By: Chad Waller, Director of Communications & Sports Information
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – With five first-place votes and 246 total points, Cal State San Marcos took over the No. 1 ranking in the first regular-season edition of the 2014 - 15 NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, the national office announced Tuesday. The Cougars, who last held the No. 1 ranking on March 12, 2014, was the top-ranked program for seven out of 13 weeks during the 2013-14 campaign. Cal State San Marcos replaces defending national champion Vanguard (Calif.) from the perch.
The Cougars sport a 10-1 record on the young season, notching wins over NCAA Division II member Fresno Pacific (Calif.) and NCAA Division III institution Pomona Pitzer (Calif.) in the process. Guard Blake Nash leads the scoring charge ranking No. 2 in the NAIA with 24.5 points per game and 10th in assists per game (5.2). Cal State San Marcos has now been in the top-five for 13-straight polls dating back to January of 2014. The Cougars next take on Bethesda (Calif.) on Saturday.
Enjoying the best positive improvement within the poll, No. 2 Campbellsville (Ky.) leaped up 17 spots from the preseason. With two first-place nods and 241 total points, the Tigers are riding a six-game win streak into a contest with Ohio Christian on Dec. 15.
No. 3 Hope International (Calif.) sports a seven-spot boost and the Royals claim the remaining three first-place votes and 238 total points. With an 8-0 overall record, Hope International is one of three remaining undefeated teams.
Dropping two spots, No. 4 Pikeville (Ky.) gathered 211 points. No. 5 William Carey (Miss.) improved four positions and posted 206 points.
Six newcomers are dotted throughout the Top 25, starting with No. 8 Martin Methodist (Tenn.), No. 9 Concordia (Calif.) and No. 10 Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.). Martin Methodist is one of three teams with a perfect record (9-0) on the year. The Eagles, out of the Golden State Athletic Conference, have won four-straight games with the only loss coming to then-No. 3 Cal State San Marcos on Nov. 19. Finally, Freed-Hardeman has jumped out to an 8-1 record and an American Midwest Conference-leading 4-0 league slate.
Other rookies to the poll include, No. 18 Texas Wesleyan, No. 21 Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) and No. 23 SAGU (Texas).
All of the six newcomers, except Texas Wesleyan, all held at least one Top 25 ranking during the 2013-14 season. The Rams, out of the Sooner Athletic Conference, were last ranked Dec. 11, 2012 when they were 12th in the country.
The following programs fell out of the Top 25 since the Preseason Top 25 poll: Vanguard (Calif.) (No. 1), St. Gregory’s (Okla.) (No. 6), Columbia (Mo.) (No. 7), MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) (No. 11), Westminster (Utah) (No. 15 – tie), Lindenwood-Belleville (Ill.) (No. 18) and Cumberlands (Ky.) (No. 20). With the drop, Columbia snaps the second-longest active streak of being ranked at 35-consecutive mentions.
All 10 conferences and Association of Independent Institutions (A.I.I.) are represented in this week's poll. With four ranked teams, the Sooner Athletic Conference claims the most out of any league: No. 11 Oklahoma Baptist, No. 16 Wayland Baptist (Texas), Texas Wesleyan and SAGU. Five other conference landed three Top 25 teams.
The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences and unaffiliated groups. The second regular-season Top 25 will be announced on Jan. 6. For more information on the polls, click here.
NOTES: (All information dates back to 2000 – 01 season) The Mid-South Conference boasts two teams in the top-five: No. 2 Campbellsville (Ky.) and No. 4 Pikeville (Ky.)… No. 22 Xavier (La.) suffered the worst fall, tumbling down nine spots from the preseason – the Gold Rush is 8-4 on the year losing three of their last four contests… Preseason No. 1-ranked Vanguard (Calif.) tumbled out of the rankings in the “receiving votes” category with 16 points – the Lions own a 4-4 season record… There have been 30 different teams since 2000 to hold the No. 1 position... Last year, there were seven different No. 1-ranked teams: Vanguard, Cal State San Marcos, Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.), SAGU (Texas), Pikeville, Georgetown (Ky.) and Columbia (Mo.)… There were 47 different teams ranked during the 2013-14 season... Xavier (La.) leads the active group of being ranked with 39-straight mentions, followed by Cal State San Marcos at 27 and Pikeville at 27… Former NAIA member Mountain State (W.Va.) leads the all-time charts with 48 all-time No. 1 rankings, followed by NAIA Division II member Robert Morris (Ill.) with 24... Concordia and Georgetown are next with 12, Columbia at nine mentions and Cal State San Marcos with eight No. 1 recognitions… Robert Morris, now a NAIA Division II member in the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC), is the only program to start and end a season ranked No. 1, doing so during the 2006 – 07 season.
2014 – 15 NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll – Dec. 9
|Rank||Last Week||School (1st Place Votes)||2014-15 Record||Final Points|
|1||3||Cal State San Marcos (5)||10-1||246|
|2||19||Campbellsville (Ky.) (2)||12-1||241|
|3||10||Hope International (Calif.) (3)||8-0||238|
|5||9||William Carey (Miss.)||7-1||206|
|8||RV||Martin Methodist (Tenn.)||9-0||195|
|12||14||LSU Shreveport (La.)||7-1||159|
|13||T15||Dalton State (Ga.)||8-1||145|
|13||22||Rocky Mountain (Mont.)||7-1||145|
|16||21||Wayland Baptist (Texas)||8-1||131|
|17||23||Philander Smith (Ark.)||7-2||125|
|20||T25||Our Lady of the Lake (Texas)||5-1||105|
|21||NR||Lewis-Clark State (Idaho)||9-2||87|
Others Receiving Votes: Life (Ga.) 41; Bethel (Tenn.) 28; Lindenwood-Belleville (Ill.) 27; Montana State-Northern 27; Langston (Okla.) 20; WVU Tech 18; Vanguard (Calif.) 16; Cumberlands (Ky.) 6; John Brown (Ark.) 4; Oklahoma City 4; Lyon (Ark.) 4.
^ Ranking in the 2014-15 Coaches’ Preseason Top 25 Poll (Oct. 28, 2014)