2014 - 15 NAIA Division I Men?s Basketball Coaches? Top 25 Poll ? No. 6

2014 - 15 NAIA Division I Men?s Basketball Coaches? Top 25 Poll ? No. 6

By: Chad Waller, Director of Communications & Sports Information

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – For the 10th overall time, Cal State San Marcos locks down the No. 1 spot in the 2014 - 15 NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, the national office announced Tuesday. The Cougars, who recorded 248 points and seven first-place votes, has accomplished that feat all in the last two seasons. After a date Wednesday with The Master’s (Calif.), Cal State San Marcos does battle with No. 8 Concordia (Calif.) on Saturday.

Cal State San Marcos has played just one game since Jan. 11 – a 100-91 victory over Northern New Mexico on Jan. 24. The Cougars turn to guard Blake Nash for his backcourt presence as he ranks No. 2 in the NAIA in assists per game (6.1), No. 4 in steals per game (2.5) and No. 27 in scoring (18.3). With a 20-2 overall record, Cal State San Marcos is riding a six-game win streak into Wednesday’s game.

With the remaining three first-place votes, No. 2 Hope International (Calif.) moves up one spot with 244 total points. The Royals are back in a position they held for two weeks in early January. Leaders of the Golden State Athletic Conference (20-1, 8-1 GSAC), Hope International recently defeated No. 10 Arizona Christian, 84-74, on Jan. 27. These teams have the re-match on Saturday in Phoenix, Ariz.

No. 3 Talladega (Ala.), with 274 points, claims its highest-ever ranking in school history. The Tornadoes improved one spot and hold a 20-3 mark. They won their 15th-straight contest – the longest active streak in the NAIA – after a 94-73 rout of Tougaloo (Miss.) on Jan. 31. Ranked in the top five in the NAIA in scoring margin (19.4), Talladega has won six of its last eight contests by 10-or-more points.

After a 75-69 win over then-No. 13 Columbia (Mo.), Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.) slides up to No. 4 with 225 total points. The Lions own a two-game lead in the America Midwest Conference standings

No. 5 Pikeville (Ky.) dropped three spots after a 98-93 loss to unranked Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) on Jan. 31. The Bears earned 223 points.  With the most wins in the NAIA (21), Pikeville takes a shot at No. 24 Cumberlands (Ky.) on Saturday.

The biggest mover in the poll, No. 8 (tie) Bethel (Tenn.) improves 14 spots from last week. The Wildcats stand 18-4 on the year, including a 9-2 mark and second place in the Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC).

On the flip side, No. 21 Wayland Baptist (Texas) sinks down 12 positions for the largest fall. The Pioneers have gone 3-3 in their last six games.

No. 25 SAGU (Texas) holds the distinction as the only newcomer. The Lions, who were 2013 national runners-up, have gone 6-1 in their last seven contests. This ranking is a first for SAGU since Jan. 6, 2015. The Lions face two tests this week, first at home against Southwestern Christian (Okla.) Thursday and then against No. 21 Wayland Baptist Saturday.

Philander Smith (Ark.) (No. 24), losers of two out of its last four contests, 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 Mid-South Conference and Sooner Athletic Conference claim the most out of any league. The Golden State Athletic Conference and SSAC each 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 seventh regular-season Top 25 will be announced on Feb. 10. For more information on the polls, click here.

NOTES: (All information dates back to 2000 – 01 season) In the last 17 polls, No. 1-ranked Cal State San Marcos has boasted a top-three position, including 10 No. 1 spots… No. 3 Talladega (Ala.) now owns four top-five rankings this year – prior to 2014-15, its highest ranking was No. 6… There have been 38 different teams ranked during the 2014-15 season, with 13 of those programs being ranked in all seven polls (including Preseason) – last year, 47 different teams found themselves in the Top 25… No. 5 Pikeville (Ky.) has held a top-five ranking in 19-straight polls dating back to the first regular-season edition of the 2013-14 season… There have been three different No. 1-ranked programs: Vanguard (Calif.), Cal State San Marcos and Campbellsville (Ky.)… Preseason No. 1-ranked and defending national champion Vanguard fell off the radar this week and earned no points… Xavier (La.) leads the active group of being ranked with 44-straight mentions, followed by Cal State San Marcos and Pikeville at 32… 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 10 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. 3

1 1 Cal State San Marcos (7) 20-2 248
2 3 Hope International (Calif.) (3) 20-1 244
3 4 Talladega (Ala.) 20-3 229
4 5 Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.) 19-2 225
5 2 Pikeville (Ky.) 21-2 223
6 6 Campbellsville (Ky.) 20-3 210
7 7 Benedictine (Kan.) 19-4 195
T8 22 Bethel (Tenn.) 18-4 180
T8 T14 Concordia (Calif.) 19-4 180
10 10 Arizona Christian 18-5 165
11 18 Montana Western 17-5 164
12 8 Dalton State (Ga.) 17-3 159
13 T14 Georgetown (Ky.) 19-3 156
14 17 Mid-America Christian (Okla.) 15-7 150
15 13 Columbia (Mo.) 19-4 148
16 T14 Martin Methodist (Tenn.) 19-3 135
17 20 Oklahoma Baptist 17-5 127
18 19 Xavier (La.) 17-6 111
19 25 LSU Alexandria 13-2 108
20 12 Great Falls (Mont.) 16-5 106
21 9 Wayland Baptist (Texas) 17-4 104
22 11 Our Lady of the Lake (Texas) 14-4 77
23 21 Evangel (Mo.) 14-8 76
24 23 Cumberlands (Ky.) 18-5 57
25 RV SAGU (Texas) 16-6 48
Others Receiving Votes: Philander Smith (Ark.) 40; Missouri Valley 39; Westmont (Calif.) 36; William Carey (Miss.) 23; Wiley (Texas) 19; Montana Tech 7; Central Methodist (Mo.) 3; LSU Shreveport (La.) 3.