. 1 position for the second-time (since polls are listed out in 2000 - 01) with the other occurring on Dec. 8, 2008. Cumberlands recorded seven first-place votes and climbed up one spot from the previous poll back on Dec. 11, 2012.
Moving up four spots, No. 2 Columbia (Mo.) collected the remaining four first-place nods to go along with 265 points. The Cougars, who are one of two undefeated teams remaining, are listed in the top five for the first time since 2004.
No. 3 Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) vaulted up eight spots courtesy of an 18-0 start. Previous No. 1-ranked Oklahoma Baptist falls down to the fourth spot. Pikeville (Ky.) slips back to No. 5 with 254 points.
No. 10 (tie) Texas College made the biggest improvement within the poll with a 14-spot leap. The Steers, who earned their first ranking in history in the last poll, are 13-2 overall and have won three of their last four games. Tumbling 11 spots to No. 18, Westminster (Utah) fell the farthest within the poll of any team.
Four teams hopped in as newcomers: No. 20 Emmanuel (Ga.), No. 21 SAGU (Texas), No. 24 Culver-Stockton (Mo.) and No. 25 John Brown (Ark.). Thanks to shooting the 3-pointer well, Culver-Stockton holds its first ranking in school history (since polls are listed during 2000 - 01 season). The Wildcats, who are 14-3 on the year, are second nationally with 10.9 makes per game.
Emmanuel is ranked for the first time since March 9, 2011 (No. 21). SAGU and John Brown were listed out earlier this season in the Top 25.
Texas Wesleyan (No. 12), MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) (No. 13), Campbellsville (Ky.) (No. 20) and Southern-New Orleans (La.) (No. 25) all dropped out of the Top 25.
The Sooner Athletic Conference placed the most ranked teams of any conference or unaffiliated group with five. The Southern States Athletic Conference boasts four teams. Overall, all 11 conferences and unaffiliated groups are represented this week.
The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conference and unaffiliated groups. The fourth regular-season Top 25 will be announced on Jan. 15. For more information on the polls, click here.
NOTES: (All information dates back to 2000 - 01 season) There have been 37 teams represented through four polls this season (includes Preseason Top 25)... Cumberlands (Ky.) becomes the third different No. 1 team in four polls this year (including Preseason)... After falling out of the Top 25 this week, Texas Wesleyan has the longest active streak of being ranked consecutively snapped at 59-straight polls (which dated back to Jan. 23, 2008)... With a No. 17 ranking, Bethel (Tenn.) is listed in its highest position since polls were recorded weekly dating back to 2000 - 01... Oklahoma Baptist leads the active group of being ranked with 54-straight mentions, followed by Rogers State (Okla.) at 20 and Montana State-Northern at 19... Since the 2000 - 01 season, there have been 25 different teams to hold the No. 1 ranking, with seven of those program having five-or-more listings on top of the charts...Former member Mountain State (W.Va.) leads this group with 48 No. 1 rankings, followed by Robert Morris (Ill.) with 24, Concordia (Calif.) is next with 12, Georgetown (Ky.) is at 10 and Rogers State is at seven... Robert Morris is the only program to start and end a season ranked No. 1, doing so during the 2006 - 07 season... By falling out of the Top 25 in the Dec. 4, 2012 edition, Georgetown had its consecutive streak of being ranked stopped at 78-straight, which was the longest active stretch at the time.
2012 - 13 NAIA Division I Men's Basketball Coaches' Top 25 Poll - (Jan. 8)
|RANK||LAST WEEK||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||2012 – 13 RECORD||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||2||Cumberlands (Ky.) (7)||15-1||276|
|2||6||Columbia (Mo.) (4)||16-0||265|
|3||11||Lewis-Clark State (Idaho)||18-0||264|
|6||10||William Carey (Miss.)||13-2||229|
|9||14||Science & Arts (Okla.)||8-2||195|
|T10||15||Cal State San Marcos||13-4||186|
|14||8||Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)||15-2||166|
|19||9||Rogers State (Okla.)||12-4||127|
|25||RV||John Brown (Ark.)||12-3||60|
Others receiving votes: MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) 55; The Master's (Calif.) 47; Texas Wesleyan 35; Philander Smith (Ark.) 35; Hope International (Calif.) 27; Southern-New Orleans (La.) 8; Our Lady of the Lake (Texas) 6; Great Falls (Mont.) 5.