By Chad Waller, NAIA Director of Communications & Sports Information
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – For the third time in as many polls this season, there is a new No. 1 team. Pikeville (Ky.) stands on top of the second regular-season edition of the 2013 - 14 NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball Coaches’ Top 25, announced by the national office Tuesday. The last No. 1 ranking for the Bears came in the 2011 - 12 Preseason Top 25, which was the first poll after winning the 2011 NAIA National Championship.
With six first-place votes, Pikeville gathered 247 total points. The Bears stand 12-1 on the year, with their only loss coming at Life (Ga.) on Nov. 12. Five regulars on the roster average at least 9.0 points per game. That balanced scoring has vaulted the Bears to top Division I in scoring margin (+30.8 points) and rank No. 2 in scoring offense (98.6 ppg). Pikeville brings its seven-game win streak into a battle with Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) on Thursday.
No. 2 SAGU (Texas) posted 239 total points with one first-place vote. The Lions, last year's national runner-up, are led by 2012 - 13 National Co-Player of the Year Dominique Rambo. The senior guard was honored earlier today with the national Player of the Week award.
With the remaining three first-place nods, No. 3 Columbia (Mo.) tallied 238 points. The Cougars were ranked No. 1 in the last poll, but tripped up against then-No. 15 (tie) Benedictine (Kan.), 73-59, on Dec. 18. Columbia has now been mentioned in the top five for the last 13-consecutive polls.
No. 4 Cal State San Marcos, with 228 points, moves up four positions from the first regular-season edition. This position is the highest in Cougar school history.
Checking in at No. 5 is Concordia (Calif.) with 212 points. The Eagles improved seven spots since the last poll. Concordia and Cal State San Marcos face off on Friday in a top-five battle in Irvine, Calif.
Concordia and No. 12 St. Gregory's (Okla.) hold the best improvement within the poll with a seven-spot shift. Conversely, No. 22 John Brown (Ark.) has tumbled down a NAIA-high 15 positions after two-straight losses to unranked opponents.
No. 21 Vanguard (Calif.) is the highlight of the three newcomers in this edition. The Lions, who have won seven straight games, are ranked for the first time in nearly five years -- Feb. 27, 2008 (No. 25) . No. 23 St. Catharine (Ky.) is recognized for the first time since Oct. 24, 2011 in the Preseason Top 25 installment. The third poll rookie, No. 18 Mid-America Christian (Okla.), is in the Top 25 for first time since Feb. 12, 2013 (No. 23 - tie).
Three teams dropped out this week: Life (Ga.) (No. 20 - tie), Hope International (Calif.) (No. 22) and Cumberland (Tenn.) (No. 23).
All 10 conferences and independents are represented in this week's poll. The Sooner Athletic Conference leads all leagues with four teams: SAGU, St. Gregory's, Mid-America Christian and John Brown.
The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conference and unaffiliated groups. The third regular-season Top 25 Poll will be announced on Jan. 14. For more information on the polls, click here.
NOTES: (All information dates back to 2000 – 01 season) There has now been a different No. 1 team in each of the three polls this season (including Preseason Top 25) -- which marks the first time since the 2008-09 season that this has occurred... Pikeville (Ky.) lands its second all-time No. 1 ranking this week; the Bears become the 19th different program with multiple No. 1 positions... The only undefeated team in Division I is No. 11-ranked Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.)... Through three polls (including Preseason), there have been 37 different teams ranked... Preseason No. 1 and defending national champion Georgetown (Ky.) looks to become the first team since Oklahoma City in 2008 to be the Preseason No. 1 and win the national championship in the same season -- the Tigers fell down to No. 13 this week... Last year, five programs earned the No. 1 ranking: Georgetown, Columbia (Mo.), Concordia (Calif.), Cumberlands (Ky.) and Oklahoma Baptist... Xavier (La.) leads the active group of being ranked with 27-straight mentions, followed by Columbia at 25… Since the 2000 – 01 season, 25 different teams have held the No. 1 ranking, with eight of those programs having five-or-more listings on top of the charts…Former NAIA member Mountain State (W.Va.) leads this group with 48 No. 1 rankings, followed by Robert Morris (Ill.) with 24... Concordia and Georgetown are next with 12 and Columbia is at nine mentions… Robert Morris, now a NAIA Division II member, is the only program to start and end a season ranked No. 1, doing so during the 2006 – 07 season... A conference change this year saw the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference move to NAIA Division II.
2013 – 14 NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll – Jan. 7
|RANK||LAST WEEK^||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||2013-14 RECORD||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||T3||Pikeville (Ky.) (6)||12-1||247|
|2||T3||SAGU (Texas) (1)||9-1||239|
|3||1||Columbia (Mo.) (3)||13-1||238|
|4||8||Cal State San Marcos||17-1||228|
|9||9||William Carey (Miss.)||8-2||181|
|10||10||Rocky Mountain (Mont.)||12-3||180|
|12||19||St. Gregory's (Okla.)||11-1||178|
|17||14||Philander Smith (Ark.)||11-5||110|
|18||RV||Mid-America Christian (Okla.)||7-3||101|
|20||24||Martin Methodist (Tenn.)||8-4||95|
|22||7||John Brown (Ark.)||11-2||80|
|23||RV||St. Catharine (Ky.)||9-4||77|
Others receiving votes: Hope International (Calif.) 50; Cumberland (Tenn.) 37; Westminster (Utah) 33; Emmanuel (Ga.) 30; Graceland (Iowa) 21; Montana Western 8; Oklahoma Baptist 4; MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) 3.
^ Ranking from 2013 - 14 Coaches' Top 25 Poll (Dec. 10)