WLU Still At No. 1
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – West Liberty’s unbeaten men’s basketball team was an overwhelming pick at No. 1 in the national coaches’ poll for the sixth consecutive week Tuesday afternoon when the National Association of Basketball Coaches released the results of its latest balloting.
Coach Jim Crutchfield’s Hilltoppers (12-0) again received 14 of the 16 first-place votes to separate themselves from the pack with 397 points. Bellarmine, Ky. (12-0) remained No. 2 with 386 points and the two remaining first-place votes.
The poll includes only games played through Sunday so it doesn’t reflect any of Monday night’s results, including WLU’s 107-88 romp past Glenville State at the ASRC.
West Liberty’s extended run in the coaches’ poll and near the top of the charts has reached historic proportions.
This is the 26th time the Hilltoppers have been ranked No. 1 nationally, which is tied with Evansville (Ind.) for the third-highest total since NCAA Division II polling began during the 1960-61 season.
West Liberty’s 33rd consecutive Top 5 ranking is also the third-most in Division II history and the longest streak in nearly a half-century. The Hilltoppers’ current run of 59 consecutive Top 25 appearances is the longest active streak in the nation and ranks No. 7 on the all-time list.
While the top two spots in this week’s poll remained unchanged, there was plenty of shuffling farther down the list as 10 members of last week’s Top 25 poll lost at least once last week.
Defending national champion Drury, Mo. (12-1) lost at Bellarmine in a foul-marred game and dropped from No. 2 to No. 7. Florida Southern (15-0) takes over the No. 3 spot with Metro State, Colo. (12-1) at No. 4 and Indiana, Pa. (14-0) moving up to No. 5. Tarleton State, Texas (13-0), Drury, East Stroudsburg, Pa. (15-0), Cal State-San Bernardino (11-1) and Southern Indiana (11-1) round out the Top 10.
With West Liberty, IUP and East Stroudsburg, the Atlantic Region has three undefeated teams ranked in the national Top 10 for the third consecutive week. The Hilltoppers are the only Mountain East Conference team currently receiving Top 25 votes.
West Liberty returns to action Saturday when it plays host to Fairmont State in a 4 p.m. game at the ASRC.
WLU Still At No. 1
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The unbeaten West Liberty men’s basketball team held down the No. 1 spot for the fifth straight week Tuesday afternoon when the National Association of Basketball Coaches released its weekly NCAA Division II Top 25 poll.
This is WLU’s 25th No. 1 national ranking in the last four seasons and the 32nd consecutive poll with the Hilltoppers in the Top 5, a streak which began Jan. 10, 2012.
The Black and Gold’s 32 consecutive weeks in the Top 5 is the longest streak in nearly 50 years and is tied with Kentucky Wesleyan – Dec. 29, 1966 to Jan. 23, 1969 – for the third-longest run in NCAA Division II history.
West Liberty’s current streak of 58 consecutive weeks in the Top 25 is the longest active streak in the nation.
There was little change at the top of the poll as the first 10 spots remained unchanged from last week’s rankings. This week’s poll includes games played through Sunday.
Coach Jim Crutchfield’s Hilltoppers (9-0) again received 14 of the 16 first-place votes for 396 points, easily outdistancing No. 2 Bellarmine, Ky. (10-0), which picked up the remaining two first-place votes and is solidly entrenched at No. 2 with 386 points.
Defending national champion Drury, Mo. (11-0), Florida Southern (13-0) and Metro State, Colo. (10-1) round out the top five followed by Indiana, Pa. (12-0), Dixie State, Utah (11-0), Southern Indiana (10-0), Tarleton State, Texas (11-0) and East Stroudsburg, Pa. (13-0).
Indiana and East Stroudsburg join West Liberty to give the Atlantic Region three teams in the national Top 10 for the second consecutive week.
West Liberty, which padded its national scoring lead with a 116-79 thrashing of UVA- Wise on Monday, is the only Mountain East Conference team receiving votes this week after Shepherd (9-2) was upset at Notre Dame, Ohio. on Saturday.
The Hilltoppers travel to Shepherdstown for a showdown with the Rams on Thursday night. Also on Thursday, No. 2 Bellarmine plays host to No. 3 Drury in a key Great Lakes Valley Conference tilt.