For the second-straight time, Eastern Oregon claims the No. 1 spot in the 2012 – 13 NAIA Division II Men’s Basketball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, announced Tuesday by the national office. The Mountaineers gathered all 13 first-place votes to go along with 343 points to rule the perch in the fifth regular-season installment. With a 20-1 overall record, Eastern Oregon is tied with Indiana Wesleyan (Division II Women’s Basketball) for the most wins in any division of NAIA men’s and women’s basketball.
The Mountaineers next take on Oregon Tech on Friday, before a home showdown on Saturday against No. 21 Southern Oregon. Southern Oregon dealt Eastern Oregon its only loss of the year, 72-68, back on Dec. 14. Eastern Oregon is tied with No. 8 Warner Pacific (Ore.) for the Cascade Collegiate Conference lead at 8-1.
Outside of Eastern Oregon, 23 programs shifted rank within the Top 25. The only other team to hold position is No. 13 Rochester (Mich.).
No. 2 William Penn (Iowa) enjoys its best mark of the season. With 331 points, the Statesmen (picture courtesy of William Penn Athletics) are ranked the highest since a No. 2 spot on Jan. 30, 2008. After a contest against Viterbo (Wis.) Wednesday, William Penn faces No. 7 Mount Mercy (Iowa) Saturday. Both opponents are tied with the Statesmen at 3-0 for the Midwest Collegiate Conference lead.
Cardinal Stritch (Wis.) improves two positions and checks in at No. 3 with 319 points. Sticking with the theme of moving up two spots, No. 4 Indiana Wesleyan and No. 5 Northwestern (Iowa) each make the move up in the poll. Both clubs have been in the top 10 all season.
No. 6 St. Thomas (Fla.) is this week’s biggest mover in the poll with an 11-spot shift. The Bobcats capped off a four-game win streak with an 81-78 victory at then-No. 2 Embry-Riddle (Fla.) on Jan. 12. Conversely, No. 22 Grace (Ind.) fell the farthest as the Lancers were 12th in last week’s poll.
No teams fell out of the Top 25 this week.
The Cascade Collegiate Conference and The Sun Conference each claim four teams in the Top 25, which is the most of any conference or independent. The Crossroads League, Great Plains Athletic Conference and the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference place a triplet of teams on the list. Overall, 11 of the 13 conferences and independents are represented this week in the poll.
The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences and independents. The sixth regular-season Coaches’ Top 25 Poll will be announced on Jan. 22.