By: Chad Waller, Director of Communications & Sports Information
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Talladega (Ala.) continues it supremacy of the 2014 - 15 NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, the national office announced Tuesday. In the ninth regular-season edition, the Tornadoes are ranked No. 1 for the second-straight week with seven first-place votes and 248 total points. Behind the NAIA’s longest active winning streak at 19-games (at time of rankings period), Talladega holds an overall 24-3 log.
Behind the offense of Brandon Peters, the Tornadoes rank fourth in Division I in scoring margin (+18.3) and sixth in field goal percentage (.498). With 19.6 points per game and a 53.8 shooting percentage, Peters sits in the top-25 nationally in both of those categories. Talladega closes out the regular-season with road games at Southern-New Orleans (La.) on Saturday and Tougaloo (Miss.) on March 2. The last loss on the year occurred on Nov. 21, 2014 against NAIA Division II member Briar Cliff (Iowa).
The rest of the teams within the top-six hold their position from last week: No. 2 Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.), No. 3 Pikeville (Ky.), No. 4 (tie) Cal State San Marcos, No. 4 (tie) Hope International (Calif.) and No. 6 Dalton State (Ga.).
Gathering two first-place votes and 241 points, No. 2 Freed-Hardeman is 24-2 overall. The Lions have already secured their first-ever American Midwest Conference (AMC) regular-season championship and next face Lindenwood-Belleville (Ill.) on Saturday before entering the AMC Tournament next week.
No. 3 Pikeville garnered the remaining first-place nod with 236 total points.
Tied with Cal State San Marcos (222 points) for the No. 4 ranking, Hope International took over first-place in the Golden State Athletic Conference (GSAC) by a 0.5-game after a 72-67 win over then-No. 7 Concordia (Calif.) on Feb. 21.
One week after being a newcomer, No. 20 Westmont (Calif.) jumps up five positions for the best movement within the poll. The Warriors have won four-consecutive games and now are 1.0-game behind the first-place leader in the GSAC. Tumbling down seven spots, No. 18 Arizona Christian suffers the worst drop.
No. 24 SAGU (Texas) is this week’s rookie – the Lions have been in-and-out of the Top 25 this year on four previous occasions. At 20-8 overall, SAGU has won seven-out-of-its-last-nine contests.
After four-straight rankings, Bethel (Tenn.) (No. 22) falls out of the Top 25.
All 10 conferences and Association of Independent Institutions (A.I.I.) are represented in this week's poll. With four ranked teams, the GSAC, Mid-South Conference and Sooner Athletic Conference each claim the most out of any league. The Southern States Athletic Conference landed a trio of Top 25 teams.
The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences and unaffiliated groups. The 10th regular-season Top 25 will be announced on March 2. The final regular-season edition of the NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball Coaches’ Top 25 – used to decide the at-large teams for the upcoming Buffalo Funds-NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball National Championship – is scheduled for Wednesday, March 11. For more information on the polls, click here.
NOTES: (All information dates back to 2000 – 01 season) Talladega (Ala.) is the fourth different program this year to hold the No.1 ranking, joining Vanguard (Calif.), Cal State San Marcos and Campbellsville (Ky.)… The Tornadoes now have claimed seven mentions in the top-five this year – prior to 2014-15, its highest ranking was No. 6… No. 10 Martin Methodist (Tenn.) hops back in the top 10 for the fifth time this year overall and first since Jan. 20, 2015… There have been 40 different teams ranked during the 2014-15 season, with 12 of those programs being ranked in all 10 polls (including Preseason) – last year, 47 different teams found themselves in the Top 25… No. 4 (tie) Pikeville (Ky.) has now held a top-five ranking in 22-straight polls dating back to the first regular-season edition of the 2013-14 season… Preseason No. 1-ranked and defending national champion Vanguard (Calif.) fell off the Top 25 radar prior to the first regular-season edition… No. 21 Xavier (La.) leads the active group of being ranked with 47-straight mentions, followed by Cal State San Marcos and Pikeville at 35… There have been 31 different teams since 2000 to hold the No. 1 position... 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, Cal State San Marcos at 11 and Columbia at nine 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 – Feb. 24
|RANK||LAST WEEK||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||2014-15 RECORD||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||1||Talladega (Ala.) (7)||24-3||248|
|2||2||Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.) (2)||24-2||241|
|3||3||Pikeville (Ky.) (1)||25-2||236|
|T4||T4||Cal State San Marcos||25-3||222|
|T4||T4||Hope International (Calif.)||24-2||222|
|6||6||Dalton State (Ga.)||24-3||210|
|10||13||Martin Methodist (Tenn.)||23-4||171|
|12||14||Mid-America Christian (Okla.)||20-8||164|
|14||15||Wayland Baptist (Texas)||23-4||152|
|17||19||Our Lady of the Lake (Texas)||21-4||115|
|22||19||Lewis-Clark State (Idaho)||21-7||87|
Others Receiving Votes: Philander Smith (Ark.) 38; Wiley (Texas) 32; Faulkner (Ala.) 30; Rocky Mountain (Mont.) 25; Bethel (Tenn.) 21; LSU Shreveport (La.) 20; Missouri Valley 9; Carroll (Mont.) 3.