January 16, 2013

Lions Jump Back into Top-25

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Saint Leo men's basketball team, winners of eight consecutive games, jumped back into the national scene as the Lions are ranked 21st in the latest National Association of Basketball Coaches Top-25 poll released on Tuesday evening.

Starting the season ranked in the top-10, the Lions slid out of the rankings in early December after two consecutive setbacks saw voters doubt Saint Leo's staying power.  The Lions have erased many of those doubts behind eight consecutive victories, with a thrilling win over then-No. 16 Florida Southern, and a gritty double overtime victory over a pesky Barry University team in Miami last Saturday included in the victory total.

The Lions earned 61 votes to get back into the poll as they are ranked a spot behind, ironically enough, Florida Southern.  The Lions, Moccasins and Rollins College, ranked 24th this week, represent the Sunshine State Conference.

As far as the rest of the top-25, West Liberty retains the top position in the new NABC/Division II rankings, but another shakeup in the rankings appears to be on the horizon after the one that took place this week.

The Hilltoppers' stay at the top is likely to end after this week following their 101-96 loss Monday at Charleston – only games through Sunday are factored into the rankings – so the loss won't affect West Liberty's spot in the poll until next week.  However, setbacks by three other top 10 teams, including the third- and fourth-ranked teams a week ago, have created the first significant shuffling at the top end of the rankings for the first time this year.

The next four teams in the rankings are the four remaining undefeated teams in NCAA Division II following Monday's action, headed by Metropolitan State.  Western Washington moved up two spots to third, as did Great Lakes Valley Conference foes Kentucky Wesleyan and Indianapolis to fourth and fifth, respectively, heading into their showdown Thursday in Owensboro, Ky.

Seattle Pacific, Cal Poly Pomona and Minnesota State all moved up as well to occupy the next three spots, while Alabama-Huntsville dropped six places after its loss on Saturday.  Washburn jumped three places to No. 10 and Winston-Salem State vaulted six spots to No. 11 to begin the second ten. Bellarmine checks in at No. 12, followed by Adams State, Newman and Southern Indiana.

NABC/Division II Coaches Poll (Jan. 15, 2013 – Regular season poll #7)
Record Points Pvs

1.  West Liberty, W.Va. (13 first place votes) 14-0 396 1
2.  Metropolitan State, Colo. (1 first place vote) 13-0 382 2
3.  Western Washington (2 first place votes) 14-0 373 5
4.  Kentucky Wesleyan 12-0 351 6
5.  Indianapolis, Ind. 12-0 332 7
6.  Seattle Pacific, Wash. 11-2 306 8
7.  Cal Poly Pomona 11-1 299 9
8.  Minnesota State 12-1 282 11
9.  Alabama-Huntsville 12-2 263 3
10. Washburn, Kan. 10-2 235 13
11. Winston-Salem State, N.C. 12-2 216 17
12. Bellarmine, Ky. 10-2 211 4
13. Adams State, Colo. 11-1 199 18
14. Newman, Kan. 13-1 187 19
15. Southern Indiana 10-2 143 10
16. Indiana, Pa. 11-2 131 21
17. Fort Lewis, Colo. 11-1 124 25
18. Lincoln Memorial, Tenn. 10-2 108 12
19. Barton, N.C. 10-2 94 23
20. Florida Southern 10-2 77 16
21. Saint Leo, Fla. 11-2 61 NR
22. Franklin Pierce, N.H. 10-3 59 14
23. Assumption, Mass. 11-2 56 NR
24. Rollins, Fla. 11-2 43 NR
25. Dominican (N.Y.) 13-2 38 NR

Dropped out: Cal State-San Bernardino (15), Tampa (20), King (22), Northwest Missouri State (24).

Others receiving votes: St. Cloud State (Minn.) 33, Wayne State (Mich.) 33, Saint Anselm (N.H.) 23, Winona State (Minn.) 23, East Stroudsburg (Pa.) 22, Minnesota State-Moorhead 12, Cal State-San Bernardino 11, Fairmont State (W.Va.) 10, North Alabama 10, King (Tenn.) 9, Carson-Newman (Tenn.) 6, Augusta State (Ga.) 5, Tampa (Fla.) 4, Grand Valley State (Mich.) 3, Michigan Tech 2, Northwest Missouri State 2, Harding (Ark.) 1, Shaw (N.C.) 1.