2014 - 15 NAIA Division I Men?s Basketball Coaches? Top 25 Poll ? No. 8

2014 - 15 NAIA Division I Men?s Basketball Coaches? Top 25 Poll ? No. 8

By: Chad Waller, Director of Communications & Sports Information

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – For the first time in school history, Talladega (Ala.) earns the No. 1 position in the eighth edition of the 2014 - 15 NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, the national office announced Tuesday. With a 23-3 overall record (at time of rankings period), the Tornadoes posted seven first-place votes and 248 total points. With the NAIA’s longest active winning streak at 18-straight (Monday’s win not included), Talladega moved up from No. 2 after former top-ranked team Cal State San Marcos dropped an 86-67 decision over the weekend.

Talladega has been on the winning side ever since a 12-point victory over Cincinnati Christian (Ohio) on Nov. 22, 2014. Along the way, the Tornadoes have jumped to first place (11-0) in the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference (GCAC) with three regular-season games remaining. Brandon Peters has been the individual star with 19.6 points per game (No. 17 in NAIA) and 2.2 steals (No. 13 in NAIA). On Feb. 23, Talladega is scheduled to face Philander Smith (Ark.).

With two first-place votes and 241 points, No. 2 Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.) slides up one spot. Holding a 2.5-game lead in the American Midwest Conference (AMC) race with three regular-season games remaining, the Lions are in the driver’s seat for their first-ever AMC regular-season title. The 23-2 Lions host Williams Baptist (Ark.) on Tuesday.

No. 3 Pikeville (Ky.) checks in with 234 total points and the remaining first-place nod. The Bears, who moved up one position this week, had their top-10 showdown with No. 8 Georgetown (Ky.) moved from Thursday to Feb. 23 due to winter storms in the Kentucky area.

With the loss to unranked Northern New Mexico on Feb. 13, Cal State San Marcos drops down to No. 4 (tie). The setback snapped a nine-game winning streak. The Cougars rank in the top-10 in the NAIA in both scoring offense (85.1) and scoring margin (+14.4).

No. 4 (tie) Hope International (Calif.) garnered 223 total points this week. The Royals have the only top-10 match-up this week as they host No. 7 Concordia (Calif.) on Saturday. Concordia holds a slim 0.5-game lead over Hope International in the Golden State Athletic Conference (GSAC) standings. Prior to that contest, the Royals take on Vanguard (Calif.) on Tuesday.

No. 18 Evangel (Mo.), improving four spots, is this week’s biggest mover within the Top 25. With two conference wins last week, the Crusaders now own first place in the Heart of America Athletic Conference.

Falling down six positions, No. 17 Benedictine (Kan.) suffered the worst drop. The Ravens have dropped three out of their last four games.

No. 25 Westmont (Calif.) jumps into the Top 25 for the first time this year and first time since a No. 12 spot on March 26, 2013 in the Postseason Top 25. The Warriors now own a 17-8 record on the season and stand only 1.5-games back of first place in the GSAC. On Thursday, Westmont is scheduled to face No. 11 Arizona Christian.

The other newcomer, No. 21 Lewis-Clark State (Idaho), last held a ranking on Jan. 13 (No. 19). The Warriors have won three-in-a-row to improve to 20-6 on the season.

Great Falls (Mont.) (No. 20) and SAGU (Texas) (No. 24) drop out this week.

All 10 conferences and Association of Independent Institutions (A.I.I.) are represented in this week's poll. With four ranked teams, the GSAC and Mid-South Conference each claim the most out of any league. The Sooner Athletic Conference and Southern States Athletic Conference 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 ninth regular-season Top 25 will be announced on Feb. 24. For more information on the polls, click here.

NOTES: (All information dates back to 2000 – 01 season) Talladega (Ala.) becomes 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 six mentions in the top-five this year – prior to 2014-15, its highest ranking was No. 6… With the fall down to No. 4 (tie) this week, Cal State San Marcos has its streak of 18-straight polls ranked in the top-three snapped... There have been 40 different teams ranked during the 2014-15 season, with 12 of those programs being ranked in all nine polls (including Preseason) – last year, 47 different teams found themselves in the Top 25… No. 4 (tie) Pikeville (Ky.) has held a top-five ranking in 21-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. 20 Xavier (La.) leads the active group of being ranked with 46-straight mentions, followed by Cal State San Marcos and Pikeville at 34… 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. 17

1 2 Talladega (Ala.) (7) 23-3 248
2 3 Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.) (2) 23-2 241
3 4 Pikeville (Ky.) (1) 24-2 234
T4 1 Cal State San Marcos 24-3 223
T4 5 Hope International (Calif.) 22-2 223
6 8 Dalton State (Ga.) 22-3 209
7 10 Concordia (Calif.) 22-5 203
8 9 Georgetown (Ky.) 22-4 189
9 12 Columbia (Mo.) 22-4 173
10 6 Campbellsville (Ky.) 22-5 171
11 7 Arizona Christian 21-6 165
12 15 Montana Western 19-6 157
13 12 Martin Methodist (Tenn.) 21-4 156
14 16 Mid-America Christian (Okla.) 18-8 149
15 18 Wayland Baptist (Texas) 21-4 144
16 14 LSU Alexandria 15-3 136
17 11 Benedictine (Kan.) 20-6 126
18 22 Evangel (Mo.) 16-9 120
19 21 Our Lady of the Lake (Texas) 18-4 102
20 17 Xavier (La.) 19-8 101
21 RV Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) 20-6 93
22 19 Bethel (Tenn.) 20-6 78
23 25 Cumberlands (Ky.) 19-7 60
24 23 Oklahoma City 13-7 53
25 RV Westmont (Calif.) 17-8 49

Others Receiving Votes: SAGU (Texas) 48; Philander Smith (Ark.) 36; Carroll (Mont.) 32; Central Methodist (Mo.) 29; Wiley (Texas) 25; William Carey (Miss.) 10; LSU Shreveport (La.) 5; Great Falls (Mont.) 3; Missouri Valley 3.