Unbeaten West Liberty Checks in at No. 7

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The unbeaten West Liberty University men’s basketball team stayed locked in at No. 7 for the second straight week on Tuesday when the National Association of Basketball Coaches released its weekly NCAA Division II Top 25 poll.

Coach Ben Howlett’s Hilltoppers (7-0) may be No. 7 in the national balloting but they’re No. 1 out of 350 NCAA Division II squads in numerous statistics, including scoring, scoring margin assists, steals, 3-point field goals and turnovers forced per game. Currently averaging more than 118 points a game, West Liberty is the only NCAA Division I or Division II team to surpass the 100-point mark in every game this season.

West Liberty has now appeared in every NCAA Division II Top 25 poll since Feb. 2, 2010 — a 115-week run that stands as the longest unbroken streak of Top 25 appearances since the Division II poll was instituted at the start of the 1960-61 season.

There was little movement in the rankings this week as the top 11 spots remained unchanged. Wheeling Jesuit gave the Mountain East Conference — and Ohio County — a pair of Top 10 teams when the Cardinals retained their No. 9 spot for the second straight week. Fairmont State, which is headed to the hilltop on Saturday, is among teams receiving votes.

Defending national champion Northwest Missouri State once again received 14 of the 16 first-place votes to remain No. 1 with Queens (N.C.) and Bellarmine (Ky.) staying put at Nos. 2 and 3, respectively, with one first-place vote each. Lincoln Memorial (Tenn.), Ferris State (Mich.) and Colorado School of Mines rounded out the top six.